Venturing the Atolls
By Peter Tonti
So we ventured into the unknown; Elias Matus, reservations manager for the Rainforest and Reef Resorts of Belize, my fourteen year old son, Gianni Tonti and me, Peter Tonti, CFO and Business Manager for The Lodge at Chaa Creek, in search of some hands-on experience with the island portion of our Inland/Island Adventure Package with Turneffe Flats.
An hour and a half boat ride from Belize City led us to our destination, Turneffe Flats. We arrived around 5:00 pm, had dinner and called it a day, ensuring we got a good night rest for what was in stored for us the following day.
After a hearty breakfast, our fun-filled day began. We headed North-West of the Atolls on a half day snorkeling adventure near the barrier reef. Our guide, Abel, was very knowledgeable and friendly. Here we observed an array of sea life, from turtles, huge tarpons, barracudas, and colorful fish to amazing reef formations. What’s best is that it is extremely simple, very enjoyable and it didn’t require a lot of effort. It opened up our eyes to a whole new and amazing world, all together, underscoring the importance of protecting our marine resources.
We went back to the hotel for lunch and prepared for the second part of our day. Meals at Turneffe Flats are served in a family style and all the food is fresh and very tasteful.
Immediately after lunch we split up; Elias and Gianni went with Sally and Kevin for an introduction to Scuba Diving and I went trolling in the deep ocean waters. It took us approximately 20 minutes to get to the ideal trolling site from the island. We passed through inland channels surrounded by mangroves. The marine life here was very diverse; I even caught a few large barracudas.
After our adventurous journey, we joined other guests over dinner and swapped tales of our great adventures. One guest bragged about his “Grand Slam” experience, which is when you catch a Tarpon, Permit and a Bone Fish in one day. At times it felt as though we were over-eating but I think it’s because we kept active throughout the day or perhaps this was because the food was so good.
The following day, Elias went scuba diving and I went bone fishing with Craig Hayes who is the owner of the resort. We went to the Northern tip of Turneffe, which is a very popular site for bone fishing. We were both very triumphant; catching ten fish each. I enjoyed myself so much that we returned in the afternoon. There were different types of large fish where we were. Bone fishing is a very challenging sport but at the same time very rewarding because it feels fantastic when you get it right and you actually catch a fish.
Sadly, it was our last night at Turneffe. We had dinner and went to our rooms to prepare for our trip back to Cayo the next morning.
My 14 year old son really enjoyed himself. Elias loved the diving experience. It was so much fun he had to do it twice! The accommodations were simple but very comfortable. Everything was great; it was a wonderful experience for all of us. The staff were great, making us feel at home at all times.
Now that I’ve visited Turneffe Flats I feel confident in saying that it is a destination ideal for divers and fishermen, world class professionals and amateurs alike. Being there and experiencing the different activities makes me more knowledgeable and fit to sell our Inland/Island Adventure Package.