Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 07 - Maya Center

After breakfast, we bid farewell to Mel and Tobacco Caye and hitched a boat ride back to Dangriga. Next, we played an expert-level of suitcase Tetris to fit all our luggage into Julio's van. Our next destination: Maya Center Village!

Mel and the crew (we might have had the sun in our eyes..)

Veronica and Kimo are pretty impressed!
Nuuk Chiel Cottages

Once we were settled in, we scoped out a small trail around the area for good sites to lay out pan traps and a dark light trap. Ernesto then escorted us to his cacao orchard and taught us all the ins and outs of cacao farming for organic chocolate production. We collected insects with sweep and beat nets along the way, of course.

Ernesto, showing us his cacao orchard

Inside the cacao fruit. The white flesh is edible and sweet, but encases a very bitter cocoa bean.

Cultivated cacao beans laid out to dry.

Later that night, we checked our black light traps. We saw significantly more insects drawn to the trap than we did at Tobacco Caye and the Trek Stop. Some of our best finds was a large scarab beetle, an intimidating triatomid (known as the blood-feeding kissing bug) and a multitude of colorful and unusual moths. A tarantula was discovered nearby, hiding in its den.

Tons of flying insects are drawn to the light.

A large scarab beetle.

A tarantula, which quickly withdrew to its shelter.

Next time: Julio shows us how he transforms his roasted organic cacao beans into all-natural, delicious chocolate at his factory! Check back soon!

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