Thoughts, adventures, projects, and photography by Shawn DeArmond


October 14, 2011 - 10:41am -- Shawn

This past Summer, I had the privilege of taking a trip to Belize. My father signed up to run Vacation Bible Schools in Georgeville and San Ignacio, Belize. After which, he was going to do some adventuring on his own and he invited me to come along. I couldn't say no, and I'm certainly glad I went.

I had a few months before the trip, and I became voraciously interested in this Central American country about which I knew almost nothing. I borrowed, from friends or from the library, every book (travel, history, culture, etc.) I could find. Here are some of my favorites:

Let me once again plug the Sacramento Public Library System (of which Woodland is a member) for being absolutely perfect for my needs. They had about every book I could imagine, and I could check them out for three weeks at a time, which was plenty... FOR FREE. Who can argue with that? (Besides Walmart, of course)

Okay, back to Belize. I also scoured the internet for more information, and there was lots, though far more disorganized. I discovered that the Moon web site is not only an excellent companion to their excellent travel book (you can download hi-res images of all the maps from the book!) but it's also a Drupal site. Gotta love that! Other good sources of Belize info:

I learned all kinds of stuff: It's the only Central or South American country where English is the official language. It has a huge diversity of cultures, and the English most of them speak is heavily accented, almost pidgin-ish. The reef is the second-largest barrier reef in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia) and the scuba diving is world-class. The jungle is rich with Mayan ruins, caves, rivers, and tropical butterflies. Belize City is to be avoided when possible. Petty crime is abundant, particularly in the city, but most reports indicate that the real danger is overstated.


First order of business: purchase a new camera, of course. I was not about to carry my DSLR and lenses around (see: crime, petty) and my trusty Canon S50 was getting on in years. Also, its video sucks. I needed a high-quality, durable camera. Waterproof would be nice. Some cameras have GPS now, could I get one with that? Also, I gotta have good video; 720p at least. When Panasonic announced the Lumix DMC-TS3, I was sold. Waterproof to 40'; sand, dust, and drop-proof; 1080i video; GPS; I'll take it! It also felt nice, only weeks after I got back from Belize, when DPRevew justified my decision. I also picked up a waterproof camera floating wrist-strap; one for me and one for Dad, who also recently picked up a waterproof camera.

Well, needless to say, I had a great time. I'll be posting photo galleries of my adventures in the near future. In the mean time, enjoy these videos I shot with my TS3, and edited with iMovie.