As many have heard, the ancient Mayan calendar was constructed and interpreted by ancient astronomers more than 5000 years ago. It all runs out on the winter solstice, December 21st, 2012. We decided to look and see for ourselves what this might mean to the world and check out a beautiful corner of Central America in the process. Belize is a beautiful and wild country with over 40% of the country under protection as forest or park. We visited the site of a Mayan City of 40,000 inhabitants that slipped into decay and history more than 1000 years ago. The site of La Milpa now is a sanctuary for the wilderness birds and animals as well as 300 year old mahogany trees, ferns and butterflies. Situated close to both Mexico and Guatemala Parks this area of Central America is home to the largest parcel of protected forest land in the Western Hemisphere north of the Amazon. An admirable example for other conservation minded countries and regions the local citizens are fiercely protecting their land and resources even while geologists are exploring the region for oil.
Many years ago Pam and I dreamed about spending time on a boat chasing wildlife in a wild place that was not in the middle of the Bering Sea. When at last this dream became a reality here in Chatham …we decided to call our small expedition craft Aleutian Dream.
A word about the totem symbol on the bow. This spirit symbol has been with us for more than thirty years throughout our many adventures. It is a Pacific Northwest Coast Indian (Tlingit) spirit totem called Sisioohl or as the kwakwaka’wakw refered to it, Sisiutl. The literal translation is “Magic Salmon”. The spirit represents some “heavy magic”. Central to the themes of warrior, power, strength and invulnerability, the Sisioohl was a dangerous creature, capable of bringing harm or death to anyone coming upon it. In the myths it guarded the house of the sky people. For those with warrior power the Sisioohl became a great help – a drop of Sisioohl blood could cause a warrior’s skin to be impenetrable. The spirit would come to the warrior on command and its body could act as a self prepared canoe to make the warrior invincible in war. The skin of the Sisioohl made into a belt allowed the warrior who was wearing it to perform superhuman feats. This Sisioohl eyes could even be used as sling stones and were so powerful they could even kill Whales!!
Alternatively, the glare of this three headed serpent could cause a man to die, his joints turned backward, and it could cause an enemy who looked upon it to turn to stone. Fortunately, over the years we have partnered successfully with this spirit to do some amazing things and happily we are still alive and mostly in one piece…though a few times we pushed our luck a bit.