"its been a minute."

Wow. I haven’t posted a pictorial since 2015… Y’all. It’s been a minute! I apologize for the hiatus but, I needed the break. Taking a step back allowed me the opportunity to really analyze all the content that I’d released in the past. I was able to figure out how I could improve Maiyamay.com and Join The Adventure.  Now I’m back, and I think I finally have things figured out.

It did take a while to get to this point though…

In early 2016, I applied for a few on-air jobs, but kept getting turned down because I’m not quite done with school. I’d get the same response every time, “Maiya, you’re great! But, what’s up with that degree though?” Needless to say, the beginning of 2016 was pretty discouraging… So, I decided to remedy this. I made the decision to put all my money towards getting back in school. But, a few months into this plan I found myself extremely unhappy—quite frankly, the unhappiest that I’d been in A WHILE! I went to work every day, made the money that I needed to put towards school, went home, and did it all over again the next day. I was in a routine that I dreaded, and it really took a toll on me mentally and physically. By October of 2016, I knew that I needed to make a change. I missed doing what I loved. I missed having travel and weather as a creative outlet in my life. I knew it was time to get back to my passion, and by November I was planning Join The Adventure: Belize. 

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views from above.

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Belize is home of a 200-mile long section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System—the second largest in the world! Barrier reefs are underwater ecosystems that are built by thousands of tiny marine organisms. The problem is, these ecosystems are extremely fragile—very sensitive to water temperature. Warmer air and ocean temperatures (brought on by climate change) impacts coral and damage reef communities by prompting “coral bleaching”. When corals aren’t able to absorb to food that they need to survive, they turn white. 

(bleached.)

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You’re probably thinking, “Yeah Maiya… So what! The corals are white. Why does it matter?”… You have to ask yourself, if the reef’s health is not restored what will happen to the hundreds of underwater species that depend on the reef to survive? And, what will happen to the economies like Belize, who survive off of the tourism revenue that the reef provides? The impact could be significant… So, I decided to take a trip to learn more.

First, I had to put together a team to help me document this experience.

One morning while scrolling through the daily newspaper that is, Twitter; I stumbled across a viral drone video by this guy named Tré. From there, I found his Instagram and marvelled at his cinematography work. It was at that point that knew we needed to collab. When I decided that I wanted to take this trip to Belize, I took a chance and slid into his DM’s to see if he was interested in joining. Luckily for me, he found time in his crazy schedule for this trip. Then, I reached out to an old friend from Mizzou. Curtis—by far one of the best photographers on campus during his time. He was down! Once I realized it would probably be best to have two cinematographers on this trip, Tré reached out to a friend—Jacob—who accepted the invitation… And, the team was complete. 

tré.

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curtis.

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jacob.

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Next, I had to figure out where we would sleep and the activities we’d partake in while exploring Belize. After days and days of searching, I stumbled upon Belize Sailing Vacations. Their package would allow us to stay on a 40-foot yacht for four days and four nights—all inclusive…

BOOKED.

So, at the end of February we boarded our plane and made the journey to Belize. The plan was to stay in a hotel in Belize City for the night and hop on our charter the following day. But, before we actually boarded our boat, we decided to spend some time roaming around Belize City. 

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belizeans <3

Before leaving for Belize, I did a ton of research on the barrier reef and our yacht charter, but I didn’t do much research on Belize City.  I was so surprised to see the amount of poverty that affected this area... Even more suprising to see that it had zero deterrence on the Belizean people and their outlook on life. It’s so amazing that an area filled with so much poverty, can have people that live everyday with so much radiance and hospitality. I have nothing but warm regards for the people of Belize City. 

After our mini adventure through Belize City, we headed to Cucumber Marina, to board our home for the next four days—Lady Abuisque. Our captain, Half-Inch and first mate, Claudia were waiting to greet us as we arrived. I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for the amazing experiences that I would gain over those next few days.

 

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our crew.

claudia and half-inch.

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have fun exploring.

Just imagine being able to spend the night on a luxury yacht, with an endless supply of food & drinks, and water toys of all kinds at your disposal. Yeah, amazing! I know we were here for work, but Tré, Curtis, Jacob and I had a blast enjoying all of our charter's amenities during down time. Special thanks to Belize Sailing Vacations for their part in helping us with this project. 

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be curious.

Our captain took us to great spots for our research was well. One of which was, Goff’s Caye. Here we’d speak to park rangers to get their thoughts on what’s happening to the Belize Barrier Reef. 

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photos by, curtis and jacob.