Caribbean Castaway Survival Challenge
A photo essay of my Belize Adventure, Feb. 4th through the 16th, 2015
Survival Machete test in the Jungles of Belize Feb. 2015
Ever since I was little wanted to try my hand at Jungle survival. It seemed like it would be pretty easy because jungles have so many resources to aid survival. Vines, giant leaves, fruit, lots of water... So with that in mind, I finally got up funds and made the time to do it.
I also got a big push, when my friend told me that her mother, who was dying of cancer in her early 50’s,(my age), once said to her, “If there is something you want to do in your life, do it now.” That really struck home with me.
I really like the living off the land concept for more than just the feeling of being self-reliant, or self-sustaining, but mainly for feeling closer to nature and to feel that I am part of the system there. Drinking the water and eating wild foods from a place and sleeping outside in nature makes me feel more bonded to the place, and for me there is a sort of feeling of wellbeing I experience from that. I think it goes way back, an ancient intuitive feeling of, “I can take care of myself, I can provide for myself”. I like to think that when I an eating wild foraged food that I am literally integrating that place into me, I am part of that place then, and it’s a part of me. There is a certain magic in that for me.
I also have a feeling of being free when I do solo camping, especially when I have big long range views, like in the desert or ocean!
Since I am a survival tool maker, I was excited to test my new survival knife I just made called the Firefly and my SM24 machete.
There were a lot of firsts for me on this trip. First time, I had never traveled by myself outside of the USA. First time doing an extended camping trip in another country and first time spending that much effort and dollars to do a “Survival Vacation”!
My basic plan for this trip was to fly to Belize, then drive inland to the Jungle, visit some Mayan ruins and then drive down the Hummingbird highway, (Beautiful Jungle road), and then do some Jungle survival training with Mayan Guide Adventures for a few days. After that I planned to drive down to Placentia and get my kayak and begin my Tropical Island Castaway adventure and my Survival machete test. Read on below is my jungle photo essay.
My only real concern for the trip was bugs. I heard horror stories from people I knew, that camped in Belize and were so tormented by biting bugs, especially sand flies, that it made camping miserable.
These are the knives I took with me. Machetes, I made form 1095 high carbon steel, prototype SM18 and SM24. A hollow handled 1095 blade bush craft knife (below the black sheath). The “Firefly“ neck knife made from stainless steel Damascus, with integrated ferro rod. CRKT Stiff Kiss, my favorite production light weight survival knife, 4 Credit card knifes that I gave as gifts to my guides. A cheap multi tool, and a Victronox folder that is and EDC mainly for the scissors and tweezers.
Here is a video of the gear I brought with me.
I arrived in Belize City about 3:30 in the afternoon, I was anxious to get my rental car and get going as I was not looking forward to driving at night on poor roads. It took about 40 minutes to finally get my truck and head off to Benque, (Benque Viejo Del Carmen), near the Guatemalan border. I was thrilled to see the tropical plants as soon as I got out of Belize City. Read more here
Later the main guide Pedro Garcia showed up to relieve Francisco. He showed me some machete skills... two things: one, never strike the thing you are cutting at a 90 degree angle, always at an angle. Two, commit to your strike. Make a full swing from behind your back, deliver each strike with full energy. Each chop is deliberate, efficient. Pedro and Carlos and I then went out to find and chop down a younger Cohune palm so we could eat its heart (heart of palm).