Adrian and I arrived in Belize on January 24, after having spent the previous night at the Dallas airport hotel. We were met by Brian Woodye, who is coordinating camp start-up. Six men and four ladies have been at camp since January 20. We spent 3 nights in San Ignacio Cayo, meeting John Morris for dinner the first night, purchasing needed items on Thursday, and then bringing supplies into site on Friday.
On Saturday we moved into our usual abode in Lab 1 at Caracol and set up for the field season. During most of this time, there was rain at Caracol, but the men continued working on fixing up the bathrooms, the huts, and then the almost collapsed men’s hut (Jaime Awe’s old house) for occupancy. They worked half day on Saturday and then a full day on Sunday.
On Monday and Tuesday, we went out looking for a way into Puchituk Terminus from the east. On Monday we ended up on the ridge east of Puchituk and found 3 nice residential groups, including one that had a small remnant stela, that we may excavate next year. On Tuesday we cut further up the valley into the interior and then over to the west and down towards what should have been Puchituk; we came out in the farthest group that we had found yesterday. Jaime and Julio then cut across the valley towards Puchituk and I moved Carlos and the other 3 men to the lowest valley at the curve into the site and they cut a brecha to the NW. Jaime got to Puchituk and then cut out to the south to meet up with Carlos’ brecha. Meanwhile at camp, the head caretaker and a ranger had gone out to cut chib and got lost in the jungle, spending 2 nights in the bush before being recovered by a BDF search and rescue unit on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, I went out and did social security and shopping; then I drove to the airport to pick up Diane, Amy, and Gabriella in the afternoon. We drove straight back into camp, seeing John, Brian, George, and David on their way out of the site after the successful rescue of the missing men. We were in by dinner.
On Thursday, ever gluttons for punishment, all of us braved the path up to Puchituk in the afternoon to see the terminus and then had the men cut a different exit from the terminus that went straight south from the Puchituk reservoir down a very steep hill, eventually bisecting the original brecha. We are trying to make this walk fairly rapid, so that we can come into camp for lunch (rather than carrying food). On Friday, the men went out to bush and cut the trail cleaner until noon. Diane and I left in the afternoon to drive to Burrell Boom, where we spent the night at the Black Orchid.
On Saturday we were at the airport by 6:45 AM to pick up Faydt and Roxayn, who had taken the red-eye flight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Belize. We were back into Caracol by lunchtime. On Sunday Brian and David brought in four more men (there were supposed to be six) so that we could get excavation underway in the next week. The individual who sets up our satellite system also came into the site on Sunday afternoon, but could not get the model to register with the satellite; he took the modem out to Spanish Lookout and will send it back into us when it is registered.