Sunday, May 13, 2012

Vaca Dam

Back in September 2011 Lea, Gonzo’s mother (Gonzo owns/runs/guides River Rat Tours, the tour company we use for most of our guests) built a firehearth for our kitchen.You can go back in the blog to check out that project.When she was done creating it we asked how much she would like to get paid for her 2 days of hard work here.  She responded that she didn’t want anything, she likes to help her friends and pass on some of her traditional knowledge to keep some of the old ways alive. However, while she was here we noticed that she loved Marge’s island table in the kitchen.So, Julio and I made one for her, a little shorter than Marge’s and we put drawers on either end so she has some extra storage space.

We completed the table in October while we were still very slow with guests and delivered it in early November.

Lea's kitchen work table

Lea's kitchen work table

When Julio and I delivered the table we looked out over the Macal River gorge at the Vaca Dam, a hydro dam that was completed recently. The dam is on Lea and her husband Antonio’s land. I asked Antonio if we could go down to see the dam and he said sure, let’s go get permission and we can check it out. What surprised me was the fact that Antonio had never gone down to check out the dam prior to that day.

We drove down to the guard compound, found the boss, Antonio asked for permission and down we went into the river gorge in our little truck.

Here are a couple of pictures from January 2005 that Marge and I took of this same location when we were here in Belize for the first time on vacation. We came to this exact location with River Rat Tours to kayak down the Macal River for the day. We put in just below where the dam is and took these pictures as the workers were putting in the first test holes for the foundation.
2005 view from where Lea's house currently sits.  Notice little shack on right 1/2 way down the mountain.

Another 2005 view from about where Lea's house is now.

2005 - working on footer holes.

2005 - In the riverbed just below where the dam is now getting ready to go kayaking.

2005 - Paddling upriver about where the dam was built.

2005 - This is the bottom of where the resevoir is now.

2005 - This magical stream is now completely under water.  Karen Cruz on the left, Marge on the right.

2005 - This is underwater now in the resevoir.

This is what the site looked like in November 2011.
Vaca Dam from Lea's house

Down river from dam

Looking down river from near the dam

Front of dam from riverbed

River channel just down from turbine station

Overhead crane for turbine station

At the dam with Julio and Antonio

At the dam with Julio and Antonio

Julio looking across top of dam.

Reservoir up river from dam.

From top of dam looking down river.  Turbine building in center.

Looking across top of dam

Looking down from top of dam

Current day Maya (cement) steps

1 comment:

Sandy A. said...

All that dam did was destroy a bunch of beautiful eco-system without helping the people of Belize one bit, I'll bet. Please correct me if I am wrong.