At home in Belize with Dane Dingerson, windsurfing champ and founder of the country’s Caye Caulker Nature Reserve.
For Windsurfing National Champion of Belize Dane Dingerson, there’s no place like home, especially when his home happens to be surrounded by the Caribbean Sea. Dingerson is the founder of the Caye Caulker Nature Reserve (cayecaulker.org/reserve), established in 1989 on the small limestone island off the coast of Belize. With an amphibious nature, Dingerson is equally at ease navigating the eye of the wind, planing the perfect wave, and planting tropical gardens. No matter the venture, he’s living Caye Caulker’s island lifestyle to its fullest.
You have had such a diverse career history, from Windsurfing National Champion of Belize, to Founder of the Ocean Academy and the Caye Caulker Nature Reserve, to CEO of Eden Isles, Inc. What inspired you to take on so many things?
I began traveling in college as part of my education, and found the world full of opportunities unavailable to those who prefer to stay home.
Why Belize? Why Caye Caulker Island specifically?
I am a curious traveler and often ask other high mileage travelers, ‘Where is the best place on earth?’ A doctor in India, who has been to more than a hundred countries, once told me, for her, it is Caye Caulker. Many years later, I went and found she was right. I’ve stayed for 30 years.
What do you love most about the island?
The whole island is white sand. No matter how deep you dig, there are no rocks or dirt. The water is clear and warm because the nearby reef encloses and protects us from waves; sometimes when fishing, you can actually see the fish you are trying to catch.
Describe your home and its immediate surroundings?
We have a good bit of direct oceanfront property because land here is very affordable. We live on a place about 300 feet from the ocean, and we have five small decks from which we savor our forest and coastline proximity. The vegetation grows fast, and we allow it to crowd the house to provide natural cooling from shade and evaporation.
What is Caye Caulker’s appeal?
Slow development is sometimes best; it allows the local culture to survive and evolve in a natural way. There is an island nearby named Ambergris Caye, which attracts travelers who enjoy luxury resort vacations. But Caye Caulker is for people looking for a true Belize-style vacation. It’s the kind of place that makes people dream about staying forever.