During the next few weeks “Twenty Five Years Ago” will be taking you through a list of “Firsts” in San Pedro and Ambergris Caye which have set the pace for a good start and have led to the development of San Pedro as we know it today. This is the third week with the continuation of “FIRSTS” in San Pedro. So who and what and when and why were the “Firsts”?
First Speedboat: The late Vernon Hammon and his wife Terry had constructed a tourist resort in San Pedro known as the Reef Colony Club. His speedboat was the first on the island and was named the Reef Colony. The entire operation was managed by Vernon Hammon with the able assistance of Cruz Nuñez, who also run the Reef Colony from Belize City to San Pedro. It was a lovely skiff, perhaps about 18 feet long with a powerful engine. It was considered the fastest thing in Belize at the time. The Reef Colony Club was never inaugurated for it was totally destroyed by Hurricane Hattie, which devastated the island in 1961 or it would have been the first Hotel on Ambergris Caye. The speedboat, however, made frequent trips and villagers could travel free with Cruz Nuñez. It was also in service during medical emergencies. At the time when there were only sailing boats in San Pedro, to travel by the Reef Colony meant traveling like a king.
First Vehicle: Once again as Vernon Hammon and Cruz Nuñez were engaged in the operations of building up the Reef Colony Club, they also had a small jeep on the island. It was painted yellow and for fun was called the Yellow Cab. It was a personal mode of transportation for the company. After 1965 when Caribeña Fishing Cooperative was getting ready to export lobsters, they needed a vehicle to move boxes of lobster from the cooperative to the main pier and to also haul large blocks of ice for the fishermen. They then brought one of those land rover jeeps, which ran our streets for many years. That was an army green rover and was driven by Reynaldo Munoz and Oscar Aguilar who worked at the processing plant.