Fortunately, they did find the note. When we got up on Saturday morning and ventured out, I saw Angela, and the first thing she said was "we got your note". Relief! She also said that Tony would run us up to the bus stop, which was great. We finished our last-minute packing, enjoyed some good coffee, and I signed their guest book before we left.
Finally, a bus from down south heading towards Dangriga showed up at the intersection, and we all ended up running across the street to board -- only to go exactly where we would have gone on the first bus, and later, to boot. D'oh! We learned a valuable lesson about sticking to our plans rather than "following the crowd". We felt like even bigger fools when we arrived at the bus station only to realize that the bus we were supposed to switch to was an Express to Belize City so was much nicer (and air-conditioned!) than the one we were on and had just paid for. Double d'oh!
Quite a few additional passengers boarded the bus in Dangriga, and it stopped to pick up multiple people along the way. Soon the bus was standing room only. When we got near the Belmopan bus terminal, all the standing people had to crouch down in the aisle so the terminal authorities wouldn't see that we were pulling into the station carrying excess passengers.
Finally, with a little creative seat rearrangement of some of the children and the two adults in question, the bus was allowed to leave the station en route to Belize City, but we still weren't sure if we'd manage to make the noon ferry back to San Pedro, much less stop at Brodie's for a few groceries to save money over San Pedro prices as we'd planned. We had only ourselves to blame for getting off the bus when we did.
Fortunately, all's well that ended well. Our bus driver must have really made tracks to make up time, as we got to Belize City in time to make a VERY quick Brodie's run and to make the noon ferry. We had a list for Brodie's and were in and out in five minutes, a record.
When we got to the ferry terminal, they were already boarding the boat. When we got up to the ticket taker, he told us and the others behind us that the boat was full and that they were going to have a second boat to take the overflow. We got on a second smaller boat, which looked like would be almost empty, but it took so long to leave that more and more people kept coming up and boarding, so it ended up packed to the gills as well. And when we got to Caye Caulker, we had to switch to the original larger boat after it unloaded its Caulker-bound passengers. It was very crowded, and we had to sit on top of the hot engines, slightly melting the chocolate chips we'd purchased at Brodie's. But we made it back to Ambergris Caye/San Pedro.
Once in San Pedro, we had to walk over to Pampered Paws to pick up Paisley, who jumped up and down behind the doggie fence when she saw us -- boingy, boingy, boingy -- without making a peep, just jumping. Wish I had video of that! Fortunately, Pampered Paws did post these cute photos of her playing while she was there on their Facebook page. It always looks like she has a great time there.
We can definitely recommend Hopkins as a relaxing, beautiful place to visit if you're in Belize, and Beaches & Dreams as a wonderful place to stay. We hope to get back one day to try to hike the trails we missed (or didn't quite finish) this time. Antelope Falls will continue to haunt us until we summit the waterfall!