Antique Mahogany and New Guitars

Lying amidst the murky waters of the lagoon, future guitars await to be unearthed after centuries have passed them by,

As the sun rises across the calm waters of the brackish lagoon, the morning light reveals the reflections of small floating bottles lying next to the shoreline.  New or used, strawberry or orange, these recycled plastic drink containers serve as markers, an indication of what lies beneath the surface buried deep within the silt.  The Battle of St. George’s Caye in 1798 led to British rule of the region now known as Belize, resulting in the rapid felling of expansive mahogany forests in the region. The timber used for shipbuilding required an efficient and cheap method to transport to major ports for export, where navigable rivers became invaluable to this industry – waterways jammed with so many logs it has been said a person could walk across the largest rivers without getting their feet wet.  Inevitably some of the denser logs would imbibe water and sink, to be lost from their floating wooden brethren now passing them overhead.  Now in many regions of Belize all that remains of the expansive forests are cut sections of these massive mahoganies, ghosts of an era lost.  A contract from Gibson guitars has created the impetus for local Belizean divers to extract these wooden gems from the underwater tombs.  The antique lumber is of great enough value (rumor has it they are offering over $45 USD a board foot) and uniqueness to the guitar company they have decided to start a brand in the locality’s namesake, Hill Bank.

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