Tips and Facts


getting there

ARE YOU READY FOR A VACATION IN BELIZE?

BELOW ARE LOADS OF DETAILS THAT YOU'LL WANT TO KNOW IN ORDER TO HELP MAKE FOR A SMOOTH VACATION EXPERIENCE. MAIN TOPICS INCLUDE:

 


It is extremely important that you BRING EVERYTHING listed. Our partner have refined this list over 25 years based on our guests’ comments. You must pack for all possible conditions, which can never be predicted. It may be sunny, humid and hot, or it could be stormy and windy. Although you may bring a few items you don’t use, all items on this list have in the past proven necessary during each month that we offer trips. If you follow this list and bring little else, you will be well-prepared. Guests who leave behind items like snorkel gear to avoid checking luggage always regret it.

Make sure your carry-on has everything that you cannot do without in case your other luggage is delayed (change of clothes, medications and necessary toiletries).

DOCUMENTS:

1. All trip information sheets, be sure to read these thoroughly! You should have a copy of this flyer, the Belize Supplemental Information sheet, Commonly Asked Questions, and Things You Need to Know Before Booking a Trip With Slickrock
2. Passport and a copy (see Commonly Asked Questions)
3. For certified divers: scuba card
4. If you have medical concerns that may affect your ability to dive you need your doctor to sign PADI’s medical statement form: see Adventure Sport Activities

CLOTHES:

Clothes of quick-drying material preferred to cotton
1. Slickrock T-shirt, wear in airport (to locate other Slickrock guests) and to Day 1 meeting (so guide can find you) 
2. 1 set clean clothes for the flight home
3. *3 prs shorts and 4 t-shirts of quick-drying material + casual evening wear
4. *1-2 lightweight long-sleeve shirts and 1 pair lightweight long pants (for sun)
5. 1 set long underwear -- Capilene, silk or polypropylene, not lycra (for cold)
6. **1 light pile/fleece sweater (for cold)
7. Fast-drying underclothes 
8. *2 swimsuits
9. *Wide brim hat

TOILET KIT:

1. Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, hair conditioner, lotion, comb, shaving items, insect repellent, and plenty of waterproof sunscreen (30+). (We provide soap in our showers and bathrooms)
2. 1-2 towels (none provided on island)
3. First aid: Emergen-C (electrolyte replacement drink mix) for dehydration, antihistamine for allergic reactions to marine life, Imodium for stomach problems, ibuprofen for sore muscles, Swimmer’s ear for water sports, aloe vera for sunburn, bandages and antibiotic cream for blisters, cortisone cream for bug bites, oral antibiotic for many things

GEAR :

1. MUST HAVE! Fins, mask, snorkel. If you have the built-in shoe type of fin you might need regular socks too (see Note on Snorkel Gear at right)
2. **MUST HAVE! Diveskin/swim tights and rash guard and/or wetsuit to protect from marine stings. Also allows you to snorkel longer without getting cold (see Note on Wetsuit /Dive Skin at right)
3. **MUST HAVE! Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries
4. **MUST HAVE! 1 pair sturdy river shoes or neoprene scuba booties with a hard sole (not sandals.) We often walk on uneven, rocky, underwater terrain to access snorkel spots (see Note on Booties at right)
5. 1 pair island sandals (flip-flops/Crocs)
6. Waterproof rain jacket. Rain pants are also nice if your jacket is short
7. 1-2 water bottles (may buy in Belize)
8. Sunglasses with strap
9. Watch or travel clock (The island is too big to signal meal times or other activities, it is helpful to know the time so you don’t miss something that interests you)

NICE TO HAVE; NOT REQUIRED :

1. Cell phone. Will probably not work in Belize but comes in handy if you are delayed and making calls from a U.S. airport
2. Personal items: astringent, tampons, seasickness patches or pills, talcum powder, ear plugs (Belize City is noisy)
3. Sarong (island gift shop sells these)
4. Windbreaker
5. Small stuff sacks to organize luggage
6. Dive light/batteries for night snorkeling or diving (not available at dive shop, and conditions for night snorkeling or diving are not favorable every trip)
7. De-fogging drops for mask
8. **Net bag for snorkel gear
9. **Paddling gloves
10. Binoculars
11. Extra hat and sunglasses
12. Travel umbrella
13. Swimming goggles
14. **Camera, batteries, small dry bag
15. Books, games, journal 
16. Fly fishing gear (see Adventure Sport Activities)
17. Tennis shoes and socks (for volleyball)
18. Jogging shoes (we have a jogging path)
19. Yoga mat (sometimes classes are taught)

MONEY :

1. MUST HAVE! Bring cash for emergencies and items that are not included. If you arrive late you will have to pay up to $700 to catch up with the trip. You’ll need other funds — $350 min. — to cover airport taxis, airport exit tax, alcoholic beverages, scuba diving, souvenirs, and tips. Therefore, you should bring at least $900 cash if traveling alone and $1200 cash for a couple. Hopefully you will bring most of it back home, but if things start going wrong you won’t be able to catch up without it. Don’t rely on traveler’s checks, ATM machines, or credit cards. See “Money in Belize” in our Belize Supplemental Information sheet.

LEAVE AT HOME :

1. Computer. The island will shorten its life, don’t bring one!

NOTE ON SNORKEL GEAR:

No other item is as important as snorkel gear; exploring the underwater world is the trip’s highlight. You get what you pay for; cheap gear may mean that you spend your snorkel with salt water in your eyes and throat, or blisters forming on your feet. We don’t provide snorkel gear because this is personal gear; it must fit your body. It’s a good idea to test your gear in a pool so you know it will work. Everything can be ordered online, but it may be best to buy your mask at a dive shop; they can help you with the fit.

Fins: The most important aspect of any fin is how flexible the rubber is. If they are stiff, you might as well strap a board to your foot and try to swim that way. Grasp the fin and aggressively wave it up and down. A good fin should flap easily. There are two kinds of fins: (1) fins with a built-in shoe and (2) fins with a strap on the back that fit over your booties. The 2nd system is preferable, although those fins are more expensive. If you have fins with a built-in shoe, you might need regular socks also to discourage blisters. Even with the built-in shoe kind you still need booties to walk out to snorkel spots, but then you leave the booties on shore and continue walking backwards in the fins to get to where you can begin swimming. If you choose the second type, buy your booties first and then make sure the toe cup of the fin fits over your booties. Don’t get booties with a huge sole because they won’t fit. See Note on Booties at right.

Snorkel: The Impulse snorkels are fantastic, although expensive ($50). They are only sold at authorized dealers, not online. To find dealers: aqualung.com. Your dive shop may have a different recommendation.

Mask: There are many good masks available, just be sure to get a good fit. A neoprene snorkel strap (one type is called “slap strap”) is a wonderful thing for people with long hair. The strap included with your mask gets caught easily, and that hurts!

NOTE ON BOOTIES:

Good footwear is important; foot injuries are a common accident and are usually attributable to improper footwear. You will wear these every day! You need a sturdy bootie with a good sole and good traction that covers your entire foot and lower ankle (you cover your ankle for protection, not support). NRS will give you a special deal on booties and other water gear. We recommend the NRS Desperado Shoe. See Where to Get Your Gear, below. Go to the Slickrock section on their website and look at this shoe; if you already have a bootie or have another place to purchase them, compare the shoe you already have (or might get) to this shoe to see if it will work on our trips. Note: the new watershoe hybrids are not as good as neoprene booties with a good sole.

NOTE ON WETSUIT/DIVE SKIN :

Many guests wonder why they need a wetsuit or skin (also called hydroskin, swim tights, and rashguard). Although the water is 80 degrees, it is not 98.6, and with a skin or wetsuit you can dive or snorkel much longer. Also it is impossible to predict when marine stinging creatures will be present, and a tight-fitting wetsuit/skin protects you from them. A full-body skin or suit also greatly reduces sunburn. When deciding whether to get a skin or a wetsuit, and whether to get short sleeves/legs or long, consider if you get cold easily (a wet suit is warmer) and where else you might use it later. Snorkelers cannot rent from the dive shop. If you do not bring a wet suit or skin you will regret it.

WHERE TO GET YOUR GEAR :

*Coolibar: coolibar.com/slickrock.html. Their swimwear line is ideal fast-drying clothing, and is UPF 50+. Visit the Slickrock page on their site and use coupon code “slick10” when checking out; you’ll get 15% off all clothing, hats, and swimwear! Items marked with * on list at left are featured on the Slickrock page on their site.

**NRS: Go to nrsweb.com and choose “Outfitter Gear List” on the bottom left corner to view our gear recommendations. They will give you free shipping on a one-time basis only; use the form code “slick”. Items marked with ** on the list at left are shown on the NRS Slickrock page.

Campmor: campmor.com, great deals on polypropylene long underwear, fleece, and other camping and sport gear.

CHECK YOUR DOCUMENTS NOW for accuracy and then RECONFIRM ALL FLIGHT TIMES with your airline before you go to the airport.

Location :

A private island in Belize, Long Caye at Glover’s Reef, an adventure island retreat in Belize, is perched on the brink of the continental shelf, along the slender ring of Glover’s Atoll, 35 miles off the mainland. Within this necklace of coral, you’ll find more than 700 patch reefs brimming with the richest variety of marine life in the Caribbean.

Language :

English is the official language of Belize and is spoken throughout the country. Spanish, Creole, and Mayan dialects are also common.

Weather:

Belize enjoys a tropical climate, and temperatures seldom dip below 70 degrees even in the winter. Temps of 80-85 are the usual range found in the winter and spring seasons. The rainy season is June through November, and the driest months are April and may. The wind is predominantly from the East, and blows almost continuously out on the barrier Reef and outer islands off the coast of the mainland.

Water and Health:

The drinking water in Belize is generally very safe, and iall the major towns have water treatment facilities. On Slickrock’s island, fresh rainwater is used and is considered of excellent quality. There are no major health concerns on the island such as malaria and we don’t recommend any vaccinations needed.

Currency/credit cards:

The exchange rate is two Belize dollars to one U.S. dollar, but there is no need to change your money to Belize dollars from U.S. dollars; U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere. You will want small bills and it is best to have cash for cabs and isolated areas. You need to continually use the Belize change you receive, because you will lose on the exchange if you have any left at the end. Traveler’s Checks are more of a problem than an asset because on our trips you are only in “civilization” when banks are closed. Traveler’s Checks take six weeks to clear, so small businesses such as taxis, restaurants, or hotels in rural areas would be giving you a six-week loan by accepting them; consequently, few of them do. Getting cash is also difficult for our staff, so we cannot cash them for you; tipping your guides with Traveler’s Checks causes a problem for locals as personal checking accounts are not common in the country. Long Caye Dive Shop does accept Traveler’s Checks. The few ATMs in Belize City are often out of order, and if you arrive right before your trip meeting you have no time to take a cab to an ATM anyway, so to rely on that system would be a mistake. US checks are not accepted in Belize. For these reasons, it is best to bring cash only. You can carry some of your cash in a money belt, and the rest of it worn under your clothing when moving to and from the country. We use this system ourselves with great success. Valuables are safe on our island, in our van, and in the hotels we use on our trips. However, we cannot guarantee the safety of your property. We cannot be held liable for any losses of property or cash while on a trip.

Electrical Voltage:

Electrical Voltage:
Belize uses standard 110V electrical current with standard US electrical receptacles. However, on the island we only have 12 V power available. Guests must bring their own 12 V inverters for use with a cigarette lighter receptacle in order to charge their cameras, ipods, etc. Do not bring a laptop, the island environment will ruin it and there is no internet available.

Email / Phone Services:

There is no phone, internet or email available on the island for guests, although at the hotel in Belize City before and after the trip one can get on-line.

Meals:

All meals are included in Slickrock’s trip package. Meals are served family style (all you can eat) and include fresh baked breads everyday, fresh fruit and juices, fresh vegetables, and seafood entrees. Beer and soda are also included in the package price.

Other Activities:

You will definitely be busy...
WINDSURFING, KITESURFING, SPORT FISHING, KAYAK FISHING, KAYAK SURFING, SURFING, PADDLEBOARDING, SCUBA DIVING
For more information please review check out this link for Other Activities.

Tipping:

We encourage our guests to tip our staff5-10% of the trip cost. Tips are given to our trip manager at the end of your stay, and he will distribute them to all our staff members.

Emergencies:

On all of our trips we are far from medical care. Guests should bring all medications for chronic or recurring ailments. Recent medical and dental exams should be completed to ensure that you are fit for travel, and you should carry health insurance documents. If you purchase a travel insurance policy it will cover medical costs in the country, as well as your last-minute trip cancellation and other risks of travel. Please note that if you purchase the plan from Travelex within 10 days from the day you sign up, all pre-existing medical conditions are eligible for coverage (call Travelex: (800) 228-9792, and tell them that you are traveling with Slickrock. Our location number is 44-0013). 

Our trips are not overly-strenuous, but good general physical condition is a must. You don’t need to be an athlete, but you must be capable of moderate to vigorous exercise for a few hours each day. We are not qualified to evaluate your fitness, so you must determine if your own fitness is appropriate. If you are overweight, in poor physical condition, or have special medical considerations you should call us first and consult with your physician before signing up for a trip. We recommend that all participants have a medical checkup. 

Out on our island we are somewhat isolated from the typical medical risks of the tropics. Everyone should be vaccinated within the past five years for tetanus. You should also talk to your doctor about allergic reactions to marine life, and bring appropriate medications that your physician recommends. Those who travel inland should consult a doctor about malaria, dengue fever, and hepatitis, and remember that a course of malaria medication needs to be started two weeks prior to departure. There is no threat of malaria, dengue fever, or hepatitis on our island. We are not able to advise you beyond “ask your doctor” about the threat of malaria because the region of infected mosquitoes changes monthly. Although present, cases of malaria in Belize are rare. The prevention drug for malaria in this area is the prescription drug Chloroquine. Most travel clinics and many Internet sites will recommend malaria protection for all parts of Belize, but mosquito control in larger metropolitan areas has eliminated mosquito habitats close to human population settlements. Less dangerous than malaria, dengue fever can also be contracted from infected mosquitoes. There is no medication for dengue fever; it goes away by itself after about four days. Please don’t ask us to tell you whether to get protection for malaria, even doctors do not agree; it is a personal choice. Malaria pills are bad for you, but getting malaria is worse. The only true protection against both malaria and dengue fever is to not get bitten by a disease-infested mosquito. The best prevention for bites is to wear a bug repellent that contains at least 30% DEET. One site on the Internet with information on malaria prevention is http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationBelize.aspx

Hepatitis A is contracted through infected water; our drinking water is safe. If you plan to travel extensively in remote areas before or after our trip you should consider the Hepatitis A vaccination. The biggest health hazard on our trips is the threat of sunburn. Be careful the first few days, a bad sunburn can ruin the rest of your trip. Also, seasickness can occur on travel days out to the island. 

Our guides are trained in First Aid, but cannot be expected to serve as doctors. All participants should be sure their own medical coverage is adequate. We assume no responsibility regarding provision of medical care. Before your adventure, the best precautions are don’t get hurt and make sure you are in good health the week before the trip. For more details on avoidable problems, please refer to our sheet entitled Things You Need to Know Before Booking a Trip with Slickrock. Remember you will be in an isolated area 35 miles off shore; there is no emergency room and you can’t call 911, although we do have emergency contact with the mainland.

Airport Arrival:

Guests will need to fly to Belize International Airport (BZE). Visas are handed out to U.S., British, and Canadian citizens on the plane; citizens of other countries should check with their consulate about acquiring visas. At the airport you pass through immigration and customs. Take a cab to the Biltmore Plaza Hotel. Cab drivers at Belize International are sometimes guilty of overcharging even though prices are posted on the wall in the arrival area (currently $35 U.S. per cab, but prices are in flux due to rising gasoline costs). By wearing your Slickrock T-shirt to the airport, it is easy to identify other guests to share a cab with. Please remember that we meet at the published time on Day 1 of our itinerary. If for any reason you cannot make the meeting it is important that you let us know by calling the Utah office. See “If Late or Delayed” in the itinerary sheet for your trip. If you are only a half-hour late and your guide knows this in advance, he/she will wait for you as long as possible.

Taxi Transfers:

After passing through Immigration and Customs, you will find yourself outside the terminal where you can find taxis to belize City. You  must take a taxi from the BZE airport to our hotel meeting point at the Belize Biltmore Hotel, at a cost of about $25 per cab.

Transportation During Your Vacation:

All transportation during your trip with Slickrock, other than the initial taxi to and from the airport, is covered under your trip package.

Hotel:

All hotel expenses before and after your trip are covered as part of the package price. You will have a room reserved in your name upon arrival at the Belize Biltmore Hotel in Belize City, and will be traveling as a group with your guide for all elements of the package stay with the exception of your arrival taxi from (and return taxi to) the BZE airport.

Getting To Vela Belize :

Once you have landed on the private island of Long Caye at Glover's Reef, Vela Belize is steps away from wherever you happen to be standing! 

Checking In To Get Started:

  A complete orientation will take place the morning of your first full-day on the island. 

Kitesurfing Equipment:

New Cabrinha model 2010 and 2011 gear is waiting for you here!

Kites:

2011 Nomad (4m) Convert (7m) as well as 2010 Switchblade (9m, 12m, & 14m)
(NOTE: Kites are ONLY available for school use during instruction and supervision.)

Kiteboards:

Surf (directional) including the 2010 S-Quad (5’ 7” & 6’ 1”) and 2010 Thruster 6’ 3”.

Twin-tip models include the 2010 Caliber and 2011 Prodigy & Rival.

NOTE: Use of the kiteboards is included with your package, though you will need to bring your own kites and any spare parts you may need. As we will carry a limited number of harnesses for use by the school during lessons, we recommend that you travel with your own to be certain of availability during the trip.

Kitesurf and Windsurf Rentals:

All advanced level windsurfers and kitesurfers will be asked to follow Slickrock’s safety gudelines while windsurfing from our island. Everything is included in our package rate, so there is no extra charge for using the equipment, and after a short orientation by our staff you’ll be ready to go out anytime the wind is blowing. 

Getting On The Water:

1. Advanced kitesurfers are required to use their own kites, and Slickrock will provide boards for use by all guests. School kites are only available for students enrolled in the lesson program.
2. Advanced windsurfers may use the expert equipment located at the Vela Windsports cabin.
3. A sign-out board will be used at the Vela cabin for all advanced kitesurfers and windsurfers heading out for a session on their own. It will be their responsibility to sign out and sign in upon return to the island.
4. Advanced Kitesurfers and windsurfers are responsible for their own safety, and are required to attend a brief orientation by the trip leader or kiteboard instructor on local goegraphy, launch/landing locations, reef locations, expected weather conditions, activity management (ie no wave sailing during kayak surf sessions), phones on other islands for rescue calls, etc.
5. Kiteboarders and windsurfers must accept all liability for injuries, as outlined in the liability waiver they signed in registering for their trip with Slickrock.
6. A buddy system is required with another kitesurfer or windsurfer, or a buddy ‘spotter’ on the island who will keep track of the their location in case of a problem.
7. Proper footwear is required due to the abundance of coral reefs, in case of a breakdown.
8. Rescues: kitesurfers and windsurfers are responsible for their own rescues. Two options exist, either by having their buddy paddle a kayak out for rescue, or with Slickrock’s skiff. A charge of $50 will be paid to Slickrock for any boat (motorized skiff) rescues.
9. A boat rescue (skiff, charge applies) will be initiated if a kitesurfer or windsurfer has not been seen by their island buddy ‘spotter’ (if that option is being employed) 45 minutes before sunset. If they expect to be out past this deadline and are ok, they need to let the trip leader know in advance.

Damage to equipment:

You will be asked to leave a credit card as deposit when you take out equipment. Once you sign out a board it is your responsibility to return it in the same condition! To minimize the possibility of damage, please choose equipment that suits your ability level and conditions, and handle equipment carefully when launching and coming in to shore. Items that need replacing such as fins, sails or mast will be charged at cost plus 10% for parts and labor. For items that can be repaired, standard charges will apply. This must be paid directly to the center in full upon return of the damaged equipment. If you purchased travel insurance through Vela, you can claim any charges ($1,000 coverage limit, less a $100 deductible) for equipment damage or loss upon your return. Additional insurance plans to cover the loss of or damage to equipment during your trip may be offered and available to purchase once you get to the island.

Conditions and Safety:

The wind blows almost everyday on our island, mainly from an easterly direction. Our island sits right on the ring reef separating the atoll from the open sea, so both areas are easily accessed. The atoll side offers perfect sailing conditions with flat water and light chop are found. Bumpy chop and open sea swells are also easily accessed outside the atoll. We have equipment suitable for winds as light as 12-15 mph, but conditions are usually in the 9m - 12mrange, with 20-25 mph days occurring several days a week on average. We also get strong northern storms during the winter months, about one every 10 days, which blow in with winds 30-35 mph for 2-3 days on average.

Kitesurfers will find ideal conditions for riding on our island, with steady winds and a variety of locations to choose from. The atoll side offers perfect sailing conditions with flat water and light chop are found. Bumpy chop and open sea swells are also easily accessed outside the atoll. Kitesurfers are required to bring their own kites, and Slickrock has a selection of Cabrinha boards to choose from. 

Kitesurfing Lessons:

We have a professional instructor, new equipment, and an ideal location to learn out on the sand flats surrounding the island. Lessons can be pre-booked or signed up for right on the island. An extra charge is paid for the lessons as they are not part of the normal package rate for the trip. 

2010 - 2011 Kiteboard Lesson Policy:

1.Kiteboard lessons are charged at $200 per student for a 3 hr. lesson.
2. For fwo students on a single 3 hr. lesson the charge is $150 per student and will permitted only at the instructor’s discretion. ‘Two student’ lessons are only available after at least one ‘single’ lesson has been completed.
3. Practice sessions are run for single students at $100 for 3 hrs. These sessions are run with the instructor at the same time as regular lessons and instruction is not included. Students must have completed a lesson to qualify for practice, and sessions will be allowed only at the discretion and judgment of the instructor. Practice session students will be on their own and must already possess basic skills. If a rescue is necessary, the practice session is over and the student will be required to wait until the other lesson is over before returning to the island with the group.
4. Proper footwear is required, and a Slickrock helmet and lifejacket will be worn during all lessons.
5. Kite damage insurance is required. The student shall pay a $25 insurance fee to cover potential kite damage for a single lesson, or $15 per lesson for multiple lessons. This fee will be charged at the same time as the lesson charge. Two student lessons will only pay a single fee if they are using one kite, or $15 each if using two kites.
6. Lessons are either charged at the time they are booked, and a refund is available for any unused services. Guests signing up on the island for lessons will have the services added to their pre-booked package and charged by Vela Reservations office.
7. Lessons are conducted in the order they were originally booked; a list of sign ups is recorded for each week and kept current with the instructor on the island. In the case where a series of lessons is booked by a single student, their lessons will be first on the list each day (ie if 3 lessons are booked, they are conducted one per day for 3 days as first on the list each day). All walk in lessons, or lessons added by pre-booked guests, will be entered at the end of the list.
8. Up to 3 lesson sessions will be run each day. In the case of a day where 3 sessions are run, the first lesson will start early, before breakfast, in order to fit in all 3 sessions.
9. Students agree to accept all liability for injury as listed on the Slickrock Liability Waiver they have already signed as part of registering for this trip. 

Lesson Program:

Our location offers exceptional windsurfing opportunities for both novices and experts (best high-wind season: Jan - Mar). We offer basic instruction on a daily basis anytime the wind is right, and we employ a land trainer and a fleet of modern, wide beginner boards that allow anyone a rapid advancement in learning how to sail. Combined with the flat water conditions inside the lagoon, we have the perfect set-up to learn this exciting sport.

Advanced Lessons:

Advanced windsurf lessons are also available from our professional instructor and other expert level staff. These lessons will be scheduled around the kiteboard school lessons and at times when the staff is not conducting another scheduled activity.

All windsurf lessons are included in the trip package price. 

Returning Rental Equipment:

All Slickrock trips include transportation back to Belize City and the final night’s hotel accommodations and dinner. The trip officially ends Sat. night, so guests must pay for their own breakfast the next morning (Sun) and taxi to the airport for their flight home. There are no other ‘check out’ procedures necessary. A trip evaluation form and a list of trip members with their addresses (no emails) is sent to all guests upon their return.

At The Airport:

Make sure that you've dried out your passport before going through customs, have a great flight home, and remember to let us know all about your experience when you settle in!

 

READY TO GO? ARE YOU SURE? PLEASE LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU DEPART. HAVE A GREAT TRIP AND DON'T FORGET TO WRITE!

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