Posts Tagged: ‘Belize’

Last Chance Gathering?

March 16, 2017 Posted by Deb

Family and friends from the Eldridge side took their best shot at a cruise on Neytiri before we sell the boat or move to faraway shores. It started as a suggestion from brother Bill; and before we knew it, all the berths were full with an Alaskan (Bill), two Panamanians (sister Barb and Michael Karsh), and a Texan (Joe Sautner). Despite three different points of origin, everyone arrived within hours of each other on February 28 at the Placencia airport. We staged the boat at Robert’s Grove and used their free airport shuttle. Those of you who paid for taxis all those prior years, sorry about finding out about the free shuttle too late.

MayaIslandAirplaneExitJoeArrivalPlacenciaAirport

We moved in, kicked back, and spent the next day in Placencia. Oh … and another free shuttle. We pulled off one of the best jobs of provisioning with just enough booze, water, and food (in order of importance) to squeak back to Placencia as the cupboards were getting bare.

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The Loop

The plan was to hit Hatchet with good snorkeling and the Lionfish Grill, Pelican with Dustin, Kim, Ama and pets at Hideaway Caye, South Water, and Garbutt. We added Tobacco Caye on a nostalgia request.

DebChuckAdjustingSails

Hatchet Caye

Nice blow at 18 to 20 both days and nasty wet dinghy rides. We tried to sneak in the back dock to stay drier only to find a deck full of ladies doing sundown yoga. We spun the dinghy and tried a shortcut across the reef at low tide … also a failure. We did better the second day with the exception of a rough water snorkeling incident that reminded us all of how hard it is to pull a mostly non-responsive person out of the water and into a dinghy. It took three of us. Anyway, we talked the group into trying lionfish tacos and they were a big hit. Oh … the blue light parade of eagle rays was off the list because the yoga ladies had the deck again. They were nice enough people, just working a bit hard at being happy.

BarbLookingOffSternofNeytiriMichaelBarbFishing

Pelican Cayes and Hideway Caye

Hideway is also a favorite stop despite its 60-foot-deep anchorage and only one mooring ball. We’ve gone three for three on the mooring ball this season and Dustin (owner) would say that was nearly impossible. Ama was in rare form and is now 4 years old. She has discovered Uno and is relentless at getting people to play and beating them. Dustin has welded up a drag to try and hook other mooring balls that were ripped out by idiots but has only succeeded in tearing up the lower unit of his outboard thus far. Their guests were avid water people and went out each day spearfishing for dinner with Dustin. He supplies all the fish and conch for the resort by spearfishing off the reef. We took the entire group in for a snapper dinner in two dinghy trips and got tips on where to snorkel. Our second day was the best water day for the group with calm seas, good coral, and a beach to operate from.

BarHideawayCayeFishDinnerHideawayCaye

South Water, Tobacco, Garbutt Cayes

MichaelChuckBillJoe_SouthWaterBar

South Water and Tobacco haven’t changed much over the years. South Water is private and it varies how much poking around you can do from year to year. Their beach shrunk considerable from the hurricane. There are young, mostly female, marine biologists everywhere and we got in on a prep for a night dive and a floating/drinking sundowner session. We went over to Carrie Bow Caye for our snorkeling.

ChuckBillJoeDinghy

Tobacco was a day stop and it was too rough to get in the water. We walked around, checked out places that some hadn’t been to in 15 years, and moved on to Garbutt to get out of a blow that was a non-event at Garbutt. We declined the resort at Garbutt and did a final big meal on the boat.

ChuckDebTobaccoCayeNeytiriBackgroundBillChuckMikeSouthWaterWalkTobaccoCayeBarChuckBillJoe

Placencia

We returned to Placencia on Wednesday, March 8, in a nice 15- to 20-knot NE wind and sailed through the back door of the harbor and a 20 boat fleet at anchor. I always worry a bit about the shallows to port on that entry, especially when the sun is going in and out of clouds but everyone else was worried about getting through the gaggle of boats. It’s a fun way to wrap up a trip.

MichaelChuckDebCockpit

Family and friends have all flown home now and the boat is pretty empty. We converted two berths back into garages, did an oil change, repaired a water damaged bed from prior owners, cleaned and lubed all the winches and the windlass, did taxes, and are now studying up for our next leg … the Bay Islands of Honduras via Turneffe and Lighthouse Atolls.

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Belize 2017

February 27, 2017 Posted by Deb

Belize starts and ends with Yoli’s. It’s a cruiser bar in Placencia run by Reagan and Yoli, and it is laid back like no other bar we’ve been in. There is only one TV so it’s not a sports bar, and you can gamble on the playoffs and Super Bowl if you’re so inclined. Most don’t watch TV because of the human entertainment floating around and through the bar. A cruiser can run a tab under his or her first name and tabs can get as high as $40,000 US (it was eventually paid off), many walk behind the bar and grab their own drinks, and a few listen to the Lost Refers and buy their t-shirts (we have two). Within minutes of dropping our hook we walked up the dock to Yoli’s and the Lost Reefers were playing. Actually, it was their lead, John, alone that day because the rest of the group were up in Belize City. A great welcome home to Belize.

Yoli's and A Lonely Lost Reefer

Yoli’s and A Lonely Lost Reefer

Jerry Jeff Walker

We caught him at the Minnesota Zoo last year but Belize is home for him, and the two-week long Jerry Jeff Walker Camp Belize in San Pedro started shortly after we arrived. We had friends flying in for the first week featuring a number of concerts and a lot of impromptu music on the beach. We headed north with Flying Fish in the hopes of getting in on the music and seeing friends. We made it to Colson Caye and got a weather update. A potentially tough norther was coming and that part of Belize has little protection from the north or northwest. We spun for more sheltered turf and Flying Fish kept going because they had company coming through Belize City. We watched weather for a few days, but the friends from the U.S. flew home long before we arrived in San Pedro.

Jerry Jeff Walker at Fido's on Ambergris Caye

Jerry Jeff Walker at Fido’s on Ambergris Caye

Roberts Grove Marina

We settled in for a stretch of bad weather and kind of stayed. It’s nice here, there were plenty of boat projects, and we could squeeze in a bit of exercise. The resort is going downhill each year and we hear lots of rumors as to why. This year Habaneros was closed half of each week, the bathrooms had no paper, diesel was not available, they were down to only one working Hobiecat, and the gym was closed. We talked our way into the gym each day and Deb wrote a long letter to management about the other stuff. The next morning we had diesel and from that time on we’ve been treated like royalty. We believe, and rumors support, that there was some kind of a labor/management issues and her letter shook things loose (as in the workers had not been getting paid).

Our Own Private Restaurant With Live Band Just Outside the Cockpit

Our Own Private Restaurant With Live Band — Just Outside the Cockpit

Morning Workout Beach at Robert's Grove

Morning Workout Beach at Robert’s Grove

Floating Gym

Floating Gym

Robert's Grove Sunrise

Robert’s Grove Sunrise

Bike Rise Up the Peninsula to Na'ai Resort

Bike Ride Up the Peninsula to Na’ai Resort

Goodbye Trip with Flying Fish

We spent time with Claudia and Claudius on Flying Fish in their decompression phase after company left. We did the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival and several restaurants with them. Both boats sailed north to Caye Caulker, and was that a ride! We had up to 31 knots just as we were crossing the English Channel and it was pretty exposed. As a result, we did the length of Belize in two days with hours to spare.

Reggae Band at the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival

Reggae Band at the Placencia Sidewalk Art Festival

Placencia Sidewalk

Placencia Sidewalk

Finally Got a Photo of Neytiri Under Sail

Finally Got a Photo of Neytiri Under Sail

 

Hurricane Earl

San Pedro and Caye Caulker recovered well from the hurricane. There was a lot of new construction. The Lazy Lizard at the Split survived so the young backpackers still had a place to hang out. The TMM dock was destroyed and rebuilt but TMM is long gone. Sad.

Lazy Lizard on Cay Caulker Post Hurricane

Lazy Lizard Backpackers on Cay Caulker Post Hurricane

New, Shorter Version of the TMM Dock

New, Shorter Version of the TMM Dock

Hurricane Earl on San Pedro

Hurricane Earl on San Pedro

Water Caye, Garbutt, Pelican, Hatchet and Home

We made a point of checking out the new resort at Garbutt and the new bar built by Reagan (Yoli’s) at Hatchet Caye on our trip back south. At Garbutt we ran into Rendezvous (Peter), Wanderlust, and Wahoo (just in back from the East Caribbean) and were invited to one evening of their floating party north. We don’t know how they can keep up that pace because we were partied out after only one night with them (and low on rum).

Floating City Goes by From Water Cay

Floating City Goes by Water Cay

Garbutt Caye Sunrise

Garbutt Caye Sunrise

Hatchet Cay Pet Pelican

Hatchet Cay Pet Pelican

Neytiri & Flying Fish Together at Robert's Grove

Neytiri & Flying Fish Together at Robert’s Grove

Last Voyage of Flying Fish

Last Voyage of Flying Fish

Heading North to Mexico and Key West

Heading North to Mexico and Key West

Where Are We Now? Belize!!

February 4, 2017 Posted by Deb

Hanging out at Robert's Grove in Placencia with Side Trips to the Reef in Southern Belize

Hanging out at Robert’s Grove in Placencia with Side Trips to the Reef in Southern Belize

Belize 2016 and Home Turf

May 8, 2016 Posted by Deb

We waited out a calm day in Cozumel and we were off on Thursday, April 28, for San Pedro, Belize, and a rendezvous with the former Mokacat owner, Dale and his significant other, Kathryn. We have never taken on the Gulf Stream head on before. Every crossing to date we have positioned to cross the strong part of the current as close to right angles as we can. This trip was 250 to 300 miles, straight into the teeth of the current. Many sailors have posted waypoints for a strategy that involves hugging the coast but we found tremendous variation and eddies. Our first encounter took us for 8.5 knots down to 1.8 to 3.3 knots and we were jammed against mainland Mexico. We tried getting even closer but finally just went out to where we could count on a steadier 3-knot “in-your-face” current; and our speed over the ground went to 5 to 5.5, even though we were smoking. We were planning on being out two nights but by the time we got to the Chinchoro Banks, the current moved offshore, the winds went to 23 knots, and we picked up to 9.5 to 11 knots and made it through the Eastern Channel, Ships Bogue, and Porto Stuck to Cay Caulker all before dark on day two. Not bad. The boat did great but the passengers were knocked around like rag dolls when we got out of the lee of the outer atolls.SunsetBelizeSailing

San Pedro

We always liked San Pedro, Belize. Even though it is an open roadstead, salt spray everywhere, buried in golf carts, and full of tourists, it was our base for chartering out of TMM for years and we have fond memories of scrambling all over town to provision a charter cat. We always ran out of booze on those charters, sometimes by the halfway mark. This time we were there to clear into the country, say hi and goodbye to Simon at TMM (TMM is closing shop in Belize in June, 2016), and to pick up Dale and Kathryn.

Company was a bit of a concern since we needed weather windows to cooperate to get us there (we beat their plane by seven hours) and we were on what amounted to a 1,400-mile delivery run from Ft Lauderdale to Guatemala, all in about a month, and, as such, the boat wasn’t fully ready to party.

BlowingPalmTreesNeytiri was covered in salt and the humidity was unusually high; we were exhausted; we never un-pickled the watermaker, so water for four people was a concern; and we had plans to cover the whole country in seven days. Everything worked out very well, despite a large hole opening up in the dink on day one and threatening to leave us w/o a way to get to shore. We had 30 gallons of water to spare at the end of the week, thanks to the extreme conservation habits of Dale and Kathryn. With company, the fishing poles came out, and we were eating Cobia and Jack in no time. Dale was an impressive fisherman and fish cleaner.FishDaleChuckSunsetDinghyRepairLazyLizardDaleKathrynHelmChuckDaleAtMastLostReefersYokisChuck

The four of us had to scratch our heads to go from what we wanted to do and see in Belize to what we had time for given that we didn’t really want to power sail all day. We eventually decided on San Pedro, Cay Caulker, Water Cay, a power run to Pelican Cay and the Hideaway Resort and Restaurant, Hatchet Cay (2 days), and Placencia.

The Storm

We were hit by two nights of storms at Hatchet Cay. Neytiri was on a mooring but 40 kts out of the South and West really got our attention. The lightning show was one of the worst we’ve been in since the Mona Passage in 1994. The moorings held, the storm passed, and we had two days of cooler, drier weather.HatchetCayeBeach HatchetCayeDinner

Robert’s Grove Resort and Marina

We returned to Robert’s Grove Resort for a few days of laundry, relaxing, and water. It was surprising to see the change in two years. The house construction was complete but the marina was quite empty, the restaurants were on reduced hours, the deli and Sweet Mama’s were closed, the bathrooms were toilet paper challenged, the WIFI was very sporadic, the marina showers have never been built, the dive shop hadn’t had a charter in a week, and the French owner was history having been bought out by the Boris Mansfield company.RobertsGroveDock

The Four Questions: 2014 Update

December 18, 2014 Posted by Deb

Storms?

No open ocean bad weather in over 4,000 miles but we scrambled twice in Belize with 50 knots plus while at anchor. The first hit in January when we were loaded with company and we tucked around the south end of Caye Caulker where we’ve hardly ever seen a boat anchored. Probably because it is very thin in every direction. The blow pinned us down for two days but we held on two anchors and company caught up on reading. Going ashore was challenging and only two of us made in during the worst of it.

The second was a wall cloud that hit on beautiful hot afternoon when the locals said it wouldn’t. We almost lost a solar panel on that one. Deb road it out hanging onto the panel while I ran the engines to keep the stress off the hooks. Frigate birds were flying backwards at about 30 knots.

The Light Show Ahead of the Norther

The Light Show Ahead of the Norther

Bad Guys?

We saw our first physical altercation that left a man out cold on the street with his groceries scattered everywhere, we heard a massive cell phone screaming rant, and one other nice verbal battle that we had to back away from but that was our first three days in Florida. Guatemala, Belize, and Mexico were fine.

Welcome to the U.S.A.

Welcome to the U.S.A.

Bucks?

It looks like we will finish up 2014 with a total tab that is slightly over 150% of our former land life. On land, we were pretty dug in and pretty efficient. The numbers are still surprising because we thought we would do better each year as we did in the 1993-1996 voyage of Sanity. It looks like medical including dental and eyes have gone way up and we are travelling a lot more. Also, we kind of knew the closer we got to the U.S., the higher expenses were going to be and that has definitely played out. Our planning for retirement had us a little over 110% of our former life so we’re definitely running hot. We do not intend to make any changes other than swearing off surgery for a while.

What Do You Do All Day?

This is the “little if any fun” period in Brunswick, GA. Monday was calm so we hoisted the main and cleaned off the mildew and mud daubers. Nasty job and it took most of the day. We had to give the boat a bath as well. Tuesday we ripped the water heater apart due to a leak and spent most of the day searching for replacement parts, the most difficult was an inline pressure relief valve with a built in check valve. Ahh… the French.  That night we did a muriatic acid bath on the parts that were going to be re-used. Wednesday we re-assembled the water heater twice and waited to do a fresh water pressure test. All of the water heater repair time was spent head down, one knee on the chest and the other stuffed over the exhaust chamber with one hand for support leaving only one for doing the work. That afternoon we took a four-hour side trip to Bailey’s Gym for a workout and shower. Any down time on these projects went to phone calls trying to juggle vendors, marinas, haulouts, rigging work, regulator testing, and admin on a nasty package of bills that arrived. Tomorrow, Cumberland Island hiking if we get over the stomach flu. If we don’t get better, we’ll turn in the rental car and wait for the chumming to stop before another road trip. When we get to the Bahamas, we will replace this section with something more fun.

Dock 12

Workin’ Off Dock 12

The Big Blow

April 14, 2014 Posted by Deb

We ran away from San Pedro, Belize, to find protection from a strong “Norther” that was predicted to hit in two days. We were guilty of not taking late season cold fronts seriously but made it to the Bluefield Range just in case. Deb was sitting on the salon roof trying to get internet coverage as a black wall moved toward us. Minutes later we were in a record blow for us at anchor with winds peaking over 50 knots. The wind noise made anything but screaming at each other pointless. Deb got to hold down a runaway solar panel while I put on foul weather gear and wore my dive mask (it wasn’t so bad I had to use the snorkel) to fire up both engines to take pressure off the ground tackle. We dumped a second anchor overboard and watched flocks of frigate birds flying as hard as they could into the wind and going by us backwards at 20 to 30 knots. It’s probably safer for them in the air than hanging onto a mangrove.

Frigatebird-flock

Belize Fishermen

We usually chat with the local fisherman about the weather when they come by to sell fish. Fernando, the only resident of the Bluefield Range presently, told us it wasn’t going to rain or blow that night. He had barely paddled home when all hell broke loose … so much for local knowledge.

Fernando took over a broken down fishing shack on the north tip of the Bluefield Range about two years ago and calls that home now. His brother swings by from time to time bringing booze and other supplies and Fernando lives off the ocean for the rest. Fernando knew the history of the island and knew Ricardo (owner) and Finn (Norwegian cook now dead) well. He put in very long days fishing.

Fernando

Wayne (another fisherman) stopped by with two buddies when we anchored off Robinson Caye. We saw a powerboat coming toward us under a makeshift sail and with no real keel, they drifted downwind about as much as they went forward. Their boat was full of coolers with fish that they needed to get to market in Belize City. Their problem was that they did not have enough fuel for their outboard and had been relying on normal trades to get home. Bad idea because the winds were northeast. They wanted a fish for fuel trade but we just gave them a couple gallons of fuel because we were flush with fish. They were all smiles as they idled a 40 hp Yamaha back to Belize City. We don’t know how they fared.

As we moved to Water Caye to stage for Mexico, another Wayne came out to sell fish. This Wayne was more of a legend and makes a point of contacting any boat that anchors off Water Caye. Here is what Dale on Mokakat wrote about him.

He lives in the house at the end of the island over the water.  Since it is not technically on the island, he is allowed to stay there, but he cannot go ashore.  He has a little solar charger, a battery, a small TV, and a small light.  He cooks on a propane stove. He gets supplies from fishing boats that come back and forth from Belize City.  It’s crazy to see his little house and then see the huge cruise liners, with an incredible amount of electricity, lights, and food, passing almost every evening and morning.

Wayne

We also got a chapter of the Wayne story. He was hired as the cook at the Bluefield Range after Finn died and knew the entire history of Ricardo’s little eco-resort on that island right up until hurricane Wilma cleaned it off down to the pilings and busted up the island. He got the cook job when some of Ricardo’s workers showed up on the island while he was in Finn’s old shack cooking up his supper. He said there wasn’t much left over for him that night.

WayneHouse

San Pedro Gets Bigger

Those who visited this year may like to know that San Pedro is growing. These barges are headed for the area just south of the Blue Water Grill. They are putting in a large resort in that area.

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Cast Iron Canoe Two

April 9, 2014 Posted by Deb

Party Barge

Party Barge

The second Cast Iron Canoe Club delegation blew into Belize at the end of March. Minnesota has been hemorrhaging its frozen citizens this winter and, from the weather news, we don’t blame them. The Belizean weather, sailing, eating, and drinking gods were smiling on Forrest, Yvonne, and Elsa Cournoyer and Jeff and Lisa Smith. The fishing gods ran hot and cold and seemed to have blessed a northern Minnesota dud of a lure that was a big hit with mutton snappers in Belize.

We started out at Roberts Grove in Placencia with a kick back day of provisioning and Hobie Cats.

HobieCat_WaterSpot

ForrestElsa_HobieCat

ElsaYvonnePool

The highlight of the provisioning was three cases of bottled Belikin and a lower waterline for the port hull. Of course there was the obligatory sampling of as many of the restaurants and bars from Roberts Grove to Yoli’s as we could fit in. Our first mobile day was a tack up to Hatchet with three lines in the water.

Yoli's in Placencia

Yoli’s in Placencia

Pelican Caye

We did a trolling headsail run to Pelican and the famous Hideaway Caye where Dustin, Kim, Ama, and Caye (the big Rottweiller) put on their usual great show.

The Bar is Up and the Dog Eats Cameras

The Bar is Up and the Dog Eats Cameras

Water Toys Off Pelican Caye

Water Toys Off Pelican Caye

The next islands were a blur because we made up the trip as we went along and focused on maxing out our trolling time. We ran headsail only to South Water, Colson, and one long day to St. Georges followed by Caye Caulker. That is practically the whole country on a headsail with three lines out.

Jeff_CatchingOne

Jeff_MuttonSnapper

ForrestElsa_Hug

The Bar at St. Georges Lodge

The Bar at St. Georges Lodge

Lisa with a “Good Eatin Fish”

Lisa with a “Good Eatin Fish”

Jeff and Lisa off Colson Caye

Jeff and Lisa off Colson Caye

Big Bang Theory Shirt

Big Bang Theory Shirt

Full Jellyfish Protection Mode

Full Jellyfish Protection Mode

Belize Wrap Up

Cast Iron 2 saw the news about 17 inches in Superior (Yvonne’s home town) just before they left. We dropped them at the water taxi in Caye Caulker and Neytiri got empty again. We moved up to San Pedro to provision, dump garbage, do laundry, and clear out of the country. The wind got stronger every day and the boat was covered in salt both inside and out from waves crashing on the reef. Neytiri is currently hiding in the Bluefield Range from an anticipated strong norther and staging for a window to go to Mexico.

In the four months that Neytiri has cruised Belize we have made the run from Placencia in the far south to San Pedro in the far north four and one half times, visited dozens of islands that were new to us, entertained four rounds of company, and gone through countless bottles of Belikin and rum.

Repeat Visit

March 28, 2014 Posted by Deb

Having survived a week on Neytiri in Bocas del Toro, the Anderson family decided to try their luck in Belize. Belize did not disappoint. The weather problems we had earlier, with the December and January guests, were history and Belize was putting on a good show.

The night the Andersons arrived we went to see the brand new National Geographic documentary on the Belizean reef. There were a number of locals included and the each brought a contingent to watch the screening. When their segment came up on the screen, there was a lot of cheering and applause. Our favorite was a sun-bleached rasta guy who grew seaweed. Once planted in a long, thick rope, he just kicked back and let nature do the work … perfect rasta job. We saw him sleeping against a palm tree one restaurant over the next day at around noon …. must have been a good party

Rasta Man / Fisherman Turned Seaweed Farmer

Rasta Man / Fisherman Turned Seaweed Farmer

Day 2 was a kick back/provisioning day and Day 3 was an inland trip. The inland trip was arranged with a tour guide out of Independence Village instead of through the Placencia resorts and travel agents. We put a triple tour of the ruins and water falls into one day for less than half price of just one of the tours. We did the Mayan Nim Li Punit and Lubaantun sites, a great local lunch stop, and the water falls at Rio Banco.

Nim Li Punit

Nim Li Punit

Lubaantun

Lubaantun

Chuck the Cliff Jumper

Chuck the Cliff Jumper

Under the Falls at Rio Blanco

Under the Falls at Rio Blanco

The Andersen Women Attracting Attention at Rio Blanco

The Andersen Women Attracting Attention at Rio Blanco

Deb In The Falls

Deb In The Falls

Departure Day … Monday?

At the last minute, we pulled the plug on our departure Monday morning because a Norther was actually predicted to hit us with strong winds but no rain. As a Plan B, we biked to town and took out the Robert Grove Hobie 14’s. Em and Liv gave the three pools a good workout too.

Hobie Cat Team Serious

Hobie Cat Team Serious

Chuck With Team Bikini

Chuck With Team Bikini

Hatchet Caye

Hatchet has great coral, a pool, internet, and a very good restaurant. Their featured fish is lion fish, an invasive oriental fish that is very damaging. They hope to wipe it out by getting humans to like it. It is an excellent tasting fish. We stayed two nights and, again, the young Anderson women gave the pool a workout. They also ran into a neighbor family from Stillwater, MN, for small world story number 83.

Hatchet Caye Sea Creatures

Hatchet Caye Sea Creatures

Snapper Cleaning Lesson

Snapper Cleaning Lesson

Pelican Cayes and Hideaway Resort

A short sail up the Victoria Channel and a two mile motor put us in the northern anchorage. Three brand-new mooring balls are the latest addition there. We got the water toys out and snorkeled the reef south and east of the Hideway Resort island. MokaCat tacked up the channel and tacked through the Pelican Cayes to party with our group and we closed out the day at the bar. They have a great rum punch drink there and Dustin gave us conk cleaning 101 lessons. We (I) tried to repeat the lesson that night after a few too many rums and I butchered the job, knocked a hole in the gell coat, and eventually dropped the conk off the sugar scoop while hammering.

Water Toys Behind Neytiri

Water Toys Behind Neytiri

South Water Caye

We fit one more island into the trip with a sail to South Water. There were only two boats in the anchorage when we arrived. By nightfall there were 13 and only one was a mono-hull. Our shore party scored a large bag of freshly cleaned conk and some Guatemalans showed them how to pound it to and edible stage. It was good breaded and that is from a conk dissenter.

Kicking Back at South Water Caye

Apres Snorkel 

Flipper Women

Flipper Women

And Back

We had a pleasant sail back to Placencia and up the lagoon to Roberts Grove. We rounded out the evening and the trip at the Quarterdeck Restaurant over at Laru Beya after the Anderson girls gave the pools a good workout. Their trip home was uneventful and the Neytiri has four days to get ready for the next group.

Black Market “Dew”

March 10, 2014 Posted by Deb

Coco Plum Caye

Coco Plum Caye

Our “Get Acquainted” tour of the southern Belize islands netted some great finds and some marginal finds. We already mentioned that we’re giving a thumbs down to Wippari (less than clear water and the owners are a bit burned out) and Ranguana (very costly to set foot on the island). We also think that Glovers is a bit much for a short vacation and would cost us $70 U.S. per day if we take a boat load of guests.  Once there, Glovers is fishing and snorkeling paradise but little else in terms of shore recreation.

DebSailingPosition

SouthernBelizeCaye

We gave a large thumbs up to Hatchet, Queen (middle island only), Pelican, and Coco Plum although Coco Plum is a lunch/drink stop only. Their three course suppers are $40 U.S. per person and the anchorage is settled weather only. If feasible, South Water Caye is on the list as are the Colson Cayes but we doubt we can get to Colson with company.

Lionfish Bar on Hatchet

Lionfish Bar on Hatchet

A funny thing happened as we returned through the barrier reef near South Water Caye on our return from Glovers. We turned to starboard (north) instead of port (back to Placencia). It was a gorgeous sailing day with winds at 22 to 25 kts and we just didn’t stop. We finally ran out of day at Colson, dropping our hook as the sun went down next to a large catamaran that we found out later had a strobe mooring light. Someone has to do something about strobe mooring lights … obnoxious barely begins to describe them.

Dodging Cruise Ships Off Belize City

Dodging Cruise Ships Off Belize City

Our trip north was to find a rod to match a new reel we got from Jeff Borchert, Deb’s cousin up in Iowa. The real reason was that the Mountain Dew shelves were showing signs of getting thin. Mountain Dew is not legal in Belize. Bottled Pepsi and Diet Dew are available (sort of) but not the high test. The Coca Cola folks have a contractual stranglehold on Belize and the little green cans are only available up in San Pedro on the black market. The folks in San Pedro delivered two 36 packs of Dew and a case of Belikin to our dinghy at the ferry dock in San Pedro after relieving us of $130 U.S. We weren’t going to pass after coming all the way north and committing to two more shots at Porto Stuck. It was a gorgeous trip with the exception of a norther hitting us at the Blue Ground Range. We have rarely seen a lightning show like that night and winds hit over 40 knots in Placencia. The next day, we sailed on into Placencia wing on wing, hand steering because the auto helm wasn’t quick enough to keep the main from gybing.

Precious Cargo Delivered to the Dock

Precious Cargo Delivered to the Dock

Cases of Beliken Beer Headed for Porto Stuck

Cases of Belikin Beer Headed for Porto Stuck

The Lost Reefers and Their Tattooed Groupie at Yoli’s in Placencia

The Lost Reefers and Their Tattooed Groupie at Yoli’s in Placencia

Queen Cayes: Their Island a Couple Hundred Yards Away (the building is an outhouse)

Queen Cayes: Their Island a Couple Hundred Yards Away From Ours (the building is an outhouse)

The Light Show Ahead of the Norther

The Light Show Ahead of the Norther

ChuckSugarscoopSnaplper

Fishing Gear – Check
Snapper – Check
Clean Fish – Ch … Oh now I remember

Tucked Back Into Roberts Grove Next To Our Favorite Mexican Restaurant

Tucked Back Into Roberts Grove Next To Our Favorite Mexican Restaurant

Southern Belize Laps

February 27, 2014 Posted by Deb

SouthBelizeIsland

We are getting acquainted with the southern islands of Belize. We seemed to have skipped them in our 1996 sailing and multiple charters in the 2000’s. No excuse other than TMM boats don’t make it this far south. We did a lap of Wippari, Cary, Moho, Hatchet, and Ranguana Cayes followed by one day of physical therapy for Deb in Placencia.

The Wippari Restaurant And Bar With Freighter Mooring Line Railings

The Wippari Restaurant And Bar With Freighter Mooring Line Railings

We exited the next day for a lap starting with Pelican and who knows where it will end up. The Pelican run was close hauled at a blazing 3.5 knots in 6-8 knots of apparent wind.

Neytiri From An Abandoned Fishing Camp - Pelican

Neytiri From An Abandoned Fishing Camp – Pelican

Tropical Island Designated For Refrigerator And Sheet Metal Disposal - Pelican

Tropical Island Designated For Refrigerator And Sheet Metal Disposal – Pelican

We have basically been perpetuating the stereotype with lazy days, small islands, coral dodging, obscure island restaurants, and snorkeling. Minor excitement has come from jumping in after blown off hats and returning in three foot chop against current through pilings covered in barnacles (Chuck) and some additional minor excitement as we discovered Ranguana has not only a U.S. $10 per head charge for setting foot on the island but the lunch is $20 and beers make up the difference for a $70 visit for a quick lunch for two people. We had some major excitement from getting hung up on a mooring ball as the wind kited us while I was busy securing the second line. We noticed there was a problem when the starboard engine went “chunk” and quit. Oops. Another snorkeling opportunity.

Looking Straight Up from My Hammock on Ranguana

Looking Straight Up from My Hammock on Ranguana

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

Not Clear That The Hat Was Worth It - Hatchet

Not Clear That The Hat Was Worth It – Hatchet Caye

Deb Tracking Down Wifi Off A Ranguana Cabana

Deb Tracking Down WIFI Off A Ranguana Caye Cabana