Posts Tagged: ‘Placencia’

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.

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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

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.

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ForrestElsa_HobieCat

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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.

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Jeff_MuttonSnapper

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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.

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

Belize For Sale

February 17, 2014 Posted by Deb

I was curious about the number of For Sale signs I had been seeing between here and the outskirts of Placencia on the 4.5-mile stretch. By my count, 52, with another 18 on the main drag in town. We don’t know what normal is around here but that seems like a lot and they don’t seem to move too quickly.

ForSaleCollage

Placencia Sidewalk Arts & Music Festival

February 15, 2014 Posted by Deb

The town is hopping this weekend for the annual art festival. Deb and our friend from Caper, Augie, volunteered to work as art festival helpers.

ArtFestivalBanner

I went in to see the festival and meet up with Deb. My bike must have and auto-pilot set to the Barefoot Bar and Grill or Yoli’s. I did run into Deb and Augie at the Barefoot but they were drinking something non-alcoholic. That’s right … some people still do that. I don’t and didn’t.

Deb & Augie with Watermelon Juice

Deb & Augie with Watermelon Juice

Sailed the little Hobie Cat from Robert’s Grove to the Barefoot Bar with a good southeast wind just the other day.

Barefoot Bar is Beckoning

Barefoot Bar is Beckoning

Valentine's Day Happy Hour

Valentine’s Day Happy Hour

Wake Up Call

February 11, 2014 Posted by Deb

A hot water hose ruptured at about 2:00 a.m. a few days ago. We initially assumed the fresh water pump had finally croaked because it was running continuously. We then noticed the bilge pump was running in the port engine room.

We found clothes, popped the engine room hatch, and saw about 50 gallons of water and 80/90 lower unit oil sloshing around. The lower unit oil was from a long-term leak in the saildrive that accumulates in the well under the engine … not, however, with 50 gallons of hot water roaming free. About then we discovered the bilge pump had failed. I climbed in and started to hand pump and Deb hauled the mess off the boat at about 2-3 gallons per trip. We have drop-in backup pumps but the oily mess would have made a cleaning nightmare out of it. Fortunately we were in a marina which disproves Captain Ron’s saying, “If anything is going to happen … it’ll happen out there.”

The clean up took a chunk of the night and the following day and the bilge pump replacement took three days, mostly from scouring Placencia for hose, hose clamps, barbs, and couplers to match a French-dimensioned fresh water system to the new 1.13 size of current system. In some cases, there was no match and that is where 5200 came in as a temporary McGyver. The remaining challenge was to get to bed after being covered in 80/90 oil from the knees and elbows down.

90-Weight Oil Skin Treatment

90-Weight Oil Skin Treatment

 

2:00 a.m. Bilge Pumping

2:00 a.m. Bilge Pumping

Felicity and Karmic Debt

January 18, 2014 Posted by Deb

The folks on a charter boat named Felicity dinghied over to the Bluefield Range from Middle Caye in rough weather to get help and to see if we had enough cell phone coverage to call TMM up in San Pedro and inform them that they were aground. They had been holed up at Cucumber Marina for days during the storm and had come out just that morning. We had zero cell coverage but used the Iridium to call Simon, the head guy at TMM who we first met in the Rio Dulce. Simon was sick, it was late in the day, and he had another boat aground to deal with. He said it was too dark to get help all the way down there. We had two hours before high tide and if we were going to get that boat off, it had to be soon.

Help!

Help!

Michael and I put on our cold/wet weather gear, grabbed two long lines, checked with the fisherman to see if they knew anything about that reef, and we took off in our dinghy for a violently rough ride over to Middle Caye. We circled their boat, probing with an oar. It was shallow everywhere. The waves and wind had moved them further aground and they weren’t bouncing anymore. Bad news. Their starboard engine was not happy either.

We hooked up the lines, got two 15 hp dinghies lined up, along with the two diesels in Felicity and we pulled. We had a kedging Plan B but damned if we didn’t get the cat to budge. After we freed up Felicity, we didn’t think it was a good idea to try again to go behind Middle Caye in bad light and conditions. We had a track for Bluefield so they moved over there, we grabbed our Samsung Galaxy notepad, and we came through that reef mostly blind at around 5:15, way too late to be doing that but we knew the track was good. We ran into Felicity again at Colson and they brought over a bottle of rum … naval tradition is great. Those of you familiar with our Mississippi adventures last summer understand the Karmic Debt reference.

Felicity Safe at Anchor and Enjoying a Family Swim

Felicity Safe at Anchor and Enjoying a Family Swim

Watching for Coral

Watching for Coral

Tobacco Caye for Lunch

Took three hours for the restaurant to come up with something for us to eat and we were starving.

One Choice Could Have been Conch

One Choice Could Have been Conch

Someone Had Temporarily Stored a Baracuda Overnight in the Freezer But it Was Confiscated for Our Lunch

Someone Had Temporarily Stored a Baracuda Overnight in the Freezer Until It Was Confiscated for Our Lunch

Not for Lunch

Not for Lunch

South Water Caye

Jelly Fish Protection

Jelly Fish Protection

Dinghy_Chuck

Off for Some "Superb" Snorkeling

Off for Some “Superb” Snorkeling

Island Exploration

Island Exploration

SouthWaterCayeBar

Exit Birthday Crew

Placencia_DinghyEnter

PlacenciaTipsyTuna

It’s been 30 hours since the boat got empty again. They saw every different kind of weather, island, and beach, and we drank five different kinds of rum. They completed their lap by flying Tropic Air from Placencia back to Belize City and made it home to 28 degrees and snow.

Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy

On To Belize

December 20, 2013 Posted by Deb

We finally grabbed a two-day window that promised no rain but no wind as well. The forecasts were right and we saw our first sun in weeks. It was an excellent trip motoring in flat calm over the speed bump and left to Belize. Our only regret was that we were motoring in one of the best sailing countries we have ever seen.

Small World Story Number 44

We started running into Rio Dulce immigration shuffle folks literally minutes after dropping our hook in Placencia. Peter from Rendezvous gave us a whirlwind tour of Placencia and we got the answers to the basic new arrival questions of “where to put the dinghy,” “where to put garbage,” “where to get laundry done,” and “where to get water, fuel, food.”

Mini Regatta as We Pull Into Placencia Belize

Mini Regatta as We Pull Into Placencia Belize

Peter introduced us to his new crew member, Phillipe, a French Canadian. Just a week before we had done a rare Skype call to an old friend (Richard) in St. Martin and he mentioned that a guy named Phillipe, who had crewed with him for a number of deliveries, was hanging out at Bruno’s in the Rio Dulce. We looked and never found him in the Rio but smacked right into him in Placencia. It’s great when that happens. The offshoot is that when Phillipe texted that he ran into us, Richard got him a gig on a delivery he’s doing to Tahiti.

Chicken-Loving Lunch Companion in Placencia

Chicken-Loving Lunch Companion

One of the Caribbean's Amazing Signs -- Ch

One of the Caribbean’s Amazing Signs

Christmas Light Parade First Night in Belize

Christmas Light Parade First Night in Belize

Placencia greeted us with three days of mostly rain and some of the coldest temperatures we’ve had excluding the mountains. The changes to Placencia in the 18 years we’ve been gone are total. We did not recognize a single building or landmark other than the beach. We also found only Diet Mountain Dew … damn.

San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the far north of Belize, was a three-day sail, moving the boat from around 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. only because it’s reef country. The trades finally kicked in with sunshine interrupted by the odd 30-knot squall. The final day we had two reefs in the main and half a headsail, and we were doing eight knots in six and seven feet of water. Shades of the Bahamas and a bit nerve wracking. We did not perform as well as in the old days or on charter cats, getting ourselves in thin water far more often than we should have. But … there’s Mountain Dew everywhere here.

Neytiri Bobbing at Anchor just off San Pedro Town

Neytiri Bobbing at Anchor just off San Pedro Town

Old Favorite Bar on Ambergris Caye

Old Favorite Bar on Ambergris Caye

Company

We are turning Neytiri from a two-person boat into a six person boat for three rounds of company as well as dealing with the leftovers from months of rain. We have green stuff growing on the boom, green and black on the lines, rust on the stainless, fender marks on the hull, and the barnacles have started again. Merry Christmas.