Rio Dulce to Belize & back - February 2009 - April 2009
20 April 2009
This year we decided to spend Christmas in Toronto with our kids, so had a short sailing season - February to April 2009.
After flying down to Guatemala City on Feb 1 and 2 days later (1 bag didnt make the connection in Miami!) taking the 5 hour bus ride to Fronteras, we spent a week in the Rio Dulce, prepping Moustache.
On the 10th of February, we sailed down the river in company with Laura & Rod on Becher Babe and stopped off for the night ant Gringo Bay. The following day we went on to Livingston, checked out of Guatemala, crossed the bar, and headed north to Belize.
Our first stop in Belize was Newhaven, a quiet anchorage on the mainland surrounded by mangroves. We spent a couple of nights in Newhaven and then headed up to Placencia where we checked in to Belize.
Placencia is a pleasant little town with sandy streets. It is also a Moorings Charter base. After a few days in Placencia we headed north again and dropped the hook in Sapodilla Lagoon - a beautiful and very protected anchorage.
Next day Laura & Rod in Becher Babe were heading back to Placencia to pick up a guest and we sailed on up to Colson Cay. We are now well inside the 180 mile coral reef that runs up the coast of Belize. We were on a close reach in 15 knots and calm seas - an exhilarating 25 mile sail.
We had another amazing sail the following day, up to St Georges Cay doing 6-7 knots all the way. Leaving Colson Cay and heading up to Cay Caulker we passed through Porto Stuck Porto Stuck (a shallow 6`) gap between two islands without incident and made Cay Caulker by early afternoon.
Cay Caulker is a funky little backpackerish island with sand streets and now cars (only golf carts & bicycles). Here we met up with our friends Douglas & Huguette on Kodo.
We spent several days in Cay Caulker. Lots of little restaurants, grocery stores, bars etc. We also took a water taxi over to San Pedro on Ambergis Cay which is a bigger busier version of Cay Caulker.
On Feb 25 we left Cay Caulker with Kodo, heading for the Atolls outside the reef. We were also in company with another Canadian boat (Go My Way) for the first leg through Poreto Stuck on the way to Water Cay. We all ran aground this time but got off reasonably easily except for Go My Way who really was `stuck`. We stood by for an hour to assist but het got off eventually under his own steam.
That night we anchored at Water Cay which is just off the main shipping channel through the reef. Here we got to watch the giant cruise ships going in and out only a few hundred feet away.
Next morning we headed out of the cut to Turneffe Island and after a windy sail over, we anchored off Blue Creek. Next morning we motore round to Bokel Cay on the southern tip and entere very carefully through the reefs to anchor off Turneffe Lodge. Unfortunately the Lodge is completely private, so although they showed us around we were not able to use their facilities. However, there was some excellent snorkelling on the reefs. A strong cold front came through the following day so we stayed put. The winds got up to 33 knots so, I spent most of the night in the cockpit but thankfully our anchor held ok.
On March 3 we upped anchor early and had a wonderful sail over to Lighthouse Reef the furthest East of the Belizean Atolls. We anchored off Long Cay and went snorkelling & (hawaiian) spear fishing - caught a couple of small fish which we ate for dinner.
The following day we moved over to Half Moon Cay - which is a National Park. We dinghied over to walk on and explore the island. There is a bird sanctuary there with hundresd of Frigate Birds, Blue footed Boobies etc which you can observe from a special platform.
Kodo had to head back the next day but, we decided to stay and move inside the reef at Half Moon Cay. After working our way in very carefully, we anchored in 6 feet of water just behind the reef - a spectactular anchorage with wonderful snorkelling nearby.
The Park people came by the following morning and collected $20, but after they went fishing they brought us two nice yellowtail fish which made a great supper.
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