A Whirl-wind Family Retreat
29 July 2021 | Belize
gg | sunny and still
The Z Family
Arriving in a ball of fire on July 22, 2021 to the Rio Dulce is the Z family! This Michigian family of 7 drops their bags on the decks of Viento Azul . They keeps on rolling to Avatar falls with Jerry of the jungle for a tour. In the rain they never missed a beat trekking through the mud to the hidden falls and relaxing in the hot springs of the Rio Dulce.
As we said good by to our precious guests of the Bell family from California it was time to prepare our vessel for our new guests. Each person that comes on board is a gift from God carrying special gifts from heaven to pour out on to the earth. With Olga and Gris by my side we had a presto change o!
The next morning was an early start to visit our mission friends at Boatique before heading out to Casa Agua Azul . Here we meet two more team members for the day Jill and Angel. We met them a few days prior when we were checking in to Livingston as they just sailed into the Rio themselves. Today Cosme arrives with his wonderful smile to load up our team in the launcha while Ted and I take the truck with our new guests for the 40 minute ride through the country side which is exquisite. The mountains on one side and Lake Izabal on the other.
After a full day at the house it was time to jump into Agua Caliente where two rivers meet in the jungle, one very cold and the other feed by a hot spring making for the perfect temperature coming over the falls. A great way to end a good day of work. Afterwards we all piled into the truck for the ride back to the marina. In the morning we will work our way down the river and check out of Guatemala and say hello to Belize.
I never get tired of the the beauty of the Rio Dulce as we motor down to Livingston located at the mouth of the Rio Dulce where we will clear customs and immigrations . The cliffs of the canyon with the jungle sweeping up high was full of life as the sun reflected off the leaves up high. The river was quiet with a few personal pleasure crafts passing by. Anchoring off of Livingston we motor ashore to hike up the hill to the medical clinic for covid testing. We had God's favor this day as we walked in and were immediately taken care of and in 15 minutes were walking away with signed negative tests to enter Belize. One woman at the clinic had been waiting 3 and a half hours so we were extremely grateful. Heading back to the boat mid-day left us time to move on. The wind was nil so we motored on glass calm seas all the way to Punta Gorda Belize arriving 3 hours later. It was too late in the day to check in to the country so we enjoyed the water cleaning the hulls of Viento Azul.
God is so faithful and so was our agent in Belize at 8:30 a.m. July 24th we received a warm welcome-into the country. It was a Saturday so the market was open filled with beautiful fresh vegetables and local cuisine. I was taken back by the green beans which were about 14 inches long and the cucumbers running neck and neck. The locals were milling around and were all very kind to us. Across from the market was a small store with local weaving and art wares made out of native woods all showing incredible craftsmanship . I have always appreciated natural handmade items and I desired to take all the pieces home!
It was mid morning and our goal was to reach Placensia before dark. Going back to our boat the predicted wind never materialized so cranking up the motors is the next best thing when you are on the move. The air was hot and humid again the seas glass calm but what are you going to do? I was grateful it was not blowing 25 -30 on our bow , motoring sounds great. We arrived in prefect time to meet our new mission friends in Placensia for dinner at Wendies. The food was great from hamburgers to seafood with fresh salad in between and my favorite, mashed potatoes. There is a curfew in place so at 10 p.m.town shut down. It was a quiet night out in the harbor with no rain so sleeping under the stars was taken advantage of also the opportunity to cool off with the air being close to still.
We love morning and are up early to take the younger members on board for a little surfing behind the dingy. What teen and pre teen does not love this. Next was taking a walk on the waterfront to find a hammock and a few gifts for friends back home before a white truck was to pick us up for church. Don was our driver a church member who was originally from Canada and made Belize his home 4 years ago. He shared about building on the island as he was a contractor before we arrived a small church filled with people and children to worship the Lord in english. It was refreshing and a great way to start our day. On the way home our conversation turned to the book of Revelations and Don was filled with passion to share his heart and vision of ministry before him. We are with the Z family so its time to keep moving heading back to Viento Azul we load up say good by pull anchor and head for Wippari Cay. Our sailing adventure has turned in to a motor adventure which makes for great snorkeling and that is what we did on the shallow reef. Brain coral soft coral and some of the biggest sea fans I have ever seen were hiding below to be discovered. Our family this week is not familiar with salt water and their first snorkel was last year with us in the florida keys so this was a perfect spot to jump in and see God's beautiful creation filled with large angel fish bringing joy to our friends. The sun is still up so you got it we are moving, next stop Lagoon Cay!
Well I must say I have experienced the Z family before but this trip we also have the Grimmetts who are the source, the parents to the Z's. This is one action packed, joy-filled group . There is not one dull moment. While relaxing playing cards in the afternoon it turned Ito an arm wrestling match with grandma. I was wondering if they were going to conclude with a boxing match on the front trampolines. All in good fun !
Evening came 5 miles north of Lagoon Cays sits quietly North West Cay which had spectacular shallow water snorkeling with soft corals as taller than myself in multiple colors. My favorite was a vibrant purple flowing gently with the moment of the water. Schools of tiny bait fish filled the background as the mangrove roots made home to various tropical fish. Naturally the parrot fish being the most stunning in color to new snorkelers but to the fisher man not to many to get excited about. A few lobster mostly juvenile which is hopes of a good harvest next year. There are many scatter fish camp amongst the lower outer islands of Belize and many private homes hidden in the trees of the tiny Cays scattered in the Caribbean. Each place as lovely as the next . It would be hard to have a favorite.
The night was still as an award winning dinner was being prepared. We had an invasion of large flies looking like a combat unit coming to attack. I was alarmed we may have an unrestful night with bug bites galore in a sauna fit for a red lobster. The Lord is good as the evening progressed sitting out on the fore deck in the somewhat cool of the night the moon was a romantic movie scene. The light made a golden path across the still water which could not be ignored. It set us all in silence in the magnitude of beauty which is only a glimmer of the glory of our Lord Jesus. How great is our God to create such a world of such wonder in the grandeur of artistic expression to the utmost of heavenly imagination. It was so enthralling Danielle and I spent the entire night under the night sky blessed by the light cool breeze that developed in the wee hours of the morning.
Sunlight in your eyes with a new day ahead. There is time for one quick snorkel where our family found sea stars and treasure below. The squeal of delight and laughter may have been heard on the mainland Sailing when all is well is a time of relaxing and bonding. To take a retreat on the sea will revive your soul as the ever presence of God is clearly seen in nature. The still air is constant , with our anchor up and the motors purring like a happy kitten next stop will be to Colson Cay were we are in hopes of seeing our new acquaintance Lynol and the wild fisherman.
Along the way we found some lobster hiding out below and rays swimming about. A grand turtle came to the surface and the porpoise came to play. The variety of sea life was fun to watch with hound fish skimming across the surface putting on a show. The shallow reefs never seem to cease each appearing as a little island below its own private aquarium. Many clusters formed of a varitey of sponges with a conch placed in the center picture perfect.
Arrivng Colson Cay was quiet and a great place to spend the night . We were the solo sailors. The wind was still nil making for a good snorkle and surfing behind the dingy . The night came before we knew it and so did morning a new day to celebrate and we have a birthday aboard. Brady turning 15 waking up to more water activity before heading out to cucumber marina. The wind finally arrived so we raised our sails making our trip complete. Arriving the marina our guests will depart in the morning. The greatest birthday suprise was ahead. What could be greater for a 15 year old than having a theme water park all to your self! And that is what happened at the marina the water park has been closed thourgh out covid and they are in the process of reopeing and were gracious to allow us in and use the facility. I have to say that is God's favor over this family! Ending the day with dreamed of air conditioning from a hot week out sailing and catamaran cake for the birthday boy makes for a very memorrable family retreat aboard Viento Azul.
Morning comes with a rianbow in the distant a reminder of GOd's promise. He is here , He is present and it is to hime we give thanks for all the blessing along the way may we continue to give praise.