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  #1  
Old 04-10-2007
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Belize, April 2007

For those interested in Belize, it's a great place to sail!

We sailed on a 47' Cat which, quite frankly, should have been retired from service a year ago. Generator didn't work, trouble with the port engine before we left the harbour and a few other wears and tears that could have been taken care of.

I've sailed in Grenada, the BVI, Bahamas, and this is the best by far. Great winds (10-20kts) from the east most of the time and the islands are absolultely pristine! We snorkeled with nurse sharks, eagle rays, grouper, fantastic colored coral and water so clear that you could see the bottom in 50' depths.

Before you head down, make sure you've got cash on hand for the now designated "Parks" that you'll be mooring in. We were surprised during our briefing that we'd be required to pay $10 (US)/person/day in some of the areas we'd be sailing. It's a bit hit or miss, so we only ended up having to shell out $140... but forewarned is forarmed!

The flight from Belize City to Placencia is better than anything Great America could put together! Be prepared to land on a tarmac strip no wider than an average 2 lane road, with kids riding their bikes along side!

As far as the islands themselves, I'd certainly recommend the southern part of the archipelago. Seal Cay is fantastic snorkeling; beautiful coral and more fish than the San Diego aquarium. Lime Cay (1 mooring ball) could have been pristine, but it's been turned into a destination for Honduran and Guatamalian tourists, especially during the Holy Week festivities between Palm Sunday and Easter. Nicholas, Franks etc are really nice as well.

Going north to Ranguana cay is a must. We had a great dinner on the island (called ahead) and for $20 (US)/person we enjoyed a great rendevous with 4 other boats. (Busiest harbor!) Excellent snorkeling right in the harbor. (4 mooring balls)

Laughing Bird was a bit of a dissapointment. Lots of day trip charters and hoards of people during the day, however, about 4:00 PM the place cleared out and we had it all to ourselves. Great snorkeling the next morning. (6 mooring balls available)

Queen Cay are THE BEST place on earth! They've got 5 mooring balls set up and we grabbed one and spent the day playing on the beach, grilling burgers for lunch and snorkeling the shallow yet goreous reef surrounding this jewel. Not a great anchorage for overnight as it's right on the reef, but if the winds drop, or shift to the north, you'd be in great shape. Plan on a day.. or two here!

As you go north, the cay's become more mangrove. We spent the night at Buttonwood, anchored outside of a fishing camp. Lots of local activity on shore, but we weren't bothered in the least. Lagoon cay was a delightful little achorage, but unfortunatley one of the kids got stung by a Portugese Man-O-War! (We've been told this is VERY uncommon, and the folks at the base hadn't heard of this in many years)

All in all, it's a great place to go.

Best regards, and happy sailing!

Jim
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Old 04-10-2007
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Great post ! What did you do about the Portugese Man-O-War sting ?
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Old 04-10-2007
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We'd brought along some Bactroban antibiotic ointment and Silvadane cream for burns. We slathered it on her and then kept her out of the sun.
The insidious part is that there is no immediate evidence, but rather shows up 24 hours later.
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Old 04-10-2007
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Fond Memories

W: My favorite stop was Ranguana & wished I had stayed there longer. Best Coconut Shrimp ever.........enhanced by our own happy hour & sunset......what a setting.
Also enjoyed the south anchored right off the reef cut.
Your description of the landing strip also brought back memories.
Great destination for a unique adventure........180 degrees from BVI experience. '04 trip.
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Old 04-11-2007
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
Good report...what are the depths like...monohull friendly or cats only? Can you fish/lobster/spearfish or is it all protected?
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Old 04-11-2007
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all possible

C: sure W will chime in but my take
Depths - monohull (avg keel) sure you can do it but there are definitely certain areas that you would have to be extremely careful & find the "channel" thru / around the heads......+ often alert
Cats - still careful in certain areas.....more relaxed the rest of the time

Fishing - no problem. they were renting gear, selling bait & success.
Lobster - big business (cooperative) & pros were free diving.......not sure about visitors
Spear Fishing - tons of diving (famous places) but not sure about rules.
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Old 04-17-2007
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With regards to Cats and Monos.. The Mooring is now renting out 42' Monos as well as the cat fleet, so they must be comfortable with the scenario.

The local fisherman didn't bother to ask if we wanted fish.. you had to be proactive and hunt them down if you wanted to buy from them. We had luck catching small fish off the transom, but in several of the "Parks" fishing was prohibited (and therefore plentiful!) Queens Cay, Laughing Bird and Ranguana come to mind.

The charts are 25 years old, and the GPS uses them as their foundation, so don't be relying on too much technology... good bow watch will solve a lot of your problems!
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