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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Chartering
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  #1  
Old 07-12-2008
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Challenges in Belize

After 3 blissful years of cruising the BVI's, my wife and I are headed off on our belated honeymoon for a week of sailing in Belize next month (and yes I know it's a risk during hurricane season). Having been lulled into complacency by some of the easiest sailing grounds in the world in the BVI's, I'm wondering what challenges face us in Belize? How deep is the water inside the reef? I've been reading about the hazards of uncharted coral patches and shallow spots, and I've become used to the ease of just picking up a mooring ball at virtually any anchorage in the BVI's and (literally) not losing any sleep over whether my anchor is set properly. Will we find anything like that in Belize? I've also read that trying to navigate through the reef to get to such sites as the Blue Hole is not recommended for those unfamiliar to the area. I do realize it's all pretty uninhabited, so I'm not expecting to be able to dinghy up to a place like the Willie T for dinner or hang out at Foxy's and listen to live music. So, any suggestions for making this an enjoyable trip where I can return my boat damage free, or am I getting in over my head...no pun intended :-)

Last edited by StuCohen; 07-12-2008 at 08:40 AM.
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Old 07-12-2008
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Hi, Stu

You'll likely find Belize a lot more easy sailing than the BVIs.

Four of us (my partner and two friends) rented a catamaran from a chartering company in January of this year, and were quite happy with the result. We sailed inside the reef, with detailed instructions. There is lots to learn about the shallow waters, reefs and coral heads, and a local guidebook will be a good investment.

There's lots of shallow water inside the reef in Belize, and many coral patches. However, much of it should be easy to navigate.

- BC Wine
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Old 07-12-2008
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You will find a lot of good information about cruising that area on this web site.

Rio Dulce Chisme Vindicator :: Index
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Old 08-05-2008
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Sailing in Belize

We returned yesterday from 1 days sailing in Belize, second trip. It is dellightful, but significantly different than BVI. First of all, the charter companies will not let you go outside the reef without a captain, so the Blue Hole will not be on your itinerary. At this time of the year I assume you will be shartering from Placentia. The "Inside Passage" will give you a deep (50 feet) water passage all the way up to Belize City without any fears of coral heads. between there and the reef there is lots of shallow water, but deep enough to sail catamarans. Problem is there are occasional coral heads close to the surface. A bow lookout is essential. No autopilot sailing here! Snorkling is awesum! Very few shoreside restaurants/nightclubs, but lots of fishing camps. You culd literally buy fresh caught lobster from a different camp every night of your trip. Laid back, friendly people, who actually enjoy helping you out, if you gently ask for help. Be delighted to answer more questions if you want to privately email me: DMGJGMD(at)earthlink(dot)net. Enjoy!
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Old 08-07-2008
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We just returned from a 1 week sail in Belize. We chartered through TMM and went with a captain. (Captain Half Inch) We went to Glovers Reef, Lighthouse Reef, and Turneffe Reef all outside the barrier reef. We visited Blue Hole. There were six of us and the captain. It was a honeymoon for one couple. We used a captain because my girlfriend and I were the only sailors and neither of us had ever sailed a cat. The captain worked out great.

The snorkeling was fantastic, the weather was great, and sail was awesome.

You can do much of your own provisioning in Placencia with little trouble. We had the time so went that route. We also bought some supplies in Belmopan while we were there for business. You can buy fresh lobster, fish, and conch from local fishermen around the cayes. We ended up trading charging a cell phone of a local for fresh conch one evening. It was our last night out so we also gave them much of our extra food, too.
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Old 12-05-2008
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Belize Cruising

My wife and I were part of a crew that chartered a TMM cat out of Placencia in April/May 2008. I finally got around to putting the log and pictures on my web site. You should find the information useful. Go to www . wingsailor . com and click on "Belize 2008 Cruise" tab at the upper left of the home page.
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Old 01-13-2009
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Just back from a week sailing out of placencia - totally fantastic places, tiny little islands that feel like you are on the edge of the world. Great sailing in some of the major channels (inner main channel, victoria channel and some others) but the charts are not especially helpful and the chartplotters all lie - the cays are NOT where the plotter says they are so it is far better to just turn it off. I would not go there without Freya Rauscher's cruising guide - the routes and waypoints in there were all good.

The thing about Belize is that there are deep water channels of 50-8o feet and then you get to a patch reef and suddenly you have 5 ft. of water under your keel. Very important to keep a sharp lookout for water color since that is what tells you whether you are in good shape. But if you have a person on the bow you can thread your way through most places - at least we never had to turn around and go back where we came - it was always possible to find a way.

It was impressive how remote the islands feel compared to the Bahamas or the Caribe - We never had more than two other sailboats in sight and usually none at all. And the islands were so beautiful they looked like they were out of dream. Some of the best reefs to snorkel and dive on that I ever saw (but I have only been in the Carribean and Mexico before so maybe I am missing something from the Pacific)

We were in a monohull with a 5 ft. draft so it is possible to get around without being in a catamaran - but the funny thing was that every single catamaran we saw was motoring! Even with 15 - 20 knots of steady wind.

If you ever go sailing out of Placencia be sure to self provision at the local grocery store - that is all the charter outfits do - they literally take your wish list to that very same grocery store and mark everything up. The store isnt too far from the docks and you can get a taxi at the gas station for cheap to transport your stuff.

The weather was perfect and the water temperature couldnt be better. And not only that, but the temperature back home is 25 degrees.
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Old 01-13-2009
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Thanks for the report Sck....glad you had a good time.
Question...can you take fish and lobster while diving on the reefs there or is it all protected?
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Old 01-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camaraderie View Post
Thanks for the report Sck....glad you had a good time.
Question...can you take fish and lobster while diving on the reefs there or is it all protected?
You can take fish, lobster, and conch in all but a few marine reserves.
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Old 01-14-2009
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Thanks Allan! Sounds yummy!!
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