Seeing is Belizing

We have been to Belize twice before on charter boats: first in 2001 (when we met and adopted Lucy)

Lucy in 2001

Little Lucy in 2001

and then again in 2010.   Even though I’d love to say that Lucy recognized her homeland, I think we were more excited anthropomorphizing her nostalgic reaction than she was to return.  Honestly the best part is that she is still with us after all these years and we were able to share another great experience with our favorite hound.

Who said you can't go home again?  Looking longingly at the homeland

Who said you can’t go home again? Looking longingly at the homeland.

Belize is bordered by a barrier reef (supposedly the longest one in the northern hemisphere) which only allows entry at certain points.  These can be treacherous and often require passing with the sun clear of clouds and well overhead.  The reason for this is that where the reef is not sticking above the water, it lies only a few feet below and you can only tell it is there from the different color of the water.  In bad light, they are invisible. Charts show shipwrecks dotted along this reef virtually every few miles.  It would be real easy without modern navigation aids to trip right over it.  When Pete and Chris came over from Roatan, they slowed down and had to wait for hours outside the reef for some squalls to pass before the light was good enough for them to see the reef entrance. However, they got inside and anchored in the cute little town of Placencia, where I met back up with them after my sojourn to the Sundance Film Festival.

Tranquil restaurant is a delightful place accessible only by boat (or I guess you could swim)

Tranquil restaurant is a delightful place accessible only by boat (or I guess you could swim)

Placencia footpath

Placencia’s footpath guide you around town

Placencia waterways

Or you can use the waterways

Placencia Selfie

Placencia Selfie

On previous trips to Belize we focused on the northern part of the country so we were thrilled to explore the southern cays, mangroves and the outer atolls.

Exploring the mangroves, sadly we didn't have a manatee sighting

Exploring the mangroves, sadly we didn’t have a manatee sighting

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Swim day. Lucy has mysteriously taken to wading out and then swimming a bit without any coaxing from us. This is new behavior.

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Why, hello dare.

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Goff’s Cay. Pete was looking for the Corona and lime from the ad.

DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPRO(Word of the day ATOLL – a ring-shaped coral reef or a string of closely spaced small coral islands, enclosing or nearly enclosing a shallow lagoon.  You’re welcome cross word puzzle lovers 😉  They lie outside the reef and reaching them requires passing back through the reef.  The waters all around Belize are crystal clear and very shallow.

The water was clear as gin.

The water was clear as gin.

It is a world of difference when you are on a charter boat (think rental car) zipping through the shallow waters of Belize without a second thought compared to gingerly putting along in your own boat through the shallows praying you won’t run aground.  We draw 4′ and at times we were uncomfortably close to the bottom.

It is slow going when you draw 4 feet and the depth finder reads 4.4

It is slow going when you draw 4 feet and the depth finder reads 4.4

After our rock encounter in Panama, we were at first a little gun-shy.  But the bottom is mostly sand and the few coral heads that do stick up are easy to spot.

Yes that is the bottom of Neko and yes that is the bottom of the sea.

Yes that is the bottom of Neko lying feet off the bottom.

After a few weeks of this dance, we were considering 8′ really deep water.  Back in California we would have had a fit if we strayed into 8′ deep water. The Belize atolls are delightfully remote and populated only by quirky little dive- or eco-resorts where everything is shipped in by boat.

clear water Belize

clear water Belize

Neko and Pegasus enjoying a romantic sunset

Neko and Pegasus enjoying an atoll sunset

James and Charlotte from Pegasus

James and Charlotte from Pegasus

Glover

Glover’s Reef with odd stick structures.

Pete and Lucy at Marisol Bar

Lucy never passes up a happy hour

 

Nothing better than a bar at the end of a dock

Nothing better than a bar at the end of a dock

Your room awaits you

Your room awaits you

We continued our diving adventures with our pals Charlotte and James on Pegasus at Glovers’ Reef and Turneffe Atoll.  The water in Belize is beautifully clear and full of coral and sea life.

Sea Hunt

Sea Hunt

Pete's new pal

Don’t touch that turtle!

Rollin' in the deep

Rollin’ in the deep

Mary and Peter Scuba II

I still can’t believe I’m doing this

Diving "The Crack" at Glover.  One at a time please

Diving “The Crack” at Glover.   Yes, this is the way up and out…WTF

We had a blast but a norther (strong wind from the north) was threatening and these islands do not have safe places to anchor with protection from north winds.  So we hustled back inside the barrier reef and ducked into the Cucumber Beach Marina to wait it out.  For our fellow boaters, this marina is well protected and a good place to pick up/drop off visitors at the airport.  Belize City itself is worth a look if you are there but I wouldn’t make a special trip.  But check out of the country there was fast and simple.

Belize City

Belize City

Ice cream stop

Ice cream stop

Local bus to Belize City

Local bus to Belize City

I passed on the cow foot soup

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Lighthouse named for a guy who paid for it but never set foot in Belize City

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Florida? Could be, but its Belize City.

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Belizean Venice? Not really…

 

For my Florida friends...I think there might be a trademark law suit here LOL

For my Florida friends…I think there might be a trademark law suit here LOL

From here on we were back in familiar territory and didn’t spend too much more time.  We couldn’t pass up a stop at Caye Caulker, an island with no cars, but loads of rastas, hippies and young people out exploring the world.  Its a fun stop and we spent about a week there.

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Happy to see a rescue dog program in place

Happy to see a rescue dog program in place

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Use your best island accent to figure this one out

 

Rasta bar

Rasta bar

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Eat here it is fantastic Italian!

Eat here it is fantastic Italian!

DSC_0268Then it was out another reef cut into the ocean for our return to Mexico, this time Caribbean side.

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Leave the yellow buoy to starboard (hope its where its supposed to be), turn left, don’t hit the rocks.

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Reefed down on the way up to the next stop, Mexico.

 

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