Bye Bye Belize

The charter season is over in Belize and the boats are on their way to the Rio, in Guatemala, for their annual maintenance.  I thought this would be the perfect time to post a selection of our favourite photos, from some of our most memorable experiences, while working for Belize Sailing Vacations. 

So many great memories!

Photo Credit: some of the below photos were taken by guests, specifically Andreas and Andrea Jensen, and they have graciously allowed me to use them for this post, and include their two beautiful daughters :) Thank you, Jensen family!

Goff's Caye

coconut harvesting on Goffs Caye

the view from above...

the view from below... getting to know the local Nurse Sharks

these guys are so beautiful and peaceful, and they love their sea grass. Rufus and I affectionately refer to them as "sea cows" :)

our guide, Ally, interacting with one of the rays - they know her well and greet her personally whenever she gets in the water

these two photos were taken while under way, sailing to the next 

island - perfectly calm and clear

the view from our cabin port hole, while we were sailing

seagull trying his luck for a seafood snack off the back of the boat

fresh.live.lobster.

fresh shrimps prepared the Danish way, for our Danish guests. D is for DELICIOUS!

these two gorgeous girls stole my heart!

Rufus, our Lion Fish wrangler

soon to be ceviche

there was no one else on or around this island besides the two of us, our two guests and our boat anchored in the background.

chasing a crab up a tree, doing his best crab claw impression

a coconut is not the best hiding place, as it out...

say hello!

exploring the curious and colourful town of San Pedro, on Ambergris Caye, in the north of Belize. definitely worth a visit, if only for the locally hand-made organic chocolate (!!!).

sunset view from South Water Caye

sunset view from South Water Caye

the Fernandez family from Uruguay 

you can take us out of South Africa but you can't take us away from the braai! this is one of our favourite charter meals to prepare: chicken, sweet pepper and pineapple sosaties (kebabs) on the ideally charcoal, not gas, braai (barbecue)

making furry friends on South Water Caye

sailboat sunset

Private Paradise

Ranguana Caye is a beautiful little private island, our favourite in the South. It is situated 29km/18 miles, about one hour speedboat ride, from Placencia, on the Southern Coast of Belize. It plays host to three wooden cabanas (plus one for staff), built on stilts, which sleep max three people each. 

Everything is solar powered - there are no TV's or telephones, no cell or wifi reception. Communication to the outside world is via VHF (marine radio) only and there is a generator for emergencies.

Our most memorable trip there was on Sea Dale with Ken and Elizabeth. When we arrived we were lucky enough to have it to ourselves. The water was crystal clear and warm. The pelicans were curious and eager to have their photo taken.

The caretakers were friendly and gave us space to enjoy the island and its waters all to ourselves. I spent most of my time wandering around taking photos, occasionally running into Rufus, usually hiding in between the coconut trees waiting to jump out and surprise me or being shadowed by a curious pelican.

There is a small restaurant and bar on the island, which opens only for guests, and pre-booked day trip visitors. Because it is so remote everything needs to be planned ahead of time, provisioning being part of that, just like we do on charter.  It is literally a 2 minute ride from the famous barrier reef, for some of the best diving and snorkeling in Belize and the fishing is apparently good too. I think most guests just just relax and enjoy the precious peace and quiet though - tanning, kayaking, swimming and drinking rum punch cocktails.

The owners have done a great job of creating a comfortable retreat without disturbing any of the natural island atmosphere. It still feels untouched and deserted. You have no choice but to relax and destress in that kind of environment. 

pathway to the restaurant and bar

view of the boat from the island

pelicans posing

wanderings

restaurant

mini private beach

view from one of the cabanas

hide and peek

Rufus and his pelican companion

Go Slow

"Go Slow" is the motto of a small island, in the north of Belize, named Caye Caulker. It's a few hours sail south of San Pedro (Ambergris Caye) and of all the inhabited islands in Belize, Caye Caulker is my favourite. The locals take their motto really seriously and I've even had a few of them call it out to me as I power walk between the groceries stores to re-provision during charter. 

Our first trip there was with Bernhard and Monika, on our first charter with BSV. We all enjoyed it so much that we returned to the island for a second time, as we worked our way down south again. The other motto of the island is "no shoes, no shirt, no problem!", which is not surprising as most of the locals walk around barefoot, ride bicycles or drive golf carts. I dont think I have ever seen a motor car on the island, except for at the fuel dock. Even the taxis are golf carts.

There are some great restaurants on the water's edge, most of them with sea sand floors, a great list of delicious cocktails for happy hour and fresh seafood (and local) dishes to satisfy every appetite. The buildings are rainbow candy coloured wooden structures, and almost every local has a bedraggled mutt lying on the front porch, trying to survive the heat in whichever patch of shade it can find.

Rufus and I always make sure we get some home-made coconut ice cream when we visit and the little veggie stores are well stocked and even better priced for most of your provisioning needs. There are daily water taxis to and from San Pedro as well as the mainland, if you need to get around and haven't managed to bring your own sailboat with you ;)

in case you thought I was making things up...

our first excursion on the island, with Monika & Bernhard

Monika & I

Rufus relaxing in an anchor. as you do...

sunset beach combing in search of a mojito

love the colours on this island

A Sailing Vacation

After a relaxed evening in Texan Bay we motored straight up to Nana Juana Marina and hauled Melody out onto the hard stand. We spent the rest of the day prepping her for the stay, cleaning and packing everything away, donating our remaining fruit & veg to the other cruisers and then packing our own belongings for the early morning trip back to charter work in Belize the following day.

Our boss, Cliff, and his wife, Rachael, have treated us like family since the first day we arrived in Belize and, as the season comes to an end, I've been getting a little nostalgic, looking back at photos from previous charters.

These photos are from our very first charter working for Belize Sailing Vacations. We had one of the company's other skippers, Andy, join us to help familiarise us with the routes and the boat. The charter was booked for 10 days in early July. The weather didn't cooperate with us all the time but we had a great couple onboard, from Germany, who were an absolute blast to spend time with.

our view of Aubisque as we snorkelled back from one of the islands

I never get bored of these guys

yay!

anchoring off another picturesque island

Andy and Rufus discussing spots to stop along the route

hiding in the mangroves, waiting for the bad weather to pass

even in "bad" weather, the view is still beautiful

enjoying the view 

our dinner attacked Rufus and sliced his finger open to the bone!

Rufus, our human fish finder, scouting for good snorkelling spots while we are under way

Texan Bay

We motored slowly up the river for most of the morning and, instead of heading straight to the marina for haul out, we decided to anchor in a quiet spot for the evening.

We chose Texan Bay, a tiny cruiser friendly spot located roughly half way up the river, between Livingston and Fronteras. There are a few tiny "marinas" in the bay with local casas dotted along the banks, just barely visibly between all the greenery.

We spent the afternoon swimming, exploring with our kayak and sampling some ceviche at one of the restaurants on the water. Mostly we just relaxed and took time to catch our breath after the non-stop craziness of traveling from South Africa to Belize, going straight into charter work and then rushing to get Melody to Guatemala.

happy face