professional mariner | full-time traveller | part-time blogger | amateur photographer | semi-circumnavigator | happy wife | made in South Africa

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The Long Way Round

Once we completed our last charters it was off to the other side of the world again – this time, and for the first time, South Korea. We had been asked to join a project there for 10 days and couldn’t turn down the opportunity. We had a few days to kill before we flew to Seoul so we decided to take the long way round, via Guatemala, to visit Melody and explore a bit more than the Rio and the marina.

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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!

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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. View Post

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.

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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.

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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.

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Rollin’ up the Rio

We didn’t stay in Livingston for long. After a few hours of formalities, food and exploring the small town, we started motoring up the Rio.

We took our time, trundling along. It really is something to behold. Once you pass Livingston the river funnels into a spectacular canyon with thick tropical forest blanketing sheer rock face, straight down into the water. It’s peaceful, no noise except for the bird song, monkey calls, bugs humming and the occasional launcha, outboard motor, zipping past you.

Photos and video cannot do this experience justice. I have googled the crap out of it since and nothing I have found captures it properly.

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Going to Guatemala

As soon as we got off charter we had to get Melody ready to leave Belize. The Belizean authorities only give you a three month cruising visa for your yacht and to renew it you have to leave the country, unlike a lot of other cruising destinations in the Caribbean. Unfortunately Belize is not a very cruiser friendly country – it is ridiculously expensive, there are five different governmental departments you need to pay and for some of those fees they cannot provide you with receipts for cash paid… Need I say more? If you have ever taken your boat to Chaguaramas in Trinidad you will know what I mean when I say the Belizean authorities are as “friendly and welcoming” as the Trinis…

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Down Time in The Cayes

Some charters are full on, with hardly a moment to spare in between all the activities, meal preparation, cleaning, sailing and entertaining guests. Others, however, are more low key and the crew get a little extra time to do the chores and maintenance and then take some time for themselves, if possible.

On our first charter, back in Belize, our guests were off the boat fly-fishing for most of the daylight hours, unless the weather was bad. We used the majority of that time for maintenance, cleaning and basic boat admin but, on one particular day, we had a bit of extra free time and we made the most of it.

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Back to Belize

We got straight back to work as soon as we arrived in Belize. We seriously enjoy our jobs, running charters, and after 3 months in cold Cape Town, South Africa, we were more than ready to switch our jeans and hoodies for boardies and bikinis on a boat!

Our first charter was for one of the owners of the catamarans in the company fleet. Jon is a serious fly fisherman and the whole boat was kitted and geared specifically towards finding Permit. His friend, Peter Morse, joined him as well as Omar Arceo, a professional Belizean fishing guide with many years of experience in the local waters.

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Family & Friends

All things must come to an end and so did our time with family and friends in South Africa. We returned to Central America at the start of June and it was a tough goodbye to say after everything that happened in the 3 months while we were home.

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