Thursday, April 12, 2018

Lighthouse Reef, Belize

Sunset at anchor on the west side of Long Caye at Lighthouse
 Reef after our sail from Tobacco Cay. Lighthouse Reef is
an atoll 35 miles off the barrier reef in Belize. It is 22 miles
long and 5 miles wide. A living reef surrounds an interior
lagoon with a few small island around the edge. In the center
is the Blue Hole - one of the 10 most famous dives in the
world. We didn't get there this time - it's too shallow for
our boat. The dive resort didn't have enough room for us
in their weekly visit.

Scott looking fabulous relaxes with a sundowner. We
stayed a week at this beautiful spot. It got quite windy but
we found good protection from the east behind Long
Caye.

Hopefully you'll get an idea how beautiful the water is out in this pristine paradise - but the reality if much better. That's
our buddy boat Emerald Seas anchored near us. 

Scott went diving every morning with Jim & Renate - they
have a compressor on board to fill all the tanks.

"Million Dollar Beach" on Long Caye
An informal dinghy raftup with two of the other boats at
anchor with us.

Renate tries hard to get the internet working at Hurricane
Diving Resort on Long Caye. It rarely worked. 

Several groups of fisherman plied their trade around the
Reef. We enjoyed meeting them

The "mother ship" is a old wooden sloop, about
30 feet and home to 7 - 10 men for often a week
at a time. The men spend the days alone on these
small wooden canoes catching fish and diving
for conch, then return to the ship to sleep. Where?
We could never figure out.

Another beautiful sunset after a "green flash".

Even though the water is 8 feet deep, it looks like you're going to go aground any minute. Here we are approaching Half
Moon Caye in our dinghies. This spectacular Caye is located on the southeast side of the Atoll and this whole area is a
national park, administered by the Audubon Society. Cordelia had gone there for one night in their boat. We joined them
for lunch and the trip back, towing our dinghies.

We traveled with 3 boats this trip - Emerald Seas,
Cordelia and ourselves.

The coconut palms at Half Moon Caye were planted here a long time ago as a cash crop. We had to be careful not to walk directly underneath them as the nuts fall off regularly and could do some damage. There are simple accommodations
available for overnight stays.



These beautiful trails wander all over the island - signposts show the way. 

This is the view over the treetops from the viewing platform
Four thousand boobys roost here and this is nesting season.
In addition there is a rookery of magnificent frigate birds.

Here's a baby booby - a fluffy white ball and not at all
nervous.

And here's an adult.


Sunset beach looks out over the interior lagoon towards
Long Caye.

The boobys prefer these Orange Flowered Ziricote Trees
for their nest. Good taste!

Ellen from Cordelia and Renate from
Emerald Seas.

Two of the fisherman came over to sell us fish and stayed
for lunch and a beer. It was a nice change from their rather
lonely and certainly long days fishing.

The big snapper and several conch we bought provided
several great meals. I made a chowder with fish stock
made from the head and bones. Then added conch, beatten
to a lacy texture and then chopped, along with some of
the fish. The fishermen approved of my plans - most
people just throw away all but the meat.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Cruising Belize 2018

Here are a selected group of photos from our winter in Belize this year. Other than a one day tour of part of Belize south of Placencia with Renate & Jim & and his daughter Trina on Emerald Seas, when we visited a huge Spice Farm, two waterfalls and a small Mayan ruin, we cruised the Belizian cays, reefs and atolls. Hopefully these pictures will give you a feel for our time here. Our first visitors were Pam & Peter Grace, neighbors from Shrewsbury in February and our second (and last) were Russ Wolf and Larry Barns in March. Great times!!
Lotus Flower at the Spice Farm 

These flowers grow over rapidly spreading vines and are
among my favorite flowers


These brilliant flowers grow up or down.

Fruit trees of many kinds line the paths and provide shade for
some of the spices underneath


A view of the larger falls where we swam.

And the smaller falls we stopped to see on the way back

Scott, Heather, Peter and Pam Grace. They visited us in
Placencia, Belize for a week.

Pam & Peter exit the small Maya Airlines
flight from Belize City to Placencia.

Jerry and Deborah celebrated their 50th
Wedding Anniversary with us all at the
Paradise Resort

Dinghy Raftups happen spontaneously where a large group of cruisers gather - too many to meet on any one boat. Here in Spapadilla Lagoon we had 20 dinghies tied up. Then we pass appetizers around and enjoy our sundowners. 

Renate reads to Ama after I finished my art class with her.
She lives with her parents on Hideaway Cay in the
Pelican Cays and we've known her since she's been a baby.

A view from the Mayan site we visited during our one
day tour of South Belize.

Here those blue flowers above hang in chains from vines and frame a bridge over a pond filled with those pink Lotus
 flowers during our visit to the Spice Farm.

Coffee beans just harvested

Another view from the Mayan ruins.

An evacuated royal tomb

The view over Sapadilla Lagoon from our anchored boat as the sun starts to set. Hundreds of birds circle and then roost on
the small cay in the center as the sun sets.

Jerry, Scott and Deborah from Czech & Mate listen to Dave
from Cordelia playing and singing on our boat 

Just after sundown at Turniffe Atoll looking over at Emerald Seas

Scott, Heather, Russ, Renate and Jim at Yoli's Bar having BBQ just before we went to meet Larry's plane.
Lucky Heather with her two handsome friends on Scott Free
Russ and Scott with friends from Chicharnee at dinner on
King Louis Caye
Approaching the bar at EZE on South Water Caye
We were lucky to have a spontaneous concert by a group of
talented drummers, singers and later dancers!
Renate, Larry, Dave and Jerry 
Russ cuddles up to Deborah and Ellen
Larry enjoyed a long talk with a local fisherman
Many families cruise too with their kids and dog.
One thing is constant - beautiful sunsets!!