Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Placencia Sidewalk Arts and Music Festival 2014

The view from our anchorage at Sapadilla Lagoon. The mountains look much larger in reality.
From this idylic anchorage we moved down to Placencia, one of the largest communities in the south of Belize. The Placencia Sidewalk Art and Music Festival is over Valentine's Weekend and something is going on from 11am to 4am. We enjoyed the art, music and food, capped by Fire Dancers at sundown. Hopefully we'll manage to get our video up on the blog. Lots of photos here to get a flavor of the festival.
Who doesn't love sweets and it's Valentine's Day!

Jewelry is the most common craft around here - of all kinds

The sidewalk on the right stretches for a mile through the
village and predates the road.

Homes and small businesses line the sidewalk

These bake sales often are run to support non profits in
the area

Artists came from all over Belize to participate

Guatemalan or Mayan embroidery and textiles are a popular
item for sale all the time.

Slogans line the sidewalk in spots of all sorts

Wooden carving and bowls are another popular craft

Most of the artists paint the local life, people and
wildlife in Belize.

Our lunch being prepared - local sausages barbecued
on tortillas with a fresh salsa

The lovely white beach stretches out next to the sidewalk
and then goes on for miles afterwards.

Looking the other direction

The children of the Placencia sailing club take turns on the
sailing dinghies.

A section of the wall at the Tipsy Tuna

And the outdoor area of the bar/restaurant

We loved this Garifuna drumming group
The Garifunas are descendents of escaped
or relocated freed slaves from all over the
Caribbean that settled on the coasts of
Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.

Close up of the lead drummer
There were lots of kids at the festival and the school
children sold their paintings to benefit the local school.
Scott was the high bidder on one of them.
I bought a pair of these - nice
This fellow was a great salesmen.
There were over 20 tents set up along the sidewalk for
artists, food vendors, musicians and just lime in'
There were lots of painting to choose from...
Something for everyone - except those who are living on
boats or I imagine tourists that have to fly home.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Glover's Reef and Sapadillo Lagoon, Belize

We're back in Placencia after a wonderful week far out on the reefs. Jim and Renate on Emerald Seas and John and Penny on Contento joined us for the trip. We owe a special thank you to Jim and Renate as they led the way through the cut in the reef going out to sea and then again through the tricky entrance into Glover's atoll. Contento and ourselves followed happily behind. Our electronic charts were way off so we relied on our guidebook heavily and our eyes - eyeball navigation it's called. We've all had lots of practice with that but it's always a bit nerve wracking. Basically it's deep blue - go on through and brown, go aground (and all the colors in between). The anchorage at the southern end of the atoll, just off Southwest Cays was spectacular as you can see from the sunrise picture in my previous blog entry. There were several coral reefs not far from our boats where we enjoyed great snorkeling. Our first night we had everyone over to our boat for drinks and substantial tapas which served for dinner. The Marisol Resort on one of the two islands gave us a great welcome. Scott, Renate and Jim did a number of dives with them. John, Penny and myself went along one morning for the ride as the dive was down the north end of the island. I do miss diving (doctor's orders) but happy I have many wonderful memories of past ones.
One night we had drinks and dinners at the resort and enjoyed spending time with Dive Masters Mora and Ali, manager Willis and bartender Cara. 
Scott and I in front of a rainbow ending on Scott Free
Scott, Penny and myself in the cockpit of Scott Free
And across from us Renate, Jim and John
Jim took pictures on their dives and shared them - here
We bought big lobsters from local fishermen and I boiled
them, took out the meat and sauteed it in butter, served
with inelegant but delicious mashed potatoes and green beans
These fishermen come far out to sea in these tiny boats and
live on them for a week at a time - 6 to 8 of them!
Lionfish are beautiful but an invasive species that has
wrecked havoc on the reefs and local fish. They are hard
to clean but luckily delcious.
Renate floating over the coral
My favorite fish, Queen Angel, colorful and with lots of
Renate, Scott and Jim almost ready to dive
After six days relaxing there the weather changed to overcast and squally. We left at 10am unfortunately with poor light. Again, Emerald Seas safely led us out and then later again in through the South Water Cut. Our destination was Sapadilla Lagoon on the mainland. Emerald Seas had been there before and loved it. They were right. It's a quiet mangrove lined lagoon and to bring a smile to our faces, the sun came out. We had a pot luck dinner that night on Emerald Seas for our three boats and Ed and Audrey on Manana. It was a great meal and even better company.
Another fishing boat at the dock of the island nearest us
and for sale now for $5 million - interested?
Renate, Jim, Heather, Scott, John and Penny at Marisol's
fun bar
The bar in the daytime
Looking down the beach at Marisol
John, Penny and Jim on Emerald Seas at SapaSdilla Lagoon
Scott, Renate, Ed and Audrey of Manana

Friday, February 07, 2014

Glover's Reef, Belize

Just a quick post, more to come later. We're out at Glover's Reef, one of the four atolls in the Western hemisphere (the rest are in the Pacific). It's the southern most one off Belize. We arrived on Tuesday and will head back Saturday. Just discovered this afternoon that they had internet (very slow) at the Marisol Resort where we've been diving so I'm sending this note and a few photos.
John & Penny from "Contento", Jim & Renate from "Emerald Seas" and Scott & I at the Marisol Resort at the south end
of Glover's Atoll

Sunrise from our boat looking over the nearby Cay

Scott getting out of his gear at the end of a great dive