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

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

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.