Monday, February 04, 2019

We're in the water now...

Blue Ground Range is a circle of small cays around a deeper lagoon. From our anchorage we could see over a submerged connecting reef to the outer barrier reef that runs the length of Belize. That's where we headed next - to South Water Cay. This is a favorite spot with several small resorts and good holding. One of the better cuts through the barrier reef is just south of the island but the anchorage is well protected from north easterly directions.
Sorry to be adding a few professional photos on this entry but I wanted you to see the view from wider prospective than
my camera could provide. We anchor right off this spot - EZE Resort on South Water Cay. The red roof building is a casual fun local feeling bar where we enjoy Happy Hour - half price drinks.
Emerald Seas, Lapis Ten Year's After and Indian Summer joined us there. We had a fun snorkel over by the tiny Carrie Bow Cay just past the opening in the reef.
Then the next morning we sailed 13 miles east to one of the few atolls outside the Pacific - Glover's Reef. This oval shaped atoll is 20 miles long and 7.5 miles wide. A few small cays rise above the encircling reef and there are a few cuts that allow passage inside. We entered through the largest, on the south east corner and made our way following the deeper blue passages to a anchorage west of Long Cay.
This is what Glover's Cay looks like from the air. There is a breaking reef around most of the atoll. This view is looking from the north. The entrance and the Cay where we anchored is in the upper left corner. 

The bottom here is tough sea grass and we had a hard time getting our anchor to bite in. It finally did but we set our anchor alarms carefully that night. Two small nice dive resorts share a nearby cay. We'd been there before and headed over for drinks with Ten Year's After, Summersalt and Emerald Seas at Mariposa Resort. Scott was hoping for some wifi to have a conference call with Rights and Democracy but it turns out they have very poor reception and it only works in the morning! It's expensive out here so far from the mainland - our two drinks came to $18 American. They were good though - carefully made Mojitos.
It was a windy night and after listening to the weather report from Chris Parker on the SSB the next morning, we decided to head back to South Water Cay. We just didn't trust our anchors to hold when the wind direction changed (sometimes in the middle of the night) and we were surrounded by either the cay or shallow reefs. Hopefully we'll be back here to do some diving and snorkeling when the weather is better. We spent a week here a few year's ago later in the season.
On the way back we had some bad problems with steering. Our auto pilot couldn't hold a course and the wheel/rudder connection seemed loose. This is a time when it's good to be with buddy boats! Luckily Scott is a very clever amateur mechanic and tore apart our bed to see the steering cables and hydraulic system underneath it. He discovered a slow leak in the hydraulic fluid so we topped it up (the boat is rock & rolling with steep waves and we're both huddled over the steering post trying to carefully pour fluid through a tiny funnel into a tiny hole!).  After pumping the wheel back and forth we were able to hand steer back through the cut to South Water Cay. What a relief to put the anchor down!
So two lovely more nights there snorkeling during the day and one memorable evening with 10 cruisers on Emerald Seas, and we had a great sail back to Placencia. We needed to be there to watch our Patriot's win the Super Bowl. Yeh! Not a exciting game but a great outcome.