Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Belize, December 2007

After many boat projects, we departed Monkey Bay Marina in the Rio Dulce on December 3 and motored down to Texan Bay at the eastern end of Lake Golfete for the night. We met Ron and Yen from Moonlight there -- they had left the day before us -- had an excellent enchilada dinner and good company. In the morning, Sherry drove Yen and Marlene down to Livingston in the big launch. What a spectacular ride that was: Sherry took us through a cut that was overflowing with lily pads all in bloom, beautiful trees and plants all around, and spectacular birds. When we exited the cut, we headed down the canyon enjoying the sights. We engaged Raul to expedite our checking out and then went to Gabys Restaurant for a great chicken lunch.

After spending a few more days at Texan Bay, we finally left on December 7, heading for Punta Gorda in Belize. We arrived around 11 a.m. to check into Belize, very efficiently and easily, we must add. We continued on to North Moho Cay for the night and enjoyed a very pleasant anchorage. We woke up to beautiful blue skies with fluffy clouds and decided to meander through some of the southern cays before heading north to Placencia, our next destination. Around noon, we thought we'd better get a move on to get to Placencia. The big fluffy clouds turned grey, the wind picked up, the squalls started -- one right after the other with heavy rainfall -- and now the wind was on our nose gusitng to 20 kts and more. In the midst of all this, our starboard motor overheated so we turned it off. Not able to make good headway, we tucked into a lagoon behind No Name Point and spent a rainy night at anchor, safely tucked in with mangroves on three sides. The rain continued in the morning, but subsided by noon. so after checking the starboard propeller and making sure the cooling water was flowing we started both motors without difficulty and got underway. We headed straight for Placencia, dropped anchor, and have been here ever since!

Placencia is a lovely town. Provisioning is very easy, there are several good restaurants, an excellent gelato store, nice gift shops, a sidewalk along the beach for walking or running, friendly people and lots of specialty stores peppered throughout the town. One spot that isn't missed by anyone is Tutti Fruiti, a store that makes incredibly wonderful gelato. We've discovered a really easy bread recipe in one of our cruiser cookbooks, so we're now baking our own bread (Marlene is, to be exact). There's nothing comparable to the smell of baking bread, even when you're out cruising! Also on the domestic front, we've become quite accustomed to doing a small load of laundry every other day (a small washing machine came with the boat) and hanging it out on lines across our cockpit. We've gotten quite used to having our clothes smelling so nice, and they come out less wrinkled than in a dryer.

Last Saturday night (December 16) we attended the 8th Annual Mistletoe Ball with several other cruisers. Hundreds of locals attended; dinner was included in our ticket price -- turkey with all the usual fixings -- and great live music for dancing on the sand in the balmy Caribbean night air. We stayed out til midnight, a rare event for us cruisers who are in bed by 9:30 most nights. Plans are underway for a Christmas dinner on the small key in the anchorage. At least 30 people are expected.

A fun thing that we've done lately is keeping in touch with friends Rob and Linda on Cat'n About via SSB radio. They're across the continent from us, now in Costa Rica on the Pacific side, and since we're on the Atlantic side it's interesting to compare weather and the towns provisions and resources. So far, both of us have good access to provisions, but their weather has been much better than ours. The Caribbean has been experiencing a series of fronts lately -- everyone says the weather improves in January.

Christmas is just a few days away -- so Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all our readers.