8 March 2005
Honduras, Belize and the Northwest Caribbean N16.30.472 W 88.21.867
Visitors from another climate or (let it snow, let it snow, let it snow)
La Ceiba, Honduras gave us the opportunity to haul the boat for a quick bottom paint and a survey which was required by our insurance company before August. The La Ceiba Shipyard can accommodate the wide beam of Shiraz which isn't always the case for may boat yards.
La Ceiba is a city of about 90,000 people and today the local economy is based upon tourism and the fishing industry. The area also supports agricultural production with large fruit plantations, making coffee and bananas a major export. Large US fruit companies brought corporate agriculture to the area over one hundred years ago thereby creating employment opportunities. As history tells us these companies, along with the support of the US government, bullied and bribed national governments to make conditions favorable for business, that is until organized labor and reform governments balanced the relationship between host country and corporate development.
After enriching the local economy by paying our bill we headed off for Belize. We departed around 4:00 PM and calculated that we would be at the reef around day break and that we might have to heave-to until the sun got higher. But instead strong winds and a following current pushed us along at around 8 knots and we arrived about two in the morning.
The next morning we went through the cut at Ranquana and sailed off for Placentia a small town in the southern region of the country where we would clear customs and immigration. After clearing immigration, customs was insistent that we bring the boat up Big Creek to the commercial dock. We did so the next morning and cleared in without a visit from customs or the agricultural inspector. Why we had to bring the boat up river is still a question but you do what they say and everything goes easier. In the next few days we made our way north to Belize City where we met Rene's mother, brother and sister-in-law. After a few days of island hopping we anchored at Southwater Cay a beautiful island with several resorts and a university extension campus and one morning had the pleasure of meeting Doug and Rayene aboard Kristiana. Not only is Doug an affable guy that fills the Northwest Caribbean Radio net with good humor, a quick wit and the weather but he is also a spear fisherman extraordinaire. Now none of this is to leave out Rayene who is a spear fisherman on her own and together they make a team that will never go hungry. Doug and Rayene had great mentors in the sport in Jim and Vicky aboard Alegro. Everyone in Belize seems to know Jim and Vicky. They have traveled the area for more than four years and we had the pleasure of meeting them in Cartagena.
Doug and Rayene returned after a few hours on the reef with a bounty of hog fish (get that Jim) and grouper. Several blue nose in the ten pound plus range and all killed with a shot to the brain. It was particularly impressive since I hadn't seen any fish of any kind in this size range and had fished the outer reef with Johnny my brother-in-law for over an hour at day break without a bite. With great generosity Doug provided us with enough fillets for dinner that evening.
Shiraz now rest off of Placentia where we are taking a small break form snorkeling and are enjoying some restaurant food and ice cream. Mae, Johnny and Tammy wish to say hello to all their friends and relatives back in North Carolina where we understand it has been snowing the last few days.
Johnny and Tammy wanted to show some pictures to their friends at FreightLiner to prove that they
are really in Belize. They are, believe me!! Johnny has gotten a routine that may be tough to break once he enters reality again. Breakfast with good Columbian coffee, mid-morning snorkeling and/or fishing, lunch, and then it is time for an afternoon siesta. Then an early dinner and in bed by 8:00 p.m. Tammy is also quite relaxed and is learning to crochet beaded necklaces, a skill I learned in Cartegena. I have included some pictures for your viewing pleasure!
Belize is a country of 8,867 square miles, slightly smaller than the state of New Hampshire. Lying off the entire length of the coast are hundreds of coral studded cays, sheltered by the longest coral reef in the western hemisphere.
One of Belize's greatest assets as a cruising destination, is wind with no waves. The barrier reef that extends for over 200 miles breaks the incoming seas that can build up across the Caribbean Sea.
We are all getting a nice view from the deck of a dive shop/restaurant.
Anyone that knows my brother must also know that he will start and carry a conversation with anyone. So needless to say, he has had no problems fitting right in to the Belizean life style.....laid back and relaxed!
For more pictures of Belize click on the arrow to start the slide show. Remember, click on the square to stop.
Johnny and Tammy Relaxing