Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back from Turneffe

We just got back to Caye Caulker after a few glorious days out on Turneffe Atoll.  We took two friends, Max and Matt out there for a few days.  They really enjoyed all the activities.  We spent hours and hours snorkeling different spots (we all got pretty sunburned), exploring the inner lagoon in the dingy looking for dolphins and conch 'hunting' aka picking them up.   As the day was winding down, Max caught a huge stingray on the fishing pole sitting off the back of the boat.  That really livened things up.  After a lap or two around the boat and constantly being threatened of being yanked over, the 3 boys got in the dingy and chased it down.  A grueling 30 minutes later, all 3 of them spent, they finally let it go.   That's ok, because we had a lovely conch dinner.  Not sure if I would eat the ray any ways.  

That evening around sunset we headed into the fish camp where 'Cricket' lives.  A 57 year old fisherman and gradfather of 7.  He has been fishing there with his brother for at least 35 years.  The amazing stories he had to tell!  About the 45' hammerhead shark that comes right up to the beach to feed on the little fish!  Yikes, near where we've were swimming!  But he only shows up once a year or so.  Dave and I have been doing a lot of reading lately on the environment and how it relates to overfishing or irresponsible fishing or managing fishing habitat.  It was so amazing to listen to the Cricket and see the other side of the story.  How they eat lobster out of season, east turtles even though the government tells them not too, and take 100's of tons of Nassau Grouper during their spawning migration.   He even gave me some rock fish roe, quite a delicacy, so that we could have it for breakfast with scrambled eggs.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Blue Streak after sunset

This amazing blue streak filled the sky shortly after sunset and lasted maybe 15 minutes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Atolls of Belize

We spent 2 glorious weeks at the outer Atolls of Belize, Turneffe and Lighthouse. We did some off the beaten track exploring, aka, no charts. We used Google Earth for a lot of our navigation. We snorkeled every single day and kayaked most days. We were having a bad fishing streak but decided our first morning there to take the boat outside the reef to try some early morning fishing. In a matter of minutes we caught 2 yellowfin tunas and one skipjack. That fed us and a few of our neighbors for our time out there. We later caught a lobster and finished the evening with a bonfire on the beach. The outer atolls are teaming with nature, turtles, lots of rays, squid (we actually chased a few out of the water), birds, alligators and of course lots of fish. One of our fellow cruisers, Jan aboard Castaway invited me out for a dive (since her husband was taking a break) so that was quite a treat to dive the beautiful coral wall. One night we were treated to a concert aboard Queen Mary. At Half Moon Cay there is a booby bird sanctuary where you can climb a platform up in the trees and see them mating, quite a show! This island is full of large hermit crabs and the elusive leaf footed lizard. We made our way to the blue hole, which was pretty cool to see but probably more impressive to see from a photo. We were blessed with days of very calm weather, i.e. glassy water, so we were able to do some snorkels, dingy traveling and wreck exploring on the windward side of the reef. We made friends with the park rangers and Dave did some bb gun rat hunting with them, yuck! We are now safely tucked away behind Caye Caulker awaiting some very strong winds, 30 knots or so from a large storm up in the U.S.


Ship Wreck and misc


Blue Streak?

A few minutes after sunset a blue streak appeared in the sky and lasted maybe fifiteen minutes. Very cool.

Nurse sharks


We spotted these six to seven foot nurse sharks in the lagoon at Half Moon Key a National Park.  Nurse sharks are supposedly harmless, however I didn't want to test that myself.  A close encounter with pretty big Bull shark while snorkeling a few days later gave us a temporary scare.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Thirty days in Belize (March/April)

We plan to sail around Belize for at least the next thirty days before heading south to Honduras. Thus far we checked out the touristy Ambergris Caye and now we're anchored at the more "tranquillo" Caye Cauker. Belize is a melting pot of traditional Mestizo, Garifuna, Creole cultures.

World famous Blue Hole

A few quick facts on Belize:

One of the lowest population densities in the world with only 320,000  people.
Three of the four coral atolls in the Western Hemisphere are also located off the coast of Belize.

The Caribbean coast is lined with a coral reef and some 450 islets and islands known locally as Cayes (pronounced "keys").

Belize Barrier Reef is the longest in the Western Hemisphere and the second longest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Sailing from Mexico to Belize

We were boarded by the Mexican Navy for a inspection.  Four guys all with loaded M-16's and full regalia and the commander was wearing shorts a tee shirt and flip flops!   Just a check of all the paper work and a very through inspection they were very polite.


Boat load of Lobster

Hmm... what's for dinner?

Imagine all these lobsters alive and crawling around