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Old 07-02-2010, 15:19   #16
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Do you remember the name of the boat you were on? Any problems with the boat & how was the condition? One more ?...was the staff helpful and reliable?
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Old 07-02-2010, 15:39   #17
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the name of the boat had something to do with "erin". I seem to remember a hailing port in Texas. The boat was OK except it didnt have all of its screens - but it turned out we didnt need them anyway - there werent many bugs at all out in the islands so we ended up leaving all the hatches and ports open anyway. More importantly the autopilot didnt work. It seemed like they were surprised and hadnt known about it. I would expect it to be fixed by now but they dont have parts readily available in Placencia.

We brought some battery powered little personal fans and were glad we did. It can get kind of hot in the middle of the day below decks.
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Old 08-02-2010, 11:57   #18
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SCK5,
One of the crew's name is Erin. (my 25 yr old daughter) That must be a good sign.
Couple ?'s....what month was your trip?
Usually the boats have fans in each birth and salon area....did this one not have them?
If we decided to do Tikal...could it be done in one day if we rented a car and headed out early? Do we have to check in with customs if we do go to Tikal?
Thanks,
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Old 08-02-2010, 12:09   #19
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Hi

As I recall the boat had some fans but we were glad we had more. We were there in January and it was breezy but still hot.

Tikal couldnt be done in a day. What we did was fly from Placencia in the morning, drive from Belize City to Tikal in the afternoon, and then spent the entire next day running around the ruins. There are 26 sq. miles of ruins, not all excavated and the jungle around is worth seeing all by itself - it is a biosphere preserve with monkeys, parrots, animals you have no clue what the hell they are, etc. You could spend a week there but one full day is good to hit the highlights. We drove back the next morning and flew out. I used to live in Mexico and have been to pretty much all the ruins there and in Honduras and in Peru and the only ones that were as spectacular were the ruins at Macchu Picchu. Tikal is truly amazing. You wouldnt regret taking a few days to go see it.

Yes there are customs between Belize and Guatemala but they dont amount to much. Pay a token fee, get your passport stamped and you are done. Not a big deal. The Guatemalans want you to come spend your dollars in their country and Belize is happy to have you back. There is a lot of tourist traffic over that border so they are used to it.

You will love Belize. Cruising there is what made it possible for me to convince my wife to buy a sailboat and head south to the Caribbean next Fall. Have fun!
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Old 08-02-2010, 13:04   #20
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I noticed you had a caliber....that's been our dream boat....40LRC...only in our dreams for now.
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Old 16-02-2010, 23:30   #21
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If you have the time go see the ruins

We Chartered for a week from St Pedro in March 2009. Had a great time but winds were light and motored 50% of the time. Do see the outer Cays. We took a day trip from one to an outer reef for a dive & snorkel, fantastic. Snorkeling & diving fantastic. Also did the blue hole as a pretty novice diver but being a firefighter I am used to masks.

Also if you have the time budget a week to see the sights and ruins. There is a cool cave tour to see rutual burials a mile into it, you should be comfortable with a 3-4 hour spelunking. See Tikal last and do a couple others first. Tikal is amazing. While other nervous tourists hurried back to the visitor center an hour early I sat on top of the highest ruin and had the jungle and huge grounds all by myself as the sun went down. Great for transporting yourself back to hits hey day. We spent a few days in one of the rustic jungle lodges. PM me if you want our itinerary. My wife planned the trip from a popular tour book. Have fun
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Old 28-02-2010, 10:46   #22
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Question

Hi all,

nice to see that we have a common issue...

We are chartering a 41.3 Monohaul with Moorings out of Placentia (I think it's the same boat which has been already referenced in this discussion) at end of March 2010 for 10 days.

The issue we have is that the more we get info about Belize the more we think we should have taken a cat instead...

We just found that sailing outside the reef is not allowed unless having a local skipper on board, so we are likely going to stay inside since we have been told that there should be enough wonderful places to see...
We are anyway concerned that inside the reef due to shallow waters we can not reach some (or many) of those beatiful places as we were if we would have taken a cat..
Morover since we have children and a baby with us we are not in a position to have long transfer trips with a dinghy, so the only way is to get close with the 41.3 monohull which may be a problem with our 1.5 meters draft..

Can anyone help us in understanding whether our concern is correct, so we had better to think about taking a cat instead (although it seems to be much more expensive than a monohull..) ?

We'd also appreciate any indication/suggestion about "must-see" places or best routes to take out of Placentia during our 10days charter..

Thanks !
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Old 28-02-2010, 12:57   #23
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I am sure there must be places a cat could go that we couldnt in the monohull (likely the same exact boat you are taking) but for the most part the cays in the south were pretty steep to - 60-80 ft. in the channels up to a stones throw from the cays in many places. We went to various different cays - the best are the ones on the barrier reef - and had great sailing between them in the deep channels. check out rauscsher's cruising guide and you will see routes both north south and east west that are largely clear of any hazards. A cat might be better because of the extra room you get but honestly I didnt regret having a monohull. It might be different in the cays further north but out of placencia the farthest north we got was south water cay and didnt have a problem getting there or any of the more southern places like the silk cays (dont miss them), ranguana, etc.
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Old 01-03-2010, 09:42   #24
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We spent the last two weeks of March there last year. Sailed from San Pedro to Placencia one week, Swapped out crews and sailed back to San Pedro the second week. Used a TMM cat, with lots of issues, and had kids both weeks. We liked it so much that we are going back this year, last week of March. All adults, on a Moorings cat. The south end of the reef is the best for swimming, snorkling, and solitude and sailing. The cayes have great beaches, the water is clear and there is very little current except around the reef cuts. Yes, you have to stay inside the reef which made for great sailing on the cat with great trade winds on flat water. None of the crew got even a little queasy. If you want a dive/snorkle experience on one of the outer atolls, arrangements can be made with the local dive shops to pick you up at your anchorage and take you out there for the day. I wouldn't worry about being on the monohull too much. If you follow the guide, use their GPS waypoints and keep a good visual lookout you should be fine.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:51   #25
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Hi Y'all,

I'll chime in to simply say that of all the destinations we visited on our Lagoon 380 Indigo Moon over the last five years (and 17,000 miles circimanvigating the Caribbean), Belize definately wins the "Booby" prize as the one place that we found to be NOT fun as cruisers. We were stunned. We fully expected it to be awesome and had even been there before on a dive trip!

It was a very depressing discovery indeed. And while I am VERY glad we went and saw it with our own eyes on our own boat once, I would never take my boat back there, ever. Never ever again. Not on a bet.

You can read our trip log on Belize and it will probably answer more questions than you even thought to ask at this point.

Basically, Belize has awesome underwater attributes, but we found everything above the water to be one big downer and a giant, unfriendly, hassle.

The Bahamas, USVI, BVI and the Eastern Caribbean are much better all around charter destinations as far as I am concerned . . . they have it all . . . cool stuff above AND below the water.

Indigo Moon - Rio Dulce, Guatemala to Ambergris Cay, Belize

All the best,

Buddy
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Old 02-03-2010, 15:13   #26
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Thumbs up

Thanks for your feedbacks, at this stage we are going to sail with the 41.3 monohaul, I'll keep you posted about our sailing experience out of Placentia...

Another side question, which has just come out reading a tourist guide.
Belize is reported to be at medium malaria risk with more risky areas in the southern region around Placentia (Toledo and Stann Creek districts). Preventive treatment is suggested together with mosquito repellants outside Belize City.

So question is: based on your sailing experience in Belize malaria risk and mosquito bites should be considered a big concern ? I'm just thinking at the typical case where at sunset you moor close to the shore having dinner outside and spending the night there.. Should we wrap ourselves up into mosquito nets and repellants creams or meeting a mosquito when chartering is a very unlikely event ?
Moreover having children and a baby with us we'd like to avoid to have them preventivly treated againts malaria unless strictly necessary since those treatments may have side effects...

Thanks
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Old 02-03-2010, 15:35   #27
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There were four of us. Two ate the pills (we used doxicycline) and two didnt. Nobody got sick and we didnt see any mosquitos either - this was in January.

I travel a lot in malaria areas. While I eat the pills, the best defense is to not get bitten - use the repellant (it has to have a healthy amount of DEET and DONT put it on the baby) and be especially vigilant at dusk when they come out hungry.

If I were you I would bring a mosquito net for the baby and repellent for everyone else.
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Old 02-03-2010, 20:37   #28
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We sailed out of San Pedro last March and also spent 10 days hiking all thru the jungles in Belize and Tikal. Never got a bite, but we did bring the deet just incase.
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Old 03-03-2010, 00:49   #29
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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Without getting TOO into this discussion...

We chartered a cat in Belize a few years ago. The primary reasons we went to Belize, was because we wanted to try a cat (this was before the purchase of our current boat), and we knew that Belize is really a place where a cat's advantages really shine. To make a long story short, this not only made us decide not to consider a cat purchase, but it made us dedicated monohullers. It also made us not anxious to return to Belize.

HOWEVER, with all that being said... IF I were to return to Belize on a charter... I'd choose a cat. The skinny water and fluky air (read anchoring and therefore running aground when the wind shifts) makes a cat a better choice.
Our story is very similar. The last charter we ever did was a cat in St. Vincent. We didn't go to St. Vincent just because we wanted to try out a cat, but trying it out was also a point of interest.

Two weeks on that boat was enough make a very firm decision to never consider owning a cat. It didn't help that this particular boat, a Norseman 430, was in typical flogged to death bareboat charter boat condition, but we just didn't like it, including my wife. On the other hand, for the reasons stated, the shallow draft is a fantastic advantage in the very skinny and very tricky water of the Caribbean. If I were chartering in the Caribbean again, I would probably take a cat again, just for that one reason. Not that it would be impossible in a mono, but it would increase the pucker factor by 10x, which you don't need on vacation. The pilotage is challenging enough, even with a 3 foot draft. Our present boat draws 7'6", I can't even IMAGINE sailing it in those waters.
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Old 03-03-2010, 12:39   #30
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Mgfa 24, As you probably read in a previous post we will be on a 41 mono from moorings for the whole month of December. I'll be very interested to read about your trip in March. I have this post marked to pop up on my email when there are additional posts. Have a great time. By the way we recently returned from a month in the French Polynesia area. It is a tricky area due to all the reefs especially in the anchorages. Just make sure you have good lighting and someone is at the bow in those tricky areas.
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