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Old 23-09-2008, 09:34   #16
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We had no problems at all in Belize 2 years ago.
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Old 23-09-2008, 12:33   #17
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pass thru the reef at Ambergris Caye

Please provide info on the reef pass at Ambergris Caye. I'm been to Ambergris Caye several times via airlines and have been though "a pass' with a local, but seeing it from the outside was beyond me. what's the poop on staying off the reef while getting inside from the outside.
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Old 23-09-2008, 13:03   #18
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Passage thru reef at San Pedro, Belize

Get a copy of "Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast" by Capt. Freya Rauscher. The GPS waypoints and directions for getting thru that pass as well as other passes thru the Belize reef are detailed in that book. And do not attempt to go thru with strong easterly winds which could well obscure the pass and can cause a strong suction in the relatively narrow and shallow cut. There is a dog leg shaped turn to the north that you have to make once inside the reef in order to avoid a drying reef to your port side.
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Old 23-09-2008, 13:22   #19
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This past spring ...

We sailed from New Orleans to Belize. Cleared at San Pedro. This is one of the best places I have been. Customs and Immigration folks were great. The sailling is great. The food was great. No problems with security for us. We anchored off of the beach in front of the Sun Breeze Hotel. All I can say is 'you better belize it!'
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Old 23-09-2008, 14:07   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alaskadog View Post
Get a copy of "Cruising Guide to Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast" by Capt. Freya Rauscher. The GPS waypoints and directions for getting thru that pass as well as other passes thru the Belize reef are detailed in that book. And do not attempt to go thru with strong easterly winds which could well obscure the pass and can cause a strong suction in the relatively narrow and shallow cut. There is a dog leg shaped turn to the north that you have to make once inside the reef in order to avoid a drying reef to your port side.
Thanks Alaksdog. Just this morning I ordered my Garmin 540. Does the cruising guide also provide bearing info for the pass, just in case I lose all power just before I make landfall!! I still carry a sextant and charts, just in case! After I get the 540 I will then have my old gps, non chart plotter, as gps backup. I just need to be sure I have lots of AAs on hand... Th e"Gruising guide is on order. Again Thanks
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Old 23-09-2008, 14:58   #21
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The book has a hand drawn chart with the compass bearings and how to line up for the approach thru the San Pedro pass. There is also a buoy that you have to leave to port as you come in. And you can see this buoy once you line up to come in to the harbor area. There are usually lots of boats in the area and there may be cruisers or power boaters who can give local knowledge if you hail on VHF. The main thing to remember is do not try to push your luck by coming thru if there are big seas. I know that high is a relative term but given the low power of most auxilliary engines on sailboats one should not try to make the pass if you can not keep control of the boat. Remember the dog leg to port. Seas from the east over 5 or 6 feet may be too much to handle for many boats. The tendency is that the strong current coming in on high easterly seas will push you toward the drying patch reef. The prevailing trade winds during the winter are out of the east or southeast and it is not unusual for seas to run high for several days. If you are approaching from Mexico then the alternative is to go south to the big ship channel entrance southeast of Belize City. That is a long day sail if the winds are favorable. Then you would have to check in at Belize City about 15 miles or so across the bay once you pass the reef which brings on another set of problems. It is certainly easier and more pleasant to check in at San Pedro but it ain't worth wrecking your boat to do it.
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Old 30-09-2008, 22:41   #22
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Looks like we've made the decision to do a bareboat charter in Belize. I'm getting quotes from Moorings and TMM. We'll most likely go in the March or April 2009 timeframe.

The weather seems to be just right with less rain yet nice and warm.

I'm buying the cruising guide that Alaskadog suggested. I'm also going to provision at the base, since it seems there won't be too many choices once we're out there.

Can anyone share any thoughts on "not to miss" places or any other information that you think would be of interest?

cheers!
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Old 31-10-2008, 04:59   #23
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Chartering in Belize

Redbull, although I've got my favorite anchorages after five years of owning a yacht with The Moorings in Belize, I would suggest that following their recommended itinerary and chart briefing is best for first time charterers in this area. Don't worry about 'following the crowd', as this is a very lightly used charter area. The Moorings will provide a copy of Capt. Freya Rauscher's guide, but be aware that it is quite dated and inaccurate in many places due to the continual rearrangement of the cays by mother nature. The onboard chartplotter will be reasonably accurate, but very attentive visual navigation in good light is critical. Anchoring is a challenge due to thin sand over hard coral, so I would recommend use of the mooring balls that have been installed by a local NGO coalition whenever you can. These were free to use when I was last there, and will do much to protect the reefs and the yachts. It's a wonderful area, enjoy your charter!

Smooth Sailing,
Joe Donnaway - Durango, CO
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Old 31-10-2008, 06:25   #24
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Hi Redbull adict. Sorry if I'm a bit late, but I have only just found this site after using the Trip Advisor one for ages. If you are booking with the Moorings, you don't need to buy the Frayer Rauscher book, they send it with your confirmation!
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Old 31-10-2008, 08:06   #25
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So relevant

I'm so excited at finding this site - it's so relevant! Six of us are coming to Belize for two weeks in May 2009 and we have chartered a catamaran from Moorings in Placencia. I have already found loads of really useful info on this site but I can't quite pin down these answers to these: 1) Can we sail our catamaran out to the Blue Hole, with or without a skipper/guide. 2) Will we have to come alongside somewhere on the mainland to replenish the water tanks.

I have hundreds more questions but will keep searching the threads in case they have already been asked.

This will be our second attempt at this holiday - last year we arrived in Placencia on 3 September and Felix had other plans - we ended up in the BVI instead which was fine, but I was soooo looking forward to experiencing all the wonderful things I had read described in the forums - Perhaps now I will get my chance.

Looking forward to your answers and any other comments anyone has about sailing in Southern Belize
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Old 31-10-2008, 10:52   #26
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Hi JamuJoe - You may be interested to know that Capt Frayer has just published an updated guide and Moorings are sending this out with new booking confirmations. I love the guide, but shame about the quality of the photos
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Old 01-11-2008, 03:02   #27
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You should check with your charter operator for details.

The great Blue Hole (just a little over 400 feet deep*) lies approximately 60 miles off the mainland (out of Belize City), and is part of the Lighthouse Reef System.
http://ambergriscaye.com/maps/art/belize_mapBIG.jpg


* The dive exceeds the depth limit of an Open Water Certified Diver - technical training required to go to the bottom.
Several PADI operations service the Blue Hole, both out of Ambergris Caye or Belize City (check out PADI. The Way The World Learns to Dive). Peter Hughes' Sun Dancer II (Dancer Fleet - Peter Hughes Diving) and the Belize Aggressor III (Aggressor Fleet | The ultimate in live-aboards since 1984) both include it in their weekly itineraries.
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Old 03-11-2008, 09:39   #28
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BanyanBabe,
Thanks for the info on the updated guide. Unless there has been a recent change, the Blue Hole will be off limits for you, as Belize requires a licensed captain for any yacht going beyond the outer reef and The Moorings prohibits this as well. The Moorings base is really the only place to take on fresh water.
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Old 03-11-2008, 10:45   #29
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Thanks JamuJoe

We thought as much. Would this mean a licensed captain for 3 whole days - 1 out to the reef, 1 to the blue hole + same in reverse, or could we pick someone up on the reef? (I hope that doesn't sound too naive!) However from much of what I've read, it may be just too much effort for little return!
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Old 03-11-2008, 15:52   #30
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Belize Cruising

Thatchcaye

Cruising with Moorings in May 2009 - will it be wet in May (just remembering a particularly rainy Christmas in the Seychelles!). Moorings offer several provisioning packages for their boats but would prefer local shopping if available.

Boat based in Placencia any suggestions for absolutely not to be missed destinations on a ten day cruise out and back?

Kenny
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