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Old 05-01-2009, 16:46   #46
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S. Water is about as far as you will be able to get. We loved it there - our favorite stop. Just mention you know the folks that had to watch the NBA Finals there a couple of years ago - they will remember us.
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Old 05-01-2009, 19:04   #47
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Anyone seeing any discounts on bareboat charters for cats in Belize?
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Old 15-01-2009, 19:23   #48
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Just back from a week long charter out of Placencia. GREAT sailing and absolutely beautiful little islands to visit with nobody anywhere around. One thing to bear in mind - THE CHARTPLOTTERS ARE NOT ACCURATE. If you try to rely on them for more than approximate location you will end up on a reef. Waypoints in the Rauscher guide worked fine but the only real way to go is to look where you are going and stick to the deep blue water. It is easy enough to do this if you sail with the sun behind you or in the middle of the day. Admiralty charts were better than US charts but still only of limited help since they arent updated too often (Some parts of the charts were stated to rely on surveys from the 1840's. Yes, the 1840's - the chartplotters are based at least in part on these charts so there is no substitute for your eyes). The Moorings boat had a Raymarine plotter and I had my Garmin handheld 76 map and neither of them were accurate though the Garmin seemed a bit better.

The cayes and islands are mostly very steep to. The channels have 40-80 feet right up to a stones throw from the cays. But it is well worth it for some of the most unspoiled places I have ever been. Great sailing too.

We were chartering with Moorings so didnt go outside the reef - but still had some of the best diving and snorkeling anywhere at some of the islands right on the barrier reef. Especially good were the Queen Cays and Ranguana. The Queen cays (also called silk cays) are in a national park where the guy will come out and charge $10 per person but you can stay as long as you like. No fishing in the park though.

A note on provisioning in Placencia - Do it yourself. If you tell the charter companies to provision for you they take your shopping list to the very same grocery store that you would have to go to yourself (there is only one good one) and then mark everything up. You can get a taxi at the gas station to take your stuff to the dock for not too much.
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Old 17-01-2009, 03:45   #49
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Thanks for that sck5 - we plan to take our handheld GPs too, but I guess the girls will just have to take up residence on the trampoline and 'assume the pose'. Tough, but someone has to do it.

Provisioning is one of the few issues we have left to decide. The list of goods the Moorings would supply, if we took one of their packages, contains loads of stuff we don't need or want, so we'd quite like to shop for ourselves, but we don't arrive at the boat until 6pm on Saturday and don't know whether the shops are open on Sunday. Do you know the name of the shop you used? Peckish, who were doing online provisioning has closed so that's no good. I have also heard there is a Market in Placencia on Sunday morning but you have to get there early - great after two days of traveling from the UK!

Was the sea warm?

It's so cold here, and I can't wait to float face down in warm soft water watching the sea creatures go about their daily business - they make me laugh!
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Old 17-01-2009, 07:32   #50
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I am not sure of the hours of the grocery store or its name - There is only one and it is right on the main street close to the end of the road (which is where the gas station and town dock are). I thought it was open every day but I dont know for sure. Yes there is a Sunday market but that will be better for fruits and veg than for canned or packaged food - and you REALLY dont want to count on getting anything once you leave Placencia - there is nowhere to reprovision out in the islands, though there are a couple of places you can stop for a dinner or lunch. We stopped at South Water Cay and Ranguana Cay to eat - very good at both places.

The only way to describe the water temperature is "perfect". We brought wet suits and never used them for snorkelling though you would want them if you scuba. I grew up in the tropics and so am not inclined to go swimming in cold water but here you can stay out as long as you want - but bring sunblock, you will need it.

Truly great sea creatures. As close to Star Trek as you will ever get without leaving Earth.
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Old 17-01-2009, 07:34   #51
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Another note = If you DO get provisioning from Moorings, dont hesitate to write notes modifying their packages. For example, we said we wanted more fresh fruit and granola and less lunch meat and they were happy to do that so long as the total number of person/meals stayed the same. Be sure you ask for enough drinking water - you wont get more once you shove off.
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Old 17-01-2009, 07:49   #52
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One more note - If you DO get provisioning from the Moorings (which we did but wouldnt again) you can modify the set packages they have. For example, we asked for more fruit and granola and less lunch meats and they were OK with that so long as the total number of person/meals stayed the same. You might want to email the boss of the Moorings base, Renee Brown, email rbrown at mooringsnet dot com to be sure you get what you want if you do that. Also be sure to ask for enough drinking water since you wont get more once you shove off.

We are now on the beach north of Placencia - You think YOU are cold? The folks back where we live not too far from Canada in upstate NY are at about negative 15C right now! My wife says I will have to knock her unconscious to get her back on the plane.
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Old 23-01-2009, 14:43   #53
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Question

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Originally Posted by thatchcaye View Post
I live on an island in Belize that gets lots of cruisers in our`area. I can help with any questions people have about approaches, immigration check ins, and great places to see. I can also help with those going to Rio Dulce from Belize or with those leaving Rio Dulce and heading north.
Hello, just been reading your comments in this forum. I am new to the waters of mexico and belize. Wanting to cruise from Chetumal Bay, Mexico to San Pedro Belize. Would appreciate any help you can offer, regarding current detailed maps/routing/plotted couse etc boat is power, inboard, with 3ft draft minimum

hope to hear back from you, thanks Sun
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Old 23-01-2009, 16:21   #54
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San Pedro is about sixty miles north of here and I am not very familiar with crossing from Chetumal to there. I do know the area around here very well though. You can come in from the blue through Tobacco Caye channel and radio us here on channel 68 if you want to stop by and get more info. One of our guides has lived out here for sixteen years and knows all of Belize's southern cayes like the back of his hand. I can also check you in through immigration if you want.
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Old 23-01-2009, 16:25   #55
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There is a cat available from March onwards from Thatch Caye. It is not bareboat and comes with a captain but it is priced better than other bareboat boats. It should be on their website.
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Old 27-01-2009, 20:12   #56
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1st time sailing in Belize

We are sailing in Belize with Moorings late April 2009 and wanted some help on where to go. We will most likely follow the Moorings itinerary but would like to know where the best places are to anchor over night, where we can find fun local bars and not to miss cays to visit? We also were wondering about the big monohull vs cat recommendations as we hear cats are the only way to go. Personally we like to sail monohulls....please advise.
Thank you!
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Old 27-01-2009, 20:29   #57
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most of the moorings boats we saw were cats (all motoring as it happens, even with great wind for sailing) but we were on a mono with 5 ft draft. Most of the non-charter boats we saw were monos. There were places we had to watch it but I honestly think we would have been watching out if we were in a cat also - the channels are mostly pretty clear of stuff and the cays are very steep to for the most part - we were in 40-50 ft. a stones throw away from many of them. Being in a mono didnt constrain us at all and the reefs are pretty clear from the water color - and as I said above we wouldnt have wanted to sail into them in ANY kind of a boat. It is a good idea to have someone on the bow looking as you approach any of the cays particularly since the charts and chartplotters arent very reliable. (although my Garmin handheld seemed a bit better than the raymarine plotter on the boat) However, the Rauscher cruising guide IS pretty good. All of the reefs and shoals they had in their drawings were where they said they were and all of the approaches worked for us.
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Old 08-02-2009, 11:45   #58
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Several posts back it was recommended to take a pass on the Blue Hole.
Of the diving I did in Belize the Blue Hole was the least colorful. Had the least sea life and took the longest to get to. I would go again happily.
The "Aquarium" at Lighthouse Caye was my favorite and was one of the dives on the Blue Hole trip. That said, even the "local dives" were fantastic for me.
On my last visit I arrived by air. I can't wait to return by sea.

I have not found much info on the passage from Gulf Coast locations to the Yucatan & Belize. How is the Gulf Coast of MX? Most of the passages I have read about start in Florida and skirt Cuba. Any particular reason for this??
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Old 13-02-2009, 20:07   #59
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Mohave Steve,

This is second hand information based solely on Pat Rains cruising guide so take it with the appropriate amount of salt.

The main reasons the Gulf Coast is not recommended are shallow water and oil rigs. If you care for more details send me a PM and I'll dig out more information from the guide.
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Old 14-02-2009, 12:08   #60
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Thanks John,

Due to current economic conditions I will have plenty of time to gather info for our cruise When the time comes we are looking to move into a midsize cat. Shallow waters should not be an issue. I have never dealt with oil rigs but one would think that they would be rather easy to spot and avoid??

Are you aware of marinas & facilities on the Gulf coast of Mexico?

Thanks

Steve
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