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Old 03-10-2015, 08:31   #121
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Re: Belize Cruising

Spent a little time over coffee editing my Belize Notes. Link to most recent version:

https://db.tt/2rECT7Qi

Some of the formatting comes out a little funky opon converting to PDF...something to work on next time.
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Old 03-10-2015, 09:09   #122
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Re: Belize Cruising

Thank you, Belizesailor for taking the time to locate the old posts for me! I am new to this and still trying to navigate the website..
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Old 03-10-2015, 19:18   #123
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Spent a little time over coffee editing my Belize Notes. Link to most recent version:

https://db.tt/2rECT7Qi

Some of the formatting comes out a little funky opon converting to PDF...something to work on next time.
Wow! These are great notes!
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Old 03-10-2015, 19:39   #124
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Wow! These are great notes!
Glad you like 'em.
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Old 03-10-2015, 19:44   #125
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Spent a little time over coffee editing my Belize Notes. Link to most recent version:

https://db.tt/2rECT7Qi

Some of the formatting comes out a little funky opon converting to PDF...something to work on next time.
Oops...just noticed the formatting is a bit more than funky...a bunch of headings are missing. Will fix and update.
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Old 04-10-2015, 09:25   #126
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Oops...just noticed the formatting is a bit more than funky...a bunch of headings are missing. Will fix and update.

I did not notice until after I posted the 2015-10-03 version of my Belize Notes, that the conversion to PDF format had gone horribly wrong and dropped most of the headers and some of the text.

Ive fixed that, very tedious, and uploaded the new version to DropBox.

The link below is to the folder containing the related files. Older versions of my notes may be in this folder too. The files have the revision date appended to the file name in CCCC-MM-DD format. Just look for the most recent date. For example, the version I just uploaded is named "Belize Notes 2015-10-04.pdf".

Link: https://db.tt/3fuBCrvs
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Old 21-12-2015, 20:33   #127
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Re: Belize Cruising

Thank you all again for the info. We just booked our charter through Sunsail for the area. This thread has been very valuable.
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Old 06-11-2017, 23:23   #128
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Re: Belize Cruising

Also the notes' links all 404. Chartering out of Placencia this coming Feb and would love access. amSteve@gmail.com. many thanks
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Old 08-11-2017, 05:58   #129
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Also the notes' links all 404. Chartering out of Placencia this coming Feb and would love access. amSteve@gmail.com. many thanks
Links are old and my notes have now been moved to Amazon Kindle. They are titled "Belize & Guatemala Cruising Notes". These are the most relevant to your charter.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XVWQD1Y

Also I have a second set of notes titled "Western Caribbean Cruising Notes" should you venture further afield in the future.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073BDLYQF


Happy to answer any questions you have here on the forum too.
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Old 08-11-2017, 08:32   #130
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Re: Belize Cruising

Yeah - I saw a link to Amazon just after posting - i've bought em and am digesting now.

But I'm hoping to pick your head about the need for local guide -- rather, why our charter's electronic charts are consistently referenced as inaccurate. Put aside the hazards of close proximity to the outer reef itself -- totally get how an understanding of winds and currents can't be charted for safe passages thru cuts.

Also totally understand the absence of top shelf, detailed surveys (though nothing since the 1800s seems a stretch - can't satellites help at least some).

And I'm not about to dispute the primacy for 'eyes first' navigation.

But that said - since most charters _don't ground and all charters have the same electronics, shouldn't we expect to have a reliable body of 'known good tracks' by now? (in that the logs from the plotters of those charters that don't ground should be informing future charters of a clear path). Shouldn't we expect the charter company to have inserted those tracks to all plotters and that this becomes integral to the pre-departure briefing?

My point isn't to challenge the need for local knowledge but to wonder why that local knowledge can't be 'uploaded' so that its physical presence is required on the boat. After all, that's precisely what your participation here is accomplishing.
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Old 08-11-2017, 10:37   #131
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Originally Posted by amSteve View Post
Yeah - I saw a link to Amazon just after posting - i've bought em and am digesting now.

But I'm hoping to pick your head about the need for local guide -- rather, why our charter's electronic charts are consistently referenced as inaccurate. Put aside the hazards of close proximity to the outer reef itself -- totally get how an understanding of winds and currents can't be charted for safe passages thru cuts.

Also totally understand the absence of top shelf, detailed surveys (though nothing since the 1800s seems a stretch - can't satellites help at least some).

And I'm not about to dispute the primacy for 'eyes first' navigation.

But that said - since most charters _don't ground and all charters have the same electronics, shouldn't we expect to have a reliable body of 'known good tracks' by now? (in that the logs from the plotters of those charters that don't ground should be informing future charters of a clear path). Shouldn't we expect the charter company to have inserted those tracks to all plotters and that this becomes integral to the pre-departure briefing?

My point isn't to challenge the need for local knowledge but to wonder why that local knowledge can't be 'uploaded' so that its physical presence is required on the boat. After all, that's precisely what your participation here is accomplishing.
No problem, happy to discuss.

Re surveys/chart accuracy. Why limited/old survey data?: Surveys are expensive, so are driven by commercial/military need. Belize has little of either. The British were the first to do surveys of Belize in the 1800's (in order to facilitate combating privateers and raping the jungle of hardwoods). Many of those old original surveys were quite good, but of course didnt cover every detail/area and focussed more on areas of interest to the British. Some understandably had some errors. These surveys too were focussed on moving British ships around, not cruising remote and complex areas of Belizean waters. Some have been preserved in museums and are pretty cool...you can see the path where they ran lead line soundings clearly on the charts for example. Fast forward to more recent times, tourism, and an invasion of another sort....cruise ships. About the only upside to cruise ships visiting Belize is that they needed accurate surveys. This resulted in updated surveys of the area around Belize City (the main port). As a result, charts (both electronic and paper) can be had which are quite accurate for this area. Take a look at Navionics around Belize City for example, very detailed and accurate. Now, pan down to the entrance to Twin Cayes at about N16.49.55 latitude, just W of Southwater Caye. The lagoon in Twin Cayes is a good all weather anchorage, with a somewhat complicated entrance...good luck getting in there with Navionics (or any other electronic charts)...there is zero hydrographic detail except for a few random, and mostly inaccurate, depth soundings. Similar examples abound all over Belize.

Also as a result of the cruise ship industry, the Placencia area has been recently surveyed...damn shame. It appears that data has found its way into electronic charts as Navionics for Plancencia harbour is now quite up to date and detailed.


More to come....
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:36   #132
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
No problem, happy to discuss.

Re surveys/chart accuracy. Why limited/old survey data?: Surveys are expensive, so are driven by commercial/military need. Belize has little of either. The British were the first to do surveys of Belize in the 1800's (in order to facilitate combating privateers and raping the jungle of hardwoods). Many of those old original surveys were quite good, but of course didnt cover every detail/area and focussed more on areas of interest to the British. Some understandably had some errors. These surveys too were focussed on moving British ships around, not cruising remote and complex areas of Belizean waters. Some have been preserved in museums and are pretty cool...you can see the path where they ran lead line soundings clearly on the charts for example. Fast forward to more recent times, tourism, and an invasion of another sort....cruise ships. About the only upside to cruise ships visiting Belize is that they needed accurate surveys. This resulted in updated surveys of the area around Belize City (the main port). As a result, charts (both electronic and paper) can be had which are quite accurate for this area. Take a look at Navionics around Belize City for example, very detailed and accurate. Now, pan down to the entrance to Twin Cayes at about N16.49.55 latitude, just W of Southwater Caye. The lagoon in Twin Cayes is a good all weather anchorage, with a somewhat complicated entrance...good luck getting in there with Navionics (or any other electronic charts)...there is zero hydrographic detail except for a few random, and mostly inaccurate, depth soundings. Similar examples abound all over Belize.

Also as a result of the cruise ship industry, the Placencia area has been recently surveyed...damn shame. It appears that data has found its way into electronic charts as Navionics for Plancencia harbour is now quite up to date and detailed.


More to come....
Cont...

As a result, since there are many areas which are popular and/or good for cruising use, but for which detailed survey data does not exist...eyeball navigation is very important in Belize...in much the same way as it is in the Bahamas, San Blas Islands, etc. There are areas, like the Bad Lands, which are so intricate that any chart is useless...purely eyeball nav.

Even with good charts, picking your way along thru complicated areas is much less stressful with local knowldge aboard.

And yes, charter boats get grounded at least a few times a year in Belize. Enough that the Gov has threatened to make local captains required on all charter boats, but has yet to make that a rule.

So, for all the above reasons, I recommend having local knowledge aboard. If nothing else, it will help de-stress your vacation. It also opens up a lot of options to you which are otherwise prohibited by the charter companies...like visiting the offshore atolls of Belize.

Re complexity and the main barrier reef. Its not the main reef thats complex, its all the shoals, reefs, islands, sand bores, etc inside the reef (and out at the atolls) which are complex. The main barrier reef is mostly pretty straight forward, with a number of easy to navigate natural cuts. The difference is that groundings inside the reef are not likely catastrophic. In contrast, if you get off course running a cut from seaward into the main reef...its almost certainly a total loss. Thus, the charter companies prohibit bareboats outside the reef. They also prohibit certain areas/routes/anchorages inside the reef.

Re waypoints and routes. Moorings/Sunsail does indeed provide a limited set of such. Cruisers have also put together such collections. These can be useful, but what I dont like about relying on them, especially laid over an inacurrate chart, is that you are now flying by instruments only and a bit of XTE can put you on a shaol. That said, below is a link to a document put together by SV Triumphant of waypoints etc for the area. Others have also contributed and/or links are included.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/cd9bp44zux...oints.doc?dl=0



More to come...
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:00   #133
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Re: Belize Cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by amSteve View Post
...

But that said - since most charters _don't ground and all charters have the same electronics, shouldn't we expect to have a reliable body of 'known good tracks' by now? (in that the logs from the plotters of those charters that don't ground should be informing future charters of a clear path). Shouldn't we expect the charter company to have inserted those tracks to all plotters and that this becomes integral to the pre-departure briefing?

My point isn't to challenge the need for local knowledge but to wonder why that local knowledge can't be 'uploaded' so that its physical presence is required on the boat. After all, that's precisely what your participation here is accomplishing.
Yes, Moorings/Sunsail do of course do a charter/chart briefing and give you recommend routes/WPs/Anchorages.

There will also be, or certainly should be, a copy of Freya Raucher's excellent cruising guide aboard your boat. THIS is the cruising navigation bible for Belize. Follow her routes (except those prohibited by charter co of course) and you will be fine. Note that given the complexity of Belizean waters, some of the hydrographic detail in Freya's charts is simplified too (so dont assume that blank space is all clear) and of course there are a number of local knowledge only routes not included.

Moorings used to inlcude a copy of Freya's with a charter booking. If they dont still do that then I suggest getting your own copy well in advance to give you time to study it.

Bottom line: if you stick to the routes etc from these two sources you will be fine, but you must follow them very closely.
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Old 08-11-2017, 12:08   #134
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Re: Belize Cruising

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Originally Posted by amSteve View Post
...

My point isn't to challenge the need for local knowledge but to wonder why that local knowledge can't be 'uploaded' so that its physical presence is required on the boat. After all, that's precisely what your participation here is accomplishing.
To an extent yes, but there is a practical difference between second hand knowledge and actual experience. Otherwise, I could do a few Google searches and perform (successful) brain surgery.

Cruising guides, notes, dicsussions, etc are a great way to prepare yourself, but they aint the same as actually being there on the water. Though as VR technology continues to filter down to the consumer level...maybe VR cruising guides are not far off!
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Old 09-11-2017, 06:37   #135
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Re: Belize Cruising

Re sattelite imagery. Other than for comfirming precise location of land masses, I havent found it that useful in Belize. Again, commercial/miltiary interest drive many things, including satellites. Much of the imagery on Google Earth for example isnt that clear/detailed. It appears they use some sort of fill algorythm for large areas of water and that obliterates some of the detail in Belize. Also lots of images with extensive cloud cover. There may be better imagery from other sources, but I havent researched it.

By contrast, there is excellent satellite imagery of Cuba.
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