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Old 15-10-2018, 12:40   #1
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From Belize city to Rio dulce

Is possible to sail from Belize city to Rio dulce inside the reef with 6 ft sailboat draft?
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Old 15-10-2018, 15:57   #2
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Yes but suggest you do not sail at night if you have not done the trip before.v

Also suggest you think about checking out at Dangriga or Placencia, Belize city is much more expensive

You will need to time your entry over the bar at Livingston right and maybe even get a tow or haul over.

Contact Raul at Servamar who is the agent in Livingston for further info and costs on this

Entering the Rio Dulce

A 69 foot ketch drawing 7 ½ feet entered in 2016 under it’s own power without external assistance (it did have 280HP) and ploughed their way through the mud which is soft.

Put your yellow flag up before entering the river, this will let the Port Captain know you are a new arrival and may motivate them to appear quicker to start the check in

Waypoints
Sea Buoy moves regularity and is not always there, so along with a lot of other folks, we ignore it and use these waypoints

1. 15 50 100N 88 43 960W (out near the Sea Buoy)

2. 15 49 299N 88 44 734W (starting point for crossing bar at Livingston coming down river)

September 2017, the buoy was about 100 yards to the Northwest of the above track

Coming in from the sea this means you are aiming for about the centre of the canyon entrance.

Expect some strange, changing, minor cross currents as you enter as the depth changes and the current from the river and tides clash, not a major issue but needs to be catered for to stay on the lay line

Do not turn in towards the town too soon, wait until you are level with the Texaco dock as per Freya guide; (Note, the Texaco dock does not have a sign anymore, Look for the concrete dock with fuel pumps in front of/to the right of the Henry Berrisford Hotel)

Anchor off or near the fuel dock. The further East you go towards the sea, the shallower it gets

Rio Dulce agent
Hail Raul as "Servamar" on VHF 16 or 68 ((You may not get Raul if you hail Raul as there are many of them in Livingston) or ring him on your phone see
http://riodulcechisme.com/index.php?...=539&Itemid=35)

He is open from 0800 to 16:00 Mon - Sat. and he will arrange for a skiff to come out with all the people on board that you need to see to check in.

They may ask it you have any pets on board (Spanish for pets is mascotas) and if you are using Raul as the agent, tell them if you are so they know what to do next.


2017 September
Total check in costs for 2 persons, no pets using Raul as the agent Q1,300 or approx US$186, Raul charges US$20 for his services

9 Month extension Q2,100
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Old 15-10-2018, 16:12   #3
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Thank you very much. Very useful information. Our plan is to sail from Miami, to Key west, then Cuba or direct to I, mujeres mid February, then go south. Thinking to sail to morelos, then cayo Centro. From here to caulker and take ferry to Belize city to check in hope this is ok.
Then south check out?? And then Rio dulce.

Thank you for any suggestions
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Old 15-10-2018, 16:15   #4
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

There are only, really shallow areas, north of Belize City. Going south, it's easy all the way to the mouth of the Rio. I wouldn't check in at Belize City. Check in at San Pedro
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Old 15-10-2018, 18:00   #5
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Thank you. I was told if we anchor initially in Long day and ferry to San Pedro, they don't like it and wants everybody to enter San Pedro cut and anchor there. (Something we wont do)
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Old 15-10-2018, 18:46   #6
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Now I get you. Come in at Long Cay and go back up to Cay Caulker and anchor. Take the ferry to San Pedro. Lots of boats do that. I did it the last time I went through there. I didn't want to stop in San Pedro. For your, info it's much more shallow to the south on the way to Belize City. If you're iffy about the reef opening at San Pedro, you gotta believe. The bouy is always there.
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Old 15-10-2018, 18:53   #7
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Thank you. What about using long cay cut (easier than S. Pedro?) anchor in caulker and ferry to San Pedro for check in, out same cut (long cay) and enter again using the big one to Belize city and continue south inside.
In this way only 80nm from cayo centro.
Advice?
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Old 15-10-2018, 19:54   #8
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Not sure what Cayo Central is? How about come in the reef at Placencia and check in at Big Creek. You could check out there too. I've sailed all the way from Isla, MX to Placenica and checked in at Big Creek. It took me almost a month and they were cool with that.
San Pedro is a bouy in the reef. Long Cay is more open and less scary. The ship channel into Belize City is pretty easy, but don't check in there, go on down to Placencia.
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Old 15-10-2018, 20:47   #9
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

If I am heading south from Mexico to Rio Dulce I go inside the reef at the Belize ship channel, Rendezvous Caye and head south to Placencia inside the reef to check in/out.

If you have not been in the gap at San Pedro before and you do not have to drawing 6 foot, find another way further south, from San Pedro to the Belize ship Channel is shallow 6 - 7 foot Max.

And one final point your Chart plotter may 1/2 mile out in Belize!
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Old 15-10-2018, 23:54   #10
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

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Originally Posted by jrodri1981 View Post
Thank you. What about using long cay cut (easier than S. Pedro?) anchor in caulker and ferry to San Pedro for check in, out same cut (long cay) and enter again using the big one to Belize city and continue south inside.
In this way only 80nm from cayo centro.
Advice?
Triumpant is dead bang on. My additional 2c:

Unless you have local knowledge I dont recommend any of the cuts N of Eastern Channel (EC). My usual recommendation is the same as Triumphants...come in at EC and then clear S of there.

If you want ot clear in at Belize City then come in at EC and go to Cucumber Beach Marina...its not the cheapest option, but it is easy. Check with marina on current depth of channel. It may be a little close for you...worst case you can anchor in Sibun Bight just outside of marina and dinghy in to clear.

If you do come into Caye Caulker then you can clear in just a bit further N at San Perdro (Ambergris Caye). But with 6' draft you will be VERY close to the bottom in Ambergris Caye. You will only be able to anchor in the S end of the Ambergris Anchorage...further N you will be aground.

You can anchor w plenty of room and depth in Caye Caulker...just stay out of barge channel.

N of Drowned Cayes there is a lot of shallow water...it can be done with 6' draft but you will be very close to the bottom in some areas.
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Old 16-10-2018, 00:01   #11
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

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Originally Posted by jrodri1981 View Post
Thank you. I was told if we anchor initially in Long day and ferry to San Pedro, they don't like it and wants everybody to enter San Pedro cut and anchor there. (Something we wont do)
Yeah, you could probably ferry up and clear, but they are not going to like it...and if you draw the wrong official on the wrong day it could create more problems for you than its worth. In Belize, at any port of entry, your experience can vary a LOT depending on which official you draw. I dont recommend starting off on the wrong foot.
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Old 29-10-2018, 11:10   #12
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

We just did this route in June. Sailed from Cozumel to San Pedro. Entered the cut with no issues at all. Waypoints are accurate and the buoy was exactly where it was suppose to be. We are sailing a Beneteau 473 and we draw 5'6". Anchored and went ashore to clear. It was not problem. From there we spent the next month sailing Belize. As has been said, north can be very shallow. We never did find our way though Puerto Stuck. We went in and out at several of the cuts from San Pedro to Hatchett Cay. We never had a problem. We did Cucumber Beach marina as well. We cleared out in Palencia. Took our dinghy over and caught a taxi to big creek. Entered rio at high tide and never touched. Raul is the guy to use. Prices quoted we the same we had. No one even came to the boat. We stayed in the Rio for two months and loved it.
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Old 29-10-2018, 12:31   #13
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Glad you had a good trip!

Re cut at San Pedro. It is well charted in publications like Freya's guide and certainly passable, but the reason I and others warn people off of it is that when things go wrong there, they tend to go catastrophically wrong.

You can get thru Port O Stuck w 5'6", but its tight. Go very slow, favor the port side if S bound, and follow route in Freya's guide. Bottom is soft so no harm touching if going slow. The error many make is to be visually drawn toward the light house structure...which is in very shallow water.
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Old 29-10-2018, 14:47   #14
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

Thank you very useful information. I was reading some blogs about San Pedro and got the idea that the cut was very difficult and the anchorage a nightmare, we are planning to come from cayó norte. Enter through cayo largo cut (???) go north to cay caulker, anchor and take ferry to San Pedro to check in. Hope is ok and won’t have problems with San Pedro no anchoring there.
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Old 29-10-2018, 15:50   #15
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Re: From Belize city to Rio dulce

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Originally Posted by jrodri1981 View Post
Thank you very useful information. I was reading some blogs about San Pedro and got the idea that the cut was very difficult and the anchorage a nightmare, we are planning to come from cayó norte. Enter through cayo largo cut (???) go north to cay caulker, anchor and take ferry to San Pedro to check in. Hope is ok and won’t have problems with San Pedro no anchoring there.
The San Pedro cut does have a bit of dog leg in it. Its not difficult really in settled conditions, but getting it wrong goes ugly fast (a few boats have been lost there). Do not attempt in anything but settled conditions.

I dont personally like the anchorage or San Pedro, so I am a bit biased.

In Belize its not called Cayo Largo, but rather Long Caye.
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