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Old 05-12-2006, 04:11   #1
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Need Advice on Bareboat in Belize

My family and another family are planning on a bareboat next Christmas (2007) in Belize. 4 adults and 5 kids that all get along (miracles do happen).

We are looking at TMM vs Moorings, TMM= an older Bahaia 46, Moorings = 2004 Moorins 42.

We would certainly appreciate any advice re: 1. one company and boat versus another; 2. How is Belize this time of year - is there anything open for refueling, ice etc. once we leave port? 3. I understand we can't go outside the reef, if so do we miss many of the big draws of this cruising area? And finally are there any recommended "must sees" while down there?

Thanks to all for your advice and if you are ever cruising in Gulf Coast of FL or Martha's Vineyard and want some advice let me know.
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Old 05-12-2006, 18:22   #2
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We just returned from 19 months in the Western Caribbean including Belize. If you charter with Moorings out of Placencia your fuel, food and pretty much all you need are right there. Not sure how long you plan to charter but a fully provisioned boat and a full fuel tank go a long way. we ran in to several charters from TMM that were having a lot of issues with the boats. Moorings has so many that it does not seem to be a problem with them. If a boat has issues they take it out of service till it is repaired. As for going outside the reef, there is not too much different in the outer atolls and the holding in any kind of weather is iffy and I suspect this is one of the reasons the companies don't want you out there. I addition the waters are shallow and tricky. If you want to visit one to dive or snorkel take a dive boat out. It is less stressful and more fun. You will find more places to visit than you have time inside the reef. If you go during the rainy season be prepared for some heavy duty thunderstorms and fronts that can keep you pinned down for days. There are also some great days and superb sailing. No one can foresee weather conditions any time of the year. we found it a wonderful place to explore. You can read about our trip including the Belize area by going to

http://7knots.com./cgi-bin/list_posr...=20;all=SEARCH

and start at around page two for the Belize area. Hope you enjoy, we did.
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Old 05-12-2006, 19:55   #3
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Been There Too

S & W:
Chartered there in 8/04 with TMM. I'll answer your questions first.
1) TMM vs Moorings - Both will work, TMM smaller less formal with fewer boats.....but they were very capable, accommodating & flexible. We had multiple boats in our party and they made the best deal $$$$. I know another Skipper who chartered with Moorings there & was happy too.
2) Boats - Moorings boats are standardized throughout the world so it is easy to get info. TMM will have a few of various models. Use web sites to compare...we had a Bahia 46, Lagoon 41 (very nice) & Belize 43 from TMM.
3) You did not say how long you are going to cruise............Services once you leave Placencia will be minimal especially in the southern cruising area.
4) Outside vs inside the Reef - you will not miss anything inside unless you are big Divers.....if so, it is easy to arrange dive boats to pick you up in the cruising area take you outside & bring you back.
5) Big Attractions - Unlike other places you may have chartered/cruised, I'm not sure there are Big attractions...............it's a totally different experience......very underdeveloped, tiny cayes (islands) scattered throughout the cruising area..........it more about the natural beauty, wildlife, watersports, peace & quiet.
Ranguana Caye is definitely a place I would suggest to stop....mooring balls (a few but strong) and a nice little mini-resort with caretakers who offer drinks & cooked meals. Plus the Caye is set up so you can lounge on the beach, snorkle, fish, etc....vs other Cayes that are just sand/palm trees............or the Mangrove version (yes, two types & these tend to be buggy).
If you want a much longer version - here's info I shared with a sailnet forum member..............hint wait for an "off hour" to access
http://www.sailnet.com/forums/cruisi...ghlight=Belize

If you have anymore questions, don't hesitate.
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Old 05-12-2006, 21:11   #4
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S & W:
two things I remembered
1) Attractions - I responded re:sailing...............there are plenty of attractions on land in Belize especially Mayan ruins
2) Services - I kinda remember comments that during the winter (busy season) there are guys who cruise the area on power boats with various stuff to sell..............charter cos are definitely the best info source

Also my comments were for the southern cruising area.....there are a few more options ( ie; bar/restaurant) as you head north but nothing like you would see in BVI
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Old 06-12-2006, 11:56   #5
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Belize Charter

We did a charter in Belize with TMM last spring. Both good and bad experiences.
1. We chose TMM due to pricing and because you go out of Ambergris Cay and not Placencia (that is where the Moorings base is). San Pedro on Ambergris is a neat little town. It is easier and cheaprer to go from the airport in Belize City to Ambergris than to Placencia.
2. Belize City has nothing to offer. However, a short drive away (20-30 mi) is a great bird sanctuary, the Baboon Sanctuary, and decent Mayan ruins.
3. Everyone says to take the puddle jumper plane from Belize City which we did on the way back. However, it is cheaper and more fun to take the water taxi from the swinging bridge in downtown Belize city. About 90 min ride to San Pedro.
4. TMM runs its business as separate franchises. Thus the people in Wisconsin who do the booking have no control over the people at the base in San Pedro. This became a major issue. We booked a dive captain to go along with us and specifically asked for Horace who we knew was the only one they use who is any good (see August 02 Cruising World Article). When we arrived we found we had been assigned a chain smoking guy who is chronically ill and who I did not trust to dive with me. I raised hell and got Horace but if you decide to use a local guide make sure to call the TMM office in Belize to confirm.
5. It is easy to provision on your own. There is a large grocery 2 blocks from the TMM dock and they will bring everything over. They leave the stuff in front of the base. Keep an eye on the crates while you are loading. We had 1 crate stolen when all of us were down by the boat.
6. The weather and water were great. I do not agree with the others that there is no difference whether you go outside the reef. We took Horace because they make you take a local guide if you go outside. We found that our favorite anchorage was Half moon Cay and we were the only boat there. Gorgeous little place with a great bird sanctuary. Near the Blue hole which is over rated. Horace would go down and get us fish for dinner and the kids really liked him. If you do not dive at all then perhaps no reason to go outside the reef.
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Old 06-12-2006, 12:59   #6
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TMM = Two Bases

Just to clarify & not confuse S&A, TMM has two bases......one north in San Pedro that W is speaking about & Placencia which I used.........and yes, Moorings is nearby in Placencia too.

Slightly different cruising areas depending on length of charter & daily mileage you are comfortable with........Divers tend to gravitate toward north due to attractions in/outside reef up there...............but reef extends all the way down
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Old 07-12-2006, 15:33   #7
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Thank you all for your time in replying. A follow-up question if I may...

It seems that North vs. South is the primary decision to make. If you go north then TMM is the defacto choice but if you go south TMM or Moorings is an option.

With 5 kids and 4 adults do you have any recommendations as to N vs. S?

There also seems to be some discussion among the wives about wanting to take one of our precious sailing days and see a Mayan ruin. Nothing against the Myans, but is it worth it?

Thanks again
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Old 07-12-2006, 19:03   #8
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How Long is the Vacation

S & W:
You have yet to say how many days you will be in Belize???

Cruising Area - If you are there 10-14 days you can see most if not all - North & South without rushing..............if 7 days.........it will be much harder...........no reason to rush.
Unless You are a Diving group, I do not think the North is a must see. Placencia has it's own vibe compared to San Pedro.

Mayan ruins worth it = I'll pass since I did not sample it although I know others that did............I regret not doing it so I'll go back one day. The tough part about seeing inland sights in Belize is the under developed transportation system & roads. So although the distances are short sometimes...........the travel times are longer than used to in the USA rocketing down the interstate @ 70+. Wallm mentioned a side land trip that many do once landing in Belize City Int'l airport before flying onto San Pedro or Placencia. There are at least 3 different Mayan ruin sights in Belize and/or close to border with Guatemala

I would use other sources for land info..............here's trip advisor which also has a forum + pages/links of info
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g...Vacations.html
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Old 08-12-2006, 06:29   #9
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Chuteman - My apologies. I didn't realize you were waiting for a reply to the number of days - thought it was more of a rhetorical question. I appreciate your patience and persistance

Unfotunately right now it looks like 7 days in paradise instead of 10, mostly due to varied schedules etc.

We are really looking forward to this. I'm supposed to speak with someone from Ed Hamilton today as well. It will be interesting to hear their recommendations.

Thanks - S&W
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Old 08-12-2006, 10:17   #10
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7 Days it Is

S & A:
We did 7 days and it was fine................the only mistake we made as taking a side trip up to Queen Caye instead of staying in Ranquana a whole day & 1/2 to enjoy that beautiful setting.
We did have the caretakers there prepare dinner (have to pre-order/pre-pay) of Coconut shrimp that was wonderful especially after having happy hour (our own formula) sitting on the beach watching the sunset.
Ed Hamilton should be very helpful.............plus both TMM & Moorings web pages have sample itinerary that will work great...........you can adjust with help from base staff & knowing how your crew likes to spend time.
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Old 08-12-2006, 10:18   #11
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Belize charter

Just a few more observations:
1. We chose N vs S because I like to scuba and easier access to Lighthouse Reef, Half moon Cay, etc. The actual sailing may be a bit easier in the S.
2. I have been to a fair number of Mayan ruins and the one we went to in Belize was not particularly spectacular. We went to Altun Ha which is close to Belize city and the most developed of the ruins near the coast.
3. At least near the coast the driving is easy. You can rent a car at the airport which is somewhat east of Belize City and thus you can avoid downtown completely.
4. In the N there is an interesting new issue with the underwater national parks. They have begun to enforce an old rule that you must have a permit to anchor or moor in the parks prior to arriving at the park. It used to be you could just pay the ranger when you arrived but i guess some of the money was being pocketed. Permits can be bought in a number of places in San Pedro.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:38   #12
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TMM was a teriffic group of peple to work with, I mean the one's that are at the bases.... For all the reasons listed. You can also find more info here
Belize Yacht Charter and Sailing Vacations: San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Placencia.
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Old 08-01-2007, 12:55   #13
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We went to Belize 2 years ago and did it with a Moorings 4500. Just the 2 of us. You must be careful with the depths; my wife was up on the bow most of the time. GPS is not to accurate ou their. We are Moorings Boat Owners; the base was excellent and they keep their boats in great shape.

We brought food in from the states, mostly frozen meats and supplies you won't be able to get there. Food was scarce. Bought fresh caught fish from the local fisherman and they cleaned them and fileted them.

You won't see many boats or people, we went without seeing another boat for 7 days. We had some difficulty anchoring because of the coral heads in some anchorages.
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Old 08-01-2007, 13:47   #14
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Sonny - a few follow up questions

Sonny - Thank you for the igreat nfo. We were also thinking about bringing in some of our own food. But we were worried baout two things: First are there customs restrictions on what foods may be brought into Belieze - we'd hate to have it confiscated at the airport. Second, we were worried about being able to transport the food in a cooler on the smaller puddle jumpers from Belieze city to Placencia - how did you manage that?

Thansk again for your help (everyone else as wel)
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