Isla Mujeres, Mexico, to Placencia, Belize

Our trip from Isla Mujeres to Belize, was mostly uneventful, with only a few issues!

Another boat, e2 motion, with Liz, Mark, and their dog, Max, aboard, decided to sail in company with us from Isla Mujeres to Belize. We all looked at the weather reports and listened to weather news, and decided we would leave on Saturday, the 12th of December, because the weather looked good for a departure on either Saturday or Sunday. We saved overtime charges by the port and immigration officials by checking out on Friday and leaving on Saturday, rather than checking out on Saturday and leaving on Sunday. So, Saturday it was, and so we did.

Since we had originally been planning to leave on Sunday rather than Saturday, we weren't entirely ready for the trip. That made Friday a busy day for us. The good news was we had already prepared some Arroz con Pollo and Spaghetti meals, and had them frozen, so the need for cooking underway would be limited. All we had to do was heat and eat!!

Kitty, and I both had to go into town to check out with Immigration. We completed that task, in company with Jose, the agent from Marina Paraiso, then Kitty went off to get groceries, and I went back to the marina where I stowed the outboard motor and the dinghy. I got as many dock lines in as I could while still keeping us tied securely to the dock. Kitty came back from the store, and stowed the groceries. We finished getting the boat ready around 1900, then took showers, had dinner, read for a while, and went to sleep.

Puss-N-Boots (PNB) woke up, and my “alarm clock” went off, at approximately 0530, as it has every morning since we docked in Isla Mujeres! One of the ferry companies that operates between Isla Mujeres and Puerto Juarez in Cancun, keeps their ferries docked right next to Marina Paraiso. The ferry service starts at 0600, so the ferry captain and crew arrive early and start the onboard generator. This is our “alarm clock”! After the generator runs approximately 10 to 15 minutes, they start the main engines and let them warm up, and off they go for a day's work. When PNB hears the ferry generator start up, he knows it is time to get up, so he starts walking all over me, including my face, to make sure I get up. He is a monster I have created in the mornings. When I get up, I make my coffee, then PNB and I go for a “walk”. When we were in Texas, we would actually get off of the boat, and PNB had a choreographed walk we did every morning. Since we are now cruising, and he cannot get off of the boat, we walk around the deck of the boat. He really seems to enjoy the outing, and it is a great way for me to watch the day come alive.

As I said, the alarm clock went off, I got up, made coffee, and PNB and I had our walk. Now it was time to get serious. We did the last of the stowing down below, got the engine started so it could warm up, and started removing the remaining dock lines. We had plenty of help from Tom, the Marina manager, and other boaters who are staying at Marina Paraiso. Some other boaters were on the other dock helping e2 motion get away from the dock. We waited for e2 motion, and we both headed down the Lagoon to the fuel dock. Both boats needed fuel before we started the trip.

We got all fueled up, all of the lines and fenders stowed, and we were ready. We headed out the cut in the Isla Mujeres harbor, with e2 motion leading. Unfortunately, e2 motion went a bit wide around the corner, and went aground. They were able to get off very quickly with the help of a local boat, and we continued on our way.

I knew this first day would not be easy, but I had not expected it to be as bad as it was. Once we got out of the lee of Isla Mujeres, the seas really picked up ... about 8 -10 feet ... and the wind was blowing about 20 knots. It was not as bad as the last three or four days of our passage to Isla Mujeres, but it sure was not fun. It looked like e2 Motion was not having fun either, but they were motor sailing a bit faster than we were, so they went out in front.

The day continued on, and we motor-sailed until we got to our way-point, about 40 miles off shore. My plan was to get out far enough to minimize the effects of the Yucatan current, but not going out so far as to waste time and energy. When we made the way point, we were able to head more south, so off went the engine and we sailed. I had two reefs in the main, the mizzen sail up, and the Genoa unrolled about two thirds. Our speed over ground was about five knots, so we still had some of the current against us.

We pressed on and were making good time all things considered. The night was really outstanding. There was no moon, so the shining stars were magnificent.

The next morning, the 13th of December, the seas had subsided down to 6-8 feet, so the ride was much better. Since it was daylight, I unrolled all of the Genoa, and our speed picked up to about 6.5 knots. The last time we had contact with e2 motion was midnight. I tried again the morning of the 13th, but did not get contact. Looking at the Capn software I use for navigation, it plotted we would be at our destination, Middle Long Cay, Belize, by Monday around mid-day. This was great, and worked well with our plan to get to Placencia, Belize, before the weekend.

During the day and into the evening, the wind kept dropping, and our speed dropped, too. Because I wanted to get into our anchorage in the daylight on Monday the 14th of December, I decided we would motor-sail again. We ran the engine at only 1000 RPM, as opposed to our normal cruising speed of 1500 RPM. We were able to keep up good speed, especially i considering that I rolled up about a third of the Genoa for the night-time sailing.

We still had not heard from e2 motion on the VHF radio, but we kept trying to call them every three to four hours. During the night of the 13th, it was glorious with all of the stars, and the shooting stars. We even had the treat of two or three porpoises popping up next to the boat for a couple of dives, and then they were gone. They were big ones, and it warmed the heart to see them.

Monday morning, December 14th, had us right on schedule for getting in behind the reef in Belize, and anchoring at Middle Long Key. As the day progressed, we got into the lee of the Turneffe Islands. This is a group of islands about 10 miles east of the barrier reef in Belize. They are almost like an atoll. Now we had a lot less seas, but the wind was still blowing, so we made really good time.

We arrived at the entrance of Eastern Channel just after noon. As luck would have it, just as we started into the channel, a large tanker was coming out! Because of the rain squalls coming towards us, and the need to stay in the channel, we rolled up the Genoa, and dropped the main and mizzen sail. Two of the boats who had been docked a Marina Paraiso in Isla Mujeres with us were already in Belize and anchored at Water Cay, just off of the Eastern Channel. They had heard us attempting to contact e2 motion. They had not heard anything from e2 motion, either. The two boats were anchored north of the channel, and we were turning south to go to our anchorage. We agreed to wave as we went by, but that did not happen because, just as we got to Water Cay, a huge rain squall came by and we could see nothing, neither the cay or their boats. We continued onto our anchorage, and got the anchor set on the second try.

Kitty and I were both very tired after 48 hours of four-on-four-off daytime and two-on-two-off night-time watches. Days were 0600 – 1800 and nights were 1800 – 0600. We worked on getting the boat straightened up and secured, closed up again due to more rain squalls, then we both took showers, and sat down and ate a great, hot meal. When we got the dishes done and the galley cleaned up, we were ready for bed. Before we went to bed, we went out into the cockpit, and could not believe how dark it was. We could not see the cay we were anchored behind. Good friend David to the rescue. David had loaned us his monocular night vision viewer. It worked out really great, as we were able to verify all of the cays were where we thought they should be relative to the way the wind was blowing. We piled in bed and had a great night's sleep.

One problem that we noticed as we were going to bed was a thump we kept hearing, like a small boat hitting the side of the hull. We narrowed the problem down to the back of the boat, but we were not able to find the exact problem. I went outside, and finally tracked it down. The port wind generator would spin up and start generating electricity, then all of a sudden, it would stop, causing the thump we were hearing. This was not good news, as I really use the output from both wind generators. I decided I would check the switch that turns the generator on/off/stop, when I get the time to take the switch box all apart.

Next morning, the 15th of December, we were awakened by the anchor drag alarms going off, and sure enough, we were dragging. Up and at 'em. Of course, the reason we were dragging was another rain squall was coming through, this one with 25 knot winds and driving rain. We got the situation under control, and got the anchor re-set. I had 150' feet of chain out in 12 feet of water. That should hold!

We got on the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 0800 to put out the word concerning e2 motion. No one had heard anything from them, so we were all getting concerned. We also decided to stay at our anchorage another day as it was the place we had planned to meet e2 motion, so I wanted wait as long as possible for them to arrive.

Our original plan was to stay two nights at Middle Long Key, then one night at Blue Ground Range, then sail down to Placencia on Thursday, and check into Belize on Friday. This was our plan until we heard the weather news on the net. A big cold front was going to be in Belize on Friday the 18th of December. It was an unusual front because it would be clocking around from the south, and then the main force would come in from the west. If any one knows Belize, there really are not many places that have protection from the west, so our plan would have to be modified. We could not stay in this anchorage as it would leave us too exposed to the coming weather.

Looking at the charts and cruising guides, I decided our best place to anchor and stay for the front would be Blue Ground Range. Placencia has excellent protection from the west, but nothing from the southeast or south. That would be a real zoo trying to get set as there are likely to be a lot of boats there already … cruisers as well as The Moorings charter boats ... and re-anchoring as the wind clocks around would be a nightmare. Blue Ground Range has excellent protection from all sides but the north. The wind was not supposed to start coming out of the north until Sunday, the 20th of December, so we planned to leave Blue Ground Range and head to Placencia early Sunday. Placencia has really good protection from the west, northwest, north, and northeast. Once we get to Placencia, we will finally get checked into Belize.

Note about our efforts to contact e2 motion:

For two days we attempted contact on the VHF radio, even after we got anchored up at Middle Long Key, we continued in these efforts. These attempts were made every two to six hours, though not on a regular schedule. After we were anchored at Middle Long Key, we were contacted by Tom and Doris on Footloose, and David and Debbie on Wind Dancer. The situation was discussed, and we decided to announce e2 motion as overdue on the Northwest Caribbean SSB net on Tuesday morning, December 15th. Doris from Footloose made the announcement, and there was discussion concerning the situation, but no one had had any contact with e2 motion.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 1745, December 15th, the vessel Queen Mary reported they had seen a boat that matched e2 motion's general description going into Bahia De La Espiritu Santo, but they did not see the name on the boat, so could not be sure about the identity. After the net, I called Tom, the manager, at Marina Paraiso, and asked him if he could contact the Mexican Navy about checking Bahia De La Espiritu Santo to see if e2 motion was in a port in Mexico. I also asked him to put out an announcement on the local cruisers net in Isla Mujeres concerning e2 motion being overdue.

Five cruise ships headed into Belize City on the morning of the 16th of December. After they got anchored, I contacted four of them inquiring as to whether of not they had had any VHF contact with a sail boat named e2 motion. It was negative all around. (The fifth boat did not respond at all.)

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 0800, December 16th, someone reported two phone numbers for a fish camp located in Bahia De La Espiritu Santo; one for the office, and a cell phone.

After the net I again contacted Tom, the manager, at Marina Paraiso, and asked if he could call the two numbers, and see if they could report on seeing e2 motion. I was concerned that if I talked to the person answering the phone, he/she would only speak Spanish, and I would not be able to communicate properly. Tom speaks Spanish, so he would be able to communicate with them. Tom also said if he contacted the Mexican Navy, and asked for a search for e2 motion, and they were found to be OK, then e2 motion would be financially responsible for the search. We didn't feel we could make that decision for them as it could, ostensibly, cost them their cruising kitty.

Around 1300, December 16th, I contacted Tom at Marina Paraiso, and asked him if he had any information. First off, no one had heard from e2 motion on the local cruisers net in Isla Mujeres. He told me the number at the fish camp rang, but there was no answer. He said he would try contact again on the morning of the 17th of December. Tom also said it seemed as if the cell phone number was out of service. Tom had contacted the Mexican Navy, and they said any search would be up to Belize authorities since the boat had checked out of Mexico, was headed for Belize, and the last contact was four days ago, so it should be in Belizean waters by now. We were a little disappointed at the Navy's decision, as e2 motion might still be flopping around in Mexican waters, but there was nothing we could do in the face of the Navy's decision.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 1745, December 16th, I brought everyone up to date on the situation, and asked for suggestions. No one was sure who to contact in Belize. The only consensus was to attempt contacting the Belize Defense Force.

After the net, we looked up “Radio Emergency” in Chapter 4 of the 2007 Rauscher cruising guide, and got some information concerning an amateur emergency net. We attempted contact with the net, but no response. Will attempt contact tomorrow, and also attempt to contact the Belize Defense Force.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 0800, December 17th, I issued another update, but no sighting of e2 motion so far. Ann, from Livin' the Dream, who is also the net controller today and is in Placencia, volunteered to go on shore and talk to a couple of the charter companies. It seemed a good chance that one of the charter companies had handled an emergency in Belize, and they would know who to contact concerning e2 motion. We were hoping to find out if they had checked in anywhere in Belize.

Ann from "Livin' the Dream" reported in after her trip into Placencia via VHF radio. She said the Belize authorities would contact other offices and see if e2 motion had checked in. She also checked with a charter company, and they suggested that, since e2 motion is a US registered vessel, we contact the USCG.

I then called my friend in Houston, Harold, and asked him to get in touch with the USCG SAR Center in Miami. I gave him all of the current information we had on e2 motion. Since Harold has a SSB radio, I asked him if he could join the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 1745, and give us an update. Harold said he would make the call, and try to join the net.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 1745, December 17th, Harold was able to join the net, and he told me that I needed to call the USCG SAR center in Miami and communicate with a Lieutenant Snyder. No other news on e2 motion.

After the net, I called the USCG SAR center in Miami, and spoke to a Lieutenant Joseph, because Lieutenant Snyder was off watch. I spoke to Lieutenant Joseph for about 20 minutes, filling in all of the information I had on e2 motion, which was not much. Lieutenant Joseph said they would initiate a EGC to all USCG cutters in the area in which e2 motion was likely to be located. In Coast Guard speak, an EGC is like an "all points bulletin". It is a message to all cutters in the area to be on the lookout for a specific vessel. He also said they would contact the Mexican navy and the Belize Coast Guard.

On the morning of December 18th at 0700 local, I called the USCG SAR center in Miami, and did talk to Lieutenant Snyder. She verified the EGC had been issued, and that they were getting in contact with the Mexican Navy and the Belize Coast Guard. There had been no reported sighting of e2 motion at that time.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 0800, December 18th, I checked in and brought everyone up to date on what has been happening to locate e2 motion. Gary (Chateau), who is docked in Isla Mujeres, said he had contacted the Mexican Navy, and they had no reports of e2 motion being in any Mexican port. Someone else on the net, whose name I did not get, said that Chris Parker was notified of e2 motion being overdue, and was making the announcement on his weather net.

On the afternoon of December 18th at 1700 local, I called the USCG SAR center in Miami, and talked to Lieutenant Joseph again. The Lieutenant had no further information, but did say there was a cutter in the area that was on a special look out for e2 motion.

On the morning of December 19th at 0700 local, I called the USCG SAR center in Miami, and talked to Petty Officer McKay. Petty Officer McKay had no further information on the location of e2 motion, but said she would call the Mexican RCC and see if they had any news, and would call me back.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 0800, December 19th, there was no word on the whereabouts of e2 motion.

On the afternoon of December 19th at 1700 local, I called the USCG SAR center in Miami, and spoke to Petty Officer Orria. She told me that Petty Officer McKay had contacted the Mexican RCC earlier in the day and there was no word on e2 motion. Also, no word on e2 motion from any other source.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 1745, December 19th, a boat reported that e2 motion arrived into San Pedro, Belize, this afternoon around 1400. The boat reported they had some problems, and had stopped a couple of times on the way to San Pedro. Do not have any more details. This is really great news.

After the Northwest Caribbean SSB net, I called the USCG SAR center in Miami, and reported e2 motion in port and safe. They thanked me for the information.

On the Northwest Caribbean SSB net at 0800, December 20th, it was again reported that e2 motion is safe in San Pedro, Belize. “Livin the Dream” sent an email to Chris Parker to make him aware that e2 motion was in port and safe.

Around 1030, December 20th, I called Tom at Marina Paraiso in Isla Mujeres to let them know that e2 motion was in port and safe. Tom said they already knew the status of e2 motion, but thanked me for calling.

This pretty much ends the saga of e2 motion. Until we actually get to talk to Liz and Mark face to face, we will not know the details.

This event has made Kitty and I aware that we need to come up with a form to be filled out by all parties that plan a buddy boat situation. It was amazing how much information we did not have on e2 motion, and the other side of the coin, how much information they did not have on us.

Back to the trip from Isla Mujeres to Placencia, Belize, to check into Belize.

On Wednesday morning, December 16th, we raised the anchor at Middle Long Key and were under way to Blue Ground Range. This is a small island group about half way between Middle Long Cay and Placencia. The trip down the inside of the reef was a motor sail, as the weather was not pretty. There was a short chop of 1 to 2 feet, and the wind was blowing between 20 and 25 knots. We rolled out about two thirds of the Genoa, and the engine was running at 1100 RPM, and we were doing over 6 knots.

We got to the entrance of Blue Ground Range around 1200. We used the Rauscher cruising guide way points and entrance directions to get into the anchorage area. We were able to anchor just behind a cay, in 30 feet of water. I used the Barnacle anchor and 150 feet of chain. The cay we anchored behind is un-named in the Rauscher cruising guide, but it is the cay directly south of Northeast Cay. (We have since been told that the owner's of the cay, a doctor and his wife, from Tennessee, plan to register the name as Little Blue Water Cay.)

We got settled in and had a lovely evening, and a very good night's sleep (me). Kitty was up during the night several times checking our location to make sure we did not drag anchor. When we first anchored, the wind was out of the east, but by the time we went to bed, it was blowing 20 knots out of the northeast. We were protected from wave action by cays or reef all the way around, so we were in pretty good shape. Bottom line is, we swung around a lot, but by morning we were back in the exact same location as we had been when we anchored.

December 17th was a delight. The wind was still blowing, but we had a beautiful sunrise, and the sun was out most of the day. A really delightful day after the previous day, which had been very cloudy and overcast. Early in the afternoon, two locals stopped by in their skiff. They had been lobster and conch fishing. They wanted to know if we wanted to purchase some. I asked the price, and we agreed to buy four really nice tails for $30.00 BZ. ($15.00 US). When we were finished, they threw in a fifth tail for fun. We talked and visited for some time. As it turns out, Kenny (“Bolo”) and Alex live on the cay behind which we were anchored. Bolo is the caretaker there. Small world. They left and went home, and we anticipated having lobster for dinner. I put two tails in the reefer, and the remaining three in the freezer.

Because of the oncoming front, I decided to move anchorages. I planned to move to the west side of the lagoon, and anchor there. In talking with Bolo and Alex, they said it was plenty deep where I was considering anchoring, and I should have no problem. We picked up the anchor and moved to the west side of the lagoon. We ended up with the CQR plow anchor facing the east with 175' of chain out, and the Barnacle anchor out to the west with 150' of chain out. We were able to get both set.

The evening was great. Kitty and I enjoyed a cocktail hour in the cockpit with chips, spinach dip, and rum and guava juice drinks over ice. After the cocktail hour, it was a dinner of fresh lobster, navy beans with ham, and a slice of fresh cabbage. Our fresh vegetables were running low, as we had planned to be anchored in Placencia by this evening. We are waiting out the weather and hoping to make some kind of contact with e2 motion.

December 18th was a beautiful day. Very little wind, and lots of sunshine. The front was not to come through until later in the day. The only bad news was that the wind and current had turned the boat around a couple of times, so the anchor chains were twisted. It would be a lot of fun when we finally pick up our anchors to leave Blue Ground Range.

Bolo, our local Belizean friend, and another friend of his, Norris, stopped by the boat. They had Norris' son Zane, and Alex's wife Rosie and daughter, with them. We had a nice visit, and Kitty gave them a DVD for the children, “Otis & Milo”. Bolo said they were going off to go fishing, as it was not the best day for lobster or conch. Later Bolo, Norris, and Zane stopped by the boat and gave us three very nice Porgy fillets, and an invitation to come over to Herman's house on another cay to watch “Otis & Milo” with them.

We had had a big lunch, so all we had was a brisket sandwich for dinner. We decided to hold off on the fish fillets until the next day. Bolo, Norris, and Zane picked us up at our boat around 1830. We went over to Herman's house, and also there, besides Herman, was Alex. It turns out Rosie and her daughter were still recovering from the rough weather during the fishing trip earlier, so did not join us for the movie. We had brought some popcorn, so we all sat down and watched the movie and munched. What a silly, wonderful film it was! Great pictures of lots of cute animals. After the movie, Bolo loaded up Norris, Zane, Alex, Kitty, and me into his boat and took us back to our boat. We kept the big flashlight Bolo had been using for a navigation light so we could charge it up for him.

On December 19th, Kenny (“Bolo”) Gibbs came over to the boat and visited for about six hours. It was very interesting, as we talked about our families. We are learning more about life here in Belize. The reason he came over was because of the weather. With the north and northwest winds, the bottom was so stirred up he could not dive for lobster or conch. Because it is so rough, fishing is pretty much out of the question also. He was bored, so he came over to hang out.

Bolo had breakfast with us, and afterwards, asked if he could help me with anything. I could not pass up a volunteer. Yesterday during the light winds from the south, southeast, and west, the boat had spun around in a circle, and the two anchor chains were twisted. With the predicted high winds for late tonight and tomorrow, I wanted to get the anchor chains un-twisted.

We went up to the bow, and let out all of the chain on the CQR plow anchor. We did this because at the time the wind was out of the northwest, and we were hanging on the Barnacle anchor. When we got to the end of the chain, which was tied off in the anchor locker, I untied one line and tied on another. While I was holding the end of the anchor chain, Bolo passed the line around the other anchor chain, and that was it. The chains were only twisted once. We then pulled the CQR plow anchor chain up through it's hause hole in the anchor platform at the bow. I retied the line from the anchor locker to the end of the CQR plow chain, and started the chain down into the anchor locker. I used the anchor windlass to bring in 125' feet of the chain on the CQR plow, while Bolo used the washdown system to wash the sand and coral mud off the chain. We cleaned up the hoses and lines, and were finished.

While Bolo and I were talking in the cockpit, he noticed several dolphins in the lagoon. There were some young ones that were playing and jumping clear of the water. They were wonderful to watch, and eventually they moved over closer to the boat. After they played a few minutes near the boat, they went off about their business.

Had a great dinner with with the Porgy fillets Bolo had given us. Kitty made cornbread and a great cucumber and red onion salad. I fried the fish fillets with Joe Lee's corn flour, and the dinner was wonderful!

The remainder of our time in Blue Ground Range was spent waiting out the weather. The wind was still blowing out of the northwest at 20 to 25 knots, and the inside channel was nothing but white caps.

On December 21st and 22nd, we just lazied around. Bolo and a couple of friends came by the boat and to play dominoes and Mexican Train for a couple of hours. They left, and then came back to some more. We enjoyed the time, and appreciate the friendship of the locals.

On December 22nd, Bolo took us over to the cay on which he lives, and showed us the house he had built, and also the land that had been cleared. He had many new coconut palms planted, and will have a great supply of coconuts in a couple of years. We left Bolo's cay and went to Mauricio's cay. Mauricio is one of the Bolo's friends who came over to play dominoes and Mexican Train. On Mauricio's cay, we saw his house, and all of the clearing he had done. He is also planting a lot of coconut palms and other fruit trees in the cleared area.

Bolo took us back to our boat, but not before Mauricio gave us a few really green bananas, some oranges, and two grapefruits. He also gave us something that the Garifuna (Black Caribs) community makes here. It is called cassava bread. It is like a semi-hard pita bread. It does not have an unpleasant taste, and Mauricio said you could break it up and have it in a bowl for breakfast, with milk.

That night for dinner, I fried up the grouper fillet Bolo had given us the day before. I also peeled and cut up the very green bananas and made tostones from them. It was another great meal. After dinner, Bolo, Mauricio, and Norris came by the boat and we played more dominoes. Those guys are good. I only won one game. I will have to play a lot more dominoes before I get as goods they are.

It was getting late, so we finally begged off, and asked our friends to leave. The day had settled down, and the 23rd promised to be a great day to leave Blue Ground Range. We were going to get up at sunup, because we had the two anchors to pick up, and the chains to clean before we could get under way.

On the morning December 23rd we executed our plan. We started picking up the anchors at 0610, and got underway at 0652. We headed out the cut at Blue Ground Range and headed south in the inner channel. We raised all of the sails, and started to motor sail. I was looking forward to a great sail down to Big Creek, Belize, to check in. It was not to be. The wind eventually all but died. We rolled up the Genoa, but were able to keep the main up to help a bit. There was also a 1.5 knot south-flowing current in the inner channel, so we really appreciated that. We made good time.

We sailed past Placencia, found the channel into Big Creek, and went down the channel to the port. There were no large ships at the dock, so we were able to anchor without worrying about getting in anyone's way. We were anchored at 1225. We got the dinghy set up, and motored into the shoreline. There is no dock for very small boats or dinghys. We made our way to the road and walked up to the entrance of the port.

There we met Richard, who worked for the Port. He took us into the village of Independence to the Immigration office. He said he would wait for us and take us back to the port office. He did this service for $25.00 BZ. The exchange rate is $2.00 BZ = $1.00 US. We thought this a fair price for the service. We got checked in with Immigration, so we were officially in Belize.

We went back to the port office, and checked in with Belize customs, so now the boat was officially in Belize. Next stop was BAHA, Belize Agriculture Health Authority. There we checked Puss-N-Boots into the country. The total cost so far had been the taxi ride, but at BAHA we had to pay several fees for inspections and for PNB. Those costs came to $180.00 BZ. Total checkin costs were $205.00 BZ.

When we finished at the BAHA office, we walked back down the road to our dinghy. We then went back to Dream Away. It was approximately 1445. We decided to tow the dinghy. We upped the anchor and headed out the Big Creek channel. At the end of the channel, we hung a left turn to make our way to the Placencia Cay anchorage. We got anchored and settled in after two tries. I felt good about the anchor holding, so we jumped into the dinghy and went over to the village of Placencia.

Placencia has not changed much since we were last here, in 2007. We went up the street to the Purple Space Monkey Restaurant. It reopened just a week ago. We had a nice meal there, and headed back towards the fuel dock. We stopped for delicious ice creams down near the dock. Then we went back to the boat and had nice nightcaps in the cockpit to finally celebrate our “official” arrival into Belize.

The following pictures cover from the time we left Isla Mujeres, until we checked into Big Creek, Belize. Please enjoy.

Note, in the Pictures I have shortened Blue Ground Range to BGR.

Cancun, From Between Isla and Cancun

Puerto Juarez

e2 motion Leaving Isla Behind Dream Away

Cancun From Dream Away

Cancun Hotels

Dream Away Under Way

Dream Away Underway With Cancun In Background

Admiral Driving Dream Away

Puss-N-Boots Hunkered For Passage

Puss-N-Boots In Normal Passage Mode

Both Kitties Napping

Cancun In The Distance

Cancun In The Distance

Rainbow Middle Long Cay After Anchoring

South End Middle Long Key

Middle Long Key

Cat Anchored Near Us, BGR

Palapas And Houses On Cay, BGR

Southern Cays, BGR

Cay Where Darren Lives, BGR

Cay In Front Of West Anchorage

Cay With House West Anchorage

Houses Now South Of Us, West Anchorage

Where We Went To Watch The Movie

Anchor Chains In The Water, No Wind

North End Southeast Cay, BGR

Blue Ground Range Lagoon

Bolo's Cay

Bolo On Dream Away

Proa Coming Through BGR

Dolphins Playing In The Lagoon

Sunset In Blue Ground Range

Sunset In Blue Ground Range

Sunrise In Blue Ground Range

Sunrise In Blue Ground Range

Admiral In The Cockpit

The Two Kitties In My Life

Captain ANd Puss-N-Boots

"Livin The Dream" Anchored In BGR

Houses On Point Of BGR

Caretakers House On BGR

Admiral On Bowsprit

Maya Mountains To The West

Mauricio's House, South BGR

Jonathon Town On Placencia Peninsula

Houses Built On Caostline

Houses Built On Caostline

Dream Away Under Way

Bow Wave On Dream Away

Dream Away Under Way

Dream Away Under Way