Belize is a Central American country in the western Caribbean,
bordering Guatemala and Mexico.
We and two other couples -- the DiCaros from Bonsall and the
Sanduskys from Fremont -- chartered a 47-foot catamaran out of
Placentia, Belize, for a bareboat sail inside the world's
second-largest barrier reef.
Diving, fishing and sailing are the chief activities in these
waters. It was hot and humid, but not unbearable.
The Moorings boat was new, with many amenities and provisioned to
our specifications. John DiCaro, by far the most experienced sailor,
had the dubious distinction of being captain.
The water was clear, all shades of blue and warm, which was
perfect for our main activity -- snorkeling.
Meals were simple, usually grilled, and included lots of fruit.
Beverages ranged from bottled water to Jack Daniels. Each private
stateroom included a shower, but going over the side with dish soap
was a common practice.
We had T-shirts named after characters from Jimmy Buffett's book
"A Salty Piece of Land." Buffett's music dominated, but we also
enjoyed country, Copland and Mozart.
Off Belize, there are many small islands -- called cays -- which
were our targeted destinations. Most are uninhabited.
Our favorite, however, was Ranguana, which had three huts, a
three-seat bar and a caretaker, who cooked dinners of fresh conch and
For the first four days, there were only four of us. This made the
actual sailing, trimming and raising of the sails more difficult --
particularly in 25-knot winds. The boat, with its undersized winches,
sometimes seemed too big for the not-so-buff, 60-year-old-plus males.
Wind conditions varied from small-craft warnings, whitecaps, six-foot
swells and hide-if-you-can radio alerts -- to total doldrums, zero
air and water like glass.
An automatic windlass made anchoring a snap, although we set out a
secondary hook twice for added security.
Sunset cocktails, dinner and the day's final cigar -- when the
world's problems were solved -- preceded bedtime, which was typically
by 9 or 10 p.m. We literally "crashed." Then it was up at sunrise for
fresh coffee and a repeat of the previous day.
Things go wrong on boats. Ours, named Cigam -- magic spelled
backward -- consistently had alternator/generator problems.
This was very inconvenient, particularly at 2:30 a.m.
After 10 days on the water, we were very happy to relax for four
days at Robert's Grove -- a classy resort by Belize standards.
There, the major activity was moving from one hammock to another
with a pina colada.
o7-- Dan and Mari Ann Haight are residents of Newport Beach.f7
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