These past few weeks in Belize have been incredible! We made friends, we made memories, and we made discoveries within ourselves. Belize has opened our eyes to a world full of color, culture, and community. This land will forever hold a special place in our hearts, as it was the very first stop on the voyage we have embarked on.
Upon arriving in Placencia, we were joined by family and friends for a week of birthday shenanigans, Mayan ruin exploration and some good ol fashioned sailing. Between adventures, this is where we called home.
As soon as we stepped foot on the dingy dock for the first time we were greeted by these two Canadian babes, Alyssa and Heather. They rode their bicycles from Mexico to Belize and joined us for a couple weeks on CC. They became known as the “Strong Sexy Ladies!” to us and the locals.
We were also joined by Brandon’s two lovely sisters, Michelle and Rochelle, and their 4 awesome daughters, Belle, Lyric, Dakota and Demi!
Also joining the crew was Bru’s wonderful mother Deneen, our Aussie friends Matt & Tina, and Mr. Chris Dvoracek. Thank you Chris for contributing so many awesome photos to this post!
It was such a fun experience getting to share CC with so many people after having her to ourselves for months.
After provisioning and loading everyones suitcases into CC, we pushed off on our 18 mile journey to Hatchet Caye where we would spend the next 4 days relaxing and enjoying the company of all these wonderful people.
Hatchet Caye is a private island resort 18 miles off the coast of southern Belize. The surrounding area is full of beautiful pristine reef and crystal clear waters. Our playground for the next 4 days!
And play we did, all day, everyday. We were here to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter in our lives surrounded by the people we love. It was sort of one last kick-off before we venture into the truly unknown.
We celebrated 4 birthdays during our stay at Hatchet; Deneen, Brandon, Bru and Rochelle all celebrated another trip around the sun. Capricorns unite!
Our sail back to Placencia was bitter-sweet. We cherished those last few hours, knowing it would be the last we would see many of these people for a long time. Thank you all for coming, we had a blast!
After wishing most of our family safe travels, a few of us ventured inland to the Lubaantun Mayan Ruins.
We arrived late in the evening and had the entire place to ourselves.
We all explored on our own as the sun set.
Deneen claimed to feel an ominous hum throughout the ruins..
I think we all felt something!
After about a week of vacationing with our family we were ready to get back out on the water. This time Chris, Alyssa, and Heather would join us on CC to continue our hunt for the elusive Blue Hole. But because the Blue Hole was such an epic experience, I’m going to save it for Entry 5.
During our trip back from the Blue Hole, we anchored near Half Moon Caye and had the rare pleasure of observing the Red Footed Boobies in nesting season.
It was incredible to be so close to these birds as they worked together to build the nest that would protect a single egg for months.
The Belizean fishermen pile 10 to 15 guys onto these traditional wooden sailboats. They make their way out to the edge of the reef and then deploy individual dug-out canoes.
They spend all day free diving and spear fishing with their canoes in tow as they swim. Once they fill up the canoe with fish, they make their way back to the mothership with the days catch.
After a few days, the fishermen would return to Placencia with a bounty of fresh seafood to sell. We took full advantage of this, as you can clearly see in the photo above.
On one of our last nights in Placencia we busted out the surfboard and attempted dingy surfing behind our trusty inflatable. It worked like a charm! Even though the dingy is a soft bottom, and feels like you’re riding a wet noodle, our trusty 15 horse outboard motor will put the thing up on a plane and fly. It was easy enough to pop out of the water with the throttle pegged. Poor mans wake boarding :)
That night, tragedy struck. No more than an hour after sunset, and sometime while we were playing games down below, the dingy with the surfboard inside came untied and drifted away.. We frantically searched the downwind horizon with our flashlights. There was something out there about ¼ mile away. Could it be the dingy? Scotsman wasted no time. He grabbed the other surfboard and paddled as fast as he could into the darkness. We all watched on from CC with binoculars and flashlights. After 10 minuets of paddling downwind, he decided this wasn’t the safest plan, what if he can’t find the dingy? Then we would be down a dingy, 2 surfboards and a Scotsman. So he changed course and headed for one of our sailing neighbors in hopes they would be empathetic to our situation. We watched as he swam up to their boat in the dark, “Ahoy neighbors!” he said out of breath. A few minuets later they were setting out into the darkness on their dingy. As we watched them scour the horizon in search of our dang dingbat we thought to ourselves, “Why would she leave us like this? Did we not show her enough respect calling her a wet noodle and other hurtful names?” We decided that if she came back to us, things would change, we would show her the appreciation she deserves.
An hour had past when Scotsman and the two frenchmen returned to CC, no dingy in sight. The frenchman didn’t speak much English, so when we asked why they stopped searching they simply said, “Is imposseeble,” with a thick French accent. We thanked them for trying but, “Imposseeble” didn’t fly with us! Brandon jumped on the paddle board with a fashlight and with one last attempt, disappeared into the night. Hours past and he returned with nothing. We were dinglyless! How could we be so carless as to lose our transportation to and from shore, our expedition vessel!?
Over the following few days we put word out to the locals. Lost dingy, reward if found and returned! Days past and we heard nothing of the whereabouts of the poor dingus. We figured she must have floated to Guatemala by now. On the 3rd day with no dingy, someone approached us and said they had gotten wind of a red dingy found drifting between Ranguana and Snake Caye, about 25 miles south! That night she was returned to us by the two young boys who found her. She lives to see another day!!
Before heading south to Guatemala, we made one last stop on the edge of the barrier reef, a little place called Ranguana Caye. We tied to a mooring that was surrounded by coral heads lurking in the shadows. Yet another sketchy anchorage for our deep drafted girl. One last skindive in these pristine waters. One, two, three! The tres caballeros fly off the boat and hit the water in search of one more Belizean discovery.
We tooled around the shallow reef near our anchorage finding monoliths naturally created by coral heads and giant sea fans swaying aimlessly in the warm Caribbean currents.
We must have explored for a good hour before we were greeted by a pod of curious Dolphins! Now, we were only in about 10 feet of water at this point and the visibility was no greater than 15-20 feet. You could hear their underwater chatter and as they got closer, the clicks and squeaks got louder. It was music to our ears to finally hear the dolphins song first hand. I know we’ve been dreaming of this moment for many years. If you’ve never been in the the water with a creature that is much larger than you and possibly more intelligent than you, then let me tell you about all the emotions that come flooding in. You feel a rush of excitement, fear, and euphoria all at once but there is this uncontainable urge pulling you closer and closer to these creatures. It has to be a primordial instinct that draws us to these mammals and their energy. I know that there are theories that dolphins evolved from land animals and went to live in the sea through thousands of years of evolution. The way they look you in the eyes and almost motion for you to follow them into the murky abyss, it feels so human.
We swam and played with them for about an hour. It was as if they didn’t want us to leave their world. If I could choose, I would want my next life to be lived amongst this underwater realm. The dolphins would come at us head on and right at the last moment would cut hard and fly around while keeping one eye locked on us. As they were leaving for good all five of them swam over to Bru and I, two of them split from the group, spun all around us and looked to be smiling. As if they were thanking us for our time together. Just as fast as they appeared, they vanished into the blue green canvas of water and specular light.
As we climbed back onto the boat and peeled off our wetsuits and fins I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. I couldn’t help the huge grin that overtook my now sunburnt and beard covered face. In the 5 short weeks that we have been on this journey there has been a huge shift in consciousness and appearance from the men we once were back in our old lives to where we stand here and now. Change to me is one of the greatest gifts that we could embrace in this life. It takes us down the road less traveled, it brings your dreams to life, it turns boys into men, it fills our hearts with wonder again and fills our spirt with the wisdom only acquired by experience and variety. Scotsman’s mother always told him growing up that a colorful meal is a healthy meal. I believe that the same principal relates to our lives. If you open your mind up to a new spectrum of light and color then life naturally becomes more vibrant.
We threw our bow lines from the mooring at sunrise and caught that gypsy tailwind south towards our next destination. Here we come Guatemala!!