Placencia, Belize

Placencia is back on the mainland, a popular place with lots of accommodation, bars & restaurants. The weather wasn’t so great with some hairy thunderstorms so we hired a car with Jen & Richard to head inland to go for a hike or two in the Bocawina National Park. One of the hikes was to the base of a waterfall, which the boys climbed to the top of with the help of ropes.

Bocaw Falls

Belinda & Ken from Free Spirit V who we had originally met in Grenada arrived in time for the Lobster festival so of course we all had to enjoy some of the festivities.
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The local band

The local band



There were all sorts of fishing competitions that the locals participated in. Here is the winning Lobster weighing in at 5.5 pounds, thanks to Belinda’s fine photography skills. Sorry Belize but they are definitely bigger in Cuba.

The winds aren’t dying down so it’s time to head to our hurricane hole in Guatemala and start boat jobs.

You better Belize it!

We entered the turquoise shallow waters of Belize, famous for its barrier reef and atolls where you go diving and snorkeling. Belizes barrier reef is the longest in the western hemisphere and the second longest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. We planned to spend about 45 days cruising the area.

Carrie Bow Cay, which has a smithsonian research centre

Carrie Bow Cay, which has a smithsonian research centre

The Belize sailing boats have an interesting design with huge sails & very friendly people

The Belize sailing boats have an interesting design with huge sails & very friendly people

Coral & fish life
The visibility in most of the offshore waters we snorkeled and dived was clear so great for seeing the marine life. The atolls were definitely the best.

spotted trunk fish

spotted trunk fish

Parrotfish

Parrotfish

Queen Triggerfish

Queen Triggerfish

a small lobster trying to hide

a small lobster trying to hide

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Elkhorn Coral

Elkhorn Coral

North Coast Belize
San Pedro and Cay Caulker were the larger islands we went to first where a lot of English and U.S. Tourists come to enjoy the casual feel of these islands. There was definitely a bigger local population base on these islands than others, with lots of restaurants and bars to go to.

 the motto on these islands

the motto on these islands

yeah our motto too

yeah our motto too

the mangoes were delicious and cut up for you

the mangoes were delicious and cut up for you

Relaxing at the Lazy Turtle showing the reef in the background

Relaxing at the Lazy Turtle showing the reef in the background

it's so windy here the kite boarders love the Caye Caulker area

it’s so windy here the kite boarders love the Caye Caulker area

golf carts are mainly used to get about these islands

golf carts are mainly used to get about these islands

lots of places to stop for a break!

lots of places to stop for a break!

Offshore atolls
We ended up going to all 3 atolls; Turneffe, Lighthouse and Glovers to enjoy some of the best snorkeling and diving Belize has to offer and were not disappointed. Lots of good wall dives with colorful coral and lobsters hiding in the most bizzar places. Also saw lots of spotted eagle rays which glide thru the water with such ease and a very large loggerhead turtle who swam to us to check us out and slowly kept going.

the coral rises from the ground at Glovers

the coral rises from the ground at Glovers

Diving with Richard & Jen again

Tube sponge

Tube sponge

Giant Brain Coral

Giant Brain Coral

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The Loggerhead turtle coming to check us out

The 1M Loggerhead turtle coming to check us out

A 1m loggerhead turtle

Slowly passing by

Even managed to catch up with lots of cruising friends at the Atolls.

At Turneffe, lobster with Ramone (Ron & his father Bernard) thanks to a local fisherman

At Turneffe, lobster with Ramone (Ron & his father Bernard) thanks to a local fisherman

With Aussies Out of the Bag (Bill & Jean), Tactical Directions (Tony) and Blue Dream (Stoney)

With Aussies Out of the Bag (Bill & Jean), Tactical Directions (Tony) and Blue Dream (Stoney)

At lighthouse on the beach with Spirit of Argo (Quinn, April & Cain)

At lighthouse on the beach with Spirit of Argo (Quinn, April & Cain)

Back diving with Jen & Richard, at Glovers Reef

Diving with Jen & Richard, at Glovers Reef

At Lighthouse Atoll we walked to the observation deck on Half Moon Cay to see the red footed booby’s and frigates nesting in the trees passing lots of hermit crabs and iguanas. It’s a reserve where they care for nesting turtles and the bird life.

The white fluffy one is a baby bobby & the others are baby frigates

The white fluffy one is a baby bobby & the others are baby frigates

A huge hermit crab eating a coconut

A huge hermit crab eating a coconut

This guy looks very healthy

This guy looks very healthy

Central Coastal Belize
The further south we got the islands were sparsely populated and mainly consisted of mangrove islands for protection. Some islands had palm trees and small beaches enticing us to come ashore.

South Water Cay was a favorite for kayching, snorkeling & diving.
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lots of marine life out snorkeling. This is a Scrawled Filefish

lots of marine life out snorkeling. This is a Scrawled Filefish

At Hatchet Cay the staff were very friendly showing us around the island. Great restaurant & bar too. I got this shot from the internet so you can see what these islands look like from above with the coral around them to go snorkeling at.
Hachet

We saw a couple of Spotted Drum fish, so pretty

We saw a couple of Spotted Drum fish, so pretty

We enjoyed the snorkeling and diving but at this time of the year the winds get up so you need to be off the outer cays and seek better protection so we are off to Placencia Cay for some inland travel and the lobster festival.

Belize Inland touring

On the way past Belize City we decided to stop at Cucumber Beach Marina on the mainland 5m south of the City to do a couple of tours inland and see some of inland Belize. Was interesting being at the Marina where the security guard walks around the area all night with a very long baton and 4 dogs. Is this place safe? Better than downtown he tells us. Downtown definitely looked interesting. Needless to stay we had a great stay and felt safe.

docked at Cucumber Beach Marina

docked at Cucumber Beach Marina

The Belize fishing boats up the river at Belize C

The Belize fishing boats up the river at Belize City

Homes in Belize seem to be made of what ever the homeowner can get his hands on to build it. All Belizians over 18yrs are entitled to a home from the govt. and have to apply but may not necessarily be accepted at that time?
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Jaguar Paws Reserve for zip lining and cave tubing was a blast and different from Mexico as we were out in the jungle.

Zip lining thru the trees

Zip lining thru the trees

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 tied together thru the caves

tied together thru the caves

 

view entering a cave

view entering a cave

 

so many expressions but yes nice & cool water

so many expressions but yes nice & cool water

We also did a tour to the Mayan Ruins of Lamanai in the province of Orange Walk. This was an hour drive to the New River and then a boat trip along the river to the Lamanai temples, viewing wildlife along the way, past one of the big Mennonite communities in the area. We also saw lots of animals and fauna while on the 25 mile boat ride.

Our small tour boat was perfect

Our small tour boat was perfect

 

Great views from the front of the boat

Great views from the front of the boat

Lots of animals to spot along the way.

a small colorful bird walking on Plants

a small colorful bird walking on Plants

A spider monkey eating his banana above us

A spider monkey eating his banana above us

 

baby croc's sunning on a log. Where's mum...no doubt watching us closely

baby croc’s sunning on a log. Where’s mum…no doubt watching us closely

There was a big Mennonite community living near the river and the men were out fishing all dressed in their Sunday bests.
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The temples at Lamanai (submerged crocodile).

The carved limestone masks at Mask Temple were in great shape still

The carved limestone masks at Mask Temple were in great shape still

The High Temple which we walked up to see the views

The High Temple which we walked up to see the views

great views out to the river we came up

great views out to the river we came up

The Royal Complex was used by the elite Mayans

The Royal Complex was used by the elite Mayans

Ways too hot inland. Off to the atolls off Belize.