We haven't been diving in days... between the tropical wave (finally gone) and the fact that the closer we got to mainland Belize the worse the visibility got, we have packed away all our dive gear until we get to the Bay Islands of Honduras, in a few months.
This corner of Belize is very close to big mountains in Guatemala and Honduras. The wind swings well north of east and blows like stink, and then turns to very light out of the south in the middle of the night. We found it challenging last night to find a protected anchorage. Where we first stopped looked fine when the wind was 10 kts, but by 4pm it was up to about 25, so we back-tracked a little and re-anchored in another spot we'd checked out on the way down.
Placencia was a very small town...mainly subsists on tourism and the Moorings charter business here. Moorings had about 10 cats and 8 monohulls and a dock. Things look a little slow right now, but I bet the place is hopping in the winter time.
We were able to get a few fresh fruits and veggies in the town vegetable market. and a bag of white flour from the 'super market'. Dave and I took a stroll around town at sunset one evening. There are lots of places to stay... from bunkhouses and a campground to luxury resorts... but not many tourist-looking people.
The best thing about Placencia was the fact that there was wifi (weak) in the harbor. Several of the establishments in town have wifi and we could just barely pick up a usable signal out on the anchor. When we went in to the town dock to get water (about a quarter mile closer to town) I got a really strong signal and was finally able to download all my internet mail (~150 messages!). I kept getting stuck trying to download an 8MB file someone sent me and the link would break...
Dave took me (and my computer) out for dinner Saturday night at the Purple Space Monkey cafe, where they had good local food, cheap rum, and free wifi. We both read our email, checked weather, etc etc. (Didn't get much of a chance to respond to the email, however).
The whole time we were in Placencia, we were under a tropical wave, so it was squally and overcast most of the time. It was also a weekend, and so the town was pretty quiet.
After asking on the net the procedure to check out of Belize for Guatemala, Dave decided it was too expensive and that we should check out at Punta Gorda, a little further south. So we are now headed for Punta Gorda.
ALL the weather sources we had said that yesterday was going to be clear, light wind day. So we though it would be a good day to explore one of the 'settled weather' anchorages. Dave was hot to see the Pelican Cays. He had a penciled note in his guidebook that said "good fishing".
We got in about noon, after working our way in to a lagoon area surrounded by drying reefs and small mangrove islands. With a few waypoints acquired earlier from cruising friends, and good light, it was very easy. The only challenge was finding a spot SHALLOW enough to anchor. Depths inside the lagoon were mostly 60-80', with a few spots that were 2'. Sheesh. We explored around quite a bit and found what seemed to be the perfect anchorage. Almost 360 degree enclosed, right behind a reef that
would block the waves but not the wind, and we lucked into a 30' spot to drop the anchor. With a couple of passes over it, we dropped the anchor in the middle of the 30' spot and backed down hard. It SEEMED well set...
We went for our afternoon snorkel, but like Spruce Cays, the visibility was bad--about 10' at most, and the water was either too deep or too shallow. We did get some lobster though. A local boat came by wanting to trade lobster for beer. We only had one beer aboard, but traded a water bottle full of rum, one beer, and a box of crackers for 4 lobster and 2 huge crabs. We both thought it was a good trade.
On our way back from our snorkel, I finally managed to find our anchor (in 30', murky water), and it really wasn't well set. It was laying on its side near a coral head, and only the tip in a rock. I made Dave go look at it and he said "it's among big coral heads and good enough for this settled weather". (hear the foreshadowing music?)
About 6:00 (nearly sunset), we got our first squall. It didn't last long, we got some needed rain, and the wind only got to 25 knots. After dinner Dave and I sat on the foredeck admiring the stars and congratulating ourselves on the nice anchorage and great Seafood Gumbo dinner.
About midnight, we felt that cold breeze and a few rain drops... We hopped out of bed to monitor the situation. Our recording anemometer recorded gusts in that one of 34 knots. I sat on the helm watching the GPS (using the maplet and 'snail trail') and it was clear that we were swinging back and forth but staying put. Dave was on the radar keeping track of the storm cells. He went back to bed when the wind died down, but I couldn't sleep. I kept watching the lightning flashes ahead and could
see the big black cloud coming at us. We had an anchor that was not properly set, in a very deep anchorage surrounded by very shallow reefs, and a very very dark night. At least we had a big honking anchor out (88 lbs) and 140' of heavy chain. Dave optimistically said "if we do drag, we won't drag far". Sherry pessimistically replied "If we DO drag, we are totally screwed."
The next squall came about 2am. This one was really bad, darker and bigger on the radar than the other two, and visually much more impressive (black and lots of lightning). After the third or fourth 40 knot gust, I could tell on the GPS that we were moving. The boat was yawing so wildly in the guts that it was hard to see what was going on, other than via the GPS. Fortunately, we only dragged a little bit... maybe 15-20'. We seemed to hook up well and be swinging an arc just behind the previous
We slept fitfully the rest of the night, but thankfully got no more big squalls. However, the final straw was waking up to west winds. We were backed up to our 'protecting' reef. Fortunately they were very light and we were just swinging on our chain. If we'd gotten enough wind to stretch out the chain, we'd have been up against the reef. By then the sky was getting light. As soon as it was light enough to pick our way out of there, we left.
Other than a mention of a tropical wave over Honduras (120 miles to windward), there is no mention in any of this morning's forecast of the weather we are seeing.
We re-learned one of the first cruising lessons I ever learned... whatever it takes, ALWAYS make sure your anchor is well set. And never trust the forecast, especially during thunderstorm season.
We are headed for Placencia this morning for a more protected anchorage, a few provisions, water, and maybe ice cream!
Yesterday we moved back out to Long Cay, in preparation for our departure for points south. We were originally going back to our previous anchorage, but Dave had put the fishing line out, and the batteries needed a little charging, and so we kept on motoring south along the wall. We saw another opening in the reef here we could get in, near the south end of Long Cay. So we went in and anchored near some nice looking coral heads.
We spent a few hours snorkeling and exploring in the dinghy, but though there were a whole bunch of lobster holes we only got one (a nice big one though), and never did see a live conch. Quite a change from further north. But we had fresh lobster spaghetti last night. Dave promises to catch me a fish today.
Today we are leaving Lighthouse Reef, sailing along the back side of Glover's Reef, and in through the mainland reef at South Water Cut. We may stop for a snorkel along the back side of the reef at Glovers, if we see a spot we can pull in and anchor. Our dive book has a few dive flags on that side, but it doesn't have waypoints. Neither of our two guidebooks mention anything about the back side of Glovers.
Still having fun!
Visibility was great and Dave and I both took our cameras. We'll have lots of pics to share when we next get internet access.
We also went in to the park 'office' and checked in. We were astonished at how expensive it was. They charged us $30 US APIECE to dive the Blue Hole and $10 US each to be in the Half Moon Cay park area (not per day, but for as long as we stay here). When I was here in Island Time in '97, there wasn't any charge, and when Dave was here in 2002, the charge was only $5 for the boat. We had only taken in $25, so had to go back out to the boat to get more money. We were first suspicious that we were
getting ripped off, but he had pre-printed 4-color 'tickets' to give us, showing the price. It isn't THAT expensive in U.S. terms but it is outrageously high in Western Caribbean terms. Belize has certainly been discovered.
We haven't seen another cruising boat since we left Florida, except for one in the marina in Belize City, and he was making way as fast as he could back to Florida. There is a 'Northwest Caribbean Net' on the radio that we've been listening in on. Us and 2 other boats are the only ones on. Everyone else has either gone back to Florida or skedaddled up the Rio for hurricane season. There are a couple of charter sail boats in Belize and one bareboat outfit that operates out of the south end of Belize,
but the bareboats aren't allowed out to the outer reefs.
I think we're going to stay here another day or two, and then start making our way further south.
Around noon, all the dive boats started showing up. The 2 big boats had gone over early in the morning to Half Moon Cay, to the east. I think the walls on the west side are not that good in the morning, because they are all in shadow. A couple of small boats came from the direction of Ambergris Cay (about 45 miles across mostly open ocean). A least one looked so small that it must have come from somewhere locally. At one point in the early afternoon we had about 7 boats on the moorings.
Dave called the Sun Dancer on the radio and asked them the name of the bouy/site they were on, so we could correlate it with our book, which has nice descriptions of the dive sites. He also asked about filling our dive tanks. They said they'd fill them for $5 each and they'd be around until Thursday. So our first order of the day is to get the tanks filled.
We finally got ourselves organized to dive by about 3pm. We chose one of the closer bouys that nobody was on. By the time we got in the water, it was 3:30 and the sun was starting to decline, so visibility wasn't as good as it was around noon (sunset is 6:30pm here). We spent a half hour on the wall, never going deeper than 70', and then another half hour in the coral/sand on top, at about 35'. Dave showed me some Black Coral (it looks like a greenish fern). We saw a huge green Moray, a big
Nassau Grouper and acres of living coral, sea fans, huge basket sponges, brittle stars, coral shrimp, and pretty fishes. There was a 4' Tarpon hanging around, as well as a similar sized Barracuda.
Last night the wind blew like stink (probably 20-25 kts). So we may do boat chores today and let it calm down a little. The 5 day forecast shows the wind doesn't lay down until about the 7th. Then we'll move east to the more exposed Half Moon Cay dive sites.
The pass thru the reef was easy--about 12 feet deep and pretty easy to see because the reef was breaking on either side. The break in the reef is about 100 yards wide. This pass is not noted in Freya Rauscher's 2001 guidebook, but it saved us about a mile to windward, versus going out the SE pass, that IS shown in the book.
It was pretty bouncy for the first 5 miles. We were going straight to windward in 15 kts, and so opted to motor sail with a reefed main and staysail. It took us just over 4 hours to go the 15 miles to Lighthouse Reef.
Both the liveaboard dive boats were here when we got here. Wind Dancer and the Belize Aggressor. Their clients fly into Belize City for a week of intensive diving. I think they do about 6 or 8 dives a day, including a night dive. They are each on mooring bouys. They stayed the night, but Dave thinks they'll leave today to go somewhere else, and we'll have Lighthouse pretty much to ourself.
We identified about 6 mooring balls for diving the walls on the back side of the reef...a few big ones for the big dive boats and a few smaller balls, probably maintained by the fast dive boats that service the mainland resort guests and the cruise ships. We plan to check them all out... probably with a snorkel first and then come back to dive the ones that look good. We still have a tank and a half each of air left before we need to break out the compressor.
We are anchored on the back side of Long Key about a quarter mile inside the reef. The passage in thru the reef to the anchorage was easy. We had waypoints, and with Dave on the bow as a lookout, we just motored right in. We are anchored in about 13' in sand. We hopped in the water to check the anchor and look around a little, and within an hour we had 5 more conch and 1 lobster.
I was sad to see piles of conch shells on the bottom that were 25% small conch that we'd never consider taking. Probably one of the local 'reef raper' boats. They come over in fairly small boats with 4-5 guys and several nested cayuca's and then just spread out and comb the reef, taking anything that they can sell in the market. A few years of that and this reef will be barren too. We are pretty selective about what we take--using Florida and Bahamas rules and size limits, even though the Belizians
really don't have any limits.
Dave cleaned 4 nice conch and we had a great batch of 'Island Time Conch Fritters'. I made my standard batch for 4 conch and forgot there were only 2 of us to feed. I saved half the batter and we'll be eating conch fritters for dinner again tonight.
The Lodge manager said he could fill our dive tanks for $10 US each. It costs about $3 in the States at the local dive shop, and about $6 at a high priced dive shop in the Keys. So this was pretty outrageous. But it's the only possibility within 15 miles. But we passed on that. Dave is pretty sure he can get his compressor going, but we just haven't tried yet. It has been in deep storage on the boat for several years.
In the afternoon, we took the dinghy out to explore the reef to the SE of us, and locate the pass in the reef. We took the handheld GPS to make some waypoints. We managed to scare up 2 lobster and 3 conch while snorkeling in water under 10 feet inside the reef. We took one lobster and made a delicious Lobster Pizza with it. The other one went into the freezer for future gourmet meals. The conch are dangling in a bag in the water--Dave didn't feel like cleaning them last night.
Today we are moving 15 miles further east to Lighthouse Reef. We'll probably spend tonight anchored in the lee of Long Key and dive the walls on the west side of the reef til the wind dies down a little. (current forecast is E 15-20 for the next few days). Dave REALLY wants to move to Half Moon Cay where the walls on the south end of the reef are just spectacular. But that will require a little lighter winds.
We arrived here 2 days ago after a 10 mile motor from Belize City, out the English Channel and straight east in the lee of Turneffe, and then a NICE broad reach down the island to the anchorage on the south end. We anchored right off "Joe's Fish Camp" as shown in Freya Rauscher's 2001 guidebook.
Yesterday we snorkeled around at the south end. We located the 'good snorkeling in 20' just south of the lighthouse as mentioned in the guidebook, and a ship wreck Dave had found years ago with a friend. The coral was easy to find but the wreck was not. Two guys in a cayuca who were lobstering nearby pointed out a buoy (Styrofoam ball) and said that was right on the wreck. But we had already checked it out and knew that it was not. It turned out to have dragged downwind a hundred yards or so.
We finally found the wreck by Dave dragging Sherry behind the dinghy 'trolling for sharks'.
It was worth the effort as there are 3 huge anchors and a lot of huge pile of old chain. There is still some structure as well, and lots of fish. Dave said he and his friend Roger, an underwater archaeologist, found it when they were here last time only after hours of dragging around. The locals say it was HMS Advice, wrecked in the 1790s but Roger looked at the anchors and chain and dated it as mid-1800's. Still pretty neat.
The anchorage at the south end, though protected, was kind of rolly. So we decided to move inside the atoll. We could either go the short way, south around the end of the island and in through a pass, or the long way, backtracking and in at Blue Creek. The problem with the short way was that we had to go out in the big seas that we could see breaking on the reef. We opted to take the long way (still only 5 miles) and stop somewhere to look for lobster on the way.
We got underway after lunch, towing the dinghy. We stopped at a random set of coral heads halfway to the Blue Creek entry, anchored Soggy Paws and took the dinghy out after lobster. In about an hour we had 4 nice lobster--all "Florida legal" size.
Entry into the center of Turneffe through Blue Creek was easy, following the guidebook and a couple of way points Dave had from before. It was dead low tide and we did drag a little for a boatlength or two. Dave says we were "technically aground" according to the depth finder. But we made it OK. The center of Turneffe is wide open and covered in heavy grass over deep sand. We found a tiny sand spot to put the anchor in, and spent a nice night in calm water.
Full moon, reef, lobster. This is what we came for!!
Pictures later! (need internet access)
Photo album link: http://picasaweb.google.com/SoggyPaws
I'm still working on the 'inland' post that goes with the pictures... it's coming soon.
We had the bus let us off at the Belize Zoo. It cost $10US to get in the zoo. We ate our lunch in the shade with a breeze on the zoo grounds. We spent about an hour walking around. The entry fee got us a map of the zoo with all the animals labeled. They were also well-labeled outside each enclosure. In the heat of the day, most of the animals were sleeping, but I think we did get to see every animal in the zoo... all local indiginous species including toucans, tapirs (pigs), crocodiles, and
several species of lions/tigers. The zoo was very eco-friendly and the emphasis for locals was co-existence with the animals. They had one sign posted about a resort that was selling "Viper Rum"... rum with a snake in it. They had posted letters to the resort and to the government to get the resort to stop this non-eco-friendly tourist practice.
The zoo was good and clean and the animals looked well cared for. Both Dave and I had fun walking around.
We were able to catch another east-bound bus after a few minutes wait along the road, for the remaining 20 miles to marina.
Soggy Paws was in good order when we got back. We were happy to be "home".
We spent Thursday with me on the computer (posting pictures, answering email, doing some financial stuff) and Dave doing small boat projects and getting filled up on fuel and water. Diesel was $3.65/gallon US. We took on 75 gallons (what we used since Marathon).
Photo album link: http://picasaweb.google.com/SoggyPaws
Well it turned out that "Jaguar Paw" and "Caves Branch Tubing" were one and the same. There were 4 of us, a guide, and a driver, in a minibus. The other couple were 2 kids fairly fresh out of college who had quit their jobs to go walkabout for the summer. They had spent 3 weeks in Guatemala--2 in intensive language study and one hiking around the volcano district. Our guide, Joanne, was a Belizian lady who was part of a family of independent tour guides. Each person in her family had a different
specialty (site). They contracted out to the various hotels/resorts in the area to put together tours. And on Thursday, to the cruise ships. Joanne said that all certified guides had to take a year of instruction and then take a set of 8 tests on Belizian culture and history to become certified.
Joanne picked a good specialty--it was an easy day for all of us. An hour drive, a 30 minute hike through the forest carrying an inner tube, and then a nice 3 hour easy float down through the caves. There was only one other group of 4 within sight. But Joanne says that on Cruise Ship days (Thursdays) they take groups of 45 people down through the caves! See the Caves Branch Tubing section of our photo gallery.
We got back to San Ignacio about 3 pm, spent about an hour in Eva's on their internet terminals reading email, and had a nice nap. For dinner we went to Elva's (on a back street 2 blocks from the main street). This turned out to be the best food we'd had in Belize and a more reasonable price than the places on the main drag. We went back for breakfast the next morning, and got a carryout lunch from them for the trip back to Belize City.
Photo album link: http://picasaweb.google.com/SoggyPaws
Photo album link: http://picasaweb.google.com/SoggyPaws
We left the boat at Cucumber Beach Marina (aka "Old Belize" oldbelize.com), about 5 miles south of Belize City. It is a secure marina with nice facilities (significantly better than the old Mojo Cay marina). We had no qualms about leaving the boat there for a few days under the watchful eye of Carlos. The 7-day rate was reasonable, about $25/nite US for our 44-foot boat. Dave's friend Cliff (www.catchartersbelize.com) was docked behind us so we knew he'd keep an eye on things as well. They have
diesel, gas, and water, too.
We hopped a westbound bus, marked either 'Belmopan' or 'Benque' and for $3.50 USD for each of us. We made the 75 miles to San Ignacio in about 2 hours. This was not an 'express' bus, so we stopped for anyone anywhere that was going our way (many stops as we were entering and leaving towns), s well as a 15 minute stop in Belmopan. The buses run about every half hour. They seemed to be on a schedule but we never saw anything published. You basically get out there and wait and flag one down.
We arrived in San Ignacio about 2pm. We had previously scoped out several hotels to check out near the center of town using a combination of the Lonely Planet Guide to Central America (2001), a local tourist magazine, and the internet. We got there and walked around and checked on rooms at each of the hotels. All the low end rooms were booked. Even though several people said it was 'low season', there were a lot of college students taking up the low end rooms. ($12/nite US for a double without
a private bath or A/C). After looking at a couple of rooms, and trudging around in the heat, we ended up back at the Venus hotel, in their nice room with private bath, king size bed, and A/C, for about $37/nite US. It's a little steep compared to Guatemala, but still pretty reasonable for what was probably the best room in town.
Once we got settled in at the hotel, we checked at Mayawalk Tours, and at Eva's, both just down the street from our hotel, about their excursions going the next day. Both had trips to "the most phenomenal trip you can go on" (Cliff's words), the Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM) trip. This is a 'strenuous' hike through a huge series of caves, with a number of Mayan artifacts (pottery and human remains) plainly visible. The other trip we were interested in was the "Caves Branch Tubing" trip--more caves,
but less strenuous as you float down through the caves in inner tubes. We settled on Mayawalk for the ATM trip, primarily because the guy manning the desk was a better BS-er, and their lunch sounded better (it wasn't). The cost was $80 US per person. This included transportation, entry to the park, lunch, and a guide for the day. A little on the high side, but we had to do it. There is no way to visit ATM without a guide, and there are only 2 companies authorized by the government to do this
trip (due to the unspoiled nature of the site and its religious and cultural sensitivity).
Once we had the next day's trip booked, we took a local bus out toward Xunantunich (soo-NAN-to-nich), one of the Mayan temple sites. When Dave had been here before, it had been a long hot walk uphill for about a mile, to get from where the bus leaves you, to the site itself. "Jimmy", the guy at Mayawalk had told us that we could probably pay someone with a car to take us up. We got off the bus at the free car ferry, and paid a local taxi $2.50 US to go across on the ferry with us and take us up
to the entry point of the site. We paid about $5 pp to get in (but received no pamphlet or anything, just a wave up the hill to the information building). There was a nice information center with pictures, maps, and explanations, and a set of bathrooms, but no concessions, vendors, glitzy tourist crap, or crowds of people. It was a nice quiet site. We spent about an hour exploring. We were kind of limited on time, because the site closes at 4pm. But an hour was pretty much enough time. We
climbed to the very top of the tallest structure, the temple, and sat for awhile in the cool breeze to cool off. We were fortunate that a group was there with a tour guide, and we got to hear her spiel about Xunantunich, surrounding sites (Tikal is only about 50 miles to the west), and general info about the Mayan culture. Xunantunich is a typical Mayan site with buildings at opposing ends of a plaza built in a pyramid. (see pictures posted in my photo album)
We met 2 different 'missionary' groups from South Carolina while at Xunantunich. Both were mostly teenagers. One group's focus was primarily singing and performing religious skits. They ended up at the other end of the site, at the observatory (about a quarter mile away directly across the courtyard from us), and sang a song. It was very nice. They were spending several weeks going from place to place, performing at local churches, and talking to people on street corners. The other group was
doing pretty much the same thing. We met a third group that was actually helping build a new room for a school house. I think Belize is a favored destination because they speak English, but are still as poor and primitive as Guatemala, once you get outside the 4-5 bigger cities.
On the way back, we managed to bum a ride with one of the missionary groups, in the back of a pickup truck. They wanted to go see the Guatemalan border, so we took the side trip with them (It was only about 5 miles further west). They let us off back in San Ignacio, where they stopped for dinner.
We had a nice nap and a shower before strolling out for dinner. We ended up next door at Serendib, a Sri Lankan restaurant. The typical meal price in San Ignacio was about $5 US for breakfast and lunch, and $5-$15 US for dinner. The cheapest, and on every menu (including breakfast) was 'stewed chicken' which is a few pieces of chicken on the bone and beans and rice. This normally cost about $4.
Photo album link: http://picasaweb.google.com/SoggyPaws
So Dave suggested hopping the western bound bus for the city of San Ignacio, which is in the middle of an area of Mayan ruins and caves and rivers. It will only cost us a few dollar each way, and we've used our Lonely Planet guide and the internet to scope out a couple of low budget hotels to use as a base ($20-$25 US per night). We plan to spend a couple of days doing some sightseeing/backpacking. I am taking camera, but not the computer. I promise to post some pics and a recap of our trip when
we get back.
The dock electric here is 220v/50amp service and we could not plug into it with our 110v/30amp plug. The dockmaster said they used to have adaptors to loan out, but they had 'disappeared'. Fortunately Dave knew someone in the marina who had one we could borrow. Another cruiser here is still without his A/C... It was looking like a $200-$300 proposition to get a taxi into to town and buy one at the only marine store. He did get an extension cord to a regular plug on a lamp post, so he has some
110v for fans.
The dockmaster offered to get us a taxi to go into town, but we opted to use the local bus system. We flagged a bus headed into town, and paid $1 each (US) round trip to go the 5 miles into town. We ended up at the downtown bus station, which is right next to the open air market. We didn't buy anything (yet) but did look it over thoroughly to see what they had and what prices were.
We trekked into the center part of town and wandered around until lunch time. We stopped in 3 hardware stores, a diesel motor place, 1 'department store'. The couple that went with us were looking for the adaptor plugs (or the parts to make one), Muriatic acid, and a 'watch battery'. Dave had a small list too.
We walked past a stand that had a sign 'unlock your cell phone'. One wanted 3 days to do it, another guy said he could do it in 2 hours. I had my cell phone with me and paid him $25 US to have it done. (I had previously researched it and didn't think it was an easy prospect with my phone).
I have lost my watch--it went missing the night we got in. We thought it was 'LOB' (Lost on Board), but I have searched high and low, and haven't heard it beeping since I misplaced it, so I think it went over the side. I may have taken it off and put it on the swim platform and knocked it off while I was bathing. I was pretty sleep deprived then and may just have not seen it. And so I was on the lookout for another Timex. After checking vainly for a decent ladies rugged watch, I gave up and
bought a big fat men's watch for $5, with the brand name QUEMEX (sorta sounds like Timex...). It says water resistant, but I don't believe it. I'll get my daughter to get a replacement one at WalMart and put it in the next mail package. This one will keep me from going crazy for the next month or so. (Changing 2 timezones AND losing your watch at the same time is very disorienting, I just couldn't deal with it.)
We had a really nice lunch at a place recommended by a local... with A/C, very clean, good food, and reasonable prices. (Grilled fish plate with drinks and tip for $10 each).
We walked into the bus station just as a Western-bound bus was pulling out, so we had a fairly quick trip back to the boat.
About 2:45pm we came in through the pass in the reef just north of Long Cay (south of Ambergris Cay), and proceeded down through Porto Stuck (a narrow passage) and to an anchorage about 9 miles east of Belize City. We've had a swim and put the boat in order. Now for Happy Hour.