TIME: 2015/03/11 18:36
LATITUDE: 17-19.08N
LONGITUDE: 087-32.21W
COMMENT: Beach House – ANCHORED – Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef – Belize

We decided to make the 9-10 mile trip up to the Blue Hole and invited Lisette and Dennis from s/v “Windward” to come along for their first catamaran ride..:-)

This is the most famous of the Blue Hole’s in the world due to being well photographed and dived by Jacques Cousteau. It is a national treasure of Belize. At 450 deep, it’s not the deepest, but it’s very round shape, surrounded by clear light turquoise water no deeper than 20 feet, is what makes it a stunner from the air.

We were anchored just outside the west rim and to get the full effect both Nikki and I went up in the Bosun’s Chair to take photos and really take in the view. It was Nikki’s first time up the mast!

About 5 small aircraft, most likely on tours, circled over head in the 2 1/2 hours we were there. Hope one of them tries to track us down for a photo as it would be a spectacular shot of “Beach House” on he rim of the Blue Hole. When we get internet, I’ll post some photos from “up the mast” – 80 feet in the air.
We took a dinghy tour and saw 390 feet deep on the depth sounder; the water cobalt blue. I did the dive 19 years ago with Cindy and frankly, it’s a nothing dive.
We did do some snorkeling and that was quite nice along the rim.

A bit tricky to dodge the coral patches en route, but no real worries. On the way back, the very low sun was NOT helpful, but fortunately we had a good tight “track”
of our way in on our chart plotter, so it was pretty easy coming back out.

We may do some diving on the lee of Long Cay tomorrow, the “Belize Agressor III” has been out on various buoys behind us over the last three days. Our friends on the catamaran, s/v “Like Dolphins” (from Belgium) have dove every day and say it’s fabulous.

More soon,
Scott and Nikki

TIME: 2015/03/09 17:55
LATITUDE: 17-12.71N
LONGITUDE: 087-35.98W
COMMENT: Beach House – ANCHORED – Long Cay, Lighthouse Reef – Belize

We had a big squall with about 30 knots just before we left Turneffe this morning. We tried to see if we could go ashore to the lodge and use the restaurant/bar, but despite their being very nice…no was the answer. The reef offered some, but not perfect protection. Turneffe is really a flat bottom power boat lagoon, not a sailors place due to the very shallow depths.

We had one big boomer of a squall en route here (35 knots and rain), but then it cleared up nicely. We’re anchored in 9 feet of water behind Long Cay which runs 2 miles north and south. It’s flat and comfy. We’ll be off to explore after lunch. We’ve already seen lots of Frigates and Boobie Birds (of which there is a reserve for at Half Moon Cay).

If the weather permits tomorrow, we may go over the 6 miles (via the reef system) and anchor at Half Moon Cay for at least the day to see the bird sanctuary and the dive/snorkel spots that are supposed to be quite good.

Scott and Nikki

TIME: 2015/03/08 19:51
LATITUDE: 17-10.47N
LONGITUDE: 087-53.77W
COMMENT: Beach House – ANCHORED – Turneffe Reef,(Turneffe Reef Lodge) – Belize

We took advantage of a light wind day to get east which is normally against the trade winds here. It was so light, we motored most of the way.
For all you boaters who go “far a field”…take note! Belize and Southern Mexico’s charts are not “geo referenced”. This is the process where the surveys were done
PRIOR to GPS! The surveys are pretty good (not perfect!), but the land areas are not in the correct GPS position. Why? Because they did their latitude and longitude
by sextant! Very close, but NOT exact. They were “good” cartographers, but NOT perfect. As such, the reef entrance here is shown 550 feet further east than it really is!. Careful eyeball navigation is essential when you know the charts are not “geo referenced”.

Geo Referencing is done using satellite imagery and other techniques. The first areas to be done were started about 8 years ago and of course where commercial shipping and cruise ships go – those areas were done first. As we are in a pretty non commercial area…they haven’t caught up here yet. Just today’s “boating 101 lesson”…

Turneffe Reef is one of only four true atolls in the Caribbean. The other 2 we hope to visit over the next week. Chinchoro Bank in Mexico is the fourth.
These reefs are very much like the atolls of the South Pacific in the Tuamotu Group as well as many of the Cook Islands and others in the Western Pacific and Eastern Indian Oceans.

I got great response from the Cuba Blogs, thanks for all your notes.
We’ll head to Light House Reef (17 miles to our east) tomorrow and hang out there for awhile. It’s the home of the famous “Blue Hole” that Jacques Cousteau made famous. He actually dynamited the reef to get “Calyspo” inside. When the Belizean Government heard he did it without their permission, they banned him from ever returning to Belize. Ironically, despite the fact that it’s a great aerial photo, it’s a nothing dive. It has become the number one diver/tourist attraction to this nation. Who knew?…:-)
Scott and Nikki