S/V Stolen Child Sailing Log

Logbook for the sailing vessel Stolen Child and her crew, Patrick and Nancy.

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Name: Patrick

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Adios Mexico, Hello Belize

Ralph and Tiffany and their daughter Max are some very good friends we made while in Isla Mujeres. They sail a custom built 38 footer named Daydream. They left Isla Mujeres shortly after we did and we decided to wait for them to catch up to us in Xcalac. We got to Xcalac on Friday, December 19 and they arrived on the following Sunday. We both cleared out of Mexico with the Port Captain Monday morning, but decided to wait until Tuesday morning to set sail for Belize.

After clearing out with the Port Captain, we went to the little grocery store to spend all our remaining pesos. The truck that sells fresh produce was there and we were able to stock up on some really nice tomatoes, potatoes, tangerines, avocados, cantaloupes, carrots, and various other fresh items, then bought a bunch of canned and dry goods from the store.

Ralph and I went snorkeling for dinner Monday afternoon. The snorkeling was fun, but the hunting was disappointing. We were out for more than 3 hours and only found 3 lobsters and a smallish flounder. Tiffany took our meager catch and made a really good seafood pasta with some kind of cream sauce.

Tuesday morning we woke up and got underway by 07:00. We had a very nice sail to San Pedro, Belize and made the 25 mile trip in just about 5 hours. The entrance through the reef into San Pedro harbor is a little tight, but wasn't really difficult. The difficulty came after entering and trying to anchor. Daydream went in first and ran aground looking for a good spot to drop their anchor. With Daydream sitting there showing us where not to go, we tried anchoring a little closer to shore, just behind a couple of other boats already at anchor. The anchor didn't seem to set very well and after letting out plenty of chain, we were bouncing on the bottom with every swell that went by. By this time Daydream had gotten unstuck and found a spot to try anchoring. Ralph dropped his anchor and set it, then put on his snorkel gear to see how it looked. By this time we had picked up our anchor and were moving to another spot, hoping for better holding and at least a foot deeper water. Ralph reported that there was only about 4 inches of sand on top of solid rock where he had dropped his anchor, but that he had found a patch of deeper sand and stayed in the water to direct us there so we could re-anchor. We got a much better set on the anchor and we have almost a foot of water under the keel, so we aren't bouncing on the bottom anymore. I then put on my snorkel gear to give Ralph a hand. We found a likely spot and I stayed in the water while Ralph drove Daydream up and dropped the hook. It bit and seemed to hold, but would only dig down about 8 inches, so I just picked it up manually and hauled it manually across the bottom to another spot that looked better. This time the anchor dug down and buried the flukes and the shank, so after almost 2 hours of work we were both anchored. It is a good thing we got the anchors set well, because that night a pretty fierce squall roared through with winds of 30 knots and gusting a little higher, but both boats rode it out without dragging.

After getting anchored, we rushed ashore to clear in with Customs and Immigration, only to find the Customs agent out of the office. The Immigration agent said she would definitely be back the next morning at 08:00 and that we had to proceed directly from Immigration to Customs, so he wouldn't check us in until the Customs agent was there, also. We went back to our boats for a windy and rolly night. in addition to a little swell that makes it over the reef, there are ferries and several dozen dive boats that run through the anchorage at full speed from all directions, so it sometimes feels like you are anchored inside a washing machine.

The next morning, Wednesday, we go ashore once again to clear into Belize. The Customs agent is there, but the Immigration agent hasn't arrived yet. The Customs agent won't clear us through Customs until after the Immigration agent has cleared us. After a while, the Customs agent says she is leaving and will be back in just a little while. Not long after she leaves, the Immigration agent shows up, but now the Customs agent is gone, so we're still unable to clear in. Finally the Customs agent returns, the Immigration agent is still there, and we are at last officially cleared into Belize.

On the way back to the boat, Nancy and I stop for lunch and we can't get over how noisy and full of traffic San Pedro is. There was a steady parade of cars, trucks, tractors and golf carts along the street in front of the restaurant. After eating, we went in search of rum and any other provisions we might need. We found a well-stocked grocery store, but they wanted the equivalent of $40 for a half-liter bottle of Bacardi AƱejo. We paid $9 for the same bottle in Isla Mujeres. Needless to say, we did not buy the Bacardi, but instead bought a local rum that was only about $10 a bottle.

Given all the hassle anchoring, all the ferries and dive boats zooming through the anchorage, the crowds and traffic ashore, we have decided to cut our visit to San Pedro short and head for Cay Caulker tomorrow morning, which also happens to be Christmas Day (Merry Christmas from Belize, everyone). We've heard that Cay Caulker is very laid-back and relaxed, and there shouldn't be as much high-speed traffic in the anchorage there.


Anonymous Daydream said...

what do you mean 38 foot? Daydream is 39 10inches foot thank you very much!!

January 7, 2009 6:11:00 PM GMT  

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