Caye Caulker to Placencia by sailboat
07.12.2007 - 09.12.2007
From Flores we got to Caye Caulker pretty smoothly, 8 hours in total including the boat crossing. At the border, the Guatemalan officers tried to charge us 10 quetzales (only $1.5, but still!) which is a spontaneous decision of theirs and which go directly into their private pockets. We were warned about this so we insisted on demanding an official receipt or no money, so after a few minutes of discussion they backed down and let us through without making a penny out of us.
We got to Caye Caulker on time for our 5pm brief meeting about the next day sailing trip down to Placencia, in the south of Belize. A couple of people had recommended this Ragamuffin island hopping trip back in Guatemala, so we decided to invest the money and do it. At $275 each for 2 nights camping and 3 days sailing it was quite expensive, but as usual we are only here once, so we decided to go. At the meeting there were another 6 young couples in addition to us, with a good variety of nationality representation including Australian, US, Swedish, Swiss, Dutch and German. Let's see if we remember all the names: Dave and Emily, Magnus and Eve, Renke and Dennis (who we later found out were not a couple), Tico and Jasmin (whom we did not speak to for the duration of the trip, not sure why), Christian and Ilka, Justin and Meredyth. Hey! The trip was all inclusive, meaning that all food and drinks were included in the deal. So we set off at 8:30 the next morning, after a nice breakfast of lobster omelette. The first day was great: the weather was good and the first island, Rendezvous, was a tiny strip of sand with a few coconut trees and absolutely nothing else. No toilet either.. We put up the tents and then started on the rum punch in front of the fire and by possibly 10 pm we were all in bed drunk. The next day, however, the rain started just after lunch and by the time we got to Tabacco Caye, we were all wet and cold. Tobacco Caye is a small inhabited island with some accomodation, so the captain decided not to aggravate our misery and checked us all into private rooms with bathroom, instead of camping, which was exactly what we needed after the cold ocean shower in the open boat. We did not have the chance to snorkel here, which is meant to be one of the best spots of the reef. We made an attempt to wake up early and go snorkelling then, but the wind and clouds at 7 am were too much for our weak good will, so we missed it. On the last day we pretty much sailed all day till we got to Placencia on time at 4pm, with only half an hour snorkelling on the way, on this marine park place called Water Salt Caye, which was nothing special.
Overall, we found that the trip was definitely overpriced for the value it offered, no doubt about it. The boat was old and dirty, the drinks and snack choice on board very limited, and the snorkelling opportunities somehow shrank to less than one hour per day, which is not really what we went on the tour for. And perhaps worse of all, the coral reef was not as good as we had imagined it to be!!! It was not that colourful and there was not that much fish either, unbelievable!!!!! The famous Belize coral reef!! The Australians were particularly disappointed, clearly. We managed to take some pics of the underwater world - though we also bulk deleted a whole bunch by mistake, probably the best ones...
The reef underneath
The reef from the boat
Patrick, our spearfisher specialist crew
The big shell is called conch and is currently in season, like lobster
Kevin, one of our 3 crew members