December 19, 2010

Adios Belize !!!

Hello from Honduras!!

We cleared Belize on Sunday December 12th. Clearing out was about a big of circus as clearing in. The first stop clearing out is finding the right forms they require, a basic crew list. They sent us down the road to the only copy machine in town, closed on Sundays!! Off to the boat to print our own generic crew list. Then to Customs, being Sunday we went when the morning ferry was clearing passengers. There are no written clearing prices so it is a free for all. The first guy asked for $50 Belize! Belize dollars are 2-1 US. Then you have to pay departure tax, $30 per person. We gave the lady what money we had left in our pockets, but one twenty had a 1 inch rip. She said "No Good" hmmm back to the boat again.

By now it has been over an hour and we had three more stops. Port Captain did some math and came up with $120 US!! Then to immigration a mere $20 just for overtime and printing a zarpe ( Ships Travel papers) . One more stop Agriculture inspector who would want another $50? Well, by this time we had got to "Lunch Time" 11 something till 1 or 2 something? Who knows on Sunday? Ag inspector is off to lunch along with the lady who needed the "Not Ripped $20". By now I had had enough!! I had our Zarpe and stamped passports. Back to the boat! We are out of here!! Asta la vista Belize!!

We motored out to Seal Cay with intentions of spending the night there. Seal Cay is about 200 yards across and 30 feet tall! Not a good place to anchor, so we continued on to Pelican Cay. Pelican cay is a nice little island surrounded by decent reefs to snorkel on. The only problem is the bottom is grass and the anchor was tough to set. Thank goodness we decided to find shelter! During the night a front blew through and the little island protected us from it. We had read the weather charts and they showed good winds for Tuesday night. Right on time the winds showed up on Tuesday night. We set sail at 6:00 with 20 to 25 knot winds blowing out of the north-west. Perfect winds to blow us to Roatan, Honduras. The seas were ROUGH!! For crew we had Dwight, from Canada, Dimitri from Switzerland, Daria and myself.

The wind stayed with us all the way. Seas were a rough as I have seen in a while. Must have something to do with the current and the proximity to the Honduran coastline? But this was a quick sail we covered the 100 miles in 14 hours. As soon as we were south of Roatan the waves calmed and the wind settled down. We dropped the hook in Coxen Hole. The first port to clear in. After a nice breakfast and a nap, we went to clear in.

The port captain was hard to get a hold of since lunch here is allot like Belize 11 something till 1 something? When I finally caught up with he asked a few questions, where you come from and how long you staying. I said Belize and one week. He said, "come back in a week and clear in/out at the same time" Groovie!! a easy country to clear!! I am starting to like Honduras!! A few days later we cleared to go east, it involved calling them on the radio, meeting a courier, paying $50 US and that's it!! I love Honduras!!

Coxens Hole is a small fishing town that is being over run with cruise ship traffic. There is a new ship every day, the culture of these little towns is slowly changing. Although this is not as bad as the Caymans yet. You can still deal with the street vendors and pay local prices for produce and such. Jamaica got to a point of hassling all the cruise ship people so bad that no one wants to go back!

Further east there is French Harbor, where I am writing this story from. We planned on staying a night or two, but now it has been a week? Daria is taking dive lessons here, while Dwight and I do dive from Super Dink. The diving here is really good. They have banned spearfishing and the whole east end of the island is a marine preserve.

Roatan is an island surrounded with reef and deep waters. Some places just a few hundred yards off land are over 600 feet deep!!! Most of the dives here are wall dives were you can tie the dink to a mooring in 25 feet of water and jump inn and swim out a ways and be on a 100 foot wall!! Most of the sea life is in less than 60 feet so going deep is really no that necessary. It is just a awesome feeling to swim off a ledge and look 200 feet strait down in the abyss.