Thursday, March 07, 2013


We Be in Belize

View of Placencia, Belize from Niki Wiki
Finally…at the tail end of February, we pulled away from the magnetic pull of the Rio Dulce and escaped across the speed bump (sand bar) and out into the open sea. We took the slow, long way out here to the little town of Placencia, Belize.

First we motored down river to spend a couple of nights in a relatively safe cove, Texan Bay (aka Burnt Key) to let all of our off-shore systems run and get a last minute check. Jonesy rode the water taxi down to the port town of Livingston and did the paperwork cha-cha to check both us and the boat out of Guatemala. In Latin America we are always required to also have a piece of paper called a "Zarpe" which is permission to leave one country and travel by sea to another. Of course if all costs money. I stayed on the Niki Wiki in Texan Bay and knit (and made sure that nothing burst, leaked, growled, went dark, etc. and to guard the boat from locally known thieves).

When it was time for the high tide, we safely crossed over the sand bar and simply headed out to "Tres Puntas", a large peninsula in Guatemala and dropped the anchor for the night. As we passed Livingston we were surprised at the large number of pelicans hanging out! We have never been in this area this late in the year so we figure these seabirds had migrated into the area. Also while passing Livingston, I turned on my computer and managed to get a wifi signal so I could send a quick message out to our friends telling them that we'd be a few days later to Placencia than we had told them earlier. That was our first access to internet in 3 days and was to be our last for another week.

 Our plan was, and still is, to travel during daylight hours. Overnight sailing is exhausting so if we can break up our passages into day-hops we will do so and love it. The islands of Belize will allow us to do that this year. We enjoyed our first night at sea anchored in Tres Puntas, gently rocking. An immature Ibis stood stock still along the beach under the cover of the mangroves. What a treat!
Latvian Style Gift Card Pouch Ornament

 Early the next morning we hoisted the anchor and motor-sailed to Belize. Our first stop was the small harbor of New Haven which offered excellent protection from the forecasted storm coming down from the north. Other than two other sailboats that came and went, we were alone for our 3 night stay. There were no people on the shores, and we only saw one open fishing boat motor across the mouth of the bay. The strong winds came in as expected so we simply stayed on the boat and entertained ourselves. I knit until my hands were stiff and Jonesy made a few little repairs just for fun. Now, remember, I also need to prepare all of our meals onboard so there was a LOT of cooking going on. I even baked a gluten-free cornbread and pressure-cooked a butternut squash and made a squash dessert like pumpkin pie.

The winds from the storm were quite nippy (in the 60's) so it was a great time to get the galley oven going while I had plenty of wind flying through the boat. The storm passed through quickly so soon it was calm enough to enjoy a day sail up to Placencia.

So here we are! First order of business was to head to shore and dance another paperwork cha-cha. We walked through town (getting our land legs) and hopped aboard the Hokey Pokey water taxi to Mango Creek. Even though the sign clearly stated "No Loafers" they still let us ride.

I guess we clean up real nice when we try. Along with two other couples we hired a taxi to take us the couple of miles to the Immigration Office, Customs, and the Port Authority (Captain).
Jonesy waiting in the Immigration office in Big Creek, Belize
Here's Jonesy with holding our precious blue binder which carries all of our boat documentation in line at Immigration. Next stop was the nice new building which houses both Customs and the port Authority. Unexpectedly, all the officials we dealt with were quite friendly! So after parting with $145US for the privilege to stay and operate our boat for 30 days in Belize, (plus $25US for the taxi and $12US for the water taxi) we were free to….go shopping! Not only were our stores of fresh fruits and veggies getting low, but we knew from our land-travel trip to Placencia last year that Belize imported goodies from the USA. We also knew that the prices would be high, but still it was shocking to actually see them! Whoa! Good thing that we had stocked up on shelf stable staples while in Guatemala. We can also fish for food so I got out my gear and had already dragged a lure during our trips. No luck. Some friends gave me some advice for fishing up in the other atolls in Belize and loaned me some lures so there's still hope.
New home of the Port Captain and Customs in Big Creek, Belize
So what has been all the knitting going on? For the most part I am trying to knock out some UFO (UnFinished Objects). The biggest and oldest project is my FLAK Aran Cabled sweater. Knitting a sweater all in one piece from the top down sounded like a great idea when I started. But it just doesn't work so great in the tropics. It's just too dang hot to have a large wool sweater on my lap. So I can only work on it when there is a nice sea breeze – like the last week. Right now I'm on the ribbed lower edge. After that I only have to add the neck treatment and zipper closure!! This "monster" as I've named it will be sent to the kids in the orphanage in Kazakhstan. 

Socks, too, have been keeping me entertained. I have a new pattern in test so I knit the second sock of the pair for the photo sample. In years past I would only knit one sock for the picture on the pattern, but now that I have a place to send PAIRS of socks I am more motivated to work that dreaded second sock. Then I'm still chugging along on the chartreuse socks but because I didn't have access to internet I didn't have the last two parts of the pattern – but now I do! 

March 1st was the release date for one of my new ornament patterns to the Holiday Mystery gifts Yahoo group. The photo higher up in this post is the LATVIAN STYLE GIFT CARD POUCH ORNAMENT. I've always loved the detailed color work of the traditional wool mittens from Latvia. When you give a gift card, or cash as a Christmas gift you need to dress-it-up a bit to make it festive. So if you're a knitter, you can whip one of these up with your leftover fingering or sock weight yarns. Enjoy!

Yay! On the move! Glad to see things went well.
That water is drop dead gorgeous! My favorite color.
my church is heading to Belize soon..... i have not been on here forever!! how are you ??
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