Oh yes, I forgot to mention, there were lots of preparations to get the boat and ourselves ready for the big trip home. We would cover about 1000 miles on the journey, and we’d had to check every system on the boat. I changed the engine oil, the fuel filters, filled the fuel and water, and we’d stocked up on provisions of all sorts, and of course, we needed to do the laundry. Well, the power decided to go out right on schedule, 3 days before departure. Transformers were blowing up right and left. As soon as they fixed one, another blew. In between the blowups, we managed to get some of our laundry washed, but not dried, so for the first day we looked like a tramp steamer with laundry hung out everywhere. It was all in a day’s cruising though, and when dry, everything smelled fresher than ever. We couldn’t really complain.
We crossed the Livingston bar an hour and a half before high tide with never a bump and set our sights on arrival at Punta Gorda, Belize, only 21 miles away. With any luck, we might be able to clear out of one country and into another all in the same day.
Punta Gorda, Belize is an interesting town, right on the border of Guatemala in a region where the Guatemalans still do not consider Belize a real country, just a province of Guatemala. Many of the people I met were Mayan, but most spoke English as it is the official language. The people are incredibly friendly, and everyone waves and says good day. Several folks actually stopped me to chat for a while. What a refreshing entrance back into Belize. As for the clearing in process – it might have taken all of fifteen minutes including the short walk up the hill and my visit with the three officials, Agriculture, Immigration, and Customs. It was all very 21st century with every officer having a computer, forms quickly completed and printed, and a cheery wave and wish for a good day. This brightly painted clock tower sits just about in the center of town and there was plenty of activity taking place all around it.
It’s a shame that the anchorage at Punta Gorda is nothing more than an open roadstead; there is no protection from any winds other than those blowing directly off the land. We were not that lucky, as winds blew straight out of the south east leaving the boat rolling uncomfortably. Fortunately, the wind died later in the evening, and our night was quiet and uneventful.
We headed out fairly early the next morning to give us a partial day at one of our favorite towns, Placencia. We were able to sail for a good part of the day as winds remained SE and the miles flew by quickly bringing us to the anchorage in the early afternoon. This time, we planned to spend several days here to enjoy the town, the people, and this beautiful tropical destination. To our surprise, the anchorage was nearly empty.
Ocean Angel at anchor off Punta Gorda; notice the sturdy mooring cleats.