North Long Coco Cay

Sunday, February 29, 2004

016-33.720 N
088-6.240 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from North Long Coco Cay in Belize!

Belize it or not, we actually got to sail yesterday! Yes, those white triangular things do more than act as sun shades. The winds have been out of the N/NE for days, and we've been heading north. Not good for sailing. But at some point we needed to start working our way out to the atolls, which meant going east, and a wind out of the north is great for that. So, yesterday we departed Placencia and headed almost due east towards Rendezvous Cay, which I personally think is one of the prettiest cays that I've seen.

Brandy got a good jump on us and took a course around Colson Cay, which had many fewer navigational hazards than the route that I picked, but also had them motoring into the wind for much longer. I picked a route taking us past Lark, Logger Cay and then to Cary Cay where we'd bang a left towards Rendezvous. Basically this an easterly course until we turned towards Rendezvous. The winds were out of the NW, so this should have been a wonderful sail with the winds on the beam. However, conforming to Geoff's #1 rule of sailing (the arrow points the direction you want to go), the winds shifted to the NE as we sailed.

The other issue was that I hadn't studied the charts in sufficient detail. The large scale chart shows the route that I described above, and it shows 50+ feet of water all of the way. However, when you look at the detailed charts of each cay, you'll find that you have to cross an sand bar between Cary Cay and South Long Coco cay which is typically 4' deep with only a small section that's 8' deep! Yikes!!! I didn't see this until we were almost there. We had cloudy/rainy conditions, so we couldn't see well. I picked what looked like the best spot, luffed the sails to slow us down, and crossed the bar. We only saw 9', so that was a relief. After that we turned into the wind for Rendezvous.

The winds, which had been out the NE shifted to the east at 20-25kts, making the anchorage unusable. North Long Coco cay was a mile away and appeared to provide good protection out of the east. By the time that we got here the wind had shifted to the N/NE, but a dry bar provided reasonable protection and we had reasonable holding in sparse turtle grass. The winds have been blowing at 20 kts all night and the batteries are well charged.

The big question now is where to go. Brandy really wants to get out to Glover's reef, but there's no good route to get there with these winds and seas. Plus I'm not sure how much protection the cays out there provide in these winds. So I guess that you'll have to check in tomorrow to see where we end up!

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 454

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