St. George's Cay and Visitors

Monday, April 4, 2005
Belize

017-33.240 N
088-4.860 W
Marine forecast for this location

Ahoy from the crew of the BlueJacket!

I've post-dated this report a bit as I've been way too busy to write. It's been a very busy couple of weeks for us. When I last wrote we were out at Turneffe with Querencia. We had reservations at Cucumber Beach marina so we had to leave them and head on in to get ready for a visit from John and Chris Howard, some good friends from the Boston area.

Unlike last year, it was very difficult to make reservations at Cucumber. They're down to 6 slips for transient boats, and they've had a lot of boats with problems pull in and stay for LONG periods of time. That's been making scheduling very difficult for them. Luckily we knew people at the marina and kept having them remind the staff that we were coming in. We had to wait until 11 AM for them to shuffle boats to make room for us, and even when we arrived there wasn't space, so we grabbed an open slip. We were able to move to our permanent slip later that day, which was lucky as the owner of the slip that we were in came in during the night.

We spent a hectic few days cleaning and reprovisioning the boat. Just before John and Chris arrived the Heart inverter/charger stopped charging all together. We run it off of the generator as the main charging system for the batteries. This wasn't good, but we still had the engine alternator and the wind generator, so we could make due. People who don't live "off of the power grid" have little understanding of their power usage as there's always power on demand. On a boat you measure everything in terms of amp hours. An amp hour (AH) is 1 ampere drawn for 1 hour. Our refrigeration system uses about 82 AH per day. The watermaker uses 19 amp hours per hour and produces about 7 gallons per hour, so if we use 14 gallons per day, we use about 38 AH. House lights use 1+ AH each; the laptop draws 7 AH, etc etc. All told we use about 150 AH per day, so if your main generation system goes down, you had better hope that the others can make it up.

One of the biggest adjustments that John and Chris had to make was in water conservation. Boaters are used to taking "marine" showers where you wet down, scrub up, and rinse off. You also have to be very careful washing dishes or your hands. You name it. It took a bit of time to get them adjusted, but they came around. However, the tanks got pretty low as I had to cut back on making water as the batteries weren't getting sufficiently charged as I was shutting down the wind generator at night to keep the noise down and the 80 AH alternator only puts out about 60 AH at best and I really dislike running the engine just to charge the batteries. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

John and Chris arrived on Good Friday and the next day we headed to Jaguar Paw resort to go cave tubing. We had never done this before and we had a great time. You float down a river on inner tubes through long caves. It was wonderful until 126 people from a cruise ship poured into the river destroying the ambience. Jaguar Paw had 3 different trips, and we took the 2 hour/2 cave trip for $35 US. They also had a longer trip which covered 3 caves in 3 hours which we decided that we would have preferred to have taken. All in all it was a great time.

The next day we headed to Cay Caulker. On our way through Puerto Stuck (which is aptly named) we left keel tracks in the sand. Then we bumped as we were sailing along. A cold front was scheduled to go through the next day, we we decided to anchor on a side of the bay that we had never anchored on. As we headed over the depth sounder went crazy with depths all over the place. Suddenly I noted that we weren't moving as we had gone aground in the soft sand. I pushed the bow around with the dinghy and we got ourselves off. The keel hadn't touched bottom in 3 years and here we touched 3 times in 1 day!

The cold front came through, screwing up John and Chris's plans for a day. Chris went diving and had a great time, and John, Sue & I went to San Pedro where we rented a golf cart to explore the island. One of the highlights was taking a hand pulled ferry that held 4 golf carts across a cut.

We had planned on spending 2 days at Turneffe so that Chris & I could dive. However, when we tried to make it to Turneffe we had 4 to 6+ foot washing-machine style waves and based upon a pole of the greenish Chris and John, we decided not to make the 3 hour trip and instead we went back to Cay Caulker.

After we eventually left Cay Caulker we headed to St. Georges Cay. We left a big skid mark through Puerto Stuck and had to be very careful as we approached St. Georges as it gets shallow a long way from the island. We ended up anchoring 3/4 of a mile away. St. Georges was the informal capital of this British colony from 1650 to 1784. Lots of battles were fought here with the Spanish and some canons remain. It's a very picturesque crescent shaped island with nicely painted houses surrounded by picket fences. We thought that Cay Caulker was laid back...well, St. Georges is even more laid back with NOTHING to do except wind surf, fish, snorkel and dive. I think that there's a single bar & restaurant on the island.

We didn't know which dock to use and ended up pulling into the British R&R training camp. They let us leave the dingy there. The troops were getting trained in wind surfing and small sailboat handling. Looks like a tough assignment! The next day we sailed back to Cucumber Beach Marina and John and Chris headed home. We hope that they had a great time. Then it was time to break things, but that's a subject for another report.

-- Geoff & Sue
Log ID: 659

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