A couple of total amateurs are planning another adventure at sea. After our first real sail from Florida to Mexico, we're getting ready for the next one, late spring 2015.
Mexico to Belize to Rio Dulce, Guatemala
We're aiming to untie the lines on May 22nd, exactly two years after we were married on the beach in Tulum. This would give us a nice 7-10 day window to explore Belize without taking too much time before storm season shows up, arriving in Rio Dulce around June 1st. We'll stay until late November and begin the passage north back to Puerto Aventuras after hurricane season comes to a close.
Sure, it's about five months away so planning now might seem a bit eager, but with our work schedules, months seem to disappear and dates approach with speed.
There is some minor boat maintenance, installing a wind generator our friend from H2Oh Sun Cruises donated to us with a new auto-pilot, route planning and navigational studies, patching the dinghy, and your general provisioning closer to the date.
One night while we were out of town, a drunken tourist couple boarded our boat. The guy took the helm, turning the wheel back and forth pretending to steer while the girl hung off our davits (a system on the stern of the boat used to raise and lower your dinghy from the water) jumping up and down on our dinghy, "Woo! Woooo!"
Good thing our pal Mack was at the marina and came to the rescue. When he told them to get off the boat, the drunken man got a little verbal and aggressive. Mack put him to the ground, forcing him to call for his girl to hurry up and get off the boat. And that was that. We came back to a dingy, deflated in the middle hanging in a "V" shape to the water. So, we now have a deflated dingy with a few little tears in the seams.
SUCH A THING AS Route Planning TOO FAR IN ADVANCE?
We like to know our routes well in advance and have them memorized as well as possible so while underway recognizing the fixes and horizons doesn't feel like new territory. Especially with all of the shoals, rock and coral along Belize.
We draw 4', so it shouldn't be as much of a concern as others have in the region, but there are still some tricky spots along the reef line. For those not sure what a boat's "draw" means, it's your boat's draft — the vertical distance from the water to the bottom of your boat under water.
We have paper charts, Freya Rauscher's charts, Navionics (with MacENC), Garmin's BlueCharts and have been referencing ActiveCaptain. Between the lot of them we should have as good a reference of the area as you can without having been through yet.
The western Caribbean region here doesn't seem to be consistently documented by any of the chart makers, so we've been taking notes of inconsistencies between each from first-hand accounts of other sailors. One may be right at this anchorage, while another has a reef entry a bit too far east.
When we write our own posts for each anchorage along the way I will account for corrected waypoints in the sidebar and any details. This Route to the Rio series, when complete, should help out anyone else heading along the same path.
Plans for rio dulce
- Haul the boat for a new bottom paint job.
- Brightwork from some storm damage against a concrete pier (we lost five fenders to the concrete, and then the teak rail became a fender before we were able to fix the problem).
- Fresh non-slip topside paint job.
- Eat, fish, drink. Repeat.
- Work remotely from the boat.
- Visit interior Guatemala.
We have a growing list of the cays to stop off at along the way, but any suggestions, waypoints or tips for the route or while in Rio Dulce are welcome in the comments or use the contact page!
Puerto Aventuras, Mexico
20° 29.96'N 87° 13.45'W
To Belize and Mexico's Caribbean Coast
Capt. Freya Rauscher's is the go-to guide covering the region from Mexico's Caribbean coast all the way down to the Rio Dulce. She covers Honduras a bit as well, but that's not on our itinerary, so we'll leave it out of anything we cover.
Click the image above to buy her guide on Amazon.
While the guide book is our main source of well documented information about the different regions, Active Captain works as great supplementary content. Double checking all of the anchorages in Active Captain has already corrected a waypoint error I was wondering about off in Capt. Rauscher's book while entering Banco Chinchorro, which you can see by clicking here.