First it was the rain holding us back with its flatness in our sails. Sailing yachts without a good breeze cannot run as speedboats do. But this isn't our approach anyway. Sailing depends on nature - as freediving does do. We went with the flow and got good chances to show the reef from a mysterious expression. Grey, indigo, light grey sky colors turned the luminous turquoise of the water into a sober green sometimes even greyish. Well what sunshine does to the sea is amazing: It is blessed, so the wonderful bright sea can look like the Northsea. But no worries! We know, it is just the superficial view on it. Underneath the surface still you are awaited by a clear warmwater tropical marine beauty of a real various appearance. Depending on the bottom conditions - you have lots of seagrass, sandy spots and out of the sudden soft coral fields and hard coral patches within this many-sided reef landscabe - you find very different life around! Also watch out bigger mangrove islands, that like to host crocodiles. No, I have not seen any and am not looking for them. While being aware when birdwatching from the see I once rushed to leave the mangroves towards open sea, because all birds where rushing to fly away as if something big was chasing them away. However, it usually are Giant Barracuda, heading towards the shallows for hunting fresh little creatures. I had one grown up one right in my face when I looked under the surface again. What to do?? You cannot decide if you want to go watching the above water nature or the marine life around you, which carries plenty of fish schools waiting to grow up and move to the open waters. You better watch out around yourself and do not appear with silvery shining things in the water. The wild barracuda over here has not seen so many divers and people in his home environment. So he would eventually explore your hands, ears and fingers a bit deeper ;-).
Again, no worries. I have seen them so many times in the water - also here in the reefs and the blue - and still I can count with all my body parts I was born with. But on future tours we will go in little groups anyway to go further, exploring these very different places from others in the world. I would love to enable every interested person to see those wild marine environments and become more aware of this huge eco system, that Belize can be proud to be resonsible for! Anyway, after seagrass fields with lots of conchs, mangrove islands and sandy lagoons we visited very different looking coral fields and finally drop offs once we reached the outer atolls of Belize. Every lagoon and island out there is surrounded by walls, gradient coral gardens and beautiful protected coral patch fields around marine reserve islands. So you can see different shapes of growth and coral shapes with different fish and marine animals around. For everybody we find the suitable and confortable spot either for snorkeling, just swimming or freediving. Usually they are all almost close by the boat and sometimes even together, that everybody can join the ocean with different levels of his or her experience.
If you are blessed to see stingrays around, just never rush as they are not used to people too much and would run away in highspeed when you speed up. Always remain calm and come closer very slow to see more of this fantastic animal! They are around pretty much. Quite high are the chances to see Dolphins while sailing right in front of the boat. We had No. 1 at 7am deciding playing with our front waves. At 9am 2 more joined us - first a single one, then he called his mate and both of them joined us for about 20min and did all kinds of rolls on the back and turnarounds when speeding away and coming back to the boat. What a fantastic creature the dolphin is, you will see, when he swims from the front towards the boat and turns around to put himself in position parallel with the boat for swimming with it! But dont just enjoy - give back! You need to entertain them all the time to keep their moods to play up. So we whistled loud and constantly tapped onto the boat hull as well as even sang songs. Obviously this helped them to like our tour enough for giving us a beautiful morning underneath the greyish sky during our direction open sea.
Once we left the atoll, the wind picked up as well and blew so hard, that it took hours to realize, we could not cross to the next atoll even with suitable tacking. We were pushed back to much all the time and would have taken way to long until reaching calm waters for staying overnight. So the skipper decided to dropdown again direction Turneffe Atoll, heading a safe bay for anchoring in shallow water. It was a long entering process passing coral etches, patches and fields until we reached an area still deep enough to park the yacht. Beautiful natural coral cover all around, except direction beach. There we stayed on top of sea grass bottom to throw the anchor without destroying the fragile garden. I felt like being in the middle of wildlife nowhere. Tourism is almost not visible. Only lonely traditional wooden cabins at the Western beach front were playing with the strong waves rolling in. We and some fisherboats were the only human beings around. This environment is just breathtaking. The same on Maldives it would be already exploited by the industry until the last squaremeter. Not here though! An even more spectacular environment with a great sense of protecting the environment lets the jungle appear untouched almost everywhere. Just a few places with wooden cabins to live reminds you to human life being around those amazing spots.
The next morning on day 3 we were faced by the perfect wind from a good direction. Quickly within 5 hours we crossed the sea to reach the outer Blue Hole reef, heading first to Long Caye. There wonderful drop offs and lagoons awaited us for joining the marine life quite a while. Lunch was our stop and before sunset we wanted to reach our overnight spot behind at a small lonely reserve island. On deck of a siling boat at a clear night you have the most wonderful nights! Black nights with a sky full of stars and lightening in the sea from its various residents kept us awake. What was less joyful, definitely, was a truth even here meanwhile, that made guests and ourselves angry: The illegal fishing over night within the protected marine reserve! Too many men making a living from fishing and sell too much fish to hotels with often ignorant guests, that need lobster and all kind of fish freshly nearly every day and night. We believe to be able to change this imbalance by giving fishermen alternative work. Instead of killing fish they could easily take advantage of their knowledge about the marine life and teach strangers through guiding among other events. Just the Belizean system needs to change and give them access to get their tourguide licenses easier and affordable. Belize government seems to be too stubborn, ignorant and careless right now, when it comes to safe the people and natural reccourses of the country they are supposed to take care for. Only filling their own pockets with incoming money from the EU and other organisations is no. 1 on their to Do list - as far as what you hear here from locals. A quite common bahaviour both here and elsewhere close by as well as well known within the communities. But still, we cannot give up and always create our own ways to change the system through find new ways. What possibilities else we have?
After all this trip was wonderful as we enjoyed 2 days of bright sunshine and likewise luminous colors of the waters and its residents after having 2 days of rain and calm sea. Both situations would not hold us back from going out again like that as you always find great life out there. Our yacht makes it easily in almost every weather conditions without putting anybody in danger. A very safe boat fully equipped makes this trip being a success at any stage! We love what we do and hope to see you on board very soon here in Belize!