Monday, August 19, 2013

Sailing on Las Sirenas to the Cays of Belize (27.07.2013 - 05.08.2013)

After Melanie left for Switzerland I had two more days in Antigua before heading back north to Rio Dulce. After another night at Hotel Kangaroo I could board the sailing boat which would be my home for the next week. Las Sirenas is an old 46 feet (14m) long Polynesian catamaran, designed by James Wharram. My cabin or should I say coffin was in the stern of the starboard hull. It was quite small but cozy and I didn't plan on staying below deck besides the nights. All the food and drinking water was included, beers and soda where on the honesty system. But I was prepared and had two bottles of rum with me ^^
Everyone would get a plastic bottle of fresh water a day to shower/rinse. This wasn't a super luxurious cruise, but I didn't mind.
As companions for this trip I had a israeli couple (hello Mor & Itai ^^), a girl from belgium, a american/south african Witness of Jehovah couple (aeh...) and the owner with his wife and two boys. The crew consisted of the captain, a deckhand and a cook.
After lifting the anchor we sailed out into El Golfete where we stayed for the first night. Early the next morning we would cross the canyons and stop at Livingston to get our passports stamped. As it was quite windy the captain decided not to cross over to the cays the same day. So we anchored protected behind the peninsula in the bay of Amatique. The next day I woke up as we were already out in the open sea on our way to the Cays of Belize. Soon after a school of dolphins showed up and escorted us for the next 20 minutes. We arrived before midday but the carribean work ethic hindered us to get our passport stamped, the official wasn't around. So we set sail for the tiny island of Tom Owens Caye where we could go snorkelling and diving. As it was the last dive of the day it wasn't really deep and spectacular dive.
So we tried our luck again the next morning. This time they would allow me to help them spearfish the invasive Lionfish. The divemaster (as it was a girl is it called a divemistress?!) and I got about ten each when a nurseshark showed up and expressed interest in our spears and the bag with our catch. But after sniffing on the spearheads he departed into the deep blue again.
After the dive our captain took us back to the first island to get our immigration done and then we left for another reef. They called the place we anchored the White Reef, a sandy area surrounded by a circular reef. As it was quite shallow (0.5 - 2m) it was a great place to go snorkelling! We would stay there for two nights and do nothing besides swimming in the open sea, spearfishing, snorkelling or go out with one of the kayaks/surfboards.

I tried my luck on spearfishing there and got a nice catch, around 40cm long! The spears we would use are called a hawaiian sling. Its a spear with a rubber band at the back which you would stretch and then let go. You can't shoot really far, so you have to get quite close!
While snorkelling I saw sting rays, eagle rays, barracudas and we had a nurse shark visiting our boat. The fish innards from our catches probably helped ;)
Our captain would go out to spearfish everyday, so we had fresh fish all the time! And by the end of the trip he had caught enough lobsters for all of us. So we had a awesome lobster meal!
The time passed way to quickly and we were already on our way back. After a quick stop at Livingston for the paperwork we sailed up the canyon and ended up anchoring close to Rio Dulce.
The next day we got dropped of and I called Gary to pick me up again so I could spend two more nights in the swamp ;)