April 19-22, 2013... San Pedro, Belize

The overnight at Caye Caulker was wonderful -- calm anchorage, the boat still. Just right, after the rowdy passage from Mexico. Sorry to leave, but had to go the 12 miles up to Ambergris Cay to check into Belize. And San Pedro, the town on Ambergris, offered a choice of restaurants, provisioning options, wifi and fuel -- all necessary (or wanted) after two weeks off the grid. So motored up some pretty skinny water, seeing the depth sounder go to zero at times to anchor in front of the town.

After checking in we explored the little town. Another place with madcap tourists (and residents) racing around in golf carts. But somehow, much lower key than Isla Mujeres, where touts tried selling you souvenirs or tours at every turn. Here, with an expat population, it was less clear that you were a tourist, so travelers were left alone. We indeed found many restaurants to try, and with no fresh food aboard, seemed like a great thing to do. And we couldn't resist sitting at a table overlooking gorgeous clear seas. But we did seriously stock up, loving the fresh produce available at all the small shops in town. José at the Costa Maya grocery gave us extra special attention and we thoroughly enjoyed doing business with him.

We spent half a day ferrying jerry jugs of diesel to Anhinga. A hot, back-breaking job, but we didn't mind the breezy dinghy rides to the fuel dock. That day, the water was so calm and clear, we saw a nurse shark while underway, and had stingrays under the boat most of the morning.

Finished with our chores, we decided to leave on a day with calm, east winds. The only hurdle was getting through the reef to deep water. The pass once had a buoy marking the doglegged channel, but it broke off a few weeks before. We scouted the channel by dinghy after checking with a dive shop to make sure we understood the geography. And we had a waypoint from the cruising guide. (Unfortunately, our chartplotter only has cartoon blobs for this particular area -- not helpful when you need exact data for critical navigation.) So, clear day, calm seas, John on the bow directing through coral reef with hand signals, Patti at the helm, we motored out like we knew what we were doing! (Always a surprise...) Past the reef, we brought out the sails and turned south for a daysail to English Cay. One of our best sails ever!

San Pedro, Ambergris Cay, Belize: 17d54.877'N 87d57.652'W