Sunday, 28 June 2015

Belize...

Belize is famous for its barrier reef (second largest to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia).  
The waters are a beautiful turquoise, with many atolls.

We cleared in at San Pedro.  We then went and had lunch, where we watched these gorgeous local children enthralled at watching a local elder opening coconuts to sell to passersby...


This was a great sign at Caye Caulker.


At Halfmoon Cay marine reserve – a lovely scenic cay with Palm Trees 
and a Red Boobie Bird Sanctuary. 


The Red Boobies were nesting in the top of the trees, 
a spectacular sight from an observation deck, 
watching the males fly in with food for Mum and the Chicks.



Bill (the Ranger) showed us a “baby” Boobie, which had fallen from the nest.  These babies will not survive, so he was looking after it until it was strong enough to fly and be returned to the wild.


We motor sailed amidst rain showers to Glovers Atoll, where we had organized to catch up with Teresa and Brett (Seismic Wave).

We all dived “The Wall” from our dinghys – a lovely dive seeing Crays, Spotted Eagle Rays, and lots of fish.

North East Long Cay had a tricky entrance of coral reefs, the light was perfect for our visual navigation (thank goodness) as the electronic charts in Belize are not accurate!

North East Island has a small resort with the Bures over the water, they have nurse sharks, stingrays and lots of fish swimming under their accommdation.


Us diving with Brett & Teresa,


Some of the Fan Coral



Loggerhead Turtle that was very friendly with us


At a safety stop before surfacing...


This guy greeted us on arrival at Hatchett Cay, a lovely resort owned by an Australian


These are the local fishing boats that go out to dive for the crayfish.  The little canoes are towed by the diving, then they head back to the “mother-boat” where they sleep.  The Motherboat has ice for the crayfish to be chilled immediately.  They then come back to Placencia, where they sell their catch to the local Co-Op for local and export sale...


Placencia Cay for the “Lobster Festival”, though they are actually Crayfish.

Lion Fish are a major "pest" here, being introduced from Asia - they have wrecked havoc on the fishlife and reef system.  Lionfish are venomous.  
They had a competition as to how many Lionfish could be brought in...



Belinda and Ken (Free Spirit) had also arrived so it was a lovely catch up…

and the Lobster (Crayfish) festival was fun...










Saturday, 16 May 2015

Richards Birthday

This is typical of many of the rural houses that we saw while driving to Tulum...


This car was parked opposite the Restaurant we went for dinner...


Richards Birthday 16 May 2015

We were up early and off to Dos Ojos Scuba. 
Richard's wish for his birthday was to dive Cenotes.  

Cenote is a Mayan Term, which refer any cavern with a water deposit.  These are inland, underground cave systems, with the six biggest in the world all located in Tulum.  Since the caves were formed in the last ice ages, inhibitants in that period (prehistoric, including human) settled in the caves in search of the single drinking water source.  Most of them, including mammoths, sloths, horses, camels amongst others, did not manage to get out and their remains stay there as proof.  Four human skeletons more than 10 thousand years old have been found.

These caves were dry in the last ice age, rain was filtered and it dragged minerals along forming stalactites, stalagmites and colums.

The first dive at “The Pit” an amazing 123 ft deep, with contracting scuba bubbles and divers against light backdrop – an incredible place...


  
The second dive was “Dreamgate” at Cenote Profunda, a very remote place down a long rough road.  Only two sets of divers.  A double pronged dive along 20 ft bottom with millions of staligtites and mites on the bottom and ceiling.  Very unique place in pitch blackness.




We then headed back to Our Rose, doing some major provisioning along the way...

We headed to Punta Allen, we were the only boat there.  


We went ashore and chatted with the locals.


Leaving Punta Allen we overnighted to San Pedro Belize, a rolly night, we had to slow Our Rose down, as we were going to arrive too early to have the right light to navigate the reef system at the entrance to San Pedro.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Mexico Ruins...

One of the most advanced indigenous cultures of the ancient Americas,
the Mayans began as hunter gatherers and migrated into the Yacatan around 2500BC.
During the pre-classic period (500BC - 250AD) they appeared in Quintana Roo - it was this area that we visited ruins at Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam

The shear size and architectural fete was nothing short of extraordinary!
Considering they felt the "wheel" was sacred, therefore was not used for any constructions whatsoever…

The following photos are from the four ruin sites we visited:

Tulum…




Coba...

Our accommodation where we stayed overnight


This is a "Ball Court" - the object was to get a Rubber ball through the small hoop at the top of the wall, using only the hip to hit it.  This was not a game, however used for various decisions needing to be made, including political and sacrificial…



The "Watch Tower" at a cross road connecting various main cities...


Below was our "Mayan Limosine" a typical mode of transport...


Richard climbed to the top of this!


Iguanas come in various colours...


Chichen Itza

The ruins covered a huge area here.  We visited in the morning before it got too hot…


This pyramid is actually a second layer on top of an existing pyramid from an earlier era…


In the evening, we returned for a light and sound show, that was projected onto the above pyramid…





The below photo depicts the fact that most of the Mayan Ruins were brightly coloured structures - they used Jade, Dyes from Vegetation etc to achieve this…


Ek Balam

This is Richard climbing to the top…


The view from the top showed the area that Ek Balam covered…





Caymans to Mexico...

Our trip from Cuba to Grand Cayman was only overnight,
however we had confused seas, aft of the beam which meant it felt like we were in a washing machine, for the first time Richard felt off…

Pleased to arrived in the Caymans,
was a shock to the system after 6 peaceful weeks in Cuba…
There are between 2 and 7 cruise ship here (just about every day)...


thousands of people, bars, restaurants, supermarkets that sell everything!..

We caught up with Bill & Gene (Out of the Bag) and hired a car and circumnavigated the island,
we can now say we've been to "Hell" and back…


Being back in a first world country meant to obtaining parts was as simple as a phone call via Skype,
We had been having problems with our water maker,
Spectra were fantastic, we received our part within 2 days from USA.
We had also been having problems with the generator, 
so with Richard spending a full day in a very cramped space, fixed both of these,
the cruising life would be somewhat constrained if you couldn't fix things yourself!

Richard gave Gene (Out of the Bag) an introduction to Scuba,


We also caught up with Sue & Brian (Sea Rose, who we first met in South Africa), 
Sue came for a dive with us, while Brian snorkelled above…


We checked out the Botanic Gardens…



The reason for coming to the Caymans was for the diving…
Richard dived walls, wrecks, reefs with names like "Kittywake, Aquarium, Eden Rock, Devils Grotto, Orange Canyon, Blackies Hole, No Name Wall, Pinnacle Reef" and many more
(I joined him for some of the dives)…

We went to "Stingray City" where there are literally hundreds of stingrays…


At one of the dive sites, we saw a huge turtle - about 4 feet long and 3 feet wide…


Bill and Gene (OOTB) were leaving for Jamaica, so we went to join them and Sue & Brian (Sea Rose) for ANZAC evening - far too many Bundabergs (Aussie Rum) was consumed…


We were thrilled when Michael & Rebecca flew in to join us,
Michael fit straight back in… and Rebecca found her favourite spot early on 
and took to Our Rose like a fish to water, easily relaxing…


Our trip from Caymans to Isla Mujares (Mexico) would take 4 nights, 
a whole new experience for Rebecca and Michael.  
We prepared Our Rose, adding extra safety lines along the sides of the boat and also across the back…


We had a very mixed bag of weather, from very calm to quite bumpy.
On my shift, there was a large pod of dolphins (dozens), so I woke the others up to experience this…


We arrived at Isla Mujares and were so happy that "Free Spirit" Belinda and Ken 
and also "Romone" Ron, Simone their 3 year old Kim and their beautiful dog "Skipper" were all there.

We cleared in (which took a few days in total) and enjoyed our first of many Margueritas…

Rebecca and I went to do some provisioning and somehow got lost at our favourite bar…
arriving back to Our Rose a bit later than expected...


I continue to love some of the street art we are seeing in the different countries…


and loved the paint job on this VW


Our first catch up night with Belinda and Ken was very memorable, 
with our evening beginning very civilised...


then leading to this…


then after many wines, out came the Tequila and the Cuban Cigars, ending with this...


The holding at the anchorage at Isla Mujares proved to be questionable, when a monohull dragged into Our Rose - this is much better explained by Michael, whose post I will add after this.

We had Free Spirit, Romone, Sundowner and Kas join us on Our Rose to go to snorkel the statues.
Dani (Sundowner) explains the day here:

We had a BBQ onboard when we arrived back at the anchorage 
and as it was Dani's birthday I made her a cake.  


It was a lovely day, 
with (Romone) Ron and his Dad Bernard (who only speaks German), singing to us…


We then sailed over to Cancun, for a couple of nights before Michael & Rebecca headed home…
Some of the homes…



 There was lots to look at…



Rebeccas favourite spot 


was sometimes shared…


We had a really lovely time with Rebecca and Michael and look forward to them joining us again soon