Wednesday, February 18, 2009
What's in the Anchorage at Belize City
Sunny downwind lee flat calm turquoise: that’s how we got from behind Spanish Lookout Caye to our date with Customs, Immigration, Health&Agriculture and – who was that other guy anyhow? He got the same $20 ‘transportation’ (no receipt!) as the first three, and now we’re good until the Ides of March.
The anchorage off the city is exposed, and little clumps of ‘mud’ from ‘state of the art' sewage treatment scoot past like autumn leaves in a stiff breeze. They don’t smell and they fall apart like dust when touched, but I still don’t like salt spray on this dinghy ride!
There’s a lot going on though. Here’s what a 180-degree scan of the horizon reveals:
Us, the only cruising sailboat
A chartered catamaran
Small fast (3x200hp Yamahas) passenger ferry (they do their 24 mile run in 12 minutes, so stay out of their way!)
A 138-foot Dutch square-rigged school ship, Astrid. College age, six months out, two Atlantic crossings, the students do all the work. The captain kindly stopped by to invite us for a beer :) but we were waiting for the tide :( so he gave us the short version, and I’ll spare you the accent: when these children come home the parents are so happy they think ‘maybe we will have more children. This one used to sit in front of computer all day now interested in things and helps and very nice to know.’
Two shrimpers, Northern I and Northern II
A German schooner, Johan Schmidt,100 plus feet ‘sailing cargo’ but looks more like some kind of passengers
Cruise ship Spirit of Independence, anchored far out and ferrying in small boatloads of Dive Discoverers, Mayan Ruin Adventurers, Nature Park Explorers and Monkey Village Shoppers (Diamonds International, Del Sol and the same cast of characters as everywhere else, and you have to show a pass if you’re entering from the street, so it’s ‘safe’)
A small container ship at the bulk wharf, being unloaded by 2 cranes
A cargo ship, the Radnor, about 300 feet, apparently in storage
Oil tanker, pinned like a Lilliputian to four corner moorings so it could deliver fuel through a hose to the tanks at the end of the bulk wharf
Two, not tug boats, but maybe 70’ open aft deck and high forward cabin, anchored
A Belize-registered long-line fishing boat
Water taxi carrying 2 palangis (non-native white people) to an outer key
A pontoon dive boat coming back in from the reef
Local sailing boat with pieced and patched sails and a dugout 1-log dory on top.
Looks like I'll have to learn html to use the pictures right. Later