Saturday, March 29, 2014

Maria Paula's Visit to Belize and Mokakat - Lark Cay, Hatchet Cay, and Placencia Harbor

After we had a great time at Cary Cay, the weather decided to get windy!  Of course in sailing and being out offshore, we watch the weather, and it has the last say!  We really wanted to head out to Hatchet Cay, but with the 20NM+ north/east wind forecasted, we decided to head over to Lark Cay for a day and hide out from the wind. 
Before we left, and since we had a Colombian aboard, we raised the Colombian flag!
Maria Paula with the Colombian Flag
It was a quick sail over, as it was only a few miles away.  Once we dropped the anchor, we were free to explore the area.  Maria Paula and I dropped the dinghy and headed over to the mangrove islands, looking for a beach!  We found a nice beach, but the waves were pretty high.  We were glad that we were protected on the other side of the island.  The adventure turned into more of a photo shoot, but we enjoyed the time on the island. 

 NO MAS FOTOS!!!  (No more photos!!!)
 Finish!!!! :)
Dale and Maria Paula selfie
Beautiful Maria Paula!!!
We did see some animal life, in between taking pictures of ourselves!
Yesterday while we were snorkeling in Cary Cay, we found a conch and adding some additional conch from a previous catch, we made Conch Ceviche!  It was amazing and we will have to make this again! 
Conch Ceviche
Can I have some more????
We had a quiet day hiding out from the high winds in Lark Cay.  We cooked chicken on the grill and watched a beautiful sunset, while drinking some Argentine wine!   It doesn't get any better than this!!!
Another beautiful sunset on MokaKat!
The next day, the winds had calmed, so we headed out to Hatchet Caye, one of my favorites!  We had to motor sail, as the winds were on the nose and only about 5 knots.  We were ready to get to Hatchet Caye to snorkel and explore the island.
We passed Moho Cay, a beautiful deserted island
Maria Paula taking her turn at the wheel 
Maria Paula with Moho Cay in the background
We finally arrived at Hatchet Caye, and one of the closest mooring balls was available. 
 Hatchet Caye!
Hatchet Caye!
Maria Paula and I quickly lowered the dinghy, and headed into shore to checkout the resort and pay the $15 for the mooring ball.  We checked out the resort and made reservation for dinner that night!
Our welcoming committee!

While we were getting something to drink at the restaurant, we noticed a guy with a dog that looked  a lot like Termite and Wiley!  It was!!!  It was incredible, to see Termite way out there at Hatchet Caye.  It turns out that Termite, Will, and Bob all took Will's boat out.  Will is Termite's friend and has the boat next to him at the marina.  Bob was down from the Kansas City area and visiting with Will.  We almost always run into a fellow cruiser out here!
Termite, Wiley(the dog), Bob, and Will

Will's sailboat
After checking out the island and the resort, we headed back to the boat to snorkel!  The snorkeling here is excellent, so I was excited to get into the water!  Since we were on a mooring ball next to the reef, we could just swim over from the boat.  Maria Paula and I headed over, while mom was getting ready.  As soon as we entered the water there were several barracudas watching us.  They are usually harmless, if you only watch them. 
Dale and Maria Paula
Once we got close to the reef, Maria Paula said she saw a shark! I quickly looked all around, but I couldn't see any sharks.  So that was it for Maria Paula, as she made a bee line back to the boat and out of the water!  I looked everywhere and couldn't see any sharks and tried to get her back into the water, but to no avail.  I did notice a mackerel swimming around underneath.  After looking at a picture of a mackerel, it turned out that Maria Paula saw the mackerel, which from the top looks a little like a shark.  I snorkeled around little and took a few pictures.
Spotted Eagle Ray!!! 

After snorkeling, we headed into the Hatchet Caye Resort Restaurant for an incredible meal! 
After dinner, we walked over to a lighted pier and covered gazebo.  The blue underwater lights attract the spotted eagle rays.  Our pictures don't do justice of the beauty of the rays.

We had a great night and crashed early!  The next day we got the weather report and the winds were supposed to pick up to over 20 knots.  Hatchet Caye is not the best place to be in high winds, so we made the decision to head back a day early.  I was disappointed, as Maria Paula did not have a good opportunity to snorkel in these beautiful waters. 
We had light winds, but was able to sail all of the way back to Placencia Harbor.  Since the wind was to our backs, we just flew the jib and relaxed.  We did have one strike on our fishing pole, but before I could set the hook, it was lost.  No fresh fish for MokaKat today! 
Passing Moho Cay on the way back to Placencia Harbor
Once back in the harbor in Placencia, we hooked up the hammock that Maria Paula's mother gave us last summer for the boat!  It was amazing as we kicked back and enjoyed the hammock over the trampoline on the bow of MokaKat.

Another beautiful Belize sunset
The next day, we had to move into the lagoon, as the wind was going to pick up again.  Also, Maria Paula had to catch a taxi for the airport early on the next morning.  We sailed MokaKat back into the lagoon and anchored close to the Moorings Marina.

Maria Paula and I headed over to the Robert Grove Resort for a late lunch, eating their famous fish and chips.  I don't know if the fish and chips are famous, but they are really good! 
The next morning, we took the dinghy into the Moorings Marina, where the taxi will pick us up. 

I rode into the Maya Island Airport with Maria Paula to say our good byes.  It was sad to see her go and our time flew by.  She really did well on the boat, as she was hesitant to come.  At the end, she learned many things about MokaKat and enjoyed her time living on a boat!
I ended up walking the two miles back to the marina, as it was nice and cool.  It gave me time to reflect on the past 10 days.  I will miss my beautiful wife for the remainder of my sailing adventure. 
Happy Sailing from MokaKat!

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