The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard
Part 15: Bluefield Range (Belize)
Saturday, 5 February 2000
As you know, I made the trip to Arkansas for a physical examination to determine the cause of some nagging symptoms. The flight to Mt. Home, Ark took only a few hours, but the hours were late and I arrived there around 2:00 AM, Wednesday, January 26. In the morning Dad set up an appointment for me with his Doctor. Then, between th GP and a Urologist, the two determined that other doctors had been treating me for prostatitus, when the problem was really lower spinal deterioration. On good news, bad news like that, you can't be certain whether to be pleased or sad. But, at least I can stop worrying about it and just manage the problem.
The second day at Mt. Home, although having had flu shots, I came down with the flu. I did manage to take care of the various tasks assigned me by Joan (the taskmaster), but I also exposed Dad to the flu and was damn unpleasant company for him to boot.
Meanwhile, back on the boat, Joan was having a great time. She and Marge were running the dink all over and I have to presume they were pestering every barkeep around. We were thankful that the weather held good for the week and Joan did not have to ride out a blow by herself. Also, in the spot where we were anchored, they discovered schooling red snapper right under the boat.
One of the tasks that I set out to accomplish was to bring back a larger satellite dish for TV. Our little 18 inch dish was not adequate to gather enough signal in the lower latitudes. So, in Mt. Home, I picked up a 1 meter (39 inch) dish. It was so large that it would only go into the rental car through the front door. I wasn't sure how or if I could get it all the way to Caye Caulker. American Airlines said no problem and no extra charge, so it arrived at Belize City just fine. The next hurdle, however, would be more challenging. The flight from Belize City to Caye Caulker was by light aircraft. The Maya Airlines baggage handler looked at me kind of funny, but somehow stuffed it into the plane with ½ inch to spare. So, returning to Caye Caulker, I still had the flu, but all of the important stuff had been taken care of.
After another day for rest and recovery, we left Caye Caulker. We had a rain shower that lasted about two hours and dropped two inches of rain. In these latitudes it's pretty common. Just south of here a few miles, they get over 300 inches of rain a year, mostly from evening showers. The first stop was for fuel at Belize City (ouch-, $1.85 per gallon).
Then, after a one hour run to the east, we dropped the hook at Water Caye. In the morning we had planned to go to Turneffe archipelago 10 miles offshore, but the weather report was not so good. Instead, on the suggestion of “My Time”, a knowledgeable local, we cruised further south to the Bluefield Range for a protected anchorage.
Bluefield Range is a group of Cayes about two miles inside of the barrier reef. Between the Cayes there is enough room for dozens of boats to anchor comfortably. We are sharing this beautiful spot with but one sailboat. Marv and I took the dinks out to explore the reef, a small island and the dozens of very large coral formations inside of the reef. Wow, there is more here than we ever expected. Rendezvous Caye, a small island near the reef, is about 200 feet long and 100 feet wide. It is all sandy, but covered with coconut palms. A perfect place for fishing, swimming, snorkeling, sunning, and for Maggie to. . . take a walk. Marv, fishing the reef, caught a really nice red snapper. There is so much to do here that we will probably stay a while. Turneffe, has even more to offer, but we have lots of time.
Today, the weather has turned a bit sour. Wind out the NW at 20 knots, rain and cloudy. It's a good day to get caught up with some boat duties.
Grateful to be back and underway again. I will get back to more regular newsletters too.
Joan, Ben, Marge, Marv and Maggie