All the assignments handed in, skills approved, certifications checked, and exams passed… and we are now PADI Divemasters!! But, unfortunately, a potential employment situation didn’t work out, so it was time to get on the move again.
It was a little sad saying goodbye to our friends at Ecologic, but it was time to head out (and anyway, we’ll be back at Christmas to meet my family).
We didn’t necessarily pick the calmest day… but then again the wind had been blowing pretty consistently since we had arrived. But the extent of the conditions only became evident as we headed out through Tuffy Channel in front of San Pedro… against the incoming waves and sea swells that seemed to tower over the bow at times… especially when that one wave crashed full force over the bow… and the hatch to the companion way was open and the hatches not secured… yes a tad soggy and salty down below.
But we fought our way through our trial by fire and got back into sailing mode quickly as we headed south to Turneffe Cay.
We had been there for the dive and seen mooring balls down the western side of the cay, so we thought it’d make a good stopover for the night and wouldn’t be too tricky arriving after dark…. Well, we spent a good hour or so searching for those maldito moorings, while avoiding a rain shower or two, and we never found them… so back to the hook once more. Fortunately it was almost a full moon so there was a lot of light to play with, but once anchored the wind and the sea started to kick up… so needless to say that wasn’t our best night’s sleep!
We left Mexico behind and, finally, just a day sail away, we reached Ambergris Cay in northern Belize. The Mexican pronunciation is “belly say”. The local expats say “buh-leeze”.
The Rauscher’s sailing guide book predicted another tricky entrance through the reef, but this time we had another ace in our pockets. My mad, Scottish friend Dave, who I met during my adventures down in Ecuador, had been living down in Ambergris for a couple of years and was part owner of the local water taxi company, Island Ferry, so he had offered to send a boat out to guide us in. Awfully handy – the next thing we knew we were anchored off the island and prepping to head in and deal with customs and immigration.
Tragically the officials were moving offices and didn’t seem to have the new one set up yet and so had taken the Friday afternoon off… so there was nothing left for us to do, but head to the closest bar and catch up with Dave and Corinne.
The next week basically involved more of the above… hanging out… drinking beer and rum (Arrrrrr!) … we finally got our papers sorted after being in the country almost 4 days… talking to the local charter company (no luck with work as we’re not Belizian)… checking out dive companies to see if we wanted to do out divemasters…. And helping out Dave, Corinne, Sterling and Isobel with their yard sale… as everyone was heading off!!
Yup, we finally get here and Dave and Corinne had decided to move on after 2 years here… aw well, just in the nick of time!
So just before everyone disappeared north… we had the pleasure of attending Sterling and Isobel’s wedding and the drunkenness that followed… not to mention the first crazy, high-speed golf cart ride through San Pedro.
The Happy Couple
… Welcome to the cays!