A Magical Day in Paradise (eng) - Half Moon Cay and Blue Hole

Sat 18 Dec 2010 00:00
17:18.7393N, 87:31.9766W
18. December 2010
Lighthouse Reef, Belize:
Half Moon Cay and Blue Hole

When I woke up this morning, I had trouble figuring out where I was and what was going on.
It took me a while to find out the reasons. After that bumpy ride the previous night, I hadn't quite caught up with my lack of sleep during the day hence slept like a baby last night. The other reason was total and complete quietness. No wind, no waves, no movement - absolutely nothing. Andromeda laid in the water like a hovering space ship.
After a magical moonlit night with freshly caught Barracuda on the grill, we enjoyed a magical morning in complete silence. The booby birds from Half Moon Cay were too far away, no sound of the surf on the outer reef due to lack of wind, the wind generator was hanging lazily in the air and even the dinghy didn't make the slightest sound, cause the surface of the sea was like a mirror. This was truly amazing. Out here on the anchorage, surrounded by water and two little cays in the South, clear blue sky, the rising sun - and total quietness. Heavenly.

After a very relaxed and peaceful morning we went to see the rangers at Half Moon Cay, paid our Nature Park fees and collected coconuts in return. The Park is run by the Belize Audubon Society and they do a wonderful job keeping the educational path around the island spotlessly clean.
The red-footed booby bird is unique to Belize. A cousin (I think the black-footed booby bird)) lives on the Galapagos. The rangers built a 9m high platform from which you can look directly into their nests in the crowns of the orange-flowered Ziricote trees. From their, we also watched the flirting frigate birds, with bright red inflated throat sacs. It can take them up to half an hour to inflate their sacs. This islands seems to be a very popular spot, the air was filled with busy flying birds and lots of noise.
Further on the trail, we even saw the mostly nocturnal Island Leaf-toed Gecko in its bright green and blue colors. Their worldwide distribution is limited to two of Belize's atolls.

Two dive boats arrived to provide lunch on the chairs in the white sands under the palm trees so we decided to move on and explore the famous Blue Hole 7 miles North. Fortunately, our cat has got very little draft (4.2 feet) and Michael is a very experienced captain. We managed to evade the numerous coral heads and shallow parts on the way, even though the sun and clouds played shadow tricks on the water, making it very difficult to estimate the changing depths.
It is true what they say about the Blue Hole - little fish and not too much interesting vegetation along the wall.
However, we were hoping to see the stalactites in 125 feet depth and also some sharks. Well, Michael was looking forward to seeing them, my feelings were rather mixed about that and I must say I was pretty nervous when we dove down into the deep. The whole is about 400 feet deep and looks pretty dark and deep indeed!
Unfortunately, we couldn't find the stalactites and after having gotten used to the surroundings, even I was a bit disappointed not having seen even one little shark.
What we did see was an immense grouper, surely 4 feet long, a huge lobster sitting in the wall and just a few of the common Caribbean fish. I must say, watching two majestic Spotted Eagle Rays snorkeling off Half Moon Cay was more breath taking.
Whatsoever, we fell happily asleep in the cockpit after dinner - at 8.30 pm!

PS: Well, it's of course not always everything magical. When I woke up, I found the deck covered in a lot of (fresh water) dew and took the opportunity to mob off the salt film from sailing - 30 min workout before breakfast or yoga.
Unfortunately, that was the best exercise for my back which still feels very stiff and tender every now and then.
So I spent another 40 min with careful stretching and exercises and some electrical stimulation machine.

The down side of diving is having to handle these rather heavy tanks and Michael twisted his back doing that, so was partly immobile for the remaining afternoon.

Still got a lot of projects and maintenance on my list and started sowing the lose velcro onto the bimmany. Quite a job and unfortunately, after an hour I still wasn't done. Fortunately, there's no time pressure.

And every morning, I keep finding a few cockroaches - fortunately belly up. But definitely will have to do another fumigation again, just in case...

But who wants to read about this boring stuff, anyway?!?!

PPS: While we're under way, we can be reached under a special email (no attachments): wda8918 {DOT} {DOT} {DOT} {CHANGE TO AT} } sailmail dot KOMM (hope you can figure that one out).

radio email processed by SailMail
for information see: http://www.sailmail.com