Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sailing: Caye Caulker to Dangriga, Belize, January 27-29, 2017

21 passengers and 4 crew left Caye Caulker at 9 am Friday on the Ragga Empress.  We were Americans, Canadians, Germans and Chileans.  Most apparently booked online ahead of time.  I had read about Raggamuffin Tours but only booked while in Caye Caulker, sort of last minute.  Raggamuffin Tours has an excellent reputation, a great crew on board and friendly staff at the office.  The 3 day, 2 night tour cost $400 US and that included 2 nights accommodation, all meals and snacks, snorkeling, fishing, and all the booze you could drink.  The crew was excellent and I would definitely recommend the trip.  

The catamaran we were on easily held the 25 of us-

The Caribbean sea is beautiful and we were pretty much alone the 3 days.  We did see some cruise ships but from a distance.  Being in the middle of nowhere meant the reef was untouched so very healthy.  In some places, you have to lay completely horizontal to get over the coral.  The sponge, coral, plant and fish life was amazing.  So much better than diving at Esmeralda-

We had the opportunity to troll behind the boat.  I caught a small lizard fish that we threw back-

Helmut from Germany, caught 2 barracuda that we enjoyed for supper-

Preparing the barracuda-

The crew bought octopus from a local fisherman for ceviche-

Our first stop was Goff Caye, a super small island.  We walked around it in about 5 minutes.  It made me think of Le Petit Prince and all the different planets he visited.  There's not much there but day trips from Caulker come for the sun-

We went snorkelling on the reef numerous times: Gallows Point Reef and Southern Long Caye Channel and it just got better and better-

I probably saw most of these!

We were on the lookout for conch so we could have another great ceviche.  We found lots - they are really slimy and creepy looking but delicious-

The sharp pointy thing on the top is the fingernail and it feels just like one-

We collected quite a few for a great feast-

Chris ate the penis to gross us out.  It was a clear, rubbery, long skinny thing that's supposed to be an aphrodisiac-

Our first night was on Rendezvous Caye-

where we tented.  I had a horrible sleep-

After a great breakfast on day two, we stopped on Tobacco Caye for a half hour visit.  The sea wall is made of conch shells-

Watching a stingray slip away-

and chasing a dolphin-

Ragga Caye is the private island of Raggamuffin Tours.  We had the option to tent (no thanks) or stay in  beautiful cabanas complete with bathroom for a mere $100 US extra-

Or we could stay for free in the dorms-

I stayed here all by myself.  I had the best sleep listening to the Caribbean waves-

The dining hall on Ragga Caye comes complete with wifi.  It's absolutely amazing to me how good wifi is almost everywhere-

Supper was lobster.  There was more than one for each of us.  It costs $14.42/pound-

Day 3 started with a visit to Bird Caye, where frigates and boobies live.  They were brought from the Galapagos for research purposes.  Today, for whatever reason, they just hang out on this small island-

There are many boobys-

Male frigates have red breasts and females have white-

After Bird Caye, we went looking for manatees.  We saw quite a few but I wasn't quick enough to get a picture.  They live 60-80 years, weigh 200-800 pounds, eat 1/3 of their body weight everyday, feed on grass beds, can hold their breath for 25 minutes and are super docile. 

The Ragga Empress has two sails and two motors.  We probably only actually sailed about half the time because the winds weren't strong enough to move us very quickly-

The front of the boat has a trampoline for relaxing-

And the back has lots of room too-

The kitchen/dining room is quite large-

The weather was great so we didn't spend any time here.  It was a work area for the crew-

who shared the duties:  cooking, cleaning, fishing, preparing snorkel gear, snacks, rum punch, water, juices and driving.  We were treated like royalty!  Elio and Linthon did a lot of the cooking and cleanup.

Our crew was fabulous:  Chris, Elio, Fernando - who lives on Ragga Caye, Linthon and Captain Chris looked after us really well-

To complete the trip, two lanchas took us from Ragga Caye to Dangriga.  It was a rough and wet 25 minute ride-

Dangriga is a rubby town along the coast.  The people are noticeably darker than in Caye Caulker, more Garafuna.  It's Sunday so it's most people's day off so quite normal just to be hanging out-

I caught the 6 pm bus from Dangriga to Placencia where I'll spend the next 5 nights.  The bus was packed and unfortunately all the way was dark so I didn't see anything.  Once in Placencia and after I found Sailfish Resort, I had to ring a doorbell that's connected to the bar so they would come across a 60 foot stream of water to transport me to the hotel!  

Looking forward to more sun and fun for the next few days!

1 comment:

  1. There's travelling and there's travelling. What wonderful days you have just experienced.


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