A Dolphin Blessing

Early morning, as soon as the sun appeared from behind the clouds, we started preparations to leave the very south tip of Turneeffe Atoll and find shelter from the raging trade winds inside the reef. We needed a blessings, and sure enough, a beautiful adult dolphin swooped near the boat and pirouetted in the water. Oz shouted: “That a boy!” It felt like a good omen.

With lifted spirits we proceeded into the pass and charged east, motoring all the way in 10-12 foot seas directly on the stern. We managed to go through the opening in the reef and found shelter on the west side of Colson Caye, back in tropical paradise. Our routine when we arrive in a new spot, weather permitting, is to jump into the water to refresh and swim. Then we take the dingy for an exploration tour.

Many of the cayes are just a patch of mangrove with nothing else. Sometimes there’s a single fisherman hut on stilts with a couple of dogs. We were unpleasantly surprised by wild noise near us. Suddenly, from the bushes, a pack of dogs emerged barking like crazy. They chased after us, persisting, daring to swim very close. They seemed emaciated and angry. It was a very spooky and sad sight. At that moment I was happy our Lulu was not with us. These dogs are left on the mangrove to guard the island with probably very little food and caring human encounters.

We met Dave, a professional skipper in the Belize waters, from the other boat in the bay, and he gave us tips for nice places to visit. We count our blessings and feel gratitude for the life we dare to lead.

Failed attempt to get to the Blue Hole.

Tuesday morning we woke up to a glorious sunrise, a lone boat in the expanse of turquoise waters. We anchored just inside the English Channel, the major pass for big ships on their way into the barrier reef and Belize City. A parade of four humongous cruise ships passed in the distance.

We departed enthusiastically from Water Cay, with two feet seas and light wind but as soon as we went through the pass to get outside the scene changed. It was 20-25 knots wind and 6-8 foot waves. Five hours of exciting sailing. Then we motored the rest through the pass into the Turneffe Atoll and anchored just in front of their resort.

The plan was to spend the night and continue to the Lighthouse Atoll with the famous Blue Hole and Half Moon Cay that’s known for a bird reservation. Well, didn’t work that way. We learned, once again, that if there’s grass at the bottom of an anchorage the holding is poor. The anchor alarm sounded in the middle of the night forcing us to raise the anchor and look for a better place while all along fierce Trade Winds were howling.

The admiral (me) right there and then, decreed that first thing at day light the ship return to flee back inside the barrier reef.

Rough seas

Sailing inside the Belize Barrier Reef

We anchored two nights in laid back Cay Caulker. It’s a typical Caribbean funky town with amazing restaurants, packed sand roads and houses on stilts. It’s always hard to leave a place you like even if your stay was short. But as Oz says: “Let’s leave this beautiful place and find another beautiful place,” we set sail south this morning. We passed North Drawned Cays and intend to anchor in Water Cay for tonight.

Cay Caulker

The music is blasting in the cockpit and as we attune to the Trade Winds on the beam, the tapestry of the ocean colors keeps on changing from turquoise, to deep blue, to green, even purple at times.

Calm waters

Sailed the Yucatan Channel

We waited at Marina del Sol, Isla Mujeres for a few days while a strong north front swept through. It was nice to be in the Makacax Lagoon, instead of out suffering in the big harbor. Safe and comfortable, not dragging anchor with a dozen other boats. The grass in the harbor is poor holding.

We sailed to Cozumel and anchored directly off the Capitania del Puerto Cozumel. We realized that clearing out here was the good idea, instead of an extra stop at Puerto Aventura. Troy was easily able to take a ferry to Playa del Carmen and then a taxi to catch his plane back to Colorado.

One day layover for clearing out, shopping and eating in good restaurants. A day sail to the shallows to the north of the Island. Viewed a very old wreck, sitting in two feet of water.

Nacho and Oz sailed on, destination San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize. A long, tough day, we really needed to reach Punta Allen to find shelter from the 20 knot trade winds. We sailed on the jib and motored, arriving at a quiet anchorage in the north end of the vast Bahia Ascencion. Looking around in the dinghy we finally found the community dock in the far northwest corner. Walking to town we found a nice meal, right on the beach facing outside.

Next day on to Bahia Santo Spiritu, where we found, behind Owen’s Island, our cuban friend that we amet in Isla Mujeres. Visit and chat. We wandered the island.

Early start to Banco Chincorro, a coral atoll outside the mesoamerican barrier reef. Easy entry through the pass at the northwest corner. We contacted the other catamaran – a french couple cruising north. A quiet night. It’s a nature preserve, so we were not allowed to go ashore. Retrace the entry and head south.

Enter the pass at Xcalak carefully, very carefully, using the two well-placed lights – really good markers. Anchor and land the dinghy for dinner – very down-home and local food.

Next day looks a bit rough, no good weather forecast available – no cell service in Xcalak. We exit the pass in six foot seas. Weather rapidliy deteriorates to 25 knots from east, ten foot seas. A long rough ride to Ambergris Caye, Belize. We take the guidebook’s warning about the San Pedro pass. Too dangerous for me. We head south to enter at English Caye. We discover a closer entry at St George’s island, good for us, shallow draft. Through Porto Stuck, again carefully to anchor at Caye Chapel. Island under construction – tired, we don’t go ashore.

Next day a short easy day to San Pedro. Anchor near the ferry. Always find sand, you will drag in grass. Clear in is straightforward, but expensive, since we’re staying a whole month in Belize. Nacho heads off into the world, finding a way to get to Cancun in time for his flight home.

Colorful Belize

Did you know that Belize belongs to the Commonwealth and King Charles the III is its sovereign? Beside being the nicest, most generous and helpful people the Belizean are a very colorful and diverse people coming from many cultures and languages. The official language is English but on the street, between themselves, they speak Belizean Creole. You can also hear, Spandlish, Spanish, Mayan languages, German dialects, (there’s a serious Mennonite community here), and Garifuna. They are all multilingual. It’s really amazing.

We also met people from Lebanon who own big businesses on the island. At the Hardware store I had a “political” conversation with the owner and we both agreed on the need of the common people to make peace far away from terror, and corruption. If it only was so easy. And how not? There’s also a small Israeli community here and a Chabad Center. Lebanese and Israelis get along well here. Perhaps we send Bibi here for a vacation where the Tarpon fish come up to the surface for fresh air and are protected from all forms of violence; where Eagle Rays spread their “wings” like underwater angels and all is so relaxed and peaceful.

Travel planning on the boat is an ever-changing business. Today, after a pleasant week in which we stayed in Isla Bonita Marina in San Pedro, provision, and some minor repairs, we are planning to set sail south to Cay Caulker. It’s a beautiful day, with gentle wind and no waves so far.

Posted by Ori Har

Sunrise over the Caribbean ocean

Moment by moment discovery

While most of North America is under freezing temperatures here in Belize it “dropped to 78.” And, the wind has been playing with us. While we have been staying in a hotel on the beach with the boat anchored within sight, it’s the second morning that we awakened to find out that the boat was dragged to somebody’s dock. yesterday it also got entangled in a resort swimming line and it took two divers to untangle it from the engines. Seems that the thin layer of sand on top of a rock bed doesn’t hold the anchor around here.

Nice and helpful people help us along the way.

Arnold, Oscar and Jonathan from left to right.

The name of the resort is Xanadu. Yes, the same as the legendary place mentioned in Coleridge’s poem where Kublai Khan built a giant dome. Turns out the owner is a South African Jew who lives now in Israel who founded this place with the same fantasy of a dome. Today it’s run by his children and grandchildren and it’s a beautiful thatched place on the beach in San Pedro. Check it out.


We all traveled to San Pedro in the Ambergris Cays: the kids and Ori took a flight to Belize City and Oz, with a crew member, called Nacho, sailed from Mexico. It took them about a week from Isla Mujeres to San Pedro. It took us 4 hours to Belize City and a couple more , with a ferry, to San Pedro.

We landed in Casa Rana (house of the frog) —paradise. A gorgeous villa on the beach where Romi roamed like a little fairy, singing and dancing and playing with her favorite aunt, Doda Eli.

It’s easy to get used to luxury, no screen time, no work, lots of diving ( Lael) and snorkeling (some of us), taking turns cooking and lots lots of fun family time. The week passed bye fast. Too fast. 🥲

Casa Rana

Sailing the Yucatan Channel

We have arrived back on the boat, mid.December.2022 and finished the refit. Andreas, a local sailor, helped me immensely. We fixed the three diesel engines, the four heads, raised the sails, extended the electrical system (including multiple ammeters).

(Why do we need multiple ammeters? We have six sources of energy to change the batteries, and we have two banks of Lithium batteries for the house. I ask: what in heck is going on here? Ammeters tell me.)