San Pedro to Placencia

We got to know the small settlement of San Pedro pretty well. Cellular World sits about midway down middle street and we went there about ten times. One of the items on the to-do list was secure phone internet service for Belize so we could check email and weather while making our way south. Little did we know it would be so challenging to convert one of our phones to a Belizean plan. Richard at Cellular World was confident he could get us set up but every time we went to collect the phone, he needed a few more hours.
While we were waiting for the phone, we stopped by the TMM Charter office to make sure it was ok to leave our dinghy on their dock. Simon gave us the OK for that and asked if we had heard the weather report. It had been blowing a pretty consistent 20 knots since we had arrived and we had also seen that rain was supposed to develop later in the week. In fact, the only consolation to the hours spent walking around town waiting for the phone was that the weather was not settled enough for snorkeling. Simon said they were watching an unsettled area off Panama which might organize into the season’s first tropical depression. He said not to stick around if it kept organizing. So, with that news, we returned to Cellular World wherein Richard assured us that by the next morning, he would have our phone all ready to go. The next morning, we got the phone and had to head to another office to actually sign up for the plan. This did not go smoothly either. After several trips back and forth trying to figure out who was going to be able to solve the problem, we finally did manage to get a working phone. Luckily, we had also checked weather and saw nothing much and that even the rain was pushed back further in the week. We decided to go ahead and start making our way south since the wind would be good for the trip. We stopping at several roadside vegetable stands for plantains (favorite new galley addition), mangos, eggplant, tomatoes and large jar of local honey. As we cast the dinghy off to leave San Pedro, the TMM dockhand asked if we had seen the weather report of a possible tropical depression forming. We really do not know where TMM tracks weather. We could not find this area of disturbance.
Our first anchorage was Cay Caulker. We followed a sailboat into the anchorage and there were two boats already anchored there. We got anchored and the neighboring sailor dropped by to express concern that we might drag into him. He said he had some new scratches just this week from another boat which dragged in the strong wind which had been building at night. Randall dove down to check the anchor and decided to find a better spot. It is kind of cool to be able to dive down to the anchor, although we keep doing this and deciding to move. After getting re-anchored, we roamed the small fishing village a few hours. There were more grocery options so we returned the next morning to get a few more groceries and to eat some local fry jacks for breakfast. Fry jacks are similar to an Indian taco but the bread has a bit of a different texture and, for breakfast, it came with eggs and ham. Delicious.
We arrived at our second anchorage, Robinson Point Cays, in the early evening. We had some sauteed pork and plantains and spent a few hours trying to decide where to go. We decided to try to time a Placencia arrival with the coming rain. The next day, we sailed all day to the Blue Ground Range Cays. We made good time there and had plenty of time for snorkeling before dinner. As is typical, we found the anchor to be barely snagged on a rock. Randall actually dove down to free it from the rock and try to dig it into the sand. However, this was not very effective either and we ended up letting down a different anchor which Randall wedged under the rock. We were good for the current calm weather but would have to watch the weather and likely make move if the wind built.
As we got dinner started, a Belize fisherman came alongside in a dug-out cayuca which was taking on an alarming amount of sea. He wanted to know if we wanted to buy fresh conch. He told us he worked for a local resort showing tourists around the cays. It was the end of the season, though, and he was having more time for conch diving. We asked a few questions about cooking and cleaning the conch. We bought about five pounds of conch for just a few dollars. The fisherman bailed pretty much the whole time he was alongside. Randall and I spent about an hour cleaning and cutting the conch. Even with the meat already cut from the conch, there still seemed to be a lot of trimming and chopping. However, Randall made some fantastic, extremely meaty conch patties. Plus, we have some in the fridge marinating in lime juice and the rest in the freezer for future meals.
I regret not taking a picture of the friendly fisherman. I did think about it at the time but it seems awkward to whip out the camera and say, “Can I take your picture?” He wouldn’t have minded, though, and it would have been a great pic. I read an article awhile back written by a National Geographic photographer suggesting that you do ask first for a photo at close range but that you keep the camera in the bag and exchange some casual conversation first. This ultimately makes it easier to ask for a photo. I think that is great advice I just have to make sure I follow through with the “ask.” Anyway, he was interesting fellow and no, the conch has not made anyone sick.
We arrived in Placencia today, May 31, around noon. Light rain was falling but quit once we got in the harbor to anchor. We found a spot amidst the 10 – 15 boats here. We had our conch ceviche for lunch and then went ashore. Placencia is such a sweet, colorful town. Will try to get some pics posted soon. We plan to stay a few days and let a little rain pass by.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply