My journey began by traveling from Annapolis, MD to Fort Lauderdale, FL to meet my crew members and jump on a quick flight to Belize City! We arrived at the Belize City airport and were greeted in the baggage claim area by our smiling, nicely dressed driver. He assisted us with our luggage and whisked us away to the charter base at Cucumber Marina, only a short 15-minute ride. At the base, we boarded our boat named Tranquilo, a wonderful Fountaine Pajot Saona 47 sailing catamaran. Aboard, we were each shown to our cabins to settle in and freshen up after the long day of travel. Oh, how good the air conditioning felt!
We met our Captain and Chef/Hostess in the saloon where we were served a local cocktail called Painkiller. Then, off the docks we went! We sailed for a short while, dropped the anchor, and enjoyed a quick swim and snorkeling. Post-swim, we ate a light lunch and got underway to our final stop for the day, Shag Cay Bluff. We sailed for a couple of hours before dropping the anchor. But, our day of fun wasn’t finished yet! Our next activity involved lowering the dinghy in the water via a cool electronic platform. A simple push of a button and the dinghy slowly lowered down and gently dropped into the water. Our Captain navigated us through intricate waterways, dotted with Mangrove trees. I’m not certain how he memorized the way, I would have gotten lost if I were on my own!
When we returned to Tranquilo for the evening, we had a great dinner served with wine. Before retiring to our cabins for the night we watched a breathtaking sunset and laid on the trampoline watching for shooting stars! We saw quite a few that night.
We started the day with breakfast and sailed off to Colson Cays to do some snorkeling. It was a truly amazing location. We witnessed many fishermen in their canoes fishing for conch many miles out from shore. Next, we stopped at Glory Cay, a beautiful world it is under the Belize waters. We saw so many colorful fish and breathtaking coral as our skipper guided our snorkeling adventure. Without his guidance, I would have never noticed many of the ecological wonders. I feel spoiled by the entire experience and I will only go on guided snorkel tours in the future.
After snorkeling, it was time for another lovely lunch and then to travel to Tobacco Caye. The sun was shining, but there was no wind, so the motors were used. We had our fishing lines out along the way and we got one! The first fish to bite was a keeper! I caught a Spanish Mackerel fish. I’m not a regular fisher, so when the fish came on board I smiled at the Captain and said, “Now what?”. He smiled back and said he’ll take care of it. A couple of hours later we had fresh Ceviche made from the fish I caught. Eating a fish that I caught was a first for me!
We left Tobacco Caye after a wonderful pancake breakfast – they were banana rum-flavored! We powered to Southwest Key – Glover Reef Key for our night’s destination. About halfway there we caught an incredible Mahi Mahi fish. What an enjoyable two-and-a-half-hour trip to our next stop; It was filled with great music, beautiful clear water, and nothing but sunshine! When we arrived at Glover Reef Key, I must say it was the most beautiful place on earth that I’ve ever seen. We hopped on the dinghy to arrive at the island to find a bar with frozen drinks! Pina Coladas were everyone’s choice. Drinks in hand, we took a tour of the tiny island and spoke to some of the locals. We saw a pufferfish and a stingray while looking at the water from the dock.
Once back on Tranquilo we delighted in chicken tostadas. Our chef enjoyed cooking local foods with local spices. After lunch, we pulled the water toys out, took our drinks in the water, and listened to some great music over satellite radio. When dinner rolls around we feast on the Mahi Mahi we caught earlier. Eating fresh fish can definitely be checked off my bucket after this trip! For the sunset, we headed over to the island and found a few logs to sit on to watch. Not another boat in sight – only a local island puppy named “Cocoa” to keep us company. As far as sunsets go, this was a 10/10!
We had an early morning departure as we had about 25 miles to our destinations of Glory Caye and Columbus Reef. On the way we caught and released two barracudas. We had a few more bites, but none stayed on the line. Suddenly, our captain exclaimed “Look!” while pointing forward starboard. It was a sailfish jumping out of the water! Right after, a pod of dolphins came up and played on our bow for about five minutes. We took a lot of pictures. Over the next few hours, more dolphins swam with us, we saw a huge turtle, and best of all was a mommy manatee and her baby. We stopped for lunch and then went for a snorkel along the reef. The Captain speared a lionfish and then fed it to the Nurse shark that was resting below us. I wish I had an underwater camera for that spectacle! The fish, the underwater coral, and life are beyond beautiful.
Next, we were off to Goffs Caye. When you think there is nothing as magnificent as where we had been over the past few days, then you come up to this enchanted island out in the middle of nowhere, all I could do was smile and sigh. We rode the dinghy into the island for a quick tour and played in the water for a few hours. When night came, it was time to get back to the boat to watch another amazing sunset and look for shooting stars.
We returned to the charter base early in the morning after another phenomenal breakfast. Words can’t describe how amazing my short, charter holiday was, but maybe my pictures can!