Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Sea Kayaking Part II, Belize

(Since it has been several months since my last post on our Belize trip you can read the beginning of our trip PlacenciaDangrigaGlovers Atoll and Sea Kayaking Part I)

The campground at Billy Hawk Caye was so stunning that we decided to set up camp for a second night. Not having to paddle any particular distance or relocate camp also afforded us the luxury of a lazy morning. We did not manage to get the boats out on the water until almost 10 AM.

We spent the morning paddling through the Blue Lagoon Group, exploring the calm channels of the mangroves. We stopped for lunch and a swim on 'Bikini Beach' before paddling back to Billy Hawk for an hour of reading in the shade.

Late afternoon we headed out to the reef just off the north end of the island so Dave could try his hand at hand-fishing while snorkelling - a trick the local fishermen had taught him. He did manage to catch one small Grunt but we ended up releasing it. We were so distracted by the fishing that we almost didn't notice a storm front blowing in and had to quickly paddle back to shore to batten down the hatches at camp. The wind persisted through the rest of the night - thankfully only a few stray drops of rain - so we spent the evening hunkered down in the cook shelter. The island watchman took pity on Dave's poor luck fishing that afternoon so he fried us up two fish he had caught that day - a Grunt and a Snapper. It was some of the best fish we had even eaten.

We woke up early the next morning to pack up camp for another long day of paddling. We paddled back up the Blue Lagoon Group, stopping at the north end for a short snorkel, before breaking away from the islands for the long paddle to the Tobacco Range. We made surprisingly good time - reaching the Range in under three hours. We even spotted a dolphin along the way!

We paddled across the lagoon in the centre of the Tobacco Range and then across to Tobacco Caye. We had intended to camp at Tobacco Caye but the camping options were completely undesirable (hot, crowded, cramped) and there were no cabanas available for the night. So we made the decision to eat a quick lunch then paddle the additional 4 nautical miles back to Coco Plum Caye. In total we ended up paddling almost 14 nautical miles - it was a long day!

We set up camp on Coco Plum - once again we were the only people in the campground. After freshening up, we headed to the resort bar to stock up on Coke & beer. We found ourselves chatting with a very friendly retired couple staying at the resort and ended up staying for a couple beers at the bar. After a full day of hard paddling in the sun, the beers were enough to completely do us in and we barely managed to eat dinner before crashing for the night.

For our last full day of kayaking, we debated paddling back to Tobacco Caye for snorkelling but after the previous long day and with more dark clouds looming on the horizon, we could not convince ourselves to commit to the 8 nautical mile trip.

Instead we headed out to the Tobacco Range to look for manatees in the lagoon. Once there we realized we did not know the first thing about finding manatees but were lucky enough to spot what we thought was a manatee (a white shadow moving through the water) along with some turtles! We spent about an hour floating in the lagoon before the the skies started to look threatening enough that we thought it was pertinent to start paddling back to camp.

Of course, about half way to Coco Plum, the storm decided to hit with full force. The wind and waves made for some of the hardest (and scariest) paddling I have ever had to do. Thankfully the rain only struck after we hit the safety of camp. We sat out the rain reading in our tent.

Eventually the storm passed and we were able to escape our tent allowing us to return to the resort for showers and more beers! The winds were too strong to allow us to do much more so we turned in for another early evening.

Our final day on the water. The day I had been nervous about for the entire time leading up to the trip and our entire time paddling. The day requiring us to make the 8 nautical mile trip across the open waters back to the mainland.

The storm the night before had not helped calm my nerves about the big paddle but miraculously we awoke to clear skies, calm waters and a gentle easterly breeze. About the best weather we could have hoped for!

We took down camp, packed our boat one last time and hit the water by 8 AM. We quickly got into an easy rhythm and my fears of the open channel quickly disappeared (other then the occasional passing speed boat). We managed to make the 8 nautical mile crossing in 2 hours and 10 minutes. I was seriously impressed (and relieved)!

Back on mainland, we unpacked our boat, returned the kayak gear, claimed our stored luggage and set out on the next leg of our adventure: the jungle!


I ♥ comments...


  1. Oh my goodness Amy! You and your husband did such a cool and crazy trip! My fiancee and I are dreaming of going kayaking in Belize for our upcoming honeymoon. However we really don't want to be a part of the ridiculously expensive kayaking/snorkeling tours. We really want to do a 3/4 day trip on our own, but it is very hard to find any information about the islands close by or reefs or anything online. I am very curious about how you two planned your trip? Are you both pretty experienced at sea kayaking? I am worried about us biting off more than we can chew but the trip that you two took looks SO perfect and like exactly what we want to do! Any advice or tips that you could give would be immensely appreciated! Thank you so much :)


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