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On Day 1, we departed from San Pedro on Ambergris Caye in northern Belize, and sailed down to Placencia in southern Belize

The twin engines roared into life promptly at 4:30 (also known as o-dark-thirty) for our scheduled 5 am departure from the TMM dock in San Pedro.  We had one of the two aft (rearward) cabins, situated on the port side of s/v Hope, and our bed pretty much sat right over (or beside) one of the 55 hp diesels.  An alarm clock unlike any other! Struggling out of our comfy berth in total darkness, our excitement over what was to come quickly overtook thoughts of sleep.  There would be plenty of time to nap later.
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Our berth

Captains Simon and Clive guided Hope away from the TMM dock, and we were off on our adventure!
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Yes, that's me, making a rare 4:46 am appearance, with the lights of San Pedro behind me.
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By golly, even Barry was up!
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Our head with shower -- very luxurious!
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Bruce assisting with raising the mainsail
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Pre-sunrise glow with the moon in view...beautiful
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The crew slowly comes to life, with the help of a little caffeine. L to R: Me, Clive (at helm), Chunky, Bruce, Ruthie
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Even Barry drank coffee on this trip
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Chunky enjoying a comfortable spot with his coffee
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Captain Simon makes an appearance as we watched for the sunrise
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I like this photo of Barry in quiet contemplation of the sunrise
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El Sol!
With sunrise behind us, Ruthie sprang into action in the kitchen.  Barry and I ate oatmeal (with dried fruit, walnuts, whey protein, and cinnamon) every morning, while Ruthie cooked eggs and sausage for the rest of the crew.  She is a wonderful person to have aboard a boat, cheerful and energetic -- at least at mealtimes!  :)  S/v Hope had a really nice and spacious kitchen (by boat standards) and nice-sized fridge and freezer compartments (again, by boat standards).
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Galley Gal Ruthie
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Since the wind was light and coming from the southeast, and since we were on a tight schedule, our captains had to keep the diesel engines on most of the time, even while the sails were up, to make good time.  They did turn the engines off from time to time and ran under sailpower alone.  Wish we could have done more of that, but conditions just wouldn't allow for it. 

After breakfast, we non-captain types got to spend most of the day just chillin' on the boat.  With the light winds and calm waters, quite a few naps were taken by the motley crew members.   This day reminded me why I loved sailing.  When it's good, it's very, very good.  Kinda like that little girl with the one curl in the middle of her forehead, from the old nursery rhyme...but you might remember the rest of it too: "when she was bad, she was horrid".  Oh yes, stay tuned!

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This is the life!
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We passed Belize City
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The helm
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The dinghy
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Chunky, Ruthie, and me chillin' on the trampoline -- good place for a nap!
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Passing the town of Dangriga -- it's hazy, but you can see the outline of mountains in the distance
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One minute I'm awake...
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...and the next, I'm down.
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Bruce and Cap'n Clive at the helm
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Are we there yet?
The Captains' plans were to refuel, then put down the anchor in Placencia.  Simon and Clive would eat dinner and nap for awhile, then fire up the engines and we'd take off again at midnight and sail all night. Although they didn't need us to stay up with them, I knew that sleeping would be a challenge with the engine so close to our berth.  I could already tell my body was going to get very confused by this schedule!
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We're here!
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Placencia anchorage
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Placencia
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Heading for the fuel dock
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Lagoon side of Placencia - lots of boats
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Simon filling the port diesel tank at the fuel dock
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Clive putting down the anchor, while Ruthie gazes longingly at the yacht in the photo below...
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This incredible 164-foot Westport "Vango" was at anchor near us. Had its own helicopter and garage for a smaller boat. They didn't even invite us over for drinks!
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Anchoring out and having a cold beer at the end of a long day is my very favorite part of sailing
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Chunky, Bruce, and Simon chillin' in the cockpit
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A beautiful sunset at anchor
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Sunset is my favorite time of the day...
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Beautiful afterglow
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A few appetizers before dinner
Ruthie had brought a delicious spaghetti meal for all of us called "Italian Sunday Gravy".  There's homemade sauce, sausage, meatballs, and short ribs; and it's been cooked nice and long so the flavors are rich and hearty.  We normally don't eat a lot of meat, but we could definitely make an exception tonight.  She'd also brought garlic bread and the most amazing frosted brownies.  I could almost feel my clothes getting tighter just looking at all the gorgeous food!  I had thought we'd be eating dinner in Placencia, so I really didn't bring any dinner food, but Ruthie came through with enough for two crews.  Thank you, Ruthie -- you are a gem, and Chunky is a lucky man!
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Da feast
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Barry stepping up to the trough
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And yes, I DID get a drop of spaghetti sauce on that white cami, of course. What was I thinking?
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Soups on!
Stay tuned for Guatemala Cruise Day 1:  Placencia to Rio Dulce, Guatemala
Ruthie
2/24/2012 06:36:33 am

Fabulous post and pix!

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BeBelize Emily
2/24/2012 08:54:07 am

Thanks Ruthie! It's so much fun to relive our wonderful adventure. I am still pinching myself.

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paula segrest
2/24/2012 11:49:21 am

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh ... life is good. : )

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