An early morning start saw us at the Moorings base in Raiatea, loading and stowing the provisions for our 7-day charter aboard the Moorings 48 catamaran. With our crew of women, we set sail for out first snorkeling spot and then on to Taha'a for a traditional Tahitian feast.
Planning the Next New Big Adventure
Way back in 2000, I spent my birthday (link to my original blog of the trip) in Punta Gorda, Belize. My friend Susan, who was traveling with me, celebrated her 50th there! And that is where I will be spending my birthday this year! Probably not in PG Town, but on a boat. A big Moorings charter catamaran!
It's a lot of years since I had anything to do with running a charter boat, but that is the big plan. In March, Betsy and I are taking a group of woman to Belize to sail the islands aboard a large catamaran. There will be a total of eight of us, all AARP qualified! Some have some sailing experience, while the others are novices. Betsy knows them all; I only know her and Pam, a friend from this area. We will be on assignment for Sailing Magazine - Betsy as the journalist and me as the photographer.
Betsy has been involved in several of these charters with Bobby G, a good friend who isn't able to do them any more, so I volunteered to fill in as first mate, with Miss B as the skipper. I was able to join them both on a sail on the Chesapeake in 2011 I think it was!
Below is a promo video of the boat we will be on, although this one is sailing in the British Virgin islands. (Maybe that's our next charter expedition!)
We have been doing the trip planning and will spend seven days on the boat and extend the trip for four more days in the jungle.
The Moorings base is in Placentia, which is a small town where Susan and I stayed for a night when we were there. I know it has changed a lot since then, as there are now numerous large, glitzy hotels whereas we stayed in a small guest house on the beach. Betsy and I get there a day early to provision and load the boat and get the usual pre-charter check out. The following day, the crew arrives, late in the day, and we head out at first light the next day- to the cays and the second largest coral reef in the world.
Our plan is to island hop, dropping a hook after sailing for a couple of hours and then spending the rest of the day either ashore exploring or snorkeling or lazing on the boat - or all of the above! It's a small country so distances are quite small and hopefully very protected within the reef. Several of the small islands have restaurants and bars, so we will probably eat ashore quite a bit but will also be doing the cooking aboard as needed.
When we return to Placentia on the morning of the last day, four of the crew leave to make their flights out of Belize City but the other lucky four, including me, head to a jungle hotel called Maya Mountain Lodge. From there, we are doing a day trip to Tikal, a Maya ruin across the Guatemala border, and a caving expedition at Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave close by the hotel.
My biggest concern while there is the sun! Living up here in the PNW, I am so pale that any sun is really going to nail me, so I am looking at heavy duty sunscreen and clothing with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). And of course, after having two nasty BCCs taken off my face in the last couple of years, I will have to be extremely cautious about sun on my face! I expect I will even swim in a hat! But I just can't wait to get into that warm, crystal clear, silky water with my new bifocal snorkeling mask (on the list to order). The mask will make a huge difference, especially as I will do underwater photos too, with a camera I hope to get very soon.
My other concern is I have still to find a house sitter to take care of the kitties. I've found two who have both bailed on me! So the ad is running again, and I just hope I find someone soon.