Bucket List Trip: Catamaran Sailing the Belize Cayes with Raggamuffin Tours, Day One
Mark Twain said it correctly. “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did”. Or…if you are unfamiliar with Mr. Twain, you can go with the modern day sage Khloe Kardashian, renowned for her high pitched scream – YOLO! (“you only live once”). Either way, both of them are pretty spot on. My trip over the last three day, sailing from Caye Caulker to Placencia, Belize with Raggamuffin Tours, along the barrier reef, was that kind of trip.
Half the time, it didn’t even feel real. It was THAT awesome.
A teensy bit of background and an apology in advance. This post is a bit scattered. But after 3 days, I have a TON to tell you about.
Raggamuffin Tours has been operating out of Caye Caulker for over 10 years. And they have a stellar reputation.
Just this summer, they purchased and refurbished the mostly beautiful catamaran and named her the Ragga Empress.
Raggamuffin is perfectly situated in Caye Caulker. The entire island sets the mood for the trip you are about to take.
And a bit of a photo shoot of the Empress herself.
Here she is on Rendezvous Caye…
And then beyond the conch shell “sea wall” on Tobacco Caye, a bit more south off the coast of Dangriga.
On Friday morning, I set sail on a three day trip through the many populated and unpopulated cayes of Belize with the most amazing crew I’ve met in Belize. If you don’t fall a little bit in love with these guys during the trip (or develop even the tiniest man-crush), I might suggest your heart is made of ice.
Here is Shane taking a group spear-fishing. Our boat’s first mate is just a rasta bundle of happiness. Infectious.
But let me back up and tell you about the beginning of our adventure.
The Empress departs Caye Caulker at about 8:30am. There is a brief orientation meeting the evening before to meet some of the crew, your fellow travellers, talk about safety and packing for the trip. Everyone is advised to put together a “day bag” so that their larger suitcase can be stowed (accessible still but just tucked away). You are really going to just need the basics…for example, I spent the full three days shoeless.
Well…not completely shoeless.
We boarded and set sail on a gorgeous Belize day…
Some people threw out a line from the back of the boat…
Some were reading or chatting with the crew, relaxing and listening to the reggae soundtrack and some just settled in with their own music for some sun…
You are asked to choose your most important possession for the next few days. Your cup. With all of this sun and sea air, hydration is key.
That’s me. #11.
We headed down towards Belize City…Goff’s Caye and English Caye. Two dolphins swam along the bough for a minute or so…I was too giddy to even get close to taking a proper picture.
We stopped for snorkelling at Spanish Bay and just…relaxed. And then continued sailing south.
FISH ON! We ran to the back to see the good sized barracuda being reeled in.
And the humane/Belizean way of putting him out of his misery. A shot of overproof rum. Apparently it minimizes the mess when cleaning.
I like it. And he and his friends made a delicious dinner later that night.
One of the captains, Jerry was clearly in charge of the entertainment. He made sure all questions were answered and that you were well fed and happy. Jerry was a bit of the boat clown. I mean that in the very best way. The guy doesn’t have a shy bone in his body…and Jerry’s got jokes.
He had all the qualities that I love about the best tour guides in Belize. Super proud of his country…wanting to show it off…mixed with a bit of light flirting…mixed with pure real excitement. Like he is seeing the dolphins or the moray eel or the rainbow for the first time with you. If only it could be bottled, I’d be a very rich woman.
Here is “Super Jerry” on the last day of the trip readying us for an excursion.
Fresh fruit and snacks were constantly provided. And PLENTY of rum punch once all the snorkelling was finished.
At about 4pm, we pulled up to Rendezvous Caye. A tiny little sand pile in the middle of sparkling waters. The reef surrounds the caye and makes for easy snorkelling and swimming.
We unloaded and with a ton of help from the crew (basically I took on an advisory role) set up our tent village. Right on the beach. Awesome.
On the dock, I met Sylvester the island caretaker. He lives out here alone! (A stay with him would make a very interesting blog post…I secured an open invitation.) There are bathrooms and picnic tables, some lounge chairs and palapas and really not much else.
Here’s the sunrise view from one end of the caye to the other.
When the sun sets it is PITCH BLACK. At about 6:15pm. We had a lantern on the dock and we settled in with lots of sodas, juices, rum punch and some pre-dinner fresh ceviche. So so beautiful, clear and most shockingly…bugless. The surrounding water is like a warm bath. Just float on your back before the HUGE dinner of fresh barracuda and stare at the Milky Way.
So much more to tell you about. Our next day sail…or stop at Tobacco Caye…
(Here he is so sad that he accidentally killed his play buddy the White Gloved Crab.)
and just a really fantastic laid back international group that got along shockingly perfectly on the boat.
Lots more tomorrow…and if you want to find out all about Raggamuffin Tours (and I suggest that you do), check out their website.
I spent about an hour this morning searching for a map to show the trip…and I’m going to keep looking!