The 2011 Belize Flotilla was a great success. Five boats containing an assortment of OCSC Instructors, Members, and Guests left from Placentia, Belize and explored the southern end of the second longest barrier reef in the world. As in past trips I have made to the country of Belize, I found it easy to travel in, with spectacular nature and very friendly and helpful people.
Each of the boats plotted their own course among the small low islands that dot the lagoon between the mainland and the reef about 12 miles offshore. The weather was perfect, warm and breezy (15 to 25 knots) every afternoon with rain only during the wee hours of the morning.
Some of the islands were completely uninhabited, some had had tiny little mom-and-pop resorts, and one had the ruins of a long abandoned small resort. Almost all of the boats initially had plans to sail every day, but each of them found a place (or two!) that they liked enough to spend an extra day.
This is an area where planning is important since there is no place to reliably get resources during your cruise. Even things as basic as water and ice are not available from the islands. I was especially proud of my crew who with a little coaching were able to use a third of a gallon of water per person per day for cleaning and washing without feeling deprived.
Snorkeling, fishing, diving, exploring and relaxing were the highlights of the trip for all of the boats. Boats ranged from 40 to 46 foot catamarans. They were spacious and well maintained. The Moorings did a great job giving us the local knowledge we needed to safely move our boats and anchor in among the reef and islands.
My boat had a wide range of experience and sailing skills. We quickly worked out who was going to do what and everybody had a great time sharing the work load. Within a day or two we were working together like a well oiled machine. We prided ourselves on having a smooth and quiet anchoring routine.
Snorkeling the spectacular reefs in the nature reserve at Queen Cay was one of the highlights of the trip. The freshest shusimi possible was another. But the best part of all was working, learning, and playing with a group of people who all got along and had fun every minute.