Collecting Dreaming On

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Collecting Dreaming On
The Rio Dulce
Guatemala to Florida
Back in Florida
Arriving in Ft Lauderdale
Repairs in Ft Lauderdale
UK, Spain & New York
Preparing to leave Florida


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Back in Belize Dreaming On Leaving Placencia Dreaming On Equipment
  Back in Belize

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Aerial view over Belize City


Banana plantations


Shrimp farms


View of the Moorings fleet at anchor in the Placencia lagoon during the hurricane months

We flew from Baltimore, via Houston to Belize City on 28th September.

Arrived in Belize with some trepidation. We have heard horror stories of demands for duty on arrival and we were carrying some serious electronics and an outboard engine, not to mention safety equipment, galleyware, clothes and some foodstuffs. However, despite being selected for the Red, not the Green line, after checking the first few bags of clothes and odds we were cleared to enter. Sighs of relief!

Rented a Suzuki 4x4 and managed to squeeze all the bags in. Set off on the 140 mile drive south to Placencia, intending to stay overnight en route at a jungle lodge we had stayed in before. However, it was very off season and everything en route was closed, so we decided to press on to Placencia. The last 23 miles are on an unmade road around Placencia Lagoon and down the peninsular. Arrived at that road in the dark to find most of it flooded. So for quite a few miles we were driving through water. Pulled out a marooned car on the way.

Arrived to find Placencia very quiet off season, with very few tourists and very little open. Found one restaurant and later managed to wake the proprietor of a guest house, (by waking his yappy dog first!).

Even our favourite coffee and wi-fi stop, "The Purple Space Monkey" was closed. Our new email "office" is a bus stop bench outside the supermarket on the only street in town!

After two days and having moved all our bags onto another Leopard, we returned the rented car to Belize City and flew back on Tropic Air's Cessna Grand Caravan. This is a slightly larger version of our seaplanes in Dubai without the floats. Made two stops along the way and managed to get some aerial shots of Belize City, some of the enormous banana and orange plantations, shrimp farms and Placencia.

Iza's getting some exercise walking around town and along Placencia's one and only road which goes north past a few more up market coastal resorts.

Geoff, of course is searching for a particular Belizean Bott Fly with which he has a debt to settle with his fly swatter!


Geoff's office - Wi-fi outside the local supermarket



Spot the hummingbird! 2 inches in length



Got him


  Dreaming On

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Dulcinea at Mooring dock



Dulcinea with sister ship Grins



Salam the Moorings master technician

Monday 29th September was the sale closure date on "Dulcinea" our new boat.

We had been warned that some jobs were not complete due to heavy rains, so Moorings had arranged for us to stay on a sistership until "Dulcinea" was ready. As usual in Belize, things took longer than expected, so we spent 9 days on the Grins before moving on to "Dulcinea."

Though we have now re-registered her in the BVI as "Dreaming On," we will sail her to the Rio Dulce as "Dulcinea" on temporary papers.

Rory, the New Zealand surveyor came to check on jobs done and we ended up with a few more small jobs added to the list. Rene and Kevin, Moorings base managers are doing their best to get us away before they themselves go on holiday for a couple of weeks.

Nick and Eli, the crew of Double Eagle, Leopard 46 helped with local knowledge and advice.

Jim and Marley from California are also waiting for their Leopard 38 catamaran, Cool Running, to be ready after phase out repairs in order to go cruising. They have spent some time in sailing in Belize whilst their catamaran was with the Moorings fleet and have given us some ideas of what to expect in the area. Can't wait.

It's been a little frustrating kicking our heels but at least living on a carbon copy Leopard 47 we have had plenty of time to look around and make plans as to what fits where. The job list is getting longer by the day!

We've discovered some great watering holes; The Pickled Parrot, Wendy's special lunches, Tranquilo out on Placencia Cay with great food and company with Tracy and Rob, Barbara and Tory.

Now the weather watch starts as we get closer to leaving. There are regular end of season thunderstorms and squalls, some very heavy. The two day trip from Placencia to the Rio Dulce should not be too difficult for weather predictions, but the trip from the Rio Dulce to Florida is still a challenge.

Despite the amount of baggage we brought down, we were still travelling fairly light in terms of equipment. We could not carry radar or a full single sideband radio suite with us for example. We could not bring our 11' 5" dinghy and 10HP outboard. So, we made compromises and went with a bit of advanced technology to fill the gaps. See Dreaming On Equipment.


Sunset over Placencia Harbour






Green Iguana

  Dreaming On - Leaving Placencia,-88.3758&ie=UTF8&z=12&om=1


Geoff getting ready to raise the main


Signed final acceptance of Dulcinea yesterday Saturday 11th October, after waiting as patiently as possible for many jobs to be completed.

As Moorings lacks facilities here, everything takes longer and we have now agreed that some cosmetic jobs will be completed at their expense in Florida as they do not have the local skills.

We moved onboard on Friday and the only thing remaining is to put a final cosmetic sealant on two main windows which leaked. Everything else looks good to go. 

We dinghied over to Big Creek, the main banana export port just south of Placencia to optimistically clear us and the boat out of Belize. If the weather dries enough today for the final window sealant, we will leave Sunday afternoon and head for a night stop on the barrier reef. 

The weather alternates between glorious days and nasty squalls, but at least the rain is warm!

Apparently some of the small offshore mangrove islands have large crocodiles!

Also, the Moorings have been known to get calls from their charter guests saying “There’s a snake on my boat.” These are usually boa constrictors that fall in the water, float with the current and climb out on the first vertical obstruction they find. An anchor chain!


  Dreaming On - Equipment


  We would not normally make a voyage such as Rio Dulce to Florida, some 800nm without a radar, a full single side band radio transceiver, a capable dinghy and outboard. But, being restricted by what we could carry by air, we've had to make some compromises..    


AIS Instead of a radar set, (too large to carry), we purchased an AIS unit. (Automatic Identification System). This will not identify bad weather, coastlines or other vessels without AIS, but it will enable us to have name, tonnage, route, speed and risk of collision details for all commercial ships which now have to carry AIS. As the route we will be travelling is a heavy commercial route, this will be a great benefit. Our radar awaits us in Annapolis for installion when we are in Florida.    


SSB - (Single Side Band Radio). Our single side band radio on Dream On was a weather and email lifeline when out in the Bahamas. However, a full single side band radio installation involves a display head at the nav station, a black box control unit, an antenna tuner, a very long antenna, plus some serious grounding work in the hull. There was no way we could carry this so we bought a new receiver only which will enable us to download weather to our laptop and allow us to hear weather broadcasts. Unfortunately, no onboard email this trip.

Our single side band from Dream On is in storage in Annapolis also for installation in the US.

As emergency back up we bought an Iridium satellite phone, from which we can call our weather guru, Chris Parker, and hopefully, if necessary receive weather emails.



Weather As a further weather back up, we have purchased a Sirius Satellite weather receiver. This plugs into the navigation suite and displays the weather as an overlay to the navigation chart. At least that's what the books says!    


Antenna All of the above means that we have 6 antennas to install while in the Rio Dulce!    


General Main engines: Two Yanmar 56HP. (24' apart, so great for maneuvering!),

Generator: - 7.6KVA Westerbeke 110V. With no solar panels or wind generator, the Westerbeke will get some serious usage until we reach Florida.

Fuel: - 160 US gallons total capacity, (50% more than on Dream On).

Water: - 211 US gallons total capacity, (80% more than on Dream On).


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Rio Dulce, Guatemala












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