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Sailing around the Belizean coral reef in the Caribbean Sea

Setting sail around the second largest coral reef in the world.

Sometimes an opportunity presents itself to do something you’ll likely never get the chance to do again.

When this type of situation arises, you should take it.

Life is but a series of moments and in the end, that’s all we remember.

After leaving Mexico and taking an overnight bus to Belize, I arrived in Belize City not knowing where my intended stop would be.

I knew I was heading to an island, but which one I was yet to decide.

A chance meeting with a cool German guy, who happened to know the country like the back of his hand, not only bought me breakfast but gave me the lowdown on the Belizean islands.

He told me the island of Caye Caulker was the place to be so off I went to the port to catch the 45-minute speedboat ride to the tiny white isle in the Caribbean Sea.

And let’s just say Caye Caulker didn’t disappoint.

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White sands, amazing sunsets and crystal clear waters, Caye Caulker is a little island paradise.

As you walk around, you’ll take in the smell of jerk chicken and seafood barbecuing by the side of the road.

You’ll have the opportunity to sample the traditional Belizian dish of fry jack which is a deep-fried piece of dough usually served with bacon, beans or even jam.

One thing about Caye Caulker is its size. Or lack of it.

As beautiful as it is, it’s a very small island and after a few days you’ll have exhausted most of the activities it has to offer.

On the island’s land, that is.

On the sea is a different story and there are numerous day trips and excursions you can do directly from the island.

Most of which consist of scuba and snorkelling activities where you can swim with some of the country’s stunning sea life.

All of which can be done on a half day or full day basis but some companies offer a more immersive experience allowing you to go off sailing for a few days to sample the Belizian part of the second largest coral reef in the world.

A company that offers the overnight experience is Ragamuffin Tours which has a three-day excursion where you’re taken on some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of Belize’s reef.

At $400 USD it isn’t cheap but from the moment you set foot on the boat, everything is taken care of.

Food, drink, alcohol, equipment and sleeping arrangements are all covered in this three days and two nights trip.

You get to sample some remote tropical islands to yourself (along with the people you’re travelling with).

Islands like this one.

belize coral reef
On Rendezvous Island.

The island above is Rendezvous Island which is a remote island that has been secured by Ragamuffin Tours for exclusive access.

You’ll experience camping out in a tent on this remote tropical island 40 miles out at sea.

Once the sun goes down and the stars make an appearance you’ll see the night sky in, literally, a different light.

On the clear night we had, we saw a crazy amount of stars in the sky that you just don’t ever see living in areas where there is artificial light.

All the consolations and even the milky way are clear to see from this remote vantage point.

It’s an awe-inspiring experience.

You’ll eat great prepared food by the ship’s chef on the island and you’ll party in the evening with rum.

What more does one need?

The trip itself only has a maximum of 12 people so you’re not cramped with the company trying to get as many people on the boat as possible.

During the day you’ll sail to the various points on the Belizian coral reef which is part of the wider Mesoamerican barrier reef system and second only to the Australian coral reef in size.

You’ll visit some of the best snorkelling and fishing places the area has to offer.

The boat goes to two snorkelling locations per day which is six in total.

Here you’ll see all kinds of sea life and if you’re lucky you might catch a pod of dolphins (our trip did but I missed them).

The Ragamuffin crew will also take to catch some lobsters for that evening’s meal.

I’m usually not a seafood eater but how can you not eat something that you caught just a few hours ago, especially when served as ceviche.

This is the first catch of the day.

 

When it comes to local knowledge of the area and wildlife, the crew know their stuff.

Any animal, be it a bird or something out of the water the ship’s captain could tell you its name and character traits.

During the trip, we stopped in a specific area to find the local manatees – the slow-moving and dopey looking marine mammal.

They’re quite rare to see as they live under the water and only come up for a breather every 25 minutes.

We saw one briefly but it was straight back down in the water before we could get a better view.

You can’t win them all.

After the three days were over I felt like I’d seen a beautiful part of the planet I’ll likely never see again in my life.

Experiencing these waters and islands was maybe just a generation ago fairly impossible.

Today, we have the privilege.

That, to me, is what part of life is about.

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