16 – 26 January 2013: Placencia Harbour, Southern Belize 16 30N 88 21W
First the Sun then the Storms
Our sail up to Placencia from the Sapodilla Cays in light winds and flat seas was superb. We dropped anchor and looked ashore at the rickety town jetty, shacky thatched roof beach bars surrounded by slowly swaying palms, and thought it looked a great place to spend a few days.
Placencia town on that clear sunny afternoon and following morning was a treat for our eyes. Bold colours jumped out at us ~ the people, buildings, signs, even the pushbikes for rent ~ all were bright and zany and the surrounds immaculately clean and tidy, what a treat. So pleased we went ashore straightaway and saw it at its best because by the following afternoon the band of cloud associated with the approaching cold front arrived and life has taken on a grey tinge. For a couple of hours we were spellbound by water spouts forming just to the south of us. Interesting to watch from a distance but not quite sure if we would like to see them any closer.
Day 11 and still No Sun!
The next weather event was to be our first North American “Norther”, preparations were made ~ the anchor doubled checked to make sure it was dug in well, the rain catcher deployed, fresh produce onboard ~ but all we saw was a peak of 18 knots and only a drop of rain, we are not complaining, much better to be prepared. The winds died away and have stayed away but the total cloud cover has persisted, it’s our 11th day here and another drizzly shower has just passed over.
Colourful local homes around town
Spending time here has not been a chore at all. The laid back town is full of extremely friendly people, everyone says hello on the streets, all the staff in the stores seem genuinely happy to have us here, there is just such a relaxed and welcoming feel to it, our sort of place. We hired bikes one afternoon and went for a long ride out of town. As we recently discovered in Utila, rural Placencia has also been carved up for development, large areas of “waterfront sections” for sale, both on the Caribbean coast and on the inland lagoon. Some infrastructure has been put in place, a couple of houses have been built in each development and sit alone in solitude, the remainder of the developments are generally returning to nature – mangroves spreading their routes in the lagoon, reclaiming their land – coconut palms sprouting on the ocean side in the middle of the roads. Maybe more deposits lost, dreams shattered, who knows. There is however a reasonable expat community here, aged late 50’s and 60’s from the USA and Canada, certainly not a bad option for escaping the North American winter.
a few of the local eateries
We have had plenty of opportunity to check out the local bars and cafes, and have indulged in some excellent street food also. Although the overall flavour of the town is Caribbean instead of Central American, the food flavours alternate mainly between Creole and Mexican. We have had Bandit and Samarang along with plenty of other boats in the anchorage so there has been an active social scene to keep us entertained.
The cloud cover is threatening to clear soon, or so the weather forecasters are predicting, and because most of the anchorages in Belize are out on the Barrier Reef or Cays and the charting is somewhat vague we really need to have very good light to go out and weave our way around safely. We will miss this delightful little town, it’s charm, colours and it’s people.
It has been a bright light during gloomy skies