Words by Molly Gearan. Photos by Molly Gearan and Sue Gearan, Yacht Charter Professional.
Every time I douse my scrambled eggs with Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, I become nostalgic for fry jacks, pupusas (thick corn tortillas stuffed with savory filling) and tamales. The memories of my first trip to Belize rush back to me and I yearn to swing in colorful hammocks, swim with sharks and rays, explore bat caves and climb Mayan Ruins!
My older sister, Sue, a yacht charter broker and world traveler, invited me on a trip to Belize in honor of my college graduation. I was so excited to experience a new culture, taste some different cuisine and frolic in the ocean.
We spent the first few days in Caye Caulker, a small quaint island off the mainland. There, I was introduced to the famous Panty Ripper drink at the Lazy Lizard Bar & Grill. Sue and I sipped the rum concoction as we lounged in Adirondack chairs next to a bonfire on the beach. I remember thinking, “Could this get any better?” Little did I know, I was in for the trip of a lifetime. Sue had arranged for us to go sailing for a few days. I was so excited to spend time on the water and to swim and snorkel whenever I felt like it.
Captain Casey picked us up by dinghy to take us out to LUNA SEA, a 46’ Leopard catamaran. Sarah, the first mate and chef, greeted us, helped us with our bags and showed us to our cabin. She reviewed how everything works and even gave us our own water bottles to use throughout the trip (I love the green efforts)!
We joined 3 other guests that were participating in a learn-to-sail program – Kellie & Jim from Canada and Trace from Texas.
Everyone was super-friendly and welcoming. Sarah’s food and drinks were out of this world. She would make all kinds of fun cocktails with fancy fruit garnishes that made me feel like a celebrity. Her cooking was so good that I actually tried lots of seafood (something I don’t normally do). I ate every single bite of her ceviches, shrimp dishes and even lobster! Just thinking about her homemade brownies with coconut oil still makes my mouth water.
Thanks to Sarah, I am a much more adventurous eater now.
A Few of My Favorite Things
I have to say my favorite activity in Belize was snorkeling in Ambergis Cay. We were picked up by a private guide to take us to 2 sites – this ensures that the reefs remain protected. Part of our adventure included “petting” nurse sharks and sting rays.
I was terrified at first, but after seeing other people do it, I just went for it and was so glad I did. How many people get to say they snuggled with a shark, right?
Casey and Sarah were excellent hosts. They are kind, funny, down-to-earth people who make you want to live on the boat with them forever. I would highly recommend both. I’m also not a big sailor so I really enjoyed learning more about it. I found it very spontaneous – one minute you are reading a book and sipping on a rum punch and the next minute you are running to the bow to watch dolphins surf in your wake.
You Have to See It to Belize It
After saying our goodbyes, Sue and I ventured inland to San Ignacio, a cute little town with great local food and lots of tourist activities close by. Our day trips included visiting the Mayan Ruins at Xunantunich, swimming in Cayo’s famous Blue Hole and hiking up to some cool bat caves.
Finally, we rented a car and drove to the southern coast where we visited the town of Hopkins and relaxed on the beach in the colorful hammocks with cold daiquiris – perfection.
Back in Belize City for the last night before our morning flight, we stopped into some craft markets and were entertained by some real local characters.
So, if you’re looking to step a little outside your comfort zone and be inspired, talk to Sue Gearan about chartering a boat in Belize and get there before everyone else finds out about it!