How can I sail to Belize and San Pedro?
There are occasional sailings from New Orleans and Florida. In December, you can expect to go down with a norther. In the Gulf part, winds will be from the North, north West, past the Yucatan Channel they will be from the north almost directly. The sea will be extra rough and the seas will be close together, high sharp walled and steep. This is because the wind will be against the stream. The Yucatan Channel is the worst part. Because it is flowing north and speeds up the current against you and the wind as it narrows. Once past Cozumel, the current is neglible. Depending on which part of Florida you are coming from, trying to hug along the shoreline and reef of Cuba is a good bet and staying off the current as close in as you can get at the point and lighthouse, while you make the turn, if you can. You will at least be able to see any progress you might make. Depends on the size length of the boat. 30 ft and shorter, you will be hard put to make it, and go backwards. Turn eastward around the point and go for ten miles or so, before angling down toward Isle of Pines. After 50 miles southing, you can go in any direction. On the west side, Mexican, I usually stay right on the brain corals of the reef line, close in shore as you can get. Until midway past Cozumel. Expect a rough trip in the channel part and probably as you get close in the Gulf of Mexico. If your Florida base departure is anywhere near Miami, might come down and chat and see what you are sailing.
Clearing customs here is not a big deal. We had informed the local office here approximately when we were arriving. We radioed in when we knew our actual arrival date and approximate time, and again once we arrived, and they met us at the boat. Do not dock or let crew leave boat until they arrive. Fly your quarantine flag. Unless you are carrying allot of goods that will remain here, there is not much you will be expected to pay. If the boat will remain in the country for over 3 months, you will be expected to pay duty on the boat.
Be sure to have your passport, and whatever papers you get from your port of embarkation. They will stamp your passport on the boat with authorization to stay for a 30 period. You can extend this each month for $25Bz (12.50US).
The currents against you as you travel between Mexico and Cuba are about 2 to 3 knots, so plan on some periods of slow travel. Click here (http://AmbergrisCaye.com/sail2cuba) for a great story and pictures from three guys’ journey sailing from Miami to Belize through Cuba.
Also click here (http://AmbergrisCaye.com/xaloc) for a story on a sail from Wilmington, N.C. to Belize.
To find the immigration office in San Pedro, when you come through the cut look for the TMM catamarans and then anchor slightly North. When you come ashore look for Ruby’s Hotel and then follow the land side road that leads West from Ruby’s, the first building you see on the left after the school holds the Immigration offices.