Island Off the Path
Story and photos by Eric Sanford
Belize, Central America used to be called British Honduras. I think changing the name was a good move. Belize has a nice tropical ring to it. So I went there.
Located somewhere between North and South America in the Caribbean, you get there by flying. If you’re coming from somewhere like Greenland or Patagonia, the hot, thick moisture-laden air will hit you like a bucket of pineapple juice on a pile of hot sauna rocks. Nice!
While the core of Belize is composed of equatorial jungle, meandering rivers and desert plains, the outer reefs and islands provide the extra allure. The scuba diving and bone fishing in Belize are legendary. The windsurfing, while potentially spectacular, is largely unknown. Which is, of course, exactly why I went there.
Anyone can go to a place like Maui or Aruba, where the conditions are always perfect, but traveling to a place with an unknown breeze is like investing in amazon.com rather than IBM. If you go to Aruba and the wind doesn’t blow, you’re bummed. You go to Belize and it blows; you’re stoked. And guess what; it blows there. Amazon just tripled! If you are wondering what to do in Belize, check this out.
I hooked up with an old windsurfing mate, Cully Erdman, who runs Slickrock Adventures out of Moab, Utah. Cully owns his own island (Long Caye on Glover’s Reef) off the east coast of Belize for sports trips. The place is stocked with kayaks, dive gear, a dozen rustic but very cool looking oceanfront cabanas, righteous local food and, yes, windsurfing gear.
Windsurfing is Cully’s real passion, so even though the windsurfing part of his business is pretty small, the windsurfing in Belize itself can be great. While the wind isn’t as strong as that on Maui, the air temperature is the same and the water is 82 degrees and incredibly clear.
Glover’s Reef is one of only four atolls in the Western Hemisphere, encompassing an 82-square-mile lagoon of clear, shallow water. Just off Long Caye, the ocean floor drops 2,600 feet in less than a mile. The waves breaking all around Long Caye make for superb, albeit challenging wave sailing. (Look out for the shallow reef.) The sandy bottom of the inner lagoon provides the perfect location for learning to windsurf. If it doesn’t blow, the snorkeling, diving, fishing, and kayaking are world class.
There are probably a dozen other great places to windsurf in Belize. In fact, the entire place reminds me of the Sea of Cortez side of Baja in 1980, when people were just starting to discover its windsurfing potential: private, uncrowded, new.
So get out your map, grab your flops and head south. You won’t be disappointed. For information on this trip, jungle/sea combo trips, and a three-day tour visiting a Mayan temple, contact Slickrock Adventures: (800) 390-5715.
[photo credit at top of page: Carol Cashion]