Driving to Belize
Neri and Herme Chi in Moab, Utah, just before leaving for Belize

Have you ever considered driving to Belize? Last Thursday we packed up our new truck and trailer to make the 3000 mile drive to Belize. Every year since 1977 one of us has driven to Mexico (in the early years) or Belize (since 1986) with a whole bunch of water sport gear and other stuff we need down there. It takes about 8 days. My partner Cully used to do the drive, but after 20+ years he got pretty tired of it, so he taught Neri Chi to do it. Neri is our lead guide for our Belize Adventure Week trip.

It’s a big deal, it’s not just about driving a long way. The primary thing is you have to learn how to deal with the border, and it’s different every time. You have to create a relationship with a border agent. This person helps you get all of your stuff across Mexico with as little duty as is allowable. You have to know how to pack everything, how to declare everything, and of course, what the best way to go is. Neri has gotten so good at it that he has even done it alone. However, this year for the first time ever his wife Herme did the drive with him. They flew up to Moab about 2 weeks ago to visit two of our long-time guests, Dave and Marilyn Stolfa. The Stolfas wined and dined them, taking them to Salt Lake City, Canyonlands, and Arches. It was Herme’s first trip to the United States, first plane flight in her entire life, first time to drive across Mexico…. what a trip for her!

So they packed up the truck and trailer in my front yard, this year we sent down 3 new kayaks, 1 new windsurf board, a generator, a whole bunch of new games, books for the island library, kitchen stuff, kiteboard and windsurf gear, lifejackets, a new cooler, and a set of crutches for the island! (Kyle, one of our island managers, broke his foot on the island last year and we realized that was a good thing to have on hand.)

By now they are somewhere in the middle of Mexico, getting closer to the Belize border. Soon they’ll arrive and everything will get unloaded and sent out to the island!

Loading the truck and trailer in my driveway
Loading the truck and trailer in my driveway

Every year someone from our company drives the 3000 miles down to Belize. This is the only way we can get all of our sport gear and other important items to Belize that we need on our island at Glover’s Reef. This is the third year that our Belize Adventure Week guide Neri Chi has done the drive for us. He is now a pro at it, and it’s not easy! You have 2 borders to deal with. We talked to him yesterday at the border, it took him over 8 hours to get from the US into Mexico. He is now driving somewhere in Mexico, heading south.

Cully and Neri putting finishing touches on the load
Cully and Neri putting finishing touches on the load

This year we sent down 4 paddleboards, 5 kayaks, 2 kiteboards, and 5 kites. We also sent down kayak paddles, generators, lifejackets, kitchen gear, tools, helmets, spray skirts, and new cushions for our beach chairs!

Wrapping it all up for the drive to Belize
Wrapping it all up for the drive to Belize

Once he makes it to Belize City (it takes 7 days) everything gets loaded onto our boat and taken out to the island.

Neri Chi right before leaving Moab for Belize
Neri Chi on last Thursday, right before leaving Moab for Belize

Driving to Belize with kayaks

Every fall my partner Cully drives all of our new gear down to Belize. He has been doing this since 1977, and has only missed 2 years in all of that time. He left Monday morning and is now in Texas, he’ll cross over into Mexico tomorrow.

It is our custom to take a picture right as he leaves Moab. I wish I had all of these pictures, in order! Our vehicles have gotten much nicer, and our sports gear has gotten more interesting. This year he is driving down sea kayaks, racing paddleboards, a regular paddleboard, and surf and whitewater kayaks.

I am back from MY vacation (backpacking in Utah), and I’m back just in time to see the van loaded to the gills for Cully’s annual drive south. He’s not taking a trailer this year, just a new van, so the load is particularly creatively packed.

Victor’s van. This is a vegetable-oil-powered diesel. Note tank on back

Cully drives to Belize every year. That is the only way to get all of our kayaks, boards, generators, etc. down to Belize and out to the island.

Victor Myers, one of our Belize trip managers, showed up from Boise last week with most of the boats and boards Cully will be driving down.

Victor attended the Outdoor Retailer trade show for us in July and bought a lot of new equipment for us there, and this was the delivery of the new loot!

New gear clockwise from upper left: two Versa Boards, one new Current Design sea kayak, cruiser paddleboard, two race-style cruiser board, another Current Design sea kayak, expert-level paddleboard.

So it was basically a van swap. Victor pulled up to my house in Moab, unloaded everything, and then they loaded it all onto our new Belize Adventure Week van.

Every year we have other lodges in Belize wanting to buy our used equipment. Fat chance! We take very good care of our gear and use it for years. Some of our favorite sea kayaks go back to the old days on Northeast Caye, or even before when we used to kayak island-to-island out of Placencia, Belize.

This is why we have the best sport gear in the country of Belize. Each piece is hand-picked by Cully, driven down, and repaired onsite with parts we also drive down.

Every single life jacket, paddle, rudder cable, and surfboard fin is hand-carried by us to Belize.

Cully leaves on Monday! I’ll be posted more photos of the big departure.

And just what did he fit inside? A whitewater kayak for rolling lessons, another surf kayak, paddles, lifejackets, solar equipment, a new generator, more sails, booms and mast, kitchen utensils, office equipment, and lots of tools!
The completed load.