Young, Broke and Abroad: Night #4 in Belize

Departing on the Raggamuffins Sailing Trip

The Story of Night #4 in Belize on the Island of Rendezvous Caye

Starved, Insulted, Stocked, Harassed, Confronted, Baked, Breakdown, Stranded, and Misery

On day #4 in Belize my two friends and I departed on a 50-foot sailboat with 14 other strangers and three crewmen to sail, drink, fish, snorkel and camp. We traveled down the second biggest barrier reef in the world heading to our first stop, an uninhabited island called Rendezvous Caye. The entire sailing voyage was for three days and two nights with the Raggamuffins company; we left from Caye Caulker in the north of Belize and finished in Placencia – southern Belize. It was hot; the sun was beaming down while we set sail for our first snorkeling point. The water was blue, the fishing lines were out, and the music was on and the captain was cranky. A dolphin swam by our boat and all 17 tourists, from all over the globe were in awe. We quickly made friends with two 21-year-old Swedish girls on a four-month holiday, Hannah and Sarah. Our circle also grew with Kent, a 25-year-old, wise beyond his years Microsoft guy; and Jacob, the youngest crewman.

Rendezvous Caye in Belize

After sailing and stopping to snorkel with the exotic aquatic life of Belize, we kept noticing the distaste the captain had for all travelers on board. He became a popular item to talk about between the passengers. When we approached the tiny island of Rendezvous Cay everyone was very excited. The island is very small and had only about 9 palm trees on it. It looked serene – a picture perfect postcard. We all set up our tents, sleeping mats and sheets. Right away two men who lived on the small island in the middle of the sea greeted us. Their room was almost a closet and they stayed there for about months at a time. The young one was funny and exaggerative in his story telling – the other one was older, Jamaican, and creepy.

STARVED
After explaining my food allergies before I got on the ship, I was told it was not going to be a problem. I am just allergic to spices and some fruit and I can eat any fish/meat plain. Something got lost in translation (even though they speak English in Belize) because at dinner I was served a jerky, ten-day-old looking piece of chicken – while everyone else got fresh fish from the sea. I did not eat it. I did not eat the spiced meat for lunch and had only cheese and bread. The captain made the comment before we left “why come on a trip like this with your allergies,” which I should have taken as a sign.

INSULTED
The crankiness of the captain was getting noticeably worst by everyone. In the evening when dinner was served, the Captain collected the plates when people were finished. The Dutch girl, who was traveling solo, handed her finished plate to the captain and said “Thank you friend” and the captain replied, “I am not your friend…” and everyone was silent; he then said, “I am your captain.” My friend and I exchanged glances of our disapproval. After dinner was over everyone went back to drinking.

Belize Raggamuffins Dinner/Drinks

The picnic table at the end of the dock, where dinner was served became our bar and the boat’s sound system and pilothouse became our dance club. Kent, attempted to “warm up” the Captain and said “I want to drink what the captain is drinking.” The Captain took his cup, poured in Campari and then emptied it out into his own cup and handed Kent back an empty glass and said, “No one drinks, what the captain drinks.”

STOCKED
Remember the creepy Jamaican that lives on the island? This entire time he has been stocking every woman on the island. He asked us “Can I join you guys in your party” and we said, “well, you live here,” not really knowing how to respond. There are only nine palm trees on this tiny island – its not like you cant be at our party. He started drinking heavily with everyone else, who was on vacation. After the Jamaican was good and toasted his liquid courage, or insanity lead his up to every woman with lines like, “Hmmmmm baby girl, you looked so good coming out of that water earlier…. I know you said you are married, by hmmm mmmmm hhhmmmmmm you wanna get together?” After an hour of dancing, people moved from the end of the dock to the island for a bonfire. In this transition the Jamaican had time to approach us all separately. To me he said, “Hey, hey, wanna come see where I sleep?” and “girl, your curves are looking so good, I want to see them in action.” Yuck!

HARASSED
It went from stocking to harassing very quickly. The Jamaican rolled up behind me, at my tent while I was trying to get something. It was dark out and he was almost invisible. He was in my personal space and started to say something. I cut him off and said “I am on F*cking vacation, I do not want to be harassed – I am married back the f*ck off me and I don’t want to have to tell you again.” He slowly backed away, but I knew he would be back. I went to the fire moments later and found my friends. The Jamaican was also there. So drunk, he probably didn’t remember what I said ten minutes earlier. My friend was sitting next to me and the Jamaican was behind her. Out of nowhere, she shot up fast and yelled “OH HELL NO!!!” and the Jamaican got up and walked off. I had no idea what was going on. She came back to me, after he left and told me she was just violated by him. He stuck his foot, literally under her butt and wiggled his foot to get his toes – well you can guess where. Later we found out from Jacob that the crew had never even seen this guy before. For all we knew he could have killed us all in our sleep.

CONFRONTED
After talking with everyone, all day, and all night we really loved all the unique people on this sailing trip. People were from all walks of life, and from all points on the globe; from London, to Brazil and everywhere in between. And in getting to know everyone, we started to hear all the other stories of how the Captain has insulted or been rude to everyone.  My friend, who has the biggest balls of anyone I know, decided to confront the Captain. Keep in mind he is the classic stereotype: two gold teeth, gold hoop earring, scraggly beard, no smiling – ever and a demeanor that would scare children. She took him aside and said, “Everyone on this island is talking about you and has a problem with you.” She confronted him on all his bad behavior, intimidation tactics and said it wasn’t acceptable. She stressed that people have limited funds, and limited vacation time and if he has a problem, don’t take it out on tourists. Her heart was racing and she, herself, couldn’t believe she did it. It was a great moment. But, we were on a deserted island, and we didn’t know how this stranger was going to handle it.

BAKED
After night fell, and the campfire was over, the wind died and the temperature rose. White crabs were rolling up on the beach and pinched anything they came in contact with. So you could not leave your tent open. But, inside you baked – sweat dripped from our faces – it was hell. At this point we didn’t know what the Jamaican could do to us during the night, one of the girls from our group of three was gone, and god knows what the captain was thinking after a 29 girl told him off – the truth must be hard to hear from a female American. No one could sleep, and with the wind dead you could hear everyone’s conversations.

BREAKDOWN/STRANDED

All of a sudden, after I was done feeling sorry for myself, in a sweat box of a tent – covered in sun burns and starving from no dinner or lunch, with a crazy person who was violating guest, we heard what sounded like….. crying? Yes, it was the sound of a grown man having a “Come-to-Jesus” moment with Mac, the oldest guy on the boat (he was traveling alone and bonded with the Captain). Apparently the Captain finished a second bottle of booze, vodka with Mac, and pulled the 50-foot boat off the dock. Maybe this was the Captains way of threatening us that he was going to leave us, or that he could – ultimately that he was in control of us. He ended up dropping anchor about 70 feet off the dock. This enraged me because in our arrangements all 17 of us are supposed to have 24-hour toilet access to the marine bathroom. And, of course, I had to use the bathroom and at this point the creepy Jamaican was lurking around the island with NO PANTS ON!

But, back to the crying…. The Captain was pouring his heart out to Mac. From the shore we heard only tidbits from the Captain like “I try so hard…” and “They don’t understand how hard my job is….” And Mac, drunk as a skunk himself was responding like “I know man, I know.” At this point we didn’t know what the result would be. Would the captain become meaner and torture everyone for the rest of the trip? Would we be served food that was contaminated? Would our trip become drastically worse then this? Is this just the tip of the iceberg?

MISERY
Our minds were running wild, because we were all in the middle of the sea on island as small as a basketball court – stranded, with no cell phone reception. I know because I tried to get a signal to get a chopper to come pick me up.  The worst part of the night was yet to come… it started to rain. People hustled to get their rain tarps on, but then the winds came back with a vengeance. Rain tarps were ripped off, water came down our friends tent like a small river and soaked their mats, clothes and souls.

This was the end of Day #4.

And, I didn’t even mention the hookups, flirting, or broken hearts!