21-Oct-2015 -- When we left for our vacation in Belize we thought that this confluence had already been visited so we didn’t bother to pack our GPS. I had promised my youngest children that if they learned to snorkel in the pool this past summer, I would try to take them to a place where they would see lots of fish. Amanda and I had been to Belize 10 years before, and even visited an unusual confluence on that trip. We already knew what a welcoming country it is and how easy it is to get around.
On arriving in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye, the Isla Bonita of Madonna’s song, I took a look at the DCP site and realized that the visit that had been recorded seven years before was “Incomplete.” Hard to imagine no one else had attempted this because 18N 88W is very close to this popular island town from which dozens of boats leave every day for snorkeling, diving, fishing, and sightseeing. But apparently visiting obscure and somewhat theoretical intersections of global coordinates is not on every tourist’s agenda. I realized that I might have the chance of introducing my youngest children, Jasper and Penelope, to the unique pleasure of seeking out an integer degree intersection. So we decided to do some scouting about and fit it in amongst our other activities, climbing coconut trees, swimming with sharks, tracking jaguars in the jungle, and exploring Mayan ruins in caves.
After settling in to the very pleasant Casa Caracol, a VRBO right on the beach, we asked our host Phil if it would be difficult to arrange a boat to take us to this point only about 6 miles away, as the crow flies. Turned out that just a few houses down was a family of fishermen and guides, one of whom Eloy Gonzalez, was available to go the next day, weather permitting.
They had just had a solid week of rain, very unusual for this time of year, but it all blew out by morning so we headed to the dock almost in front of our house and were soon underway. The town and beach face east so we needed to head a few hundred yards north, pass through a mangrove lined canal and under a bridge to get to the west side of the Caye. There we found ourselves in the wide open “flats”, 10 to 15 feet deep warm Caribbean water between the barrier Cayes and the low lying mainland of Belize, part of the eastern shore of the Yucatan peninsula. We headed up the west side of Ambergris Caye with a few small islands several miles off our bow.
We started by dead reckoning based on the angle between Ambergris Caye, a small unnamed island and Blackadore Caye, the as yet unbuilt resort planned by Leonardo DiCaprio mentioned in the earlier visit report by David Drescher, Roy Miller, Rob Norem, and Servero Guerrero. The trip took only about half an hour.
It was almost too soon that the GPS essentials App on my Nexus tablet started to show a lot of zeros. We slowed the boat down and made a few drifts over the spot until we had the coordinates as closely defined as we could, took the necessary shots and celebrated in that peculiarly subdued way that seems to attend achieving a confluence by sharing an authentic Coca Cola made with the original cane sugar.
The weather was warm, sunny and calm so we spent the next few hours fishing the flats. Both Jasper and Penelope learned to cast and caught their first open ocean fish. We also had a long discussion about the meaning of latitude and longitude and their history. How could the day have been any better?
Brief description of the Confluence:
This is a primary confluence that lies in open water about 11 kilometers NNW of San Pedro on the Island of Ambergris Caye, Belize. It is within a few kilometers of the Caye to the East and approximately two kilometers from Blackador Caye, an uninhabited island in the bay of Belize.