Sep 24

Return to Roatan 2019

Number of View: 0

Image00007

We are back in Roatan, after enjoying a fantastic Canadian summer. We didn’t get to see everyone we wanted too, it seemed the time went by so fast, all I can say is next time.

Leaving Toronto, we were delayed, waiting for passengers, which caused us to miss our connection in Houston. The airlines wouldn’t pay for accommodations, the airport hotel was $180.00 US a night. We settled for the Ramada $59.00 US a night with airport shuttle and breakfast, also 2 for 1 happy hour drinks with unlimited snacks. If we had to be held up, this was a great place to spend the time.

We love Roatan, and love the country, but there is some shit going on that can drive someone nuts. When arriving in Roatan and going through immigration the last thing you have to do is x-ray your bags before leaving. Our four bags had been scanned numerous times, both in Canada and the U.S., nothing was flagged. Flying back to Mistress we load up on boat parts and supplies that are nearly impossible to find here. In our luggage was a heat exchanger, similar to a radiator on a car, that set off red flags. We showed the two custom official our receipt,and after some discussion it was determined that we needed to pay a tax of $600 US dollars. they could not understand our receipt was in Canadian funds. They wanted us to leave the bag with our heat exchanger and a lot of other stuff in the office. this could possibly  take months for the customs to sort out. Muriel said “we will go to customs in town  right now  and get this straitened out”. We loaded our remaining bags in a cab, and told the official we would be back, and took all the papers to pay duty. As we were leaving, the male officer asked us to take his number if we had problems, we could call him. That seemed a bit  strange. When we got to town, we found that the customs office is closed on weekends, the Port captain told us the if we came by plane all dealings are at the airport. On our way back to the cab the driver receives a call and gives the phone to Muriel. It was the Custom Agent from the airport, he explains to her that to hire a agent, to broker it in to the country would be at least $600 US.,  and would take  at least one month, but if she gives him 300US he will give us our bag. Muriel replied  “We will go to the marina, and call an agent, and ask all the other boaters if he has done this to them”. called him a bandito and hung up. One minute later he calls the cab driver back and asks to speak to the me. He will do us a favour, and give us our bag for 300 I say,  “No”. We finally settle on $250 US, we would meet in the gas station to give him the money, but get no receipt. Then back to the airport to retrieve our bag. we know we were scammed, but we knew if we left the bag at the airport we would never see it again. Not only were we scammed by him, the cab cost us $60 US for all his back and forth. They are a team. People say we should complain and put an end to this shit of officials bribing tourists or cruisers. The sad fact is we have to deal with these same officials to leave this country with our boat.

After getting all our luggage back to the boat we acclimatized for a couple of days. Before starting any projects we came back to a new motor problem a leaking oil pan. somehow we developed a pinhole in the oil pan and lost all the oil. Luckily we have a catch tray underneath the motor, it was easy to clean it up,using a pump, but still a pain in the butt just the same.

Image00001  Image00002

Image00004  Image00003

In the coming weeks we will replace the heat exchanger, but for now we are doing small projects refitting Mistress to get ready for the upcoming season. After inspecting the pan, I cleaned and epoxied the bottom. The job is more difficult because your looking through a dental mirror and working upside down. 65 year old guys don’t make good contortionists. The fresh water pool is only a short walk away, so keeping cool is not a problem, but we have to lock the boat up, so the thieving monkey doesn’t run away with things. 

  Image00009  Image00010

Image00008  Image00005

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image00001  Image00002 

Image00006

May 22

Garifuna

Number of View: 0

Image00015

A beautiful part of our multi-ethnic culture her in Roatan, are the Garifuna,s. Never enslaved and only slightly Christianized, the Garifuna,s retain much of their original African culture and spiritual  practices. They offer an authentic live glimpse into 18th Century African folklore and traditions.

A fascinating element of Roatans’ history relates to the arrival of the Garifuna people. They trace their ancestry back to a slave ship that wrecked on the reefs off the island of St. Vincent [Lesser Antilles] in the early 18th Century. As a result of intermarriage, the Garinagu [this is what the Garifuna,s call themselves in their own language] are a mixture of African, Arawak, and Carib genes. When the British took over Saint Vincent after the Treaty of Paris in 1763 They were opposed by French settlers and their Caribs allies. The Carib eventually surrendered to the British in 1796 The British separated the more African looking Caribs from the more indigenous looking ones. Five thousand Black Caribs were exiled  to Rotan, but only about 2,500 of them survived the voyage. The village of Punta Gorda in Rotan was the first Garifuna village and remains today a proud bastion of the unique cultural heritage and traditions cultivated by the Garifuna people.

Last weekend we attended the 222nd anniversary of the landing, at the small village of Punta Gorda. We watched the parade, listened to the music, and even had the chance to meet the president and First Lady, of Honduras, who also attended the event. It was a great day……

Image00007  Image00003

Image00005  Image00010

Image00001

Image00004   Image00017

Image00019   Image00018

Image00009  Image00016

Image00021  Image00020

Mar 16

Our Island Pets

Number of View: 0

Image00001

When I was young my mother used to save the ends of the bread, then break it up to feed the birds beside our house. We also had a community bowl which we filled with table scraps for any stray cats that wandered into our yard. The ones that did usually lived out there days around our house. Our pet dog protected them from the stray dogs who also tried to get a free meal. They only got bones. With 2 dogs in the house, plus 4 pet cats, [who also had names] , and numerous stray cats, I came to enjoy feeding animals.

Image00003

Image00001  Image00002

Image00002   Image00001 

  Image00019   Image00001

Image00004

Around here, there are lots of coconuts, which the Guatusa really like,… only problem, they need someone to crack them open. When they hear the sound of them being chopped with the machete they come running.

Image00005  Image00003

Image00002  Image00001

Image00015

This little bandit comes by our boat and has a sweet tooth for especially Hummingbird nectar. He has been caught in the act sneaking across the dock to get at our feeder, then turning it upside down making a mess and spilling all over. Cute but destructive.

Image00002   Image00009

Image00030  Image00031

For me it is a joy to live amongst all these animals.

Image00003

The main beach is just a taxi ride away, West End, and West Bay, and while, we are here…..why not get the famous drink, Monkey La La. We walked along the beach for about 2 miles, stopping in a few beach front bars to get cold drinks, before reaching Bananarama, a resort with restaurant named the Thirsty Turtle, where we had a fantastic lunch.      Great way to spend the day.

Image00001  Image00005

Image00007  Image00014

Image00009  Image00010

Image00011  Image00013

Mar 08

Iguana Farm Visit

Number of View: 0

Just a short dinghy ride from our marina there is unique attraction. A wildlife preserve, known as the Iguana farm. We had passed by it a few times , but up until now, we never dropped in to see what it was all about. Soon after tying up our dinghy we were greeted by the numerous Tarpon, Snook, and Snappers swimming around the docks.

Image00002

Founded in June of 1980, by Sherman Arch and his family. They have strived throughout the years to educate and inform the public in regards to excessive fishing and poaching. The family practices conservation,preservation, and protection of Roatan’s wildlife. On their property, hundreds of iguanas roam freely, and reproduce on the reserve. In the attempt to safeguard the Green Iguana, as well as the aquatic life, the Arch family works to earn a profit for the purpose of continued conservation of Roatan’s wildlife, as their love for the environment.

www.roataniguanaexcursions.com

Image00023 Image00024

Image00001  Image00022

Image00004

Image00015   Image00016

Image00013  Image00006

Image00007  Image00008

Image00011  Image00013

Image00014  Image00021

Image00017  Image00020

Check out the video at:………https://youtu.be/3LlCoql8zkM

Image00025

Mar 01

East End Trip

Number of View: 0

Image00001

Image00001  Image00002-001

Spiny Tailed Iguana, are found only on the island of Roatan, in the Bay Islands of Honduras. The species is listed as endangered, with a population of around 4,500.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We went for a drive out to the East end of Roatan, visiting the bays , and stopping for lunch at a waterside restaurant. This is the least tourist side of the island, with some beautiful homes and out of the way resorts.

Image00001  Image00002

Image00003  Image00007

Image00005  Image00004

Image00008

Image00009  Image00010

Image00011  Image00012

Image00013  Image00015

A Robinson-Crusoe type living can be enjoyed in this remote area of the island. Spending days on the beach, wind surfing, swimming, or just lounging, it is beautiful.

Image00016

Image00019  Image00018

Image00022

This is a unique disco bar, roadside shipwreck that is visited by up to 700 persons on weekends listening to the state of the art sound system. Grand Opening was in 2016 to a fantastic fireworks display. Isery means New,  in the native Garifuna language.

Image00023  Image00024

Image00025  Image00026

Image00028  Image00029

Image00001

Feb 20

Sargassum

Number of View: 0

Image00001

Image00003  Image00002

Image00004  Image00005

Sargassum is abundant in the ocean. Upon close inspection, it is easy to see the many leafy appendages, branches, and round, berry-like structures that make up the plant. These “berries” are actually gas-filled structures, called pneumatocysts, which are filled mostly with oxygen. Pneumatocysts add buoyancy to the plant structure and allow it to float on the surface.

Floating rafts of Sargassum can stretch for miles across the ocean. This floating habitat provides food, refuge, and breeding grounds for an array of critters such as fishes, sea turtles, marine birds, crabs, shrimp, and more. Some animals, like the Sargassum fish (in the frogfish family), live their whole lives only in this habitat. Sargassum serves as a primary nursery area for a variety of commercially important fishes such as mahi mahi, jacks, and amberjacks.

When Sargassum loses its buoyancy, it sinks to the seafloor, providing energy in the form of carbon to fishes and invertebrates in the deep sea. Sargassum may also provide an important addition to the food sources available in the deep sea.

Because of its ecological importance, Sargassum has been designated as Essential Fish Habitat, which affords these areas special protection. However, Sargassum habitat has been poorly studied because it is so difficult to sample. Further research is needed to understand, protect, and best conserve this natural resource.

Taken from the NOAA website, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Image00018

Image00016   Image00017 

Since we have had a southeast wind for the last little while, the island has masses of this floating weed pushed in to most of the bays, plastics of all kind are mixed in. Workers at the resort raked and picked up, and trucked away all the debris in a couple of days, leaving the beaches, pristine once again. 

Image00004

Image00003

The main port , French Harbour is open but the small bays are covered with this floating mess. We got stuck and had to paddle up to the dock, where we were greeted by the attendant with his small fury friend. This is usually the easy access to town, which is a short walk.

Image00004  Image00005

Image00019   Image00007

Image00020

Early, this morning we came across this boat stricken on the reef. So sad to see someone lose their home and dreams, and brings to mind the dangers of sailing.

   Image00008  Image00007 

Soon after leaving the boat, the first of the looters showed up.

Image00003

Feb 09

The Monkey and Sloth Hangout, Roatan

Number of View: 0

Image00010

One of the most amazing attractions here on the Island of Roatan, is a visit to The Monkey and Sloth Hangout.This is not you typical, here you interact with the residents who seem to enjoy your company. The highlight was holding young 3 Toed Sloth. Our guide had climbed a tree overlooking the water to bring him down, All the animals move freely from inside the protected area to outside within the  compound. When a Cruise ship is in port, this is one of the attractions that is booked, but not today. We spent plenty of time with each group on animals.

Image00005  Image00006

Image00007  Image00008

Image00004  Image00009

Watch our Video at:

https://youtu.be/7w8vsi5tNmU

Fantasy Island Marina has been a enjoyable stop, great snorkeling, beautiful beach, safe docks, and friendly people. Each evening we sit and watch the sun set and relax on the ……..Dock of the Bay.

Image00001  Image00002

Image00003

Jan 28

West End, Roatan, Honduras

Number of View: 0

Image00001 Image00002 Image00004  Image00010

After the cold, Christmas Holiday season we spent with our kids……OK, OK , OK…we lost our rich Canadian blood, it is nice to get back to the warm western Caribbean sun. We had a long trip back, 35 hours in total, but was actually pretty good. No problem with turbulence or storms  the whole way.

Mistress was just the way we left her, a little bit damp on the inside of the cabin, but no mold, so we had very little cleaning to do. Our mornings are spent doing projects and repairs, and when it gets hot around mid afternoon, we head for the beach to go snorkeling

.Image00001  Image00002Image00003

Image00003  Image00004

We took the local bus, actually a 12 seated van, that they stuff 20 persons or more into, known as a Chicken Bus to the western part of Roatan. 

Image00007 Image00008 

Image00011  Image00012  Image00013  Image00014  Image00015  Image00016

West End, is a beach community with many Restaurants and Bars serving all kinds of food, to be enjoyed overlooking the clear blue water. This is also home to the drink,  Monkey LaLa, a dessert for adults. It is delicious and dangerous…there are up to 4 kinds of alcohol in it – meaning one drink can have up to 4 shots in it. That much sugar can make for a pretty nasty hangover too. But an icy drink on a hot day at the beach is SO good! The drink is named after the ubiquitous lizard here, seen running across the road up on its hind legs – the islanders call it a monkey la-la, but its scientific name is the basilisk, but is also commonly known as the Jesus Lizard, because it can walk on water for a bit before sinking. I guess the drink is named appropriately, because I have seen plenty of people trying to walk on water and do other miraculous things after drinking 4 or 5 of them. And once I saw a lady drink 13 of them and after a snooze at the table (we thought she was dead) she was resurrected and proceeded to down another one. Jesus Lizard drink indeed!  

Image result for monkey lala

Image00002

This little guy, I rescued from the monkeys, who were beating him up, he was very young, and  obviously injured. A lady on the beach told me that the monkeys were taking him up the tree and throwing him off. I don’t think they were teaching him to fly. I don’t know for sure what type of  hawk this is, but I would think he should be high up in the trees surrounding the beach. He seemed to be a young bird who had all his flight feathers. I didn’t see any injuries. I removed my tee shirt, using it for protection from his claws, I moved him to the grass in the shade, to hopefully recover.

Dec 28

Roatan, Honduras

Number of View: 0

DSCF1433

Geography

The island rests on an exposed ancient coral reef, rising to about 270 meters (890 ft.) above sea level. Offshore reefs offer opportunities for diving.[1] Most habitation is in the western half of the island.

The most populous town of the island is Coxen Hole, capital of Roatán municipality, located in the southwest. West of Coxen Hole are the settlements of Gravel Bay, Flowers Bay and Pensacola on the south coast, and Sandy Bay, West End and West Bay on the north coast. To the east of Coxen Hole are the settlements of Mount Pleasant, French Harbour, Parrot Tree, Jonesville and Oakridge on the south coast, and Punta Gorda on the north coast.

The easternmost quarter of the island is separated by a channel through the mangroves that is 15 meters wide on average. This section is called Helene, or Santa Elena in Spanish. Satellite islands at the eastern end are Morat, Barbareta, and Pigeon Cay. Further west between French Harbour and Coxen Hole are several cays, including Stamp Cay and Barefoot Cay.

Location

Located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea (second largest worldwide after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef), Roatán has become an important cruise ship, scuba diving and eco-tourism destination in Honduras. Tourism is its most important economic sector, though fishing is also an important source of income for islanders. Roatán is located within 40 miles of La Ceiba. The island is served by the Juan Manuel Gálvez Roatán International Airport and the Galaxy Wave Ferry service twice a day.

Image00018  Image00019

Image00017  Image00021Image00002

Image00022

Image00003  Image00001

Image00008  Image00003

Image00004  Image00001

Image00002  Image00005

Image00007

Text from Wikipedia