Sunday, June 24, 2007

Roatan, Honduras Bay Island

Hole in the Wall

After a few days in Guanaja, we moved on to Roatan, further west. Had heard of a good anchorage in Jonesville, also referred to as Bodden Bight. On Sundays, a spot called Hole In The Wall, puts out a spread including steak and lobster for $15 each. Well, it was Sunday morning when we arrived, so the dingy was put to quick use. The food ended up now costing $20, but it was a fine meal and cruisers and expatriots from the area crowded the joint.

The owner had a cool modified cayuga...a dug out log with mods to make it look like one of the old 'Commuter Boats" of the twenties and thirties. Twas powered by an 18 hp Briggs and Straton air cooled engine-no transmission.

The harbor offered good holding and there was plenty of room at this time of year. Most of the cruisers had already headed for their Hurricane Hole of choice. The few remaining were preparing. Peter Schmit (CSY designer)and wife, had their Crazy Horse anchored close to the village. We stopped by for a visit, but the poor guy was fighting a flu or something for a week and still not up and around.

Birthday b
oy kickin' back.

A blustery front held us at bay for a few days and seas outside the harbor were still stacked, so we played around by dingy. Interesting cuts had been made in the mangroves, creating canals of shallow water between the Bights, or harbors. This is how the local traffic gets around with a degree of safety.

Stilt housing is the local norm...with the exception of the monsters being built by the expatriot community.

A gent named Larry owned another small waterfront spot he called a marina, but as such, was not much more than a T dock for 2 boats. Larry offered wireless connections for a dollar a day and had a comfortable artsy, even whimsical location open to cruisers. $2 washing machine etc. He was interesting to talk to and we got to play with his new pup. The Hole in the Wall restaurant served breakfast and lunch, but shut down in the evening.

On shore, there was a local grocery/dollar store owned by Dave Jones and family. Suprisingly good selection of what might be needed. Dave was gracious enough to offer to have his son take us into Coxen Hole, another anchorage/village, to get US $ from an ATM. I was running low and needed cash to clear into the next country, Guatemala.
The next day, it ended up he and his son drove us around for cash and essentials, as they also had some resupplying of materials to accomplish.

Much beautiful land is available but sadly much if it is also being bulldozed for developement.

Dave was also the president of the Honduran Commercial Fishing Association so we had an informative ride that day. One of their biggest problems is 'over fishing'... Same problem as most anywhere. This was evidenced by the lobster tail at the Hole in the Wall, being 3" long. They are harvesting their 'Breeding Stock"!
This year had been their worst year of fishing and many boats are wondering if they can get out again, especially concerning were worries about the high cost of fuel. What's new!

A front of blustery weather held us from moving on for a few days, but we explored locally with the Avon and chilled out, getting lots of good food and rest. When the weather gave us an opening, we scooted down to Cayos Cochinos more near the mainland. The area is supposed to have great snorkling amongst the reefs. The entire area is now a park, with anchoring prohibited. A few local dive operations now exist, taking tourists wherever needed.

Memory Rose at anchor in Cayos Cochinos

Some moorings are available and although we were later told they were screwed into the bottom, the lines they used were small and of poor quality, the floats were plastic anti freeze type containers. We did not know of the rules when we came in and anchored where Nigel Calder's book suggests, in a pocket in the NW corner of Cayos Grande. There was a grass bottom but no coral around so we planted ourselves there. For the few days we were anchored, within sight of the 'rangers' and saying hello to them everday, no one suggested we move.

We found the diving fair to poor in the immediate area of Cayo Grande. The water was relatively clear, the coral dissappointing and the sea life minimal.

Onward to Utila.

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