Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bay Islands of Honduras, to Vivarillos Cays off the N.E. Honduran coast.

Sailing into Cayos Cochinos Grande, from the N.W.

At anchor behind Cayos Cochinos Grande, where Nigel Calder suggest, only now the government has made this a national park and installed some moorings.
Oh, it's a rough life.

Along the Bights and canal systems of the south shore of Roatan, the population lives mostly on stilt waterfront housing.

Yup, the table IS leaning. So is the whole place! Hole in the wall is becoming just that and if nothing is done, it's going to fall into the drink one of these days.

CSY Charter Operation in Roatan. Years ago, this painting was in better shape. It graces a large wall near the center of the old charter base. Now it and the facility is showing its age..near 30.

Sailing along the north coast of Honduras we stopped first in Cortez, to pick up some bear spray a fellow CSY owner had shipped in for us. We were pushing to get to Puerto Escondido for the night and had to just offer a quick hello and thanks, before shoving off. We arrived at Puerto Escondido late in the afternoon, so much so, that I had just about lost all light for entry into a tight harbor, something I never have let myself do before.

Mark and Lori Theim, friends and new residents of Calabash bight, Roatan. They have recently bought waterfront land and are building for the future.

All worked out well and we were the 4th boat to enter and anchor there for the evening. The anchorage is remote in that there is no humans ashore, just howler monkeys, birds and tropical foilage/palms everywhere.

Roadside/cliffside eatery.

We got an early start and headed for Utila. the westernmost Bay Island off the north coast of Honduras. Made good progress and arrived in good light for entry into the bay. Checked into customs etc. and headed in for some grub.
Captain! They bring gifts too!! Well, not really. This cute kid paddled out to sell her jewelry. Then, after successfully concluding the sale to Dorothy asked,"Cookie?"

Yes, a few years ago, the kids did the same thing here..they love "Cookies".

I heard it and so did everyone else Terry, someone FARTED! Was it YOU?

(He looks guilty, doesn't he?)

Birds and lizzards at drinking establishment.

Terry took tricks at the helm and got sunburned or wet along with us...no Cruise Ship are we!

Our sailing had been mixed with some motorsailing and some pure sailing, with mixed results because the winds were often on our nose, or too light for decent progress.

During the few days we spent in the Bay Islands of Honduras with our crew Terry Walsh, we managed to relax and enjoy the good weather. After clearing into the western most island of Utila, we cleaned up a bit and dingy'd in for a walk down Mains Street .

Our track into Puerto Escondido at near darkness. I did a little loop out there to check my bearings before heading in at 160 degrees magnetic.

A lovely mermaid, for sure.

Sculpture was in the lobby of a hotel in Livingston, Guatemala, but since this segment began there, I'm including it.. just too nice a piece to forget.

Not much on this island to see, but for divers, it holds everything they need. The waterfront is lined with dive operations, small restaurants, tiendas(small snack and grocery stores) and bars. Of course there are the small hostels, motels etc. to house the large numbers of what seem like low-cost travelers. We turned up the one street that is perpendicular to Main Street and in a few hundred yards came to a “Y” in the road. This is the location of “the Mango” restaurant and inn. A small enclave of rooms, buildings and paths, covered in pleasant tropical foliage. The Mango is one of the better dining spots ashore so we got there in time to relax, eat and return to the boat before dark. This harbor is known as Burglar’s Bay and other such labels, so I did not want to leave the boat unattended, especially after dark.

Mango’s had fresh tuna special with jalapeno sauce. The kitchen started a little early to accommodate our schedule. It was a small building offset from the eating area, and open on one side. Adjacent to it was a large-maybe 12’ diameter brick and motor domed oven for cooking with wood. The wood was afire when we entered and over the next half hour, the staff raked the embers around in a calculated manner to heat up the base stone surface. It is on this, that their hand rolled breads and some meals are cooked.

Next to our table was a humming bird feeder. It was late afternoon and their were many of the birds zipping around the feeder waiting their turn and of course we shot many photos of their antics. What surprised us, was as the sun was setting and the subsequent darkening of our area under the trees and vines, that the humming birds left and the bats came in. The feeder was now a Bat Feeder! So, we took more photos!!

Dorothy has quite a photo collection of tropical flowers.

The dinner was OK, but the jalapeno sauce was too hot for my taste and overpowered the tuna. Oh well, the island is know for diving, not dining.

The next morning, we headed East for Roatan, the center island of the 3 Bay Islands. We motor sailed north to the bay called Port Royal and entered in the west channel of Lime rock. Took our time and motored up the north coast of the bay in a clockwise fashion, then back to the two rocks near the center of the bay called the Cow and Calf. Around this used to be some decent snorkeling. We anchored
You know the food is going to be good when they spent this much time building the oven and stoking the fire!
The bats come out after the Humming Birds call it a day.

there for a bit and got our butts in the water for a look-see. Not great, but refreshing. A few small fish, barracuda and eel were seen. On the radio, we were in contact with caretakers of an Eco Fish Camp. Stana and Tom offered wi-fi service for light usage if we wanted to anchor near their docks. We did, but reception was really poor.

We later tried again at a slightly different location and had fair coverage. Internet is still not a commonly available item while cruising and many cruisers used to having it, spend much of their time searching for it. Phone service was blocked by the western hillside of this anchorage, so the next morning I headed west to Calabash Bight. I knew two Americans there, both in the process of building homes, so I called one via the radio. Mark and Lori Theim, of sailing vessel (s.v.) Aoleous, a CSY 44’ W.O. were building a very nice 2 story wood home on a point of land in the harbor. Mark has set up internet
service available to cruisers for a modest fee and eventually will have a few boat slips for rent. The big plus for us, is that Mark and Lori were gracious enough to offer to help get Terry set up with his airline arrangements for his return trip to the US.

Terry had to fly out of Roatan, to San Pedro Sula International Airport on the mainland and connect with a flight back to the U.S. and home. We made a day out of it, stopping for lunch on a beautiful hilltop/roadside/maybe almost ‘Cliffside’.

MEMORY ROSE at anchor in Cayo Cochino Grande.

From there we proceeded to the airport. Terry had been looking for a few good Honduran cigars to bring to a friend in the states and we found them as well as Cuban cigars right at the airport.
The next couple of days, we relaxed and ran around in our dingy for kicks, and groceries but the weather was perfect for a run east(unusual against the prevailing easterly trade winds) so after Terry left, we topped off with fuel at 7:30 one morning, then water (25, 5 gal. bottles of reverse osmosis store bought ) and headed out to sea again. This was going to be an overnight slog East to a tiny island/reef group called the Vivarillos, off the N.E. coast of Honduras. The night portion of the passage was rough with winds almost on the nose at up to 30 knots/but generally somewhere in the 20’s. Wet and salty, we were pleased to get into Gran Vivarillos and anchor in good daylight. A shower and some sleep, brought us back to some normalcy and the next day we ventured ashore to talk to the fisherman living on the next island.

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