Honduras, January/February 2006

On the way to Guanaja we caught a nice Blackfin Tuna, and shared a feast of seared ahi roll with Mandolin when we arrived. 

We checked into Honduras at Guanaja, but didn't explore the island. The weather was rotten, and as soon as we were able we headed over to the mainland (another overnight sail) to La Ceiba, for Neil to catch his flight to the U.S. He had a week-long job with his old company, Pan Tim, helping with the trade show in Las Vegas. Since we were still having problems with our battery charging, Neil wanted us to be plugged into shore power while he was away, which meant that Liv and I got to live in the luxury of the Lagoon Marina! Up a jungle creek, with towering rainforested peaks above, Lagoon Marina is beautiful. We were surrounded by the types of lush foliage that you pay big bucks for at florists back home, a gorgeous pool, beautiful facilities, pet parrots, and even other kids for Liv to play with! Neil flew to Las Vegas, and Liv and I went on a horseback-riding adventure.

We rode for about 4 hours through the savannah and on the beach, crossing several rivers, some of which came up nearly to the saddle. It was a really great trail ride, with lots of different terrain and beautiful scenery. Liv had her own horse to ride, and by the end of the ride she looked like an expert!

   

After the ride, we went up into the mountains, just to the edge of Pico Bonito National Park, to the Jungle Lodge for the night. We slept in a beautiful, rustic, open-screened room to the sounds of the night jungle and a creek babbling along below us (the cabin was built right over a creek!). The next morning we hiked up into the mountains. We saw Fiery-Billed Toucans and Mot-mots, as well as lots of other wildlife. It was really fun!

When Neil got home from his successful trip to Las Vegas, we worked on the boat a bit. Our aft water tank had developed a leak along the top seam (it's built-in fiberglass) and although we'd tried to reseal it it was still leaking a bit, and causing the cabinet and the water inside the tank to get moldy. Yuck. We ordered a collapsible water tank to be sent to Neil in Vegas, and when he returned he installed it. He used a rasp bit on the electric drill to cut away the tabbing on the internal baffle, chiseled off the tabbing, and made sure there were no sharp edges. The inside of the tank was gelcoated, so it was nice and smooth. The new tank fit pretty well, and only reduces our water capacity by about 5 gallons. A satisfactory temporary fix to the problem. He also replaced the pump body on the forward head (the second time we've had to do that this trip, both head's pump bodies cracked. Why doesn't Raritan make them just a little more robust?).

Finally we headed back to the Bay Islands, to the big island of Roatan, where we were to meet my Dad and his friend Pam. Unfortunately, their hotel was on the north side of the island, and another cold front ("norther") was forecast, so we could not bring the boat around. We stayed near French Harbor and they visited us on the boat. We also spent a night at their hotel and had a lovely dinner with them. They'd brought lots of things for us, including a new sailing hat for Neil (he'd been continuing to wear his favorite old one, even though it was in tatters!) and presents for Liv, including beads from her Nana.

Later in the week we went to the Iguana Farm at French Harbor and fed the hundreds of iguanas that live there in sanctuary (they are hunted for food on Roatan; in fact I believe we were served some at a roadside "chicken" barbecue stand in West End later on! Tasted just like chicken.... but I never saw chicken bones shaped like that...) and watched the monkeys, parrots, Scarlet Macaws, fish, lobster and sea turtles they have in pens.

We had a really fast, fun sail with Scott and Pam down to West End before they left for the mainland and Copan. Mandolin sailed at the same time we did, and we took photos of each other as we raced along.

 

We spent a few days in West End, which has fabulous snorkeling in crystal clear water, but alas spearfishing is not allowed! One day we tried to go over to the north coast, to the anchorage where my Dad's hotel was, Hottest Sparrow, because the weather was calmer and we hoped to do some fishing. Sailboats rarely visit the north shore, and we could get very little information about the reef entries. We had to beat our way up the coast and when we got to the cut in the reef, it was MUCH narrower than we expected. The waves were about 4 feet and Neil was on the helm as I looked from the bow for the cut. Neil saw the depth sounder go from 80 feet to 12 feet in a few seconds, and we turned just before we hit the reef. I could see the cut, then, but Neil said that the waves were too high and he didn't have enough steerage. The mouth of the cut was probably only 50-60 feet wide. It was pretty scary, and we chickened out and turned around and headed back to West End.

After stopping briefly in the westernmost island of Utila to see the house our friends on Macy had bought, we set out on another overnight sail. Destination: Guatemala.

Next: Guatemala's Rio Dulce and Tikal.