Posts Tagged: ‘Jonesville Bight’

Roatan 2017

April 6, 2017 Posted by Deb

We can’t believe it has been four years since Casa del Mar, Aquadesiac, Neytiri, and others visited these waters. We staged at Hatchet Caye in Belize with Jim and Renata of Emerald Seas for the overnight trip to Roatan. Emerald Seas detected some banging in their rudder on the way over to Hatchet and decided to head to Guatemala and RAM Marine to get it checked. We took off at about 3:00 in the afternoon alone. The wind dropped to somewhere in the 2 to 6 knot range and we didn’t even bother putting up a sail. The seas were calm and we motored on one engine at a time through the night. Not much to report except a lot of cruise ship dodging and a bit of adverse current at times.

We pulled into French Harbor, dropped the hook, and wondered where all the boats went. We practically owned the whole anchorage except for a couple of derelicts. An empty anchorage is a security concern since we learned four years ago that we had anchored in “Bandit Bay” one night. It turned out the boats had bailed for West Bay due to weather.

Neytiri in French Harbor

Neytiri in French Harbor

The Port Captain Shuffle

Check in procedures have changed and not for the better. Immigration moved to Plaza Mar in Coxen Hole, the Port Captain has to run everything through the capital now causing up to a five-day delay, and they want three pictures of the boat in digital form to be emailed to the capital. The Port Captain is also AWOL much of the day due to heavy cruise ship traffic (or long lunches) and he walked in at 2:30 p.m. We had been waiting since 1:00 and others longer. Deb had done a great job of putting our three pictures on one 8.5×11 piece of paper; and when we found out they wanted digital only, we took a picture of the piece of paper. No good. They wanted individual shots.

So … we failed. Eighty percent of the cruisers waiting in line until 2:30 also failed. The dockmaster here said they are trolling for tips, but they are on camera so it’s tough to pull off. We did not see anyone trying to buy their way in or out and we really felt sorry for the folks trying to catch weather to get out only to find that it could take days to get their Clearance (Zarpe). To make this short, we paid taxis three times over five days to take us to the Port Captain and back to French Harbor before we got our Entrada. On the positive side, Roatan is a free check in.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island from the Air

Fantasy Island from the Air

Zee plane, Zee plane. Not the same place. In fact, very little maintenance has been done on this resort since the last time we were here. All the wood buildings are kind of right out of the Dirty Dancing era but a little more faded each time we come back. There are no longer fresh water showers for the cruisers but there is a bathroom that works most of the time with a dirty salt water shower. The WIFI is a whopping 10 to 30 K. The Dockmaster, Rob, said that if we were here four years ago, we would really notice the difference now. There are themed events much like Dirty Dancing for the guests and another set for the cruisers in the Palapa bar. We do BBQ night, movie night, and 2-for-1 ladies night. Some of the guys are showing up in dresses for the 2-for-1 ladies night. We even got a pole dance from one of the guys.

Dirty Dancing Agenda for the Cruisers

Dirty Dancing Agenda for the Cruisers

Dirty Dancing Agenda for Resort Guests

Dirty Dancing Agenda for Resort Guests

This Is Our Back Yard

This Is Our Back Yard

Seaweed

Roatan is in the middle of a seaweed invasion. Massive islands of seaweed are floating in and the staff rake huge piles off the beach. Front end loaders and trucks haul the smelly piles away. The resort is usually losing the battle though the invasion seems to be tapering off lately. One cruiser said he hit an island of this stuff in the middle of the night and his boat came to a complete stop. This level of seaweed in the ocean has not been seen before.

Seaweed Invasion

Seaweed Invasion

The Animals of Roatan

Fantasy Island Peacock

Fantasy Island Peacock

Agouti

Agouti or Roatan Rabbit

Fantasy Island mixes zoo animals with people. We mostly see agoutis, peacocks, monkeys, and iguanas. Of these, the monkeys are a good story. They have been known to run off with cell phones, shoes, anything left in boat cockpits, and they climb up on people as part of their routine. Deb’s encounter was fun as he tried to get inside her shirt but the little …. did tear a key off her laptop keyboard.

Quit Monkeying Around

Quit Monkeying Around

Road Trips

We had our car rental from hell the week of April Fools Day. The morning of our big road trip to West Bay, the battery was dead. No problem for a cruiser, just grab any one of the jump starters and off we go. Our jump starters had partial charges but not enough to bring up the dead car battery so we had to haul out the extension cords and 110 charger. Eventually that worked and off we went, wondering what we had left on the night before that would drain the battery. I dropped a tire off the edge of the road and it got punctured. We pulled off on a hill in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday when everything was closed and started the spare tire drill. We were partially blocking traffic so that was an added bonus. The spare tire had an even bigger hole in it. A Honduran on a motorcycle who happened to own a car wash and gas station stopped by and took our main tire to his shop to try and inflate/fix it. He couldn’t but we gave him something for trying.

So…we called the Alamo manager and actually got him on a Sunday. He drove out, put his spare on our car, and took our two bad tires. Over the next two days, we had to jump the car if we let it stand for more than a couple hours and our newly charged car starters worked great. We did have to drive all the way to the airport to pick up a new tire and there was no one there to put it on so, once again, we got to use the “toy” jacks that they include with those little cars.

Flat Tire and a Flat Spare

Flat Tire and a Flat Spare

After the March Madness final on April 3, the jump start battery just wouldn’t cut it one more time. It was 10:30 at night after way too many drinks in the parking lot of Herby’s Sports Bar and Grill (great place). Thankfully a security guard came over and said “No problem” (the only English he knew) and grabbed a hotel van, jumper cables, and a buddy to get the show on the road again. The next day we called Alamo and swapped cars.

West End, West Bay

West End

West End

Nice places right out of the brochure. We bought a beach pass at the Paradise Hotel for $10 U.S. each which gave us a place to park and access to the pool, shower, and beach chairs. The highlight was the snorkeling. The Roatan wall is right off the beach with massive coral formations and a steep drop into the abyss. We also swam with the most fish we’ve seen in a long time. We got a kick out of diving down to the scuba divers and waiving like “we’re down here doing this for free and you’re paying a bundle.”

Underwater World

Underwater World

We lounged until the end of the day and the flies got too bad. On the trip back, we got beat badly by a guy on a bike. It wasn’t because of traffic, just potholes.

Beacher's Bar, West Bay

Beacher’s Bar, West Bay

East Roatan

On April 4, we teamed up with M.J. and Louisa from CarieAnn and headed East. We took almost every side road between Fantasy Island and the end of Roatan. The highlight was a trip to the Hole in the Wall restaurant in Jonesville.

The Famous Pirate Bar Was Only Open 2 Weeks

The Famous Pirate Bar Was Only Open 2 Weeks

Two Norwegians

Two Norwegians on the Way to Hole in the Wall

Hole in the Wall in Jonesville Bight

Hole in the Wall in Jonesville Bight