Monday, March 19, 2007

Barbareta! - Talk about your private island!


Barbareta is a privately owned island of approx 500 acres…with it’s own private air strip and stables for the horses…not a bad life you might say. Boaters and cruisers are not exactly welcomed with open arms, but the anchorage is safe for a Norther and there is no issue with being there. The real attraction, other than watching local brightly coloured parrots in the shoreline branches singing at the tops of their little lungs, and seeing the horses come to visit ‘Doc’…was the hunting/gathering/snorkeling/shelling available in the anchorage as well as Pigeon Islands a small group of sand spits out in the deep water where it is fun to go and shall we say “put out the invitation’ to dinner’ to the local fish populace hoping that some big ‘ol fat grouper will find my ‘swimming technique’ irresistible and become our honored guest ‘for’ dinner.

We spent a few days enjoying this wonderful place then headed back into Jonesville for are final goodbyes and provisioning as we are now heading to Guanaja, the most eastern of the Honduran Islands to check out of the country and into Vivorillos a very isolated small group of Islands a couple hundred miles further east before we can turn the corner and head south toward Panama.

We have enjoyed Honduras, the climate, the scenery, and most especially the people who have been warm hearted and made our stay here a memory of a lifetime!

Cayos Cochinos - A little bit of Paradise!

Cayos Cochinos

This beautiful group of islands, located 10 miles off the mainland coast of Honduras are a must see if possible. There are two larger cays (islands) and then many small ones that are anything from sandbars to cays with palm trees and homes. This area is a marine park and all the waters are protected and you pay a small fee for taking up a mooring buoy for your visit. The snorkeling is great right off your boat. You can see everything from fish to rays, urchins to brittle stars. Then if you go out to the outer cays, well there are so many other things to see. While we were visiting, there was a Columbian film crew doing, Survivor Columbia. The film crew tried to keep everyone away from the small cays, however the lure of the chase was just too much and off we set to explore and adventure with all good intentions. In the distance of some 2 to 3 miles of the anchorage is a string of pearl islands including one village but mostly inhabited by small crabs and a few insects and is a gunkholers dream. The first island we came to was perfect…isolated, two acres of palm trees and white sand surrounded by incredible coral and one fantastic turquoise coloured sandy bay…but as we got close enough to step ashore, we noticed a white T-shirt blowing in a tree on the beach…then we noticed a single person sitting in the sand. He rose to meet us and said “My Name is Carlos and welcome to Death Island”. Great…Death Island I thought…this would not have been my first choice, but getting in the spirit of the ‘Survivor Show’ I said …Great…Carlos quickly started showing Kaija and I around while Doc was romping in the waves…he was explaining that he had nothing, I mean a handful of cold corn kernals, and few bottles of water, and no sooner had he shown us his ‘thatched hut’ (thank goodness it had not rained in a last couple of weeks cause altho it had no didn't need any) then out came a ‘launcha’ from the neighbouring island and a very excited young Spanish man said…”You are not allowed here…this is a private island…you must leave…”…we were keeping in the spirit of the show and plead mia culpa mia culpa and agreed to leave, and as we were a minute or so behind the ‘launcha’ and ‘spoil sport’ aboard, Kaija tossed Carlos a nice cold Coke from the cooler which he promptly retrieved with a gracious smile, doing his best to hide it from whatever hidden cameras were there.

We enjoyed a fun filled day of exploring and shelling on the small islands in the Cochinos. We met some of the locals including our new friend ‘Alexander’ with his radio going full blast hanging around his neck and talking to you like it wasn’t even on…but he was listening to good gospel music so it wasn’t all bad. Heading back to the anchorage we saw more of the cast and crew of ‘Survivor Columbia’, who try to encourage us to land on their beach, but the show ‘police’ were there to keep us at a distance…all good fun.

The rest of our time we spent enjoying the wonderful big island of the Cochinos where we were anchored. We hiked up to the lighthouse on a path best reserved for goats and other wild animals…altho I will say that Doc seemed to be in great stride bouncing over logs and taking the lead to find whatever path was ahead, keeping an eye out for Pink Boas…yup I said Pink…apparently there are only two islands in the world where Pink Boas live and we were on one of them. We met a wonderful couple, a retired pilot Hoss and his beautiful wife Lori in their beautiful home ‘Eagle Nest’ who took especially to ‘Doc’, they made us feel so comfortable. They opened their home to us and we so enjoyed spending time with them. For Local knowledge of the surrounding waters and a great meal you only need to go next door to Plantation Beach Dive Resort and met Roger the Dive Master and ate a wonderful, all you can eat meal of Beef Tenderloin and Key Lime Pien prepared exquistely.

It was time to leave, as there was a cold front approaching which makes the anchorage unsafe. We said our good-byes and set our sights and sails for the wonderful hunting/gathering spot known as Barbaretta.

Come along and enjoy the Roatan Island Tour with us!

We arrive in Roatan to a gorgeous sunrise in the westend of Roatan. There is a cruise ship waiting to come into Coxen Hole, the main city on the island and we are sailing along side her until she pulls in and we pass by. We try to anchor in French harbour, but decide against and continue to Jonesville. Here we anchor off Woodside Marina and meet Larry. He is most welcoming and he has WiFi that reaches our boat. There is a small gathering here on the first evening with Adagio and Valentina. We are also greeted by Don and Yvonne. During the time we spend here, we get to see most of the island by land with our hosts – Don and Yvonne. The next little town is Oakridge - where we can shop for vegetables and groceries. Passing by there is Calabash and then the end of the island where you can see Rose Island and Helene. The north coast is so different from the south side, long spectacular reefs, and beaches. Camp Bay is one of the longest and is used by the locals for special Easter festivities – they camp here for the weekend. This eastern end of the island is more remote and not well developed and not that many tourists, but then you come down to the West End and here are your hotels and resorts. Fancy and costly. Most of them are all inclusive and you don’t have to go anywhere. Diving and snorkeling are the main activities – along with sun tanning.
There are many dive resorts on the island and out of the way places, but visiting the Old Port Royal of the pirates was like stepping back in time.