Sunday, April 19, 2009

Roatan – Jonesville – N16.23 – W86.22 April 5 – May 12 2009

We enjoy returning to Jonesville, in part because it is a fine safe anchorage, but mostly to see our friends Don and Yvonne, S/v Usquaebach.

We have already had the occasion to join in two of the Full Moon parties which is a monthly event hosted by different couples. It is a fun way to see some very exclusive properties and meet and mingle with the other Island gringos.

One of the traditions here on Roatan is the annual trek to Camp Bay Beach for Saman Santa (Easter Holiday). This is a long sandy stretch of beautiful beach and clear blue water that goes from empty to holding hundreds of families all laughing and singing and dancing and eating…it is quite the party and we had a blast.

We also enjoyed Easter services at the local Methodist church where a number of the young children we have gotten to know participated and put on a truly lovely service enjoyed by a packed house of very proud mommas and papas’.

During our month long visit we enjoyed house/dog sitting for our friend Randy French s/v Svea. His female dog Boots and Doc (approx same age) became great little walking buddies and daily would climb the hills with Gary for grooming and exercise, chasing the local free range chickens into involuntary flight and resting with as Gary took time to get caught up on some reading while they all enjoyed the beautiful ocean breeze and incredible vistas. The two dogs frolicked and played like the puppies at heart they both are. When our friend Randy returned from his Panama Canal cruise it was time for us to cut the lines and depart for Utila.

Return to Cayos Cochinos N15.58 W86.28 April 2 – 5 2009

We arrived back in this lovely island hideaway where there are mooring to pick up, a local dive resort and some beautiful beaches and snorkeling the wall right off the boat.

We missed seeing our friends Laurie and Hoss of Eagle’s Nest as they were at their home on the mainland.

We enjoyed three restful days before heading north to Roatan this time to house/dog sitting for Randy and Boots. We will be here until early May.

Utila N16.05.614 W086.53.930 Mar 14 – Mar 19 2009

This is a new stop for us. It is terrific. Our first nite was a wee bit exciting being Saturday nite and the wind was howling and the bands were playing while at least one boat made its own way from one end of the anchorage to the other. The owners found their boat at about 2am, on the other side of the bay.

This is a funky little dive down, boasting more dive certifications than any other place on the planet, 4200 certs in 2008 by one dive shop. Needless to say, the diving is excellent. All around the island there are numerous dive markers making it easy to tie up and dive the wall.

Utila is an international backpackers/dive centre and it is a young crowd ready to party.

One of the must see while in Utila is the Jade Seahorse. This restaurant/lodge has to be seen, to be believed. This comes from the mind of a verrrrry interesting man with boundless energy to make it all come alive. We also think he has the finest men’s room on the Island.(b p – Jade Seahorse)

Kaija and Cindy did the island trek to Pumpkin Mountain a round trip hike of 6 hours…a fun way to see the locals and the other side of the island which is not accessible without considerable difficulty.

Gary hopped the local ferry to La Ceiba. This was a quick (if not always dry) ride in a 60’ multihull fast cat. You are there in an hour and it can either be smooth and uneventful, or bumpy and be careful whom you sit next to…if you know what I mean…getting caught downwind of a blue water novice with an upset stomach is not something you want to ever do!

After a few days of this excitement we moved with our friends Rick & Cindy to the small cays located on the southwest end of Utila. This place is outstanding!!!!

The water is clear and warm (80 degrees) and the settings are straight from a post card. The reefs and the coral are alive, vibrant and full of fish unlike anything seen by us so far.

Snorkeling is terrific and shallow calm waters.

A highlight of this stop was having our own wee island for Kaija to shell on, Doc to play on and to our delight a Pelican family was raising a newborn little Pelican in the only tree on the island that would hold their nest. It was fun to watch the rearing process. Another wonderful first and memory made.

Jonesville N16.23.229 W086.22.572 Feb 5 – Mar 14 2009.

It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since we sailed thru here and left behind our good friends Don & Yvonne s/v Usquaebach who have been building a beautiful beach home. It was a few days of commiserating and hearty back slapping and getting caught up then Gary hopped a plane and departed for the Miami boat show and the land of ‘stuff’ and a visit with his dad in St. Pete’s Florida.

After a couple of weeks away which was more than enough Gary returned to Kaija & Doc who were comfortable and safe tied up to Randy’s dock within easy walking distance to our friends. Kaija & Doc were joined most days by Randy’s dog Boots and Larry’s new puppy Joy.

Don and Yvonne have become very popular with most of the cruisers who come by Jonesville and sometimes we wished that we had not been quite so vocal in our enthusiasm of Don and Yvonne as we now find ourselves sharing their hospitality with many others, which Yvonne and Don both enjoy.

Since our last visit here, Kaija has managed to locate a great hair stylist; Maudy’s and we had canvas repair work done by Ms. Judy located by the Reef House Resort. Excellent and reasonable on both counts.

Our friends Byron and Denise, who had sailed here with us, sailed on to Mexico to meet up with guests and family. However, we were joined by Rick & Cindy on s/v Dragon Fly who we had last seen on New Year’s Eve in San Andres.

Rick & Cindy are both avid divers and kindly offered to take Gary along. With much enthusiasm Gary joined them and had a blast, as this was his first diving since being certified in Bocas Del Toro. The reef diving is just a close dingy ride away although they did take one dive boat trip out to Pigeon Cays off Barbaretta and did a drift dive outside Port Royal. It is ALLLL GOOOOD!

Port Royal N16.24.276 W086.18.662 Feb 2 – 5 2009

We arrived in this large bay located on the S E end of Roatan. The bay extends for miles of sandy beaches and home to many a sailor of pirate repute.

We met Tom and Stanna formerly of S/v Paradox currently staying at Casa Gusta and we tied up to their mooring ball. We enjoyed getting to know them and visit with fellow Canadians Greg and Julie on s/y Spirit of Free Radical. We were invited to join them along with all other cruisers in the bay for the official renaming of their new Cat. They are now officially two-boat owners…ouch.!!! Free Radical and Spirit of Free Radical. Free Radical is to be their new Canadian home.

It is important to remember to officially rename a sailboat to ward off any bad omens. King Neptune is not to be denied.

Music at El Bite N16.27.268 W085.52.323 Jan 30 – Feb 2 2009

El Bite is the main anchorage in Guanaja. It is close to whatever is available there. This is a German owned restaurant Bar call Manatees. It is the local watering hole and a great place to meet up with fellow cruisers for a good meal. It also offers local cruisers a chance to get together and make music which is exactly what we did with our friends Grant on guitar and Candice singing off s/v Reality, Todd playing spoons and Lynn humming off s/v Blue Marine, Mark on bongos from s/v Alpha Wave, Dan on drums off s/v Eventyr, Klaus on bass the owner/manager of Manatees and Gary on keyboards…we had a blast and it wasn’t long before half the remaining patrons became members of the back vocal band. A good time had by all. The next day, being super bowl Sunday was spent with a number of the locals at the only place in town that had a TV with satellite dish. It turned out to be the best Super bowl game I have ever watched and the setting will long be remembered.

Josh’s Cay Guanaja N16.27.822 W085.49.915 Jan 20 – 30 2009

This is a great stop along the way, with entrance thru the reef in Guanaja at the northeast corner. This small island is perfect for a short walkabout and hanging in a private hammock or lazing in the shallow sandy bottom beach water. This island offers Internet and a little bar/restaurant all owned by Graham who is a very friendly person. It is an easy dingy trip to Savannah Bite and Kaija joined the other women in the anchorage for a hike all the way to Michael’s rock on the north side of Guanaja and an expedition to locate the local Mayan ruins (never found). There is available on Josh’s Cay a number of small resort style accommodations and people from all over the world come for the fishing and the snorkeling.

New Route to Vivorillos & Hobbies N15.50.666 W083.18.141 Jan 7 - 8

- N16.01.906 W083.06.140 Jan 8 – 19 2009

We were excited to try out the waypoints for a new and shorter route to the Vivorillos via Edinburgh channel. This shortened our trip by approx 40 nautical miles and was our first encounter with a 6-pound male Dorado (Mahi Mahi). This was not only exciting fishing but some mighty good eating. We arrived in the Vivorillos on Jan 7 11am and quickly anchored in 15 ft of sandy water along the reef. After spending only one night we moved to the Hobbies approx 20 NE. This is even more isolated but we did manage to meet up with s/v Evintyre (Dan & Trish) and s/v South of Reality (Byron and Denise) and shared cuda fingers from our daily catch of a nice 15 lb Barracuda.

Doc made new friends with a litter of newborn pups and had fun playing on the beach with all the baby Boobie birds, too many to count. This island also had two human inhabitants, Antonio and Ramirez who made us feel welcome with what every they had to share. We enjoyed providing a few treats to their otherwise limited diet…and in turn we had access to all the shrimp we could eat.

This trip will be long remembered as the ‘big one that got away with hook, line, sinker, rod, reel, holder…you name it…it went…that was some big fish!

The good news is that we found a wonderful hog fish hole…and we did us some good ol hog fish huntin :o) and did I mention the Lobsters….mmmm, not a restaurant in site and a lot o’ good good eatin…It’s all Good!

Providencia - N13.22.757 W081.22.534 Jan 3 – 6 2009

Early on Jan 03 we left San Andres and began our next short leg north to Providencia, arriving later that day. This is our second visit to this picturesque idealic little Columbian Island miles off the coast of Nicaragua with its distinctive Morgan’s Head rock guarding the entrance into a quiet bay big enough to comfortably accommodate a dozen boats or more. As we were using Providencia as a kick off point for the Vivorillos we did not spend any time ashore and instead used our time to send Kaija aloft to make some sail repairs. The winds cooperated and with our work done we enjoyed the peace and tranquility of this pretty spot to get rested up for our next leg.

Cayo Bolivar

This is a very pretty side trip 21 miles SE of San Andres with three small cays surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches and shallow water filled with many coral heads for fun snorkeling. The anchorage can be a wee bit rolly if the weather is unsettled. Our friends Byron and Denise on s/v South of Reality used this location to set off for Providencia as it improves slightly the sailing angle to the steady NE trade winds.