Saturday 1 June - Saturday 15 June
We left Cayman at 8 AM Saturday under cloudy drizzling skies with 15 + knot winds. We put out full sails and turned the engine off as soon as we cleared the mooring area and the rain even stopped. Once out of the lee of the island waves & wind started to quickly build, 1 reef in the genoa. By 10 the skies were lightening up as the sun was trying to come out, never quite made it but at least the skies were a brighter gray with blue spotted around. The day passed with 2 more light showers and one 5 minute downpour. Winds a steady 16-20 knots 4-6 foot seas on the beam some just forward some just aft sailing along at 8+ knots with a reef in both main & genoa. The wave rhythm was such that you had to have a really good hand hold at ALL times or you could go flying off balance in a second, not so much uncomfortable but very tiring. As the sun set the winds increased 20-24 knots, so we put a 2nd reef in both main and genoa. When Steve came on for his watch at midnight we put the 3rd reef in both sails to try to slow us down this also made the boat more level, still heeled over but not as steep, still did not help me sleep.
Quiet uneventful evening, the following day was a little brighter with just scattered clouds but the waves were a little more confused coming from different directions sending spray into the cockpit every once in awhile. We kept the 3 reefs in both sails since we were making such good speed we were going to arrive too early (dark) if we went any faster. The waves got back into a steady rhythm but still continued to spray the cockpit with salt water every so often. We have 1 corner in the cockpit that stays mostly dry, usually my spot ☺, but I stayed down below and let Steve stay up in the cockpit for the day. Not that it was all that more comfortable down below being tossed around as the boat spiraled down the waves, still unable to sleep just braced in trying to read. Kept checking to see if Steve wanted to trade places for a while but he said he was OK on deck. We rearranged the aft quarter berth for sleeping the 2nd night and had some dinner in the cockpit. Steve went down below and had a good rest, waking at 1:30 saying he slept great and even I could maybe get some sleep back there. I just do not do good on short 1-2 night passages and sleeping. I awoke after an hour as we were passing the island of Guanaja (wah-NAH-ha) then got right back to sleep for another hour until Steve had to turn the engine on to motor thru a cut where there was no wind, no way to get back to sleep with the noise from the engine. The boat was flat so I tried to go back to sleep up front in our berth, but then we started crashing into waves as we made our way to the south side of Roatan. Unable to sleep, back on deck by 5:30 to 6:30. Still a ways to go along the south coast of Roatan in flat calm waters, now slow sailing again so Steve had me go back down to try to get some sleep and I managed 2 straight hours of sleep. Final approach to the harbor we contact the marina to get better directions in and see how we will dock to get lines & fenders ready. Tied up to the dock by 9:30 where we learn it is actually 8:30, now on Central America / Central time. Glad to learn the correct time as soon as we got here ☺.
After Jerry the dock-master and net controller got done with the 9 AM cruisers net he came back to see if we were settled in. Not good, no power from the electrical outlet. Another boat using an outlet from the same pedestal had power and we showed we had a connection just NO amps coming out. An electrician was called for. In the mean time Steve tried to wash down the boat, first the spigot broke off when Steve tried to remove the hose attached to put ours on, I found the control line and shut the water off. With the use of the dive shop's vice, he got the old fitting off and glued it back to the PVC pipe and was able to get a very weak flow of water before it stopped all together. I stretched my legs by walking the grounds of the resort. It is a very beautiful place, BUT the hotel and all the other amenities that go along with the resort facilities are ALL CLOSED for the season & some renovations. So no restaurants, bars, WIFI, TV, etc etc. The grounds and beaches are beautiful and the dive shop is open. Darren who runs the dive shop is very friendly and willing to work with us to do some dives when my brother arrives. We did get the electrical connection working thanks to Pedro so AC on the boat, but no water for that day. With A/C I was able to clean the inside of the boat and got our salty clothes & sheets sent off to the laundry. Steve got a taxi to go to town to clear us in. Jerry from the marina hosts a HH a few nights a week, that night only us and the one other occupied boat at the marina were in attendance. We had talked with Elaine & Bob on M/V Mar Azul during the day, they had been in Roatan for the last month so had plenty of tips to pass on. All in all not a bad day for our first day in Roatan. And a wonderful full nights sleep !!!
Tuesday June 4 another partly cloudy day, Still NO water, owner is down here and we talk to him and he is working on getting it back up, the marina has one of the near by hotel rooms available for showers & toilet facilities BUT with NO running water that is of no use also. With all this going on they are offering a discounted rate of only $20 a day with electricity & water included so still a good deal. We forgot about the 9 AM cruisers net on the VHF so missed that then did a few things around the boat in the AM. Went to see if laundry had been returned but not back yet we did not want to wait around all day for it so got the dinghy in the water & motor mounted then went to explore the surrounding area by water. We had walked the grounds of the island but now wanted to explore the surrounding water ways. We stopped by Frenchy's 44 for lunch, we can see their WiFi signal but needed a password. After lunch as we dinghy around we see 2 new boats coming into the area, I recognize one of them as friends of S/V FoxSea the visibility is bad so we go over to say HI & tell them where the deep water is.
As they anchor we explore the area a little more, stopping back by their boat at anchor and filling them in on what little we have learned on the area. We tell them about the HH at the marina so plan to see them there later, they and their buddy boat inform a few other boats at anchor so we have a big turn out for Tuesday's HH, BUT the marina does not do it on Tuesdays !! We had missed the net so were not sure of the days, we all had a good time visiting the boats at anchor just went back and brought their own drinks in. All 4 of the other boats at anchor (S/V FoxSea, S/V Saben, S/V Panache & S/V Loafer's Glory) are also headed to the Rio Dulce, so we had a lot to talk about. Most important is that high tide will be on June 21-24 so that is when we want to be in position to cross the sand bar into Livingston. Jerry the dock-master lent us his phone WiFi booster so we could connect to the internet that evening. We had been trying to reach our buddy boat Ultra on the SSB radio with no luck, so they had emailed the marina to check on us. Jerry let them know we had arrived safe on Monday morning but was thoughtful enough to let us send a message to them also.
Wednesday we have water !!! still NOT much pressure but we get the boat washed off in the morning. We had a broken zipper on part of the bimini that Steve had fixed with an electrical tie. On the trip here, luckily right towards the end, the tie broke so we took down that middle section of the bimini. There is an awning & canvas repair shop listed with the marina info sheet so we called to see if maybe they could fix it, if not Steve would put another electrical tie back on. They came out right away and said they could get it done either the same day or by the next. We thought we had to take another section of the bimini off but he said no need since it was just the box on the zipper that was broken he could just replace that one side, good news for us. My brother Walter was scheduled to arrive at 12:15 so at 12:30 I called to see if he was thru customs. Turns out he was still in Houston !!!! His passport expires June 26, and Honduras will not let you into the country if your passport expires within 6 months so the airline would not let him fly. Instead he drove to Houston (from Austin) to go to the passport office to get a replacement and rescheduled his flight for Friday. Another HH hosted by the marina making plans for a dive on Thursday.
Thursday we rent tanks from the dive shop and all meet over by our boat at 9:30, after the net, to load the dinghies up with our gear. Another Steve in our group from S/V Saben had checked out some of the dive buoys so knew which one we wanted to go to to do our wall dive. All geared up and in the water when Bob noticed an air leak. We had 2 snorkelers with us also, so He and Larry went back to try and get the leak fixed while the rest of us dove a great dive with Jacques from S/V Panache snorkeling above us. Back to the boats to wash the gear down and lunch. After lunch Steve & I took the dinghy to explore what was in the other 2 bays and the mooring balls down past Coco View the next resort east if us. Snorkeling is pretty good right out in front of Coco View and the moorings on the reefs to the east look to be good future dives. Another marina around the corner from us Brooksy Point, had pizza night so we met the other boats over there for a pizza dinner. Ann Marie & Larry from S/V Loafer's Glory are leaving Friday to continue west to the Rio Dulce as they have plans to fly home for a couple of months.
Friday we are up early to defrost the fridge, then Steve gets things prepared for dinner so we can do another morning dive and then be busy with my brother when he arrives in the afternoon. Load up the dinghies with dive gear and get underway to do another dive, this time a little east of the marina. We put in at one dive mooring and went along the wall to the west to the next dive mooring. Jacques can't dive due to an ear injury so swims on the surface above us then brought the dinghies down to us at the 2nd mooring when we were done. A few of us still had a little air left (800-1000 lbs) so we stopped at the wreck in front of Coco View to get down for a better look as it was 40+ ft deep so when we snorkeled it the day before could not see much. Two good dives with one tank of air pretty good.
Back in time to get cleaned up and wash down all the gear, have a snack as we waited for Walter to arrive. Once he got here we took him over to Little French Cay for lunch. While waiting for our food we had a tour of the grounds where they keep Birds, monkeys, deer & even 2 jaguars. The baby jaguars (4 months) came to the main land Honduras with the circus and for some reason they could not keep them. The owner of Little French Cay worked with the government to insure he would have proper cages for them and got permission to keep them along with the birds and monkeys and deer he already had there. Visitors & Cruise ship passengers come here via a boat from Frenchy's 44 restaurant on the main land across the way but we just took our dinghy over and as long as you buy a drink OR food they are happy to have us there. On this day there were only a hand full of others on the island. Afterward we stopped by Arches iguana farm, also very close by. Apparently iguanas were starting to become scarce on the island so he put some on his property to keep them safe and lets them run wild. A strange place, with 100's of iguanas, chickens and a few monkeys he also helps save green turtles. Friday was a big HH at the marina, a big catamaran came into the marina with several people on board. One was Marco the manager of Mario’s Marina where we are heading to in the Rio Dulce. It was a nice surprise to meet him and be able to talk to him, and confirm he was still saving our spot.
Saturday we had arranged with Darren the dive master at the marina dive shop to do two dives with our group of 7. The winds had picked up a lot over the last two days so taking the dinghies out was not an option plus one of the dives was a little further away. With the rough seas even the dive boat was being tossed around quite a bit, for us used to being on boats is was no big deal BUT for Walter is was not so fun. He did great and managed both dives without getting sick even if he came real close. Between dives the captain took the boat inside the reef in calm waters whenever he could on the way to the next spot which helped out. Walter was glad to get back to the marina on solid ground. Showers & lunch on board and he felt much better. Walter & I went over to Brooksy Point marina to do internet while Steve made a dish for the marinas pot luck dinner that night. A fun time with great food. I tried to explain to Walter that it is not always all fun & games & happy hours but I don't think he believed me.
Sunday we had a group of 11 to do an island tour from 9-3. When we got back Walter wanted to go back over to the beach at Little French Cay while Steve & I went to Brooksy Point to do internet. Picked Walter back up just as the sun was setting, then stopped at Frenchy's 44 for dinner.
Monday we had a group of 6 to go ZIP LINEING. They have 5 or 6 different outfits here on the island, we went to Caribe Sky, since they were open and gave us a good deal. No obstacle course but the zip lines were long and fast !! so we all had a fun time. Monday evening another marina HH where Flur (Dutch name) from True North treated us all to some 23 year old Ron Zacapa Guatemalan Rum to finish the evening off. After we finished that bottle he brought out a 7 year old bottle of Flor de Cana, needless to say we all slept good that night.
Tuesday we had decided to take Walter sailing to give him a better experience of what our life is more like. 20 miles south of Roatan is a group of islands called Cayos Cochinos. These 13 little islands are a marine natural monument, a biological preserve with a coral reef research institute working with the Smithsonian Institution to do reef studies. I gave Walter some sea sick medication so he was good to go and we had a nice fast sail over. We went to Cochino Grande and it was just beautiful with some great snorkeling near by. The winds & waves were too strong to go over to the other near by island so maybe next time. Spent a lovely evening on a mooring with the stars all around a quiet night in a secluded anchorage is how most nights are spent.
Wednesday a morning snorkel then lunch before leaving to head back to Roatan, arriving back at the marina at 4:30. Wash the boat down then over to the beach to meet up with the on going HH that had a change of venue from our usual spot by the docks. Get caught up on upcoming events and tell about our trip then back to the boat for dinner. It's going to be a busy weekend, they are even opening the hotel for some events and for a large group to stay here.
Thursday early morning rain showers, followed by beautiful sunny skies as Walter packs up for his 1:30 flight back to Houston. Walter had asked Flur if he could get him some of the 23 year old rum and he did dropping it off at the boat for him to pack away. With the resort being busy getting ready for people they turned the WiFi on, still can't get it on the boat but up in the lobby we can. Walter had talked to our taxi driver on Monday after the Zip Line and arranged to be picked back up at the marina at 11:30 to go to the airport. 11:45 NO taxi, so we asked Darren at the dive shop to call and they were NOT on the way so Darren's friend that was there talking to him agreed to take Walter to the airport. So he got his ride to the airport and made his way back to the states after a fun 6 days in the sun. Steve had already gone up to the resort lobby to get WiFi, after Walter left I did the same. That night we had a group of 9 go to Cal's restaurant. The food was GREAT at good prices, with a beautiful view and breeze. A place worth more then one visit for sure.
Friday we did another 2 tank dive with the dive boat. At 35$ a dive with a 20% discount since we are staying at the marina it is a good deal. The weather was a little more settled so seas were much more calm. We can see why this island is known for it's diving as the reefs are very beautiful with a lot of sea life. Back to the boats so nice to have the marina water to wash down our gear. Lunch on board, then I went over to Brooksy Point marina to do some laundry, they have 1 washer & dryer cruisers can use. Steve had help to go up the mast and replace the wind-vane that had fallen to the deck a while back with the replacement that Walter had brought down for us. When Steve came down he saw that Ultra had arrived !!!! We had talked to them on the SSB radio that morning and they were going to come to Roatan on Saturday but decided to head over on Friday. It was so great to see them again. Just in time for HH at the marina where we get caught up on what we have both been doing.
Saturday mornings Brooksy Point marina provides a van to go to the grocery store. We had 13 people from 8 boats going and were wondering how we would ever get our groceries back. But the grocery store had it all worked out and had a small delivery truck to bring all our goods back while we went back in the van. We had a big down pour just as we were loading the truck so waited around until it stopped. Back to the dinghies at the marina and to the boats to unload. Ultra talked to Jerry the dock-master and we figured out a way to fit them into the marina. We moved one of the unoccupied boats, then had lunch during another rain shower, before helping Ultra come into the dock at 2. Afternoon was spent putting away laundry & cleaning the boat, putting it back together after moving stuff for Walters visit. Steve making a German potato salad for the nights pot luck dinner. Rain held off and we had another great dinner by the dock. Just as we were finishing the winds picked up so we got everything put away then just a small shower. The resort was putting on a party for the big group they opened up for so we went down there and watched the Garifuna dancers then a bonfire on the beach to end the evening and another great week in Roatan.
Link to pictures; https://plus.google.com/photos/103931849054358791487/albums/5890151488501822625?authkey=CMTE64eg5Z2B6AE