Monday, June 23, 2014

Passage to Honduras

For those reading this who have taken big passages, you know how much it takes to get the boat ready for that passage.  Well there were 3 boats going together on a 6 day passage from Boca del Toro, Panama to Guanaja, Honduras.  We sat in the harbor for several weeks waiting for the proper weather wind (we are all fair weather sailors).  But as the time drew near, we all started having problems.  One of the boats had an auto helm that would not work, and SSB that they could not transmit on and their computer would not coordinate with their modem so they couldn’t send messages.  The next boat found the solenoid on their generator not working and then their VHF radio went out.  We thought we were in good shape until our windlass broke (the motor that pulls up the anchor).  Harry had to play Hercules to get the 60 lb anchor up. Then we found we weren’t getting any water coming out of our exhaust system. We found, the strainer basket and hoses absolutely jammed packed with grass and sticks .  That was an easy fix, thank heavens.  So each boat was working very hard to get things fixed to go.  On the  very last day at 3PM on a Saturday, Gilbert, the wonderful mechanic in town came to our rescue.  Harry took the windlass into his shop and he had it all fixed in an hour while Harry watched him.  So with all repairs done, Chris Parker, our weather guru gave us the go!!.  We headed out June 1 for a 6 day run.  We really had a great trip and the weather held well for us. We ended up motoring about 50% of the time and sailing the other.  The last 2 days was all downwind sailing so that was great.  We did have our share of problems though.  On day 2 we discovered one of the braces that hold up our wind generator has come off and everything became very unstable.  We had to jerry rig the pole with ropes and not use the wind generator.  That was a bummer.  Then our number one reefing line broke.  We had just replaced it and so we had to either sail full main or reef down to 2 or 3 reefs.  That was a pain.  Then on day 3 we found a big tear in our head sail all the way at the top.  So we were very limited on all much head sail we could roll out.  I know those of you who don’t sail, won’t quite get the impact of all this but the bottom line is it really hindered our sailing option.  But otherwise all went well and we managed just fine.  The icing on the cake was in the last night we discovered one of our battons was ½ out so we had to pull down the main.  Then after we got anchored and settled, I found a very large bolt on the cabin top by the main.  It had come out of the gooseneck of the boom.  We could have lost our whole boom.  But all is well and now with all these jobs to do, Harry will not find himself idle any more.

So what do you do all day on a 6 day passage?  Tons of reading, sleeping in 3 hour shifts and entertain each other with puzzles, cards and stories.  Being the type A personality that I am, I get bored easily. (my daughters can attest to that).  I had to keep trying to find things to do.  A long time again, when we first started cruising, Jenny gave me a packet thing to help you write your life story so that’s what I do as well.  Each time we do a passage, I write a bunch.  I have actually written quite a lot.  Not sure what I will ever do with it. I also have an ipod so I listen to music at night to keep me awake, I even dance and also have a bunch of :Wait, Wait don’t tell me shows on, that I listen to.  They are so funny, it keeps me awake.   Our entertainment was dolphins swimming in pods along side the boat from time to time and then a very large bird who decided he needed a free ride for a day, sat on our bow pulpit.  That was all good but when daylight came and he left I found one whole side of our boat with bird droppings everywhere.  He was no longer my friend.  (see picture)
Adolescent brown booby who sat there for 8 hours

Dave and Gail, Bruce and Jan and Harry on a carved out boat in Guanaja

Looks like Edith Ann joined the party
We spent a week in the first of the Bay Islands of Honduras, called Guanaja.  Very pretty large main island that hardly anyone lives on because of the mosquitos and no –seeums.  So a large population live on a tiny little island off the mainland and have made it into a very interesting community.  Lots and lots of small houses and shops.  The harbor is very windy all the time.  Most of the time was spent doing boat repairs all week but we did manage to go hiking one day on the main island which was a lot of fun, straight up hill most of the way and sliding on your butts coming back down in the heat.  The best part was a beer waiting for us at a German restaurant at the bottom.

A large mansion built on a rock.  It takes up the whole rock in Guanaja

A very fun German restaurant on the mainland of Guanaja called Manati

Manati from outside.  A really pretty place for cruisers to hang out.

So today we left Guanaja with 2 other boats and had a fantastic downwind sail to Roatan.  We only used our jib and went over 7 KN all the way.  For those of you who don’t appreciate 7 KN, that is very fast for a sailboat.  We are now in French Harbor in Roatan which is extremely windy.  There is a lot to do here and boat projects are done for the time being so we have a week of sightseeing and socializing.  Yea for us.  5 of us hired a tour guide to show us the island.  We had a great time driving from one end to the other –about 38 miles.  We saw the most gorgeous resorts and homes.  He kept saying the rich Americans come here and build these things.  I had to make sure he didn’t think all Americans are that rich.  The west end is very beachy with lots of restaurants and bars on the beach.  Reminded us a lot of Key West.  He spoke perfect English and gave us a ton of history of Honduras and the islands so we had a great day.  English is the primary language for the Bay Islands.  If anyone wants to have a beach/resort get away, I would highly recommend Roatan.  The snorkeling and diving here are some of the best in the world as well.

Iguana Farm where thousand of different species of iguana are. We feed them vegetables and they had a big pile on
This guy grabbed Harry's sunglasses right off his face and we had to fight with him to get them back.

Another view of the iguanas

Beautiful macaw and parrots who talked with us

he is so ugly I had to send a picture.  

We were taking our island tour with background of north side of Roatan

View of the beautiful beaches.  this is where we played volleyball all the time. We could take a nap if we felt like it. Ha

Another view of Roatan beaches.  It is a great vacation spot.

Just starting a volleyball game.  Harry and a 10 year old boy.  More did join the fun.

We think these guys are called Watusis.  They are running all over Fanstasy Island by the hundreds.  They are protected there and eatened in the mainland of Honduras.  they really look like large rats.

Potluck night at Fantasy Island.  A great place for cruiser's gatherings.

We spent 11 days in Roatan and had a blast.  We played volleyball almost every day, great get togethers at night at a marina with fish night, hamburger night, potluck night etc.  We met a bunch of new cruisers who were so much fun and even got caught up with 2 boats that we had socialized with back in 2007 in Trinidad.  It was great to see them as well.  We loveRoatan and if we were to ever settled down on an island it would be here but the wind never stops blowing and is up to 30 KN almost every afternoon.  That really gets old after a while especially trying to take your dinghy into shore into the wind.  We have to surf the waves and know we will get wet.  So today we leave and do a very easy overnight to Guatemala where we will be for 4 months at least.

1 comment:

  1. Glad your almost at the hurricane hole, have a great sail there and we'll look out for your posts of that adventure.