Guanaja – Day 6, Thursday

The morning started as usual with eggs, onions, peppers and tomatoes and coffee, of course.  Then Derick came by to pick us up.  We had made PB&Js for all of us and had some leftover plantains from dinner the night before, so we packed that all up.  We went around to the other side of the island and snorkeled a reef off the coast for awhile, then came in towards shore and beached the boat at Michael Rock.  We planned to snorkel around the rock, but the wind and current at the tip of the rock were too strong to fight and we wanted to save our strength for more snorkeling, so we came back to our starting point. The fish were plentiful at the reef and the rock.  The rock had several schools of sardines that we swam with and brought in some bigger fish for us to see.  Derick bought two lobsters and one conch from some fishermen out there — right off the boat, so he filleted them there, while we watched.  I had never seen a conch filleted before, so it was interesting to see what part was good.  

We had lunch on the beach and swam a little, then snorkeled over to the next beach – Dena’s Beach, I think.  We saw fewer fish this time, so Derick took us to a reef off the coast, but we saw some other snorkelers looking for lobster.  He said they probably scared off the fish as there were several of them, so we went on to another reef.  The waves were fairly large, which made it more difficult to swim, but the fish and reef life in general was spectacular.  After a bit, we came on back to the house and found even on the other side of the island that the wind and waves were way up.  We walked up the path to our house and had a few cocktails with our new friend, Derick.  

He took the lobster and conch up to Mi Casa Too and we told him how we wanted it done.  Cindy wanted hers curried and I just wanted mine cooked with drawn butter.  We had no idea how she was going to cook the conch, but after we got cleaned up and walked up there, we found she had a made ceviche with the conch, which was fabulous.  Derick stayed and had dinner with us and we discussed world affairs.  

We are both so burned on our backs and the backs of our legs, but we only have one more day, so we’ll just have to tough it out.  I had bought a tee shirt and this helped my back, but there was nothing for my legs and we were out all day.  We discussed how we would buy a house down here and when would be the best time of year to come down.  My plans will have to wait a few years, but for now, it’s just wonderful to be here for a week.  

Guanaja – Day 5, Wednesday

I had set the coffeemaker for 3:00PM to brew coffee for us this morning, as we were not supposed to have power today. Unfortunately, we must have lost power early, as the coffee did not brew. So……. Girl Scout that I am, I lit the gas stove with a match and put water in to boil and looked around for something that might filter well. Nothing. I decided to try just warming the water and putting in some grounds, hoping they would settle to the bottom. I let the water boil for a little, then moved it to the simmer burner. We had put milk in the ice chest and it worked perfectly!!!!
Today, we will be going to Graham’s, the island we saw on Sunday, to spend the day. The bottom of my feet hurt from walking over the rocks with water shoes and I believe I may have strained my Achilles’ tendon. Cindy has bad knees and they were hurting last night, so we will take it easy today.
Derick arrived around 10:30AM and we boated over to Graham”s and spent the day doing nothing.  I snorkeled and Cindy took pictures.  The snorkeling wasn’t good, so I stayed on the beach and read a little.  There were some wonderful birds in a cage there that we really enjoyed.  There were also some turtles there that were in captivity. I hiked around the little island and took some pictures and then, I think Cindy did.  It was a boring day to most, but we needed the relaxation.  We ate in the bar there and the food was good.  We got in hammocks for the rest of the day and did nothing at all, until late afternoon when we fed the Macaw bird some almonds right off the tree.  We marveled at how he cook crack them open and then dig the almond out.  He will be our friend for life.

We left around 6:00PM and went to the store again to pick up some rum, which we enjoyed once we got back home.  We ate dinner at Mi Casa Too and then took the night off and went to bed early.  Looking forward to tomorrow

Guanaja – Day 4, Tuesday

We asked Derick to come by around 10:00AM and he appeared right on time, but we cooked eggs and drank a pot of coffee before he arrived.  Today would photography day and a hike up to the waterfall. We left around 10 or 10:30 and took a trip around the island through an area we had never been before — Mango Bay, Black Rock, Savanna Bay, etc.  We took tons of photographs and saw some areas of the Guanaja Island that were not inhabited at all.  It is so beautiful and it is hard to understand why no one has found this jewel.  Mango Bay was a little more developed, but the rest was not.  The sea was a beautiful color that is impossible to catch on film and even more impossible to describe.  The colors changed constantly and we were continuously amazed.  

We came around the island to an area we recognized — Michael Rock — but we stopped at Bo’s Place for lunch, which was a restaurant on stilts at the end of a dock.  We had to get the owner out to cook up lunch for us. She cooked fish, French fries, rice and salad and it was delicious.  Cindy and I got in our bathing suits in the restroom and then followed Derick down the beach with our cameras.  

We followed him up a trail that wound through the jungle.  We saw ant nests in trees, giant trees, vines that Tarzan would swing on and even a tarantula.  We also saw giant blue crabs.  As we were walking, we noticed that the sky looked dark and decided we would not walk to the top of the falls, but would stop short and swim in an area below the larger falls.  It was cold, but not bone chilling cold like some Georgia mountain creeks.  We enjoyed ourselves in the cool for awhile and headed back to beat the rain.  It was a little rough going, so I asked Derick to carry my  bag as I was nervous about the rocks we were crossing.  Heading down seemed more treacherous than heading up.  We made our way down without incident and decided to watch the sunset on the other side of the island.  It was beautiful, but I may have to add that picture later, as it is in my regular camera– not my iPhone.  We also enjoyed a couple of beers while we waited for sundown.  Derick had run up the mountain to the waterfalls while we drank our beers and brought us back a rose apple, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  When we got back into the boat, we saw about 15 of them in the boat.  Hallelujah!!!!

We headed back as dusk was falling and it was good to see home again.  Looks like we won’t have power from 4:00AM to 5:00PM, so we must charge our phones and set coffee to brew at 3:00AM.  When we arrived home, we were disappointed to see that Mi Casa Too was closed on Tuesday, so we had Cuba Libres and pepper jelly, cream cheese and crackers for dinner,  Life is good!!!!

Guanaja – Day 3, Monday

We are on vacation, so we are slow to get up and get going. Even though we are 2 hours behind, we still move slowly in the AM.  I was awake by 5:30AM, but didn’t get up until after 6:ooAM.  The sun shines in my window, so I am up when it’s daylight.  I tried wearing an eye mask, but I suppose I just sense it.  I got up and made some good Honduran coffee and Cindy was up a little later.  We drink our coffee on the front porch (you had seen the photo) and just vegetate there.  Derek seems to want to come about 8:30 or 9:00, so we visited with him for awhile and asked him to come back after we ate breakfast.  I cooked some eggs with tomato and onion and they were good.  We both like our eggs softly cooked, so it works well.

We gathered together our snorkeling gear, Cindy made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and then Derick came by to pick us up.  We boated over to the fuel station to get some fuel for the boat (we figured $80) and picked up some ice for the ice chest, then we boated on over to our first snorkeling spot which was on an uninhabited island.  I float pretty well and Cindy does, too, so we passed the test.  We walked backward to get to deeper water with our fins on and then swam amongst the fish and natural reef.  We thought the water was beautiful, but Derick said it was a little cloudy.  He said normally it would be crystal clear.  I loved it.  My mask and snorkel worked well, but the fins were hurting my feet.  Cindy’s fins worked great, but she had some issues with her mask leaking.  Derick met us after awhile and picked us up to go to another area.  

It was away from the island, but was still pretty shallow.  We saw tons of fish and the reef was so colorful.  We then decided we were hungry (or rather, I did).  Cindy felt a little off with the rocking boat, but soon felt better after watching the shoreline.  She and I drank a beer and Derick enjoyed a PB&J with us.  We then boated off to the South side of the island to another place.  The water was smoother and Derick suggested that we just wear our water shoes instead of the fins, which worked well for me.  I was swimming more, but the fins weren’t hurting my feet.  It was still pretty shallow, so we had to be careful not to injure the reef.  It was a little less clear on this side of the island, but the fish were even more numerous.  

We shopped at the grocery store and vegetable market again on Bonacca and then came back to the house to relax and get cleaned up.   We fixed up some Cuba Libres and filled the hummingbird feeder.  I held it in my hands and they drank from it, they were so ravenous.  Also, I finally figured out how to get some warm water out of my shower, so it was good to wash my hair and wash the salt off my skin.  We hung our suits up to dry and are planning to go to the German restaurant tonight for dinner.  Believe it or not, Monday nights are pizza night, so we are going to try that.  Derick is to pick us up at 6:00PM.

So about 6:15PM, Derick pulls up and runs up the steps.  We notice he is putting on bug repellent.  Thank goodness we did, too.  We go to a dock in the dark not far away and we turn on our phone lights to see to get off the boat, as it is a high step up.  We notice there are several dinghies also pulled up to the dock.  A long-haired, bearded gentleman reminiscent of Margaritaville, meets us and introduces himself as Hans and guides us to 2 picnic tables set outside with pole sitting at them.  We sit down with Hans, a French mercenary (as we found out later) and Derick.  He brings us out beers as the only other drink was homemade wine and we enjoyed those.  Just a moment later, he brings out a pizza.  He said it was 1/2 Italian and 1/2 German.  It looked like tomatoes on one and white cheese on the other, sort of like a 1/2 white pizza.  It was really good. After a minute or so, an older couple came by to speak.  Turns out they were from Quebec and we spoke a couple of words in French.  The mercenary started rattling off French, but I had to waive him off as my French is high school at best.  Hans told us that he grew medicinal plants, which I assumed to be marijuana, but it turned out it was more natural ingredient medicines, such as passion fruit. Cindy knew a bit about this and we all conversed about it.  After a few minutes another young couple from Venezuela and Brazil came over to speak with us.  Turns out many of these people live on their boats and will anchor in bays n the area and only work long enough to get enough money to fix their boats or eat for awhile.  All in all, it was a most enjoyable night and after speaking with Hans, we have determined to hike up to the falls tomorrow.  He also offered to let us use his sailboat, which was very generous. 

Guanaja – Day 2, Sunday

Today would be a lazy day, as Sundays should be.  Our guide’s son, Marvick, came by about 8:30AM to take us to the grocery store on a little island just off the coast of our island, Bonacca.  We bought a few provisions for breakfast and lunch, as we planned to go out every night.  We came back to the house and unloaded our provisions and asked Marvick to come back after lunch.  We spent the morning watching the hummingbirds, talking, taking pictures, drinking coffee and generally wasting away the morning.  We ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch and called Marvick to pick us up.  We decided I needed water shoes, if we were to snorkel, so we went back to the village, but the store was closed.  We walked around the village to get a sense of it. In away, it was like Venice, with a lot of little canals running through it, but not deep enough for boats except occasionally. Many people spoke to us in English, which seems to be the preferred language here.

We got back into the boat and did a little tour around our part of the island — the southern part of Guanaja (which I learned).  We went over to Graham’s, which very obviously had the most beautiful water and beach with chairs lined up and a lot going on.  We will definitely have to spend one day here, as there appears to be a lot to see.  Then we went back towards our home and past it to a little mangrove area or cut-through to the Northern part of the island.  This area was even less inhabited, but had some beautiful beaches with a lot of jungle close to the beach (ergo – shade).  We came back to the house after picking out our beach and looked at the house that was for sale next door.  We explored a little and took some more pictures and fixed ourselves some cocktails, then decided on dinner at Mi Casa Too.  I had conch fritters and Cindy had fried shrimp.  We tasted both and they were equally good — still too much to eat.  Back at the house to marvel at the hummingbirds.  We quickly found that a 1/2 feeder would not last the day, so I filled it with the rest of the sugar water that I had prepared that morning.  They could barely wait, so while I was hanging it, they came after it.  I stayed right next to it to watch.  The larger birds were more skittish, but soon came to realize I would do them no harm.  The smaller ones were the most fearless.  Earlier to bed tonight and I was asleep within 5 minutes of resting my head on the pillow.

Guanaja, Honduras – Day 1 – Saturday – May 6, 2017

Here we are, back in Honduras again this year.  I am traveling to the island of Guanaja to stay in the home of Keith and Laurie.  My friend, Cindy, and I bought a week at their home during a silent auction and were able to pick our week.. We left Atlanta late on Saturday and because of the 2 hour difference, we landed in Roatan by 12:30PM.  We had to make 3 runs before we could land because of the bad weather, but the third try was the charm.   We had a couple of hours to kill, so we managed to hang out a Larry and Luey’s for a cocktail and conversation.  We received our boarding pass to Lanhsa Airlines, which was a laminated paper that had been used probably 100 times before.  Mine was falling apart.  We looked outside to see a dual prop plane that could hold probably 15 people – 2 seats on one side and 1 seat on the other.  No snacks served.  It was an interesting flight at 1,550 feet the entire way, which took about 15 minutes.  We landed on a rough runway, but a cute airport all in all.  Our guide for the week, Dereck, met us and picked up our bags, then we walked through the cute little airport walkwayto the boat that was waiting at the dock about 50 feet away.  They took us to our home for the week by boat where we shared a couple of beers and settled in.  We probably watched the hummingbirds for an hour or so as they must have known what was to come and were getting prepared.  We walked up the steps behind us to a wonderful restaurant called Mi Casa Too and ordered some vodka with fresh watermelon juice that was a specialty and wonderful.  The walk was steep, so we will be getting in our exercise.  They brought us crackers, pepper jelly and cream cheese.  The pepper jelly was homemade and I will be bringing some home with me.  We ordered our dinner – lobster, plaintains, a wonderful rice and salad.  It was fantastic.  As we were about to leave, a huge storm came up and we had no umbrellas.  I’m not sure that one would have helped us as it was a deluge.  It was so strong that the power went out in the restaurant, so they brought out candles and we waited at the bar and had a couple more cocktails.  It was someone’s birthday in the restaurant, so we ate chocolate birthday cake with our candles and watermelon juice/vodkas.  What a hoot!!!!  It rained and rained and sounded wonderful on the tin roof, so we waited.  It finally slacked up after about an hour or so, so we made our way down the steps to our house with just a few sprinkles as we were protected somewhat by the vegetation.  The power was still out, so we hunted for candles with the failing light of our cell phones. I had seen an oil lantern, but no candles, so we searched for matches.  After about 30 minutes, we found the matches and lit the lantern, but lo and behold!!!! The power came back on.  We were horrified to find about a 3-4 inch scorpion on the floor – ALIVE!!!!  Well that was an adventure.  I found a broom and Cindy used one of my snorkeling fins to move him outside, but not before making him really mad.  Ever since then I have been watching the floor.  We both took a shower with some luke warm water – warmed by the black cistern behind our house, but it was wonderful.

Honduras – Day 8 – Saturday, March 18

We woke up early and had breakfast at the hotel with all our friends.  Most of them left at 9:30 for the airport, but 4 of us stayed behind for one day.  We hired a driver, then made the trip to Valle de Angeles for food and shopping.  We divided up after a few minutes to do some better scouting.  Cindy and I found a cute coffee shop and drank coffee and chai – 2 cups each, as it was really good.  The coffee shop is called Los Atrios and I highly recommend it.    We traveled the streets looking for a particular leather store and finally found it.  They did not have the inventory as before, but we still bought.  We met our friends at the car and then tried to find our restaurant called Four Winds or Quattro Vientos in Spanish, but they had closed.  We looked around a bit and settled on Las Tejas, which was very good.  We came back into town and went to a department store to buy a soccer jersey and then to a net little liquor store, then back to the hotel bar.

Honduras – Day 7 – Friday, March 17

We woke up a little earlier this day, since we had to have our bags on the porch for pickup at 6:00AM. The breakfast bell rang on time and we had our last meal at the ranch. The staff had a devotional after breakfast in the dining hall because it was still misting outside and no one wanted to get wet for the long drive back to Tegucigalpa. The staff came around and either shook our hands or hugged us and wished us safe travels back home. We loaded the buses up and headed back to Tegucigalpa. There were times that the fog was so thick, you could barely see in front of you. It was a little frightening coming out of the mountains and we hoped our drivers knew the road well. They did. We stopped at the Francisco Morazon park that we had seen on the way out. A lot had been done to the area, since I first came and it was very pretty. Then we made our way in to Jutecalpa for a short break.

As usual, we ate lunch at the Menonite bakery, which was okay, then made our way into Tegucigalpa. We arrived about 3:00PM and headed down to the bar to discuss our week. Then we took our shower and some stayed in the hotel and ate dinner, but some of us went out for dinner. We went out and one of the HOI guards actually went with us. It was a kind of a kick to go out to dinner with a guard — gun and all. Cindy and I will stay another day, so will probably take a trip to see the Jesus statue and then fly home on Sunday. Several others are staying a little later and have all sorts of different plans.