Guanaja – Day 8, Saturday

Our Lanhsa flight was to leave at 8:30AM, so Derick and Marvick picked us up at 7:30AM, so we could get checked in.  When we arrived the airport was closed up tight, so we wondered if we had read the ticket wrong — NOPE!  Finally, about 8:10AM, a lady came up with the keys and talked about turning on the air conditioning.  We went in the airport and waited around on some red plastic chairs.  Then Derick suggested we go ahead and get our bags checked, which meant that they looked through everything in our bags.  The airplane arrived and we took off about 10:10AM.  It was hard leaving our friend, Derick, but it is also good to think about home.  We paid our $40 airport tax, then boarded the plane, which did not have an extra seat available.  We didn’t know it, but we were flying into La Cieba, where we paid another $40 tax.  We arrived in Roatan about 11:30AM.  It took quite a long time to get our bags and when we went to check-in at Delta, there was a line a mile long and no separate line for Medallion travelers.  After awhile, they did open another line and we found that a our flight would be delayed for 3 hours.  Then they decided that maybe it wouldn’t be delayed that long.  Boarding time would be at 3:30PM, so we are waiting in a little bar at the Roatan airport called Larry and Luey’s having pizza and a final cocktail.  

We had a wonderful time on our island that anyone would call paradise.  The weather was good and only varied a couple of degrees every day — hovering around 80 degrees.  Some clouds most of the week, which worked for our early season skin.  After our first adventure with the scorpion, we saw no more of those.  Everyone was surprised about the scorpion and they believe that it must have come in while they were installing the new door, as it was highly unusual to have one in the house. We did have to protect ourselves from mosquitos and the sun, but so enjoyed the birds and the fish while there.  The reef was as colorful as we have always heard and the fish were abundant.  We should be home tonight around 10:00PM.

Guanaja – Day 7, Friday

Sitting on the porch this morning, knowing that tomorrow will be hectic trying to get to the little airport Erving this island before 8:00AM, when our flight departs, feels a little tragic.  As we brought little on the trip, we continue to wear the same clothes over and over, but the relaxed nature of this beautiful island encourages you to just be yourself — not worrying whether you wear out something you like because you want to wear it all the time.  Bare feet, bathing suits and gym shorts are the order for the day once again.  As I sit on this porch waiting for the day to open, I can see the reef that we will dive today — just a line of white in a sea of aquamarine, as the small waves break over the reef.  The colors of the reef and the fish that swim in and around it are impossible to photograph, even if we had brought a camera.  It will forever be scorched in my memory and indescribable to those who have never had this opportunity.  Tomorrow is a travel day and will be a long day with a long layover in Roatan, so I have time to once more enjoy this peaceful view from our front porch.

When we come back tonight, I will share the adventures of the day, but find it best to post when I have a few minutes to write, as sometimes my drafts disappear for some reason.  More to come later.

Later:  What a wonderful last day.  The sky was as clear as it has been the entire week.  The seas were so calm that we rode over to an island right around the corner.  It was pretty clear and there were TONS of tiny jelly fish there — the kind that wont hurt you, but float around.  They definitely feel like jelly when you hold them and they are so slippery that it is impossible to give one to someone else, as we found out.  I wanted Cindy to hold one, but I couldn’t get it to her hand.   Made the unfortunate mistake of feeling so comfortable that I tried to make a dive to the bottom.  Although I had cleared my ears, the pressure was too great on my sinuses and I ended up with a screaming headache.  We came back to the house and I walked up the long path to the house to pick up some sinus medication and ibuprofen.  

I still had the blinding headache, so we decided to take the time and eat some lunch on the beach.  We went to the other side of the island and found a secluded beach (not hard) and beached the boat.  We ate our same old PB&Js, while Derick looked for a coconut for each of us.  He was successful and cut the ends off them and punched a hole in one side.  They were delicious.  We put a couple of cubes of ice from the ice chest in the hole, which made the coconut juice cool to drink.  W had our box of nuts and plantains from dinner with us, so we snacked on those, too.  Cindy and I swam in the crystal clear aquamarine water for an hour or so and tried to capture the image of that area in our minds for when the daily stresses of our work lives take over.  

We motored over to a reef that we had wanted to dive yesterday and we found out why he wanted us to dive there.  We saw a puffer fish, a lion fish and a barracuda that followed us for awhile.  It was pretty clear and a beautiful reef that ran in a circle.  We swam around and inside of it for quite a long time. 

We needed to get to the store to purchase some replacement items for the house, so we went back to Bonacca and then I decided I wanted one last dive.  The water on our side of the island was very choppy and we had to look for an area that wouldn’t be too difficult.  We tried a couple of areas, but the water was too choppy.  We finally went on back to the house, but right in front of the house, it seemed to be a little smoother.  Cindy had gotten some pretty good burns on the back of her legs and decided that the last dive was so perfect that she didn’t want to end on a less than perfect dive.  I didn’t blame her, but decided I needed one more.  I had gotten progressively stronger each day and was not ready to quit.  The current was pretty swift, but not terrible.  There were loads of neon tetra on this reef and a different type of whispy vegetation that ebbed and flowed with the tide more.  It wasn’t perfectly clear, but it was good enough to see where the reef went, which was good enough for me.  Maybe I snorkeled for 30 minutes, but it was a nice finish to the day.  We are drinking our Cuba Libres and having pepper jelly and cream cheese with crackers.  I am sure I won’t eat all of my dinner tonight.

This morning from our porch.

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.