Fun in the sun in Roatan

Monday morning we caught a lift with Charlie into town in his hire care.  Richard got the propane gas bottle filled – it ran out when cooking dinner the night before – and we dropped him off at Ace Hardware while I went to Eldons the supermarket.   I’m not a great fan of shopping but I got quite excited by the selection on offer.  After the basic provisioning in Guatemala it felt like supermarket heaven LOL. 

Charlie returned to the marina to give back his car, taking our gas bottle back with him, thanks it was much appreciated.   I wandered the aisles until Richard caught up with me and we did a big shop.  Eventually, a few hours later and significantly poorer, we caught a taxi back to Morphie.   Then the hard work started getting everything stowed away.   Richard got on with the installation of a sea-water wash down in the anchor locker.

Later on we took ourselves off to the beach to make the most of the sun and enjoyed bobbing in the crystal clear water.  Check out this beautiful place….stunning location, just a shame that the hotel is a bit shabby now.   While we were in the water there were further monkey shenanigans on the beach with Lucy terrorising the tourists….no pictures I’m afraid…but I did get a cuddle when I walked up the beach before she went back to stealing drinks!

Monday evening we went to the cruisers’ tiki hut and enjoyed a spectacular sunset….and had a few beers with the gang….was a lovely day. 

Tuesday morning and we compiled a list of everything we had forgotten.  So excited the day before by things like naan bread, salt beef and baked beans we forgot basics like eggs and soft drinks LOL.     At lunchtime we headed to the beach with Charlie and Saundra for a bobbing session and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves in the sun and surf chatting to visiting cruise ship passengers. 

At three we took the cruisers’ courtesy shopping bus to Eldons for another provisioning run.   We managed to get everything on the list and headed back to the bus.   It was chaotic and one of my bags got turned over and things fell out….at the end I think I lost a bag of crisps.   Debbie (who organised this) was frazzled by getting the Russians off the bus.

So…the Russians….   There is a family living on a decrepit boat on a marina mooring – a pre-existing arrangement going back years and the only mooring in the resort.    It is quite close to us as we sit tied alongside the dock.   

The boat has been unoccupied for some time but recently the family returned and moved back on board.  There are two babies – one about three years old and one about twelve months.   The mother is dropped off every morning by her husband and she sits on the beach with the kids while he remains on board fixing the boat.   The kids run around naked and they are wild and not potty trained as they just go wherever they squat.  Including in the hotel reception!    Ewwww…..   The husband only picks her up in the evening when she screams across the water from the dock to him – usually just by the side of Morphie.   The shopping run was a nightmare – she had two kids, one can of petrol and two boxes of groceries – while he stayed on the boat.  Despite the usual screaming and shouting the husband left her on the dock until he was ready to collect her a few hours later.   What an existence!!!

Tuesday afternoon Richard finished the sea water wash down installation – woo hoo!   No more manual cleaning the gunk off the anchor chain with endless buckets of water.   Great job.    Later in the afternoon we wandered to the tiki hut for a couple of beers before returning to Morphie via the hotel lobby to get our daily internet fix.

Wednesday morning and I made some potato salad in preparation for BBQ night – the ribs were already marinated and cooked so just needed to be put on the grill later.   I did some laundry while Richard cleaned up Morphie’s topsides which were covered in a layer of pine needles from the trees.   I’m not a fan of hand washing – particularly when we are in a marina so not getting such a good breeze – but the local laundry is no longer being recommended and the nearest one is now in the shopping mall in town.  A long walk away or an expensive taxi – so I’ve decided to do a little bit each day – to get through the huge pile we seem to have accumulated since we left NanaJuana.  

We then took ourselves off to meet Charlie, Saundra and John and headed over the footbridge to the security gate.   We were met by Lester – a local tour guide we had chatted to on the beach the day before – and two vehicles.  

We took off across the island to Punta Gorda… a sleepy fishing village where we can buy fresh fish which is actually the reason for the trip.  

We were taken to the Perla restaurant to sample some local food.  On arrival we were not particularly impressed…but we were led through to the back across some massive mangrove roots and onto a covered dock over the sea looking out onto the reef system…and it was simply lovely.   I really loved watching the local kids having fun in the sea too.   

There were some local guys who decided to share their root alcohol shots…and were quite engaging, if not a little drunk.   We were served a huge fish lunch and thoroughly enjoyed it – Richard had lobster and I had shrimp – and we all shared some fish.  We left the conch to Charlie and Saundra to sample LOL.  

It was a lovely spot and a nice way to spend a few hours.   Sadly the only fresh fish available to purchase was parrot fish – which we don’t eat – so we left empty-handed.   But it had certainly been a fun experience which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

We got back and had a snooze before heading off to BBQ night.  Both of us were still full from lunch so we decided not to bother with food and just had a few beers instead.  We socialised with the other cruisers before returning to Morphie via the hotel lobby.  We couldn’t get online though so we ended up having a relatively early night.

Thursday morning and we listened to the daily weather report from Chris Parker on the SSB.   We are looking for a weather window to move east to Guanaja and then onward around the corner of Honduras and Nicaragua and southwards towards the island of Providencia (which actually belongs to Colombia) making our way towards Panama.   Ideally we are really looking to hitch a ride on the back of a norther to get the best sailing angle.   It is a number of days at sea as we have to take a very long route round due to vagabonds in the area – so we are looking for a reasonable gap.   Right now there is a norther coming this weekend but the forecast is very strong with winds potentially sustained at 35 knots (with gusts to 45) so think we’ll pass on this opportunity and keep watching for a future window.  Check out the colours on the grib file and this only shows it as it builds in the area.  Time for boats to look for shelter….and a number of them have already arrived here on the south side of Roatan.

At noon – having done more washing – I headed to the tiki hut to visit the vegetable truck.   Richard stayed behind to service the generator.

Later on we met up with Charlie and Saundra and headed out in their tender to the outer reef.  Fantasy Island looks pretty in the sun today.  

We dropped into the shallow water expecting lots of lobsters but found that a summer storm had moved the sand around and lots of the overhangs had been filled in.   But we spotted some lovely little critters including this huge crab in his shell.    And Saundra had the find of the day with a bill fish! 

Moving on we came through the cut and got ready to get back in the water again. 

This time we dropped on top of a wreck that was about 90 foot below us, swam across the main channel, and meandered along the reef wall.    The snorkelling was more interesting here with nice varied coral heads and looking down the wall into the depths below. 

After all that exercise Charlie drove us to the beach and we had a bobbing session to round off the afternoon.  It had been a good fun day with lots of laughs.   Later on we headed to the reception for internet and then went to the tiki hut and spoke to the English couple who had been rescued earlier that morning.  They had broken their transmission and had been carried this way by the current despite the lack of wind.   Many of the marina guests went out in their dinghies to raft up and propel them through the narrow dog leg entrance in the reef and into a marina slip.  They were very happy to be here…  

This morning, Friday, there was no net being broadcast on the radio, which made us wonder what had happened.   Well….a boat from the anchorage had left….and they had hit the reef on the way out.   So there was another rescue mission underway to get them off the reef and bring them into the marina.   They need to get their boat hauled out here now to check for damage.  Bet that ruined their day!  

In the meantime I’ve done another load of washing and Richard has finished with the generator.  He has disconnected the oil switch as this meant the generator cut out when we tried to use it at sea when we heeled over.   We need this operational for the Pacific to keep up with our power consumption without running the engine and he’s sussed out how to do it!  Obviously we’ll have to watch the oil level every time we use the generator in future but, hey, we can now use it underway.  So another woo hoo.   Well done again Richard.   

Today we are planning a lazy day.  As the weather is due to turn on Sunday we may have more beach time and then have a quiet night on board.   As we have loads of vegetables we are planning a roast.   Might even get carried away and make Yorkshire puddings….  We are going diving tomorrow morning so looking forward to that.

Oh yes…update on the Russians.   For some mad reason, they moved the fixed mooring line from their stern to the bow so, to all intents and purposes, they were now behaving like an anchored vessel (they do actually have bow anchors down too) and are swinging in the wind.   There is not enough room for that without putting boats on the dock at risk.  We reported it to Steve and Debbie and, after they made sure the boat was properly secured once again, they were given their marching orders.    This situation was clearly the final straw that broke the camel’s back for them.  

Sadly I have to tell you that our first GoPro video was a disappointment due to operator error….so we need to go back to the manual and try again.  I think we may have been a little ambitious first time out with all the different video options.   Never mind, I’m sure we’ll get the hang of it before long.

Bye for now