Waiting on weather in Roatan

Friday night we stayed home and treated ourselves to a roast beef dinner with lots of vegetables and Yorkshire puddings.    Yum….. 

Saturday morning we were up early and headed over to the dive dock.   We got loaded up and were under way just before nine.   The first dive of the day was Mary’s Place which is our favourite spot here in Roatan.    Canyons and caverns and some great coral but the new dive leader got the route wrong so we didn’t visit the deepest cut and there were even less fish than last summer.   Felt quite disappointed but loved being back in the water.

The second dive of the day was Gold Chain and this was a wall dive. Nice topography again although still disappointed by the lack of fish – but this was more than offset by our encounter with a really friendly turtle who posed for photographs on his way to the surface.  We also came across a giant crab living under an overhang.     Saundra and I still had loads of air left but Richard had had enough so we all surfaced together.

In the afternoon we chilled out before heading to the Tiki hut for a pizza delivery.  We stopped at the hotel reception for our daily internet fix on the way and I had another Cheeky monkey cuddle.   The pizza was pretty tasty but the toppings could definitely have been more generous.    Never mind, no cooking for me tonight, so I’m not complaining.

During the night and into the early hours of Sunday the wind picked up and the rain was coming down hard.   We got up – around six – to take down our canopy as it could get torn in the strong gusts.   While we were doing this we looked up and OMG the Russians are coming!!!!   They are dragging their two anchors as well as the mooring and were headed straight at the trawler in front of us on the dock.   We got the air horn out and, eventually, the Russians come up and are flapping around like looneys.   At one point the mother is dragging the baby around with her on the slippery dock attached to her boob while moving things around…..not sure what the hell she was thinking off.   Would have thought having the babies safely tucked down below would be better?!?  We had woken the whole dock and people were on the trawler physically fending them off….  

It was a very close call before they finally got their engine running and moved forward.   The Russians were screaming for help on the radio and Steve, the dockmaster, called for a tow.    A powerful motorboat came out to assist….but the Russians sent them away saying they were fine.   Really???!!!    Eventually they grounded just in front of the dock so we tied them to a tree so they couldn’t drift any further.    At least there they were no longer a danger to other boats or a navigational hazard.    We all watched for quite a while to make sure they were safe and even Debbie and Libby came by in their best wet weather gear LOL.  

But in the meantime the Russians had requested urgent assistance again and, on being told it would cost them $150, they declined.    Words cannot describe their stupidity – you would have thought the safety of their children might be more important than a few quid?!?   Steve would not sanction any assistance from us either as the conditions were really rough and our dinghies would be ineffectual against their hulking steel boat – their only option was to pay for a tow.   By around noon we had relaxed – they were clearly safe where they had ended up.

In the afternoon we were sat in the cockpit and Charlie came by to talk about our proposed departure.   Island Sol is going to be travelling in company with us for the next few islands which is great, particularly as we are going to be transiting some dodgy areas on the way to Panama.    We looked together at the weather and spotted a potential window for next week……we drank rum and beers….and that is where we stayed for the rest of the day and evening.    As it was Sunday and we had fresh veggies left over we had another roast dinner – this time chicken with sage and onion stuffing…..    It was the perfect antidote to a long rainy day.

Monday morning early and I spotted the Russian boat was underway…. we quickly got dressed and went to watch just in case they needed help untying from the tree.    They managed to get themselves off the bottom, cast themselves adrift, and headed out…only to go the wrong side of the channel marker and run aground on the reef.   They reversed hard and got themselves off – not sure how much damage they sustained – and finally left.    They popped round the corner and headed into the main anchorage and dropped their hook.   Hopefully they are secure this time.

Tuesday we spent a few hours in the hotel reception online before heading over to the cruisers tiki hut for the supermarket bus having a chat with Lucy the monkey while we waited.   

We carried on topping up our supplies – particularly canned goods – and trudged back to the boat heavily laden down with goodies.   Tuesday night we went for sundowners at the Tiki hut and ended up staying quite a bit later than planned but it was a fun night.

Wednesday and Happy Birthday to me!   Thanks everyone for your messages, cards and gifts – it really means a lot to me being so far away from home.    

We wandered across the bridge – admiring the view of Morphie on the dock now that the Russian boat no longer marred the view – and had a chat with Cheeky along the way.    Was surprised to see him on the bridge as I didn’t think he ventured that far away from the easy pickings of the restaurant buffet LOL.

We were met by Miguel our taxi driver – and headed off to West End.  This is the tourist end of the island where the sleepy waterfront is full of restaurants, bars and shops.   It was quiet – and slightly gloomy when we arrived – so we wandered from one end to the other checking out the stores along the way. 

We did manage to get two new hats and a t-shirt for Richard.   It started to get really busy so we headed to a restaurant that sat over the water and just enjoyed watching the comings and goings of boats coming into the anchorage;  the tourist water taxis;  the dive boats;  the snorkelling day trip boats etc etc.   We treated ourselves to fish and chips and a few cold beers….was lovely.

The cruise ship passengers were around by now and, probably because this is their main destination on Roatan, everything was priced in US dollars – the official currency here is the Honduran Lempira.    We had to get everyone to calculate the price for us that we could pay for our purchases and we know that we got ripped off by the exchange rate they used in the shops.   Certainly we would have used dollars too if we had known.   Back to the roundabout to await Miguel’s return we sat in a bar overlooking the water / street and watched all the tourists being herded like sheep onto their respective buses before being taken away.

On the one hour drive back we admired the colourful and varied shop displays along the route and the narrow roads that go up and down over the hills.    We took a different way back and actually went past the cruise ships sitting at anchor waiting for their passengers to return.   From the street, at water level, they are absolutely huge!

Back to Fantasy Island – via Ace Hardware – Richard’s favourite shop.  Today’s purchase was a rivet gun which we realised was missing from our tools inventory on board.    Back on the dock, having said hi to this friendly peacock, we met up with Charlie, Saundra and John for a few hours bobbing in the sea – which was great fun – and they sang Happy Birthday to me.  

Later on we headed to the Tiki hut for BBQ night.  I had some ribs prepared which we took with us and, despite having eaten a large lunch, we did tuck in and enjoy them.  There were about 40 people there and they all sang Happy Birthday to me.  Then one of the cruisers started playing and singing and we all made requests and sang along.    Was a great birthday! 

This morning, Thursday, and Richard has gone off to visit the vegetable truck and the hotel reception for his internet fix while I’m blogging.   We are certainly not planning on being sociable tonight after the excesses of yesterday LOL.

Oh yes…and that weather window…has closed right down.   Damn!    We want to get moving but this is a difficult passage straight into the wind and waves when the trades blow from the east… so we really just have to wait for lighter airs than the current forecast.  Right now the weather guru, and our satellite downloads agree, that there is no suitable window for the next week.   Feeling slightly frustrated as this will cut down our time when visiting other islands on the way to Panama but at least we are in a pretty spot.   It also means sadly we’ll probably have to miss out visiting the San Blas islands now.  

The marinas in Panama are going to be busy soon with the World ARC as they have 36 yachts scheduled to go through the canal the first week of February…..so we are now looking to arrive just as they depart and make our arrangements, using an agent to speed up the process.    We should be ready to go at the earliest opportunity so we are still hopeful of making a late February transit. 

Bye for now