Friday, April 30, 2010

Barracuda Story

We are so happy that we chose this spot to stay at for our month on Roatan.  There is a nice little group down here at the end of town.  There are always cool people hanging out at the next door neighbor's place.  They have this nice palapa with a table built in and generally there is a group hanging out enjoying the view of the water and the nice breeze that floats by.  

The power went out again this morning for a little while (yep, we finally got our wind back today but I guess it took down the power) so we went down to see what was going on next door.  Rob brought up the barracuda that we keep seeing when we go snorkeling because it totally freaks us out and Captain Lonny told us this great story.  There was a guy diving and spearfishing near here and he saw a barracuda and decided to try to spear it.  Well he just grazed it which it did not like one bit.  The barracudas are really really quick and it quickly swam by and knocked up against him.  The guy felt a numbness on his chest and his buddy pointed to where the barracuda bit off his nipple!  Needless to say, we are now even more freaked out swimming with Barracudas...I think we will continue to steer clear of them.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wide awake

I was laying in bed, wide awake and sweating, listening to the silence pondering my situation.  Its been incredibly hot here for the past few days and you couldnt buy a breeze.  Every day the air has been getting thicker and heavier with humidity.  On one hand, I was hoping for a nice rain storm to cool things off.  On the other hand, rain storms kind of suck because after a few minutes of enjoying the sound of thunder and raindrops hitting the metal roof, BAM, darkness and silence as the power goes out.  Its already happened enough times during our stay here for us to expect that rain = power outage.  It might be out for 2 hours and it might be out for 12.  Thats what brings me to my situation which I mentioned before of laying in bed, wide awake, and sweating, listening to the silence.

The bright side of this situation is that my mind is free to ponder all of my other situations and possibly come up with some random wierd ideas that will keep my mind busy until I finally fall asleep.  Or maybe, BAM, just like that, instantly all the lights will come back on, the air conditioner and fan will start kicking again and all the nice things in life are restored.  Thats what just happened and too bad for me, I am still wide awake and thinking about my idea that wandered into my head during the hot and stuffy silence.  Since I cant sleep and my tossing and turning is keeping Rob up, I thought I would come blog this idea while I can still remember it.

I was thinking about traveling and all the wierd things that happen and interesting people that we meet and it came to me...Backpacking, the board game.  I worked it all out, you start with a set amount of money and win by either being the last one who still has enough money to travel or to earn 1000 feel good points.  You travel around the board, stopping at destinations...maybe drawing destination cards that determine your luck on accomodations and food.  Nice hotel that eats into your budget, you wont travel as long but you can earn feel good points while you lay in your freshly made bed watching cable TV...bonus, it has a kitchen, save $30 on food expenses.  Or how about Perfect climate, no need for air conditioning, save $20 or   Volunteer for a $20 and earn extra feel good points.  Then, you can land on got robbed, lose $ met someone on a 2 week vacation with money to burn, 3 free beers...or you caught malaria, miss 3 turns, lose 30 feel good points but save $20 on food expenses.  Of course, the game would have to fold up teeny tiny and weigh practically nothing to fit in a side pocket of a backpack.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

To whom it may concern

Dear Central America,

I know that you understand and appreciate comfort. I have laid in many of your hammocks. Their shape contours to my back and bottom. I swing gently back and forth ever so gently to pick up even the slightest breeze through the holes.

So what is the deal with your terrible hard wooden chairs?? I understand that your weather can be very damp so fabric seat cushions would end up damp and mildewed and that would never work. There must be other options...though. My butt and back are screaming for some cushioning.

Your friend for life despite your chairs,


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Sunday, April 25, 2010


Our biggest excitement today would have to be seeing a turtle. We knew there were tons of them around here and knew we just had to be patient. We would have been really dissappointed if we hadnt seen a turtle on this trip.  Rob spotted him at the bottom of a deep ravine and we watched him swim along the bottom, then up the wall and up to the surface and then away.

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More snorkeling pics

Here are some more pics. The water was so clear that I was able to get some nice shots.

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Cool fish

I cant figure out a pattern for good snorkeling. We walked down to West Bay today and had one of our best snorkels yet. The water was super clear and we saw some really cool fish.

This guy has a face only a mother could love. It almost looks like a human face fish (for anyone who played that wierd wii fishing game with me).

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Sights around our place

I've been collecting some photos from around our apartment here in Roatan.

First, every week or so, they rake up all the leaves into piles and burn them. The other night, it was very windy and they made a ton of piles of leaves and burned them all at the same time. Our apartment quickly filled up with smoke and frankly, it was a little freaky. There were about 6 piles burning outside of our door and this whole building is wood. The piles burned pretty quickly, though, and everything was fine.

This is a huge spider that has set up a massive web between 2 trees near our balcony. He has been there for about 4 days...just sitting in the middle of his carefully crafted web...waiting for prey.

OK, these mangos have become a major source of frustration for me. First, its been 2 weeks and they look exactly the same. Still green and rock hard. They are so rock hard that these mangos have been beating against the metal roof every time the wind blows hard. It is so loud and its been pretty windy lately. The mangos are a little dented but are so hard that they are still hanging strongly and still making a ton of noise when they hit the roof. It doesnt look like we will have any ripe mangos on our tree while we are here. : (

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Snorkeling

Its hard to say if going at high tide helped. We saw some pretty stuff, nothing mindblowing. The water was calm and clear today so I got some nice pictures. Maybe in another 2 weeks, I will have this figured out.

I got this great picture of that snake eel. Look at his face, he looks just like a snake.

This guy is smiling because those little yellow fish were picking bits of whatever off him.

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Tide and snorkeling

I did a little research online and it sounds like we should be trying to time our snorkeling from about an hour before high tide until high tide.  I found a tide schedule (  and learned all about tides.  I learned that the high tide  is highest the day after a full moon and then each high tide is lower than the last until the next full moon.  There will be a full moon this Wednesday so I'm thinking that Thursday at high tide will be the best snorkeling of the month.  That might explain why we didnt see anything yesterday.  The high tides (there are 2 a day, once during the light and once during the dark) are at different times every day so I bookmarked the tide schedule webpage.  They get later every day starting, again, on the full moon.  That means that after the full moon, we need to get our butts out there at 6 or 7 am to get the good snorkeling.  Until the full moon, we will be going out in the afternoon and today we will give it a shot at 2pm since high tide is at 2:55.  I hope this is seems to make sense.

Captain Lonny told us that the full moon is the best time to catch tons of huge snapper.  He said he went out once and caught 25 yellowtail snappers between 17lbs and 60 lbs.

See kids, science can be fun and useful!


So I will admit it, we are getting pretty lazy here on Roatan.  Our typical routine is to wake up at around 8:30, make coffee, drink coffee, read or use the internet for hours until the heat beats the AC at around 11:30 and we are forced to turn off the AC and open the doors and windows and the sweating begins.  Eventually, we will head out for a snorkel to cool off, then walk the town getting any necessary supplies for dinner.  We come home, shower, rinse off our wet clothes, hang them on the balcony railing, cook dinner eat, read and internet until bed time.  We have some variations to that, but for the most part, that is what we have been up to.

The good thing is that when this month is over, we will be ready to head into Nicaragua.  I've been using some of my free time to research the country and am really excited about it.  I'm ready to get back to the nomadic life and see new places.  We have officially decided to skip El Salvador.  It looks like life set us on the path to skip that country for now and we are happy to have a reason to come back to Central America.  We are keeping an eye on the political situation in Nicaragua.  It seems that the Nicaraguan current president is trying to pull the same thing as Mel Zelaya, the Honduran President that was "ousted" last year in what the US government called "a coup".  It appears that he is starting to make moves to remove the term limits so that eventually, he can be made President for Life.  The world gave Honduras a pretty hard time last year when they ousted Zelaya from the country but from what I have been told, everything that they did was well within the constitution of the country which was written to prevent a President for Life dictatorship.  They have still not been allowed back into the organization that all the Central American countries belong to...hmm... the only country that is stopping them is Nicaragua....they are still siding with Zelaya.  As far as we can tell, the biggest problem with the action in Honduras last year was that the US posted travel warnings which really hurt the tourism industry.  Life was normal and safe here but they are still feeling the effects in the tourism sector.  It will be interesting to watch what happens in Nicaragua.

Yesterday was a holiday here in the Bay Islands.  It was the anniversary commemorating the day that the British handed the Bay Islands to Honduras in 1859.  The kids were out of school and in Coxen Hole were celebrations.  We opted to skip the 8am parade but we did go out in the evening to see what was going on since we had heard that there would be a party with music and dancing.  We went early, while it was still light out and people were beginning to collect on the streets while guys set up DJ stations and big stacks of speakers.  Kids roamed the streets, the little ones playing soccer with empty soda bottles and the big ones strutted their stuff showing off for the opposite sex.  There was an amazing breeze on that end of the island.  We hung out for a while and could see how the night was going to play out.  The adults would drink and get drunk and eventually there would be dancing the streets.  Thats not really our scene so we headed back home.

As we hung out here, the wind got stronger and stronger.  We opened the windows and could feel a strong breeze coming through the place and enjoyed it.  Eventually, we turned on the AC and laid down to sleep.  BAM...silence!  The power went out.  That is pretty common around here, sometimes it is related to the wind and sometimes...who knows why?  The worst part at night is just how quiet it gets...and it gets kind of sticky. The wind also brought up a little mango issue....not the issue where the mangos are too green to eat and probably wont be ripe until after we leave...the new issue is that there are 2 mangos that beat against the metal roof everytime the wind blows.  It makes a terrible racket and I may have to find a stick to knock them down eventually.  I dont remember much after the power went out, since I fell asleep shortly after.  Rob says he dozed off and woke up in a sweat.  We were very relieved to hear the fan and AC kick back on a few hours later.  We still have fish in the fridge and would be devastated if it went bad.

Back to lounging and enjoying my coffee.  Today's big decision, snorkel here in the West End or Walk to West Bay.

West End - Half Moon Bay snorkeling Pros and Cons
1.  Its close
2.  We can get milk and bread on the way back
3.  Sometimes, like yesterday, there just isnt much to see
4.  Sometimes, like earlier in the week, there are all kinds of new critters

West Bay snorkeling Pros and Cons
1.  Its a good long walk although we can take a taxi or water taxi for a few bucks
2.  Is a good long walk a pro or a con?
3.  The snorkeling is consistently OK.  Better than a bad day at Half Moon Bay but not as exciting as a good day at Half Moon Bay.

I know...its a tough decision.  I think I prefer Half Moon Bay because on the good days we have seen really really cool stuff.  West Bay has great fish but I prefer new stuff.  For some reason Half Moon Bay seems to have new stuff more often than West Bay.  I wonder why on some days, like yesterday, there is nothing to see in Half Moon Bay.  The water was the clearest and calmest that we have seen it so far.  Is that why?  Do the fish not need to hang out in the bay when the water is clear and calm?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This morning, we woke up very early to go out fishing with our neighbor Lonny. As you can see, we were incredibly successful. Rob reeled in all 3 of the fish below. Two Durado (otherwise known as Mahi Mahi and down here they call them dolphins), a barracuda and a little tuna then ended up as bait. The whole thing was exhilirating. Just when we would be about to give up, that nothing more would bite, there would be a tug on one of the rods, then immediately on another rod. The fish were biting in doubles this morning and Rob reeled them in like a pro. Needless to say, we are excited for our mahi mahi dinner tonight.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I saw this snorkeling this morning. I think it might be an octopus.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Creepy Crawlies

The water has been rough the past few days. We've gone out snorkeling a few times but we kept seeing the same fish and coral that we've already seen. Frankly, we were beginning to get a little bored. The rough seas had the water cloudy so we were just seeing the same things that we'd been seeing. The rougher seas also make it hard to swim because the coral come up very shallow and its very important to not touch any coral because touching the coral will kill it.

Today the water was clear and calm. We only went out for a short swim but saw some cool things that we hadnt seen yet.

Here is a Sharptailed eel.

We were the most excited about this group of squids. Anyone know what you call a group of squids (feel free to leave it in a comment)? They were only about 8 inches long. As I look at the pictures, I realized that they were facing us. They are so wierd looking that when we were swimming, I thought they were facing away from us. That big eye is pretty freaky.

I saw this worm crawling around on a coral. I cant figure out what it is (again, leave a comment if you know). Fireworms are red in all the pictures and this guy looks pretty gray.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pickled Onion Condiment

In Belize, at every restaurant, they have this on the table and we have been anxious for a kitchen where we could make it ourselves. Its great on almost anything. They slice onion and either habaneros or jalapenos (we used jalapenos) and put in a jar. Then boil 1 cup white vinegar, 1 cup water and some sugar (we had to use brown sugar because that was what they had at the store) and pour over the onions. Its delicious and we cant get enough of it.

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One of the best parts of staying on the island is the fresh seafood. Our fisherman neighbor hasnt been out much this week, just one trip with some cruiseship people that wanted only to catch and release. Thankfully, during the day, guys will sell fish and seafood out on the street near the beach in West End. Today, we bought these yellow snappers for $3 for both of them.

Then Rob pan fried them with garlic and lime and served it up with rice and beans. Normally, we would leave the heads on but our only frying pan just wasnt big enough.  This is a pretty typical Honduran coastal meal but I have to say that Rob's was cooked perfectly and better than most that we have eaten in restaurants. Yum.

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Cooking in Roatan

We are so happy to be cooking again. Our facilites our limited and foods are packaged differently.

Here is our stove. Its connected to a propane tank and we light it with a match. It does the trick, though.

Here are some other things that are different from home. Milk comes in a box. It is not refregerated until you are ready to use it. Our oil came in this nifty bag thing with a spout. Most importantly, that jug of water holds our drinkable and cookable water. We never drink or cook with the tap water.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our Walk into Town

Here are pictures of our walk into town. According to the time on the pictures, its a 15 minute walk. This particular walk was especially slow due to traffic and by traffic I mean that there were a few places where a car would be parked on the side of the road and a car wants to get through and we have to let them cross before we walk by.

Here is the walking tour. From the sign of our place, we walk on the beach past 1 little property with a house and a few guest houses (where our fisherman neighbor lives). Then there is a restaurant/bar called Barefeet. On the other side of that is a lot where the vans that are called buses park between routes. The road begins in this little sandy parking lot. This picture is taken looking down the road.

Walking down the road, these are bungalow hotel rooms. To the left are some bungalows that are right on the beach. The water is only about 40-60 feet from the road.

Now we are in the heart of the West End. There are some people and cars and restaurants.

Here is the church and just beyond it on the right is the road that leads out of the West End and toward the rest of the island. On the left just beyond the church is the West End Beach which is in Half Moon Bay.

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