Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Rain, Rain and LOTS of rain

Rain, rain, and LOTS of rain. That's what we had last week here in Roatan. Although it is not unusual to have the occasional squall come through, these torrential rains were bizarre. We had two solid days of downpour from the same big storm that had earlier swept across the USA.

One morning we woke up to the water looking quite similar to my morning coffee (I take it with milk and use the local panela or light-brown sugar). There was so much dirt/earth/soil from the runoff from the island in the water! It wasn't until hours later when the rain stopped that I could get out and take a photo and by then it was already clearing. Within 24 hours it was again clear enough to see the bottom and the scuba dive boats were out on the reef. Fast!

We later discovered that the main road (sand & dirt) in the village of West End had been wiped out by flooding and that was the source of the mud in the bay. We were quite impressed that the local community had dump trucks of earth and a hoard of men repairing the road within a day and were done by nightfall. If the tourists can't get to the restaurants, dive shops, and trinket shops then they can't spend money, so time was critical.

So we stayed on the boat and read, knit, and put bowls under all of the new leaks. Dang, I thought I had made good progress in sealing known leaks, but the amount of rain we had proved me very wrong. I had borrowed a copy of the PADI Open Water diving manual from another boat and spent some of this downtime studying up for my future scuba diving lessons. With so much rain I felt I WAS underwater anyway. As for knitting...well, I worked on some brainless projects like this dishcloth which are little gifts to other boaters.

Eventually, the sun came out. We loaded up the stinking garbage and dashed to town dispose of it and to pick up some provisions. There usually are a couple of pickup trucks with vendors of fruits and vegetables parked along the road in the shade. The assortment is limited to the basic goods (peppers, carrots, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, limes, plantains and oranges. But we can also find cantaloupes, watermelon and the occasional broccoli and celery. Here's a photo of Jonesy hauling in a bag of groceries to the end of the dock where we tie up our dinghy in West End. We do a LOT of hauling in this lifestyle.

We also do a lot of walking - sometimes just to get our basic needs and other times to explore and stretch our legs. On shore, there is one stretch of beach that is bisected by a canal on private property. In order to continue our walks we must cross the sky bridge over the canal. Great. I'm not wild about heights especially when there are gaps in the structure and I can see how far up I am.

We climbed up the rusty steps and managed to get across the bridge. That was the good news. The bad news is that we'd have to do it again on the way back. Ugh.

Did I say rusty steps? Yep. Especially the bottom steps which I have pictured here. All the steps were rusty and many had rusted clear through and had holes. So, as we climbed (and descended) we had to step on the far left and right sides of each step where the metal was more intact. So we waddled up the steps, carefully cross the wooden boards on the top, and waddled down the other side.

But it was worth it as we got to stroll along the big wide beach at West Bay! Our entertainment in the tourist area of West Bay is checking out the sunbathers and trying to place their language. Most are Europeans and we marvel at all the different languages (and the skimpy men's bathing suits - eeew).

And then there's the sand art to study. Hmmmm.
And even tree houses!

Up this spiraling wooden staircase is a full house, complete with plumbing. You can see the structure in the 2nd photo. How cool is that? Of course this takes hauling your groceries up to a new level.
There are about 15 to 20 boats on moorings here in the West End with some staying long periods (months) and others only hanging out with us for a few days. Right now fully half of the boats are Canadian flagged vessels which if you think about the difference in population sizes is a very odd thing. We've all been generously patronizing the local restaurants and bars (Jonesy can't pass up $1 chili dog night at the Crooked Palm) as part of our duty to keep the local economy going.

Jonesy & Terry at the Crooked Palm
For all of our cruising years, we have made a point of being back on the boat by dark. This is part of our plan for safety. But, here at West End we've allowed ourselves some evening and yes, even past sunset and into dark adventures. That's because the main road - and all the establishments line an open road that is well lit. We have never seen a shady character rowing through the mooring field unlike most of the places we anchor. So we've enjoyed the perceived safety of West End and the businesses have profited from us. Just doing our part to help the flailing tourist industry.

Thank you, Terry, I sure enjoy reading about your and Jonesy's life of travel. Also thanks for the mystery knitting, I do that, too. Have a great day and I am glad you are in a safe area. DeeKnitter fm ks
I've enjoyed clambering over the "Swiss Family Robinson" tree house at Disney World, and have wished it was a real house (and mine). The tree house you pictured looks like a hoot!
I enjoy reading about your blessed life.
The tree house is awesome!
Hey girlfriend...... I love this West End - fun and alittle bit of heaven. Enjoy your bit of paradise..... lots of envy. BUT yes a but, as wonderful as it is, please do not let your guard down.... sometimes too good to be true could be just that too good to be true...... miss you!!
Thank you Terry for yet another view of paradise that the average tourist would never see. Love reading your blog. Darrell
I am loving the pictures. Keep sailing, and knitting!
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