19 February 2012 | The Bay Islands
We left Guatemala in company of 2 other sailboats, Interlude and High States, arriving the following day, Thanksgiving, in the Bay Islands of Honduras. West End, Roatan, was our first port and we celebrated with dinner at the Rotisserie Chicken Shack along the beach. Roatan is know as a major scuba diving destination in this part of the world, sitting along the second largest barrier reef in the world, as does Belize. The road through West End is littered with dive shops, small restaurants, bars, and very few souvenir shops. The road itself is just hard packed sand in constant state of being repaired, always water filled potholes, and also filled with friendly locals. Diving is very cheap and the reef is only a hundred yards from where we anchored.
After a month there we sailed 20 miles to Cayos Cachinos, a small island group in the middle of a marine park. Only a few hundred people populate the islands so few things are available but the diving was excellent. The crew of Interlude and Jumbie have friends that live on the island and we, along with High Sates, were all invited to have Christmas dinner at Greg and Judith's beach house. An excellent time was had by all, the food lasted for 4 days and we still had leftovers.
From there we sailed to Port Royal, back on Roatan, in time for a pot luck dinner and New Years eve party at the Mango Creek resort, more friends of Interlude and Jumbie. In true cruiser fashion we declared "cruisers midnight" to actually be 9pm, when most of us are ready to call it a day. The snorkeling along the reef in this bay was excellent.
Next stop was French Cay Harbor, 8 miles to the West. There was a new marina~yacht club that just opened and the owners go out of their way to help the cruisers. It has become the local cruiser hangout and they treat you like family there. We made friends with an avid diver named Joyce who has been here a year. She dives almost every day and she became our unofficial guide to all the dive sites in the area. She has become such good friends of the local dive resort that they gave us big discounts on renting tanks or going out on their dive boats.
We had only planned on stopping for a few days and 3 months have now passed. Our next stop will be the island of Guanaja, 30 miles East of here, to clear out with customs and immigration. Due to prevailing wind and seas from the East we have to time the passage for calmer winds than the norm of 15-20 knots. From there we will be making a 150 mile overnight passage to a small group of island known as the Hobbies and Vivarillos. Sitting in the middle of nowhere these unspoiled small islands are uninhabited except for a small fishing camp where a few local fisherman stay. The diving and fishing is supposed to be excellent and it is not uncommon for the fisherman to trade you a half dozen lobsters for a pack of cigarettes, matches, a few beers, magazines, cans of Vienna sausages or Spam. We expect to spend 3~4 weeks there and will be out of communication except for our ham radio. Our friends on Interlude and Pavo Rial will join us there at some point before we all head S toward Panama.