The Bay Islands & Beyond
28 April 2012
Our last blog said we were heading for the Hobbies/Vivarillos, 180 miles E of the Bay Islands. We sailed to Guanaja, 30 miles E of Roatan to wait for a good weather window (meaning little or no Easterly winds and seas, not common this time of year). Guanaja is unique in that most of the 8-9000 people live on a smaller island known as Banaka Town, a ¼ mile or so off the mainland. The main island is very buggy and has only one short road connecting 2 small villages. Banaka Town has no streets or roads, only sidewalks, mostly narrow except for the main one along the area of small shops and businesses. The supply boat comes in once weekly and it is fun to watch the flurry of activity as everything is unloaded and transported in wheel barrows, hand carts, or carried on their backs. Shoppers must hurry to get any fresh produce before it quickly sells out. The locals are very friendly and there are many expatriates living in Guanaja. The pace is more laid back than in Roatan and serious crime is almost unheard of.
While we were there the owners of Manatee restaurant celebrated the 50th birthday of Annette, the owners wife, with a free pig roast for any and all. The 150 lb pig was completely gone by nights end. The owners are German and his old band members flew in from Europe to help celebrate. At least a 100 guests attended and a great time was had by all.
After 3 weeks of waiting for weather than did not seem like it was going to come we sailed back to Roatan, and a week later finally got the weather we needed and motor sailed E to the Hobbies.
The Hobbies are nothing more than 3 tiny islands along a coral reef. The primary anchorage is named Booby Rock after the nesting colony of Booby birds. Two fisherman live on this island, which is less than 100 yards in diameter, for 8 months of the year before going home. Their main job is to guard the many thousands of lobster traps stored on the island during the off season, and protect them from poachers during the fishing season. On the larger island named Hobbies lives a lone caretaker for 9 months at a time. The fishermen are given sparse provisions and accommodations and live mainly off what they catch, lobster, conch, and fish, and they are very good at it. Water is often in short supply and they are always grateful for any passing cruisers to offer them some. We had heard they needed simple medical supplies like bandages, antibiotic creams, etc. as well as canned fruits, veggies, meats, old clothes, and what ever you had handy and could do without. Of course a cold beer was always welcomed by Jose, the only one that spoke a little English, and the only one who drank it. Over the 3 weeks we stayed there, snorkeling and "hunting" almost every day, we got to be good friends and they were always stopping by the boat to bring us seafood. I'm sure they gave us at least 20 lobsters and even more conch, as well as several fish. They invited me to their hut for a seafood soup lunch one afternoon. Ahnhill had cooked up a large pot of seafood soup containing whole small fish, lobster tails, numerous veggies and spices, delicious. They sent a large bowl back to the boat for Michelle, who had gone out hunting with Cheryl & Karen off of Interlude. When I asked what to do with the lobster shells and fish remains they took them and fed them to their 3 dogs. The dogs ate the fish, bones and all, as well as the lobster shells. These dogs actually prowl the shallows and catch fish as long a 4 feet, eating them fresh, quite a site to watch.