Up to the Lighthouse and Around the Corner
09 February 2014 | Cayos Cochinos, Honduras
Beth / bathing suits and sunscreen
We’ve snorkeled every day, in one corner or another of this enticing neighbourhood. And then we decided it was time to go UP. From our boat, we can see an electronic light beaming out from the top of Cochino Grande, and we know friends have made the hike up.
We dinghied to the Turtle Bay Eco Resort (formerly the Plantation Beach Resort) where a crowd of friendly folks and dogs welcomes cruisers along with their resort guests. With “Tuna Fish” (an unlikely name for a dog, yes?) accompanying us, we climbed the switchback immediately behind the cookhouse and then, with Tuna Fish leading the way, we followed a barely marked trail up through huge palm trees (judging by the clusters of nuts hanging from them, I think they are the kind we get palm oil from) and more huge palms that started from the ground and branched out immediately – I don’t know what kind they are. We kept expecting peekaboo views but never did get them and even when we reached the lighthouse, there was no view. Drat! I carried my good camera all the way up there hoping for a great pic of Madcap but no go. Back on the boat, we realized that all we can see from here is the light at the top so I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised.
After a little picnic we headed back down – very carefully because those palm fronds are slippery – and then we were ready for a beer on the sunny deck at Turtle Bay Resort. It was fun to chat with folks who are here learning to dive, and enjoying diving and snorkeling outings all around the cayos. (Check out www.TurtleBayEcoResort.com) We joined Ete Infini there for pizza in the evening for more great conversation with boaters and workers and visitors. They like to know earlier in the day if cruisers want to join them for a meal - and they kindly allowed us to make use of their wifi for a quick update.
Among the other folks we’ve met in the bay here are the guys on the patrol boat and a couple of teenage dudes who asked us for diesel almost before we had tied up. When we said no, they requested cookies. Cookies? I repeated?? Affirmative nods. So we laughingly handed over handfuls of oreos and cold cans of coke. Teenage boys are always hungry. With shy grins, they said, “Gracias, Adios” and motored off. A couple of hours later, the patrol boat with 2 navy officers and a park warden came by. We paid $20 US for the boat and $20 per person for a month’s permit (The per day fee is $10 per vessel and $ per person) and ever since then, the officers give a big wave when they pass. I wonder if the cokes and beers we gave them helped us make friends? It’s good currency everywhere.
The cold front coming through today has given us only settled seas and sunny skies, in contrast to the reports we heard on the Northwest Caribbean Net this morning – boats in Belize reported rain. We took advantage of the calm water to dinghy around to the north side of Grande to have a look at the village there (where the children from Chachahuate go to school) and do some snorkeling on that side. Once again, we ogled brilliantly coloured fish poking in and around the coral, and swimming by us in schools. One thing I love about snorkeling here close to shore is that as I drift along watching fish, I can hear birds chirping in the trees on the hill, and I’m reminded that the way some of these tiny fish dart in and out of the coral is exactly the same way hummingbirds dart in to have a drink from feeders or flowers.
Sunyata arrived, Ete Infini left this morning, and the guests at the resort left too. All is quiet – in readiness for a private wedding party to arrive tomorrow for the week. We’ll hang around another day or two – we’re looking for a wind to take us northeast – perhaps to Port Royal on Roatan. We’re tickled that in 5 days, we have had the engine on for about 1 ½ hours – part of that at the beginning and end of our sail here last Wednesday and then Saturday morning for about 45 minutes. The solar panel and wind generator are taking care of the rest of it. No noisy engines or generators needed at the moment – Thank goodness!!