Sunday, July 17, 2011

Traveling Maniac - Honduras Day 3, Two Tickets to Paradise

On Sunday morning we were up early to catch the ferry to Utila. Our hostess made us a delicious breakfast of toast, scrambled eggs, and red beans, with hot black coffee. We paid our bill, wished our hostess goodbye and told her we would see her again in a week. We jumped into a cab and headed to the ferry. At the dock we bought our tickets for the ferry and waited to board the boat that would take us to meet our host Barry who would then take us to Sandy Cay, our very own private paradise.

The ferry was very small with no open air blowing through and the surf was high. Molly sat facing forward and I sat facing her so we could talk. Within 15 minutes, I began feeling like I was going to vomit. I was experiencing seasickness for the first time in my whole life! The windows were high so I could not see the horizon, which meant that I needed to stand for the remainder of the trip on the high seas, about 45 minutes. I have pretty good sea legs but that was a long time to ride out the waves. But I knew that if I didn’t stand facing forward looking out the window I would vomit like a school girl. I had visions of the captain having to call the school janitor to throw that sawdusty stuff on the vomit puddle. How humiliating that would have been!

We arrived in Utila I am proud to say that I made it all the way without vomiting. Once we got out of the high surf and into the harbor, I suddenly felt fine again like nothing had happened. We got off the ferry and found an ATM where we withdrew some Lempira and then headed to Bush’s Supermarket – the biggest store on the island – for our week’s food and supplies. The name “Supermarket” was a considerable misnomer as this was really just a great big convenience store. And, this being Sunday, the store was going to close early. We had little to choose from for food and no real time to plan a menu, but we actually made out okay in hindsight. We bought 6 ½ gallons of water for our 6 ½ days that we would be on the island and a whole bunch of food.

It was now noon and Barry wasn’t supposed to pick us up until 2:00. We had cold stuff and frozen stuff and it was about 95 degrees outside. The grocer was kind enough to contact Barry for us (who oddly enough she had on speed dial) and asked him if he could meet us earlier. He said he would be there in a ½ hour so we bought some ice to keep the food cold. We were very politely plopped out on the dock behind the market in the shade to await his arrival. We waited on the dock with our boxes of food and our duffel bags and watched the marine life off the dock. Before long Barry arrived in his boat and greeted us with “you are looking to go to Sandy Cay?” I couldn't have been more relieved. We loaded the boat with all our supplies, took off, made one stop to pick up our co-host George, and before long we arrived in paradise.

We went ashore and received some short lessons in how to power the water pump, manage the solar and wind power, use the 2-way radio, and light the gas stove. We were instructed to call into them with the 2-way radio with “Cayos, Cayos, Sandy Cay” once every day so that they would know we were okay. We could also call them on the radio if we needed any supplies or if we had any type of emergency. We waved goodbye to Barry and George and were now on our own until Saturday. We wondered aloud if we had brought enough drinking water and food, and investigated in our travel guides how long we had to boil the rain water from the pump to make it drinkable.

We unpacked the food. There were two refrigerators – one for cold food and one for all other food. The house is wide open so the food had to be tightly stored or the birds would get into it. We each chose a bedroom and bathroom and then had a light lunch of cheese and crackers. We spent a bit of time exploring the nooks and crannies of the small house, found the mosquito netting for our beds, found a living room stocked with books on the shelves, and even found some dive books with information on fish and coral that would later become a great source of information for us.

I set out for a walk around the small island, something that would become a morning ritual for me so that I could see what the storms and tides washed ashore. I found a large fallen tree that was smoldering from a fire. I attempted to put the fire out but had no luck because it was deep inside the tree and intensely hot. The shores of the island were white and pink coral sand and dead coral lined much of the island. Hermit crabs, a resident pelican or two, mosquitoes, crabs, and flies were our constant companions.

After my walk we decided to go snorkeling and went in search of the beautiful coral reefs with brightly colored fish. We began on the north side of the island only to find out quickly that the best reefs were on the west and south side of the island. Molly located a beautiful area of caverns and coral with fish that were unbelievable beautiful. She came back and told me about it and said that she felt like the Little Mermaid. I went to investigate and she was right. It was tough going out to the area because the coral was so close to the surface, but once I got there I didn’t want to leave. I was still adjusting to breathing through the snorkel and was beginning to feel a little light headed, so I headed back in.

For the remainder of the day we rested, read, and caught up on each others lives. It got dark very early – a rain storm was coming in so we switched the generator from solar power to wind power. We ate dinner and chatted some more over a cold beer. We went to bed at 9:00 PM and I quietly hoped that the rain would put out the fire in the tree.

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