Saturday, July 30, 2011

Traveling Maniac - Honduras Day 5, Gilligan Has Some 'splaining To Do

Today I was up at 7:00, threw on my bathing suit, and went for a walk around the island. When I got back to the house Molly was just getting up. We made coffee and lounged around outside until about 9:00 when we started to get hungry for breakfast. As I was making a breakfast of eggs and rice & beans, a boat pulled up to the dock with two men in it.

One was our co-host George, but we did not know the other man. George spoke limited English and the other man spoke none. They came to check on us because we never were able to complete our radio check-in the day before. I suppose the second guy came along to help move our dead bodies to the boat if need be! With George's limited English and our even more limited Spanish, we let him know that we had tried to call but the radio did not appear to be working. He played around with it for a while and finally got it working. He asked us (in English) to call every day at 10:00, but then just before he left he said 12:00 in Spanish. After much back and forth in English and Spanish we finally established (in Spanish), that we needed to make radio contact every day at 12:00. And with that they left and we didn't see another human being until we were picked up on Saturday.

We ate our breakfast with a sense of relief that the radio was now working. Things were looking up. We knew that if they didn't hear from us they would come out to see if we were okay, my allergies were greatly improved, and it was another perfect 10 of a day. I decided to read a bit and then head back out to the reef.

We had found a new, easier waterway out to the reef over a sunken tree. This was important because the top of the coral reef was so close to the surface of the water making it very difficult to swim over. It was tricky and sometimes a bit overwhelming because of the feeling that you might get stuck and not be able to turn around. It was also easy to feel like you were lost in the reef because of all the waterways that were throughout. But when I felt that way I just came to the surface, looked up and around, noted the location of the island, and then went on my merry way.

Today I spotted wha
t appeared to be a sand shark lurking in one of the coral caves. We were each a bit startled by the others presence. He and I kept a very close eye on each other and I kept my distance to make sure that he didn't feel trapped by me. When I went back to the house, I looked him up in the book and found out that he was actually a nurse shark. Very safe, but really - still a shark! During my second snorkeling run of the day, I went over to his lair to check him out and he was still there. I convinced myself that we now had an understanding and then I headed out in search of an underwater route around the island.

Because the island was essentially surrounded by coral reef, it was difficult to swim around the island along the surface unless we went out to the abyss. In my Magellanic quest I kept getting trapped by shallow coral reefs with no room to swim over them. Backing out while in a coral reef is a bit intimidating because you have no rear view mirror. You can't see what or who is behind you. I finally got frustrated and my mask began to fog from the shifts in water temperature - so I decided to head back the way I came. On my way out I made one last check on my shark, bid him farewell until the next day, and then headed back to shore over the sunken tree.

There is a lot of comfort in beginning to recognize areas of the reef, and despite my
frustration, I am at peace in the water at last. It has taken a few trips out to gain comfort with the snorkel. My claustrophobia coupled with my fear of drowning (I know, huh?) were now both conquered and I am finally able to linger longer in the reef.

For the first time since we arrived here, there was no evening storm on the island. I saw a hummingbird perch briefly on a tree and I saw the resident pelican for the first time. We could see storms and lightening off in the distance, but it was dry on the island and it remained light outside later into the evening. There was no wind so I sat on the dock watching the sunset, the storms in the distance, the fish, and the movement of the beautiful clear water. The only sounds were the rumbling thunder in the distance and the tiny waves lapping the shore. I felt as if I were in paradise.

Today was such an incredible experience. I didn't want it to end. I went inside to grab a beer and then came back out to relax and enjoy the remainder of the tranquil show. I wondered to myself why Gilligan and crew would have ever wanted to leave their island. When the moon rose, the sky was overcast so we were unable to see the evening sky. We had been looking forward to seeing that amazing starlit show of beauty and splendor that you only get to see when you travel far away from the light pollution. We had hoped the clouds would blow over before bedtime, but there wasn't even wind to turn the windmill. We had a candle lit dinner, read for awhile, then were off to bed by 9:30 PM, hoping for a great night's sleep.

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