Newest photos are last so scroll down for the latest. Updated Apr 29 '10
Neighbors come to visit in their dinghys and a floating party begins.
A high hill above Parrot Tree Marina provides a gorgeous view of the bay looking southward toward the mainland of Honduras which is obscured by haze.
We had a problem getting good holding at West End in Roatan, so Becky and Ken on SV Polaris let us raft up to their boat for the evening. It's a beautiful area with lots of reefs to snorkel, but we had to leave the next day as high west winds were predicted and it would have been dangerous to stay. We moved to the other side of the island.
Here’s a large Papaya YUM! and a... Chichi?...We can never remember what this veggie is called but they sometimes have prickles all over, they last for weeks, and taste like a cucumber raw but can be cooked sliced long like string beans or used in soups.
A somewhat tame dolphin greets the boats as they anchor in El Bight, Guanaja. He/She was a little camera shy so we apologize for the poor photo. Rumor is it escaped from a Swim-with-the-dolphin type place during a hurricane years ago.
Guanaja - A short hike with Mei and Carl on SV Monju to the other side of Guanaja provides a breathtaking view of Graham’s Cay and the outlying reef.
We first met Rodney and Katrina on SV Angelina when they initiated us into Guatemala and Monkey Bay Marina last June. They caught up with us here on Guanaja where we joined other cruisers for a relaxing game of dominos at the local German restaurant.
Obviously there’s no such thing as OSHA or many safety standards in the Honduras Islands. This man used these bend and sharpened rods of rebar to climb power poles and work on electric cables. But at least he did have leather safety straps!
A group of cruisers took the 2 hour hike to the top of one of Providencia’s highest peaks, known as The Peak or Pico close to 1200 feet in elevation. Here we are all fresh and full of energy. Most of the trail consisted of a currently dry riverbed, that becomes impassable during the rainy season, or dirt paths that hung on the sides of fields and hillsides. By the time we were headed down, the high humidity had us all looking like soggy floor mops.
The view from the top of Pico peeking under the clouds at the harbor full of boats anchored next to Catalina Island. No really! There are boats there.
These blue lizards are all over the hills of Providencia. The blue doesn’t seem very good camouflage.
Many of the parks and public spaces in Providencia have huge mosaics and tile sculptures done by local artists. In the shop of one busy artist (we’ve lost the name?) we found out she hand paints large tiles then cuts them into small pieces that are then mixed with other tiles to make the mosaics. These flowers, glued to rice and flour sacks then mounted to the sculpture and grouted in place, measure over 3 feet across.
In a neighborhood in Providencia known as Bottom House, one house had cows in their front yard. Interesting lawn ornaments or have they trained them as “WatchCows” to scare off burglars?
Another art piece overlooking the anchorage between Isla Providencia and Santa Catalina.
There is a nice walkway around part of Catalina Island, adjacent island to Providencia. One end leads you to a trail that takes you up and down steep hills to beaches and hideaways that are reported to have been used by Capt. Morgan and other pirates! Cannons looking north from the islands.
A secluded and shady spot along Morgan’s Head Trail. We’ve hiked the trail many times. Here we were joined by Deb and Dennis of SV The WC Fields and Mark who was “crew” on SV Sardonia.
Waiting next to the mosaic fish fountain for the Chiva bus to take a Rasta Ride around the island.
We're all smiles as we bump along in the Chiva bus. What a perfect job. You buy an old moving van, cut windows and a door. Install a few old seats and an “ear bleed” sound system. Then cruise around the island all day visiting your friends. PLUS people pay you to take them with you. We found it cheap entertainment and it got us where we needed to go.
The following photos highlight happenings throughout the day our first visitor arrived – Jim’s daughter Kathleen – and events during her stay with us in Isla Providencia, Colombia. This map should orient you to where the island is in the Caribbean Sea.
The morning of Apr 13 (Kathy’s visit) was similar to most mornings aboard Nilaya. We have coffee in the cockpit. We check to see what has changed in the harbor overnight such as which boats have come or gone; what the weather looks like for the day; and discuss plans for the day.
Morning tasks include checking in with the local radio nets. We try to remember to do this at least once a week, as the nets are very helpful and informative. Cruisers from as far north as Florida and Texas can talk with boats in Cartegena or Panama to keep in touch and get information. Now and then we even hear boats in the Pacific Ocean headed to the Galapagos or up the Pacific coast.
In this photo you see the high level of security at the airport, as the security guard takes the midday siesta time literally. He was definitely on the job later when Jim breached the security area to greet Kathleen at the arrival desk. In Jim’s defense, the area was not marked. Luckily the guard sensed Jim’s innocence and didn’t throttle him and take him to the ground under gunpoint. Instead he heard Jim’s wife yelling at him to return to the doorway and figured that was sufficient.
After a lunch in town, we attempted to find a taxi to get us to the airport. There are usually many motorcycle taxis around, but we needed a vehicle that could handle three adults and luggage. There were none in sight, not even scooters, as it was siesta time. Everything closes from 12 to 3. So we started walking. It took us 45 minutes. Once we arrived at the suspiciously empty airport, we found out that we were over an hour early. We thought her flight arrived at 2 pm, but instead that was the time she had to check in at the airport in San Andreas for her flight that departed at 3 pm. (Although we personally booked the flight with the airline’s agent, we were never given any “hard copy” and we’re told it wasn’t necessary. Helpful, maybe, but not necessary.)
Taxis were now plentiful at the airport, since they knew when the flights would arrive. We attempted to pre-arrange a taxi while we were waiting, only to discover later there existed a sort of hierarchy that meant we had to take the first available taxi and pay some sort of franchise fee because we were getting “curb service”. Wiser and only $2.50 poorer we acquiesced and proceeded to give Kathy a quick tour of the island. Only to be delayed just around the corner from the airport when we were suddenly in a cattle drive. Obviously quite used to vehicles and car horns, our driver had to carefully maneuver through as the bovine refused to yield.
Almost everyone who visits a cruiser is requested to bring boat parts as part of their luggage. (Could this be why no one has visited us before now?) We informed Kathy she would need very little; her swimsuit, sandals, a few shorts and tops, and hiking shoes, as she would be carrying a bag or two of items we needed but had trouble obtaining or getting shipped outside the US. Due to the compact size of Nilaya, she might also have to sleep with her luggage, so soft-sided would be best. In the back of our minds were memories of previous visits from Kathy to our house in Colorado where she was usually accompanied by 2-3 large overstuffed suitcases. We were pleased she was able to comply.
Kathy quickly found one of the best seats on the boat – the bowsprit. In the tradition of one of our favorite magazines, Latitudes and Attitudes, we title this photo “Bow Babe”. (Or was she just checking out the guys in the boat anchored in front of us?)
One task we needed to tend to was replacing a broken flag halyard in order to fly the requisite courtesy flag for Colombia while we’re in their waters. Kathy helps Jim hoist Laura up in the bosen’s chair.
The south and west sides of the island feature most of the tourist accommodations with small hotels or hostels, dive shops, and restaurants. Here we enjoy cool beverages under the palms on one of the beaches after a huge meal of mixed seafood (lobster, conch, shrimp, fish) at an outdoor “cafe” called “Divino Nino” (Divine Baby – Jesus).
One important item Kathy brought us was a personalized hat for the local Ship’s Agent Mr. Bush. Cruisers are required to use an agent to complete Colombia’s official check-in procedures and he’s the only agent in Providencia, so he’s well known, well informed, well-connected, and helpful. In this photo, he was all smiles wearing his new Nilaya hat (instead of saying “cheese” when taking a photo, he likes to say “whiskey”). He seemed genuinely appreciative and told us that in 26 years as an agent, this was the first personalized item he’d been given, and it would have a prominent place in his office. We haven’t seen him wear it since.
Not all of Providencia’s beaches are soft sand. We were surprised to find this rocky beach in front of one of the more active hotels – Hotel Morgan (how unique is that name?). It was the most shaded!
As the trail continues, it increases in difficulty with a couple of steep stairways that lead to a statue of the Virgin Mary (the local joke is she’s the only virgin left on the island) and the remnants of a fort that guarded the entrance from marauding ships coming to pillage the islands resources or pirate loot, depending on who was in power at the time. Henry Morgan is a major player in the history of the island, and in this photo, Jim and Kathy are standing in front of a large rock said to resemble Morgan’s Head. As you come into the anchorage in a boat, you should line up Morgan’s Head with a hill on the opposite side of the island that the locals call “Morgan’s Arse” for it’s prominent crack down the center.