The tiki palapa is the place to be.
The preliminary exploration of our first day in the French Harbor of Roatan was a large success. First we went over to Fantasy Island where we met an American couple from California, Rick and Marsha. They told us where to find Jerry, who manages the marina. A short walk down the dirt road led us to a hotel lobby.
On the way to the hotel, we saw several agoutis (a guinea pig relative), iguanas nearly as large as a basset hound, green parrots, a peacock having a stare down with itself in a mirrored window and small black monkey’s running across the lobby of the hotel. I’m like a small child with excitement every time I see the most common animal. I was anxious to take my camera back to fantasy island.
This is an agouti. It's a relative to the guinea pig. They roam around, staying close by minding their own business and seem quite harmless.
This iguana just emerged from the hole under the tree roots. It must be his home.
This young rooster lives at the tiki palapa. He plops down to sleep next to anyone who will let him. I guess he wants to be around the humans.
There's no missing this bright green iguana.
At the hotel we found Eric and Sandrine enjoying the use of free internet. We also found Jerry; he told us we could drop our propane tank off to be filled at three that afternoon, we could leave our laundry (if needed) and dump our trash. Rick and Marsha gave us all the details on the potluck that evening and how to get to the grocery store.
We retrieved our propane tank and dropped it off at the tiki hut, as instructed and then dinghied across the harbor to Old French Harbor. We tied our dinghy up at the Roatan Yacht Club. The cost is $2.50 or free if you order something from the restaurant/bar. Just a short hop, skip and jump and we were at the grocery store. The store is modern and quite large; they have all the brands and products we’re used to. We bought our groceries and headed home.
The potluck was a hoot. Between twenty and thirty people showed up. When we first arrived, a newly acquainted cruiser, Susie had us talked in to playing volleyball on Monday. Later that evening she put together a game of Mexican Train at the tiki palapa for the following day. Rick and Marsha sat with Eric and Sandrine and Jimi and I. After dinner an American couple from North Carolina, Tim and Pam, visited with us. They gave us a lot of good information on the Rio Dulce. They are headed that way around the same time we are.
We were told of a ship wreck and a plane wreck we could dive and snorkel, as well as other reefs with plenty of sea life. I was told to watch for the horses that are transported by boat every morning across the bay to another island. I’ve never seen a horse on a boat before.
We’ve made it through our first week here and beginning on our second. It’s a blast. Social events everyday – all play and no work. Volleyball every day at 3 pm, we’ve only been twice though. Hamburger night on Wednesdays, nautical swap meet on Thursday, Lion fish fry on Fridays, Potluck on Saturdays, the bus run Eldon’s grocery store on Tuesdays, the veggie truck arrives with fresh produce on Mondays and the tiki palapa is open for business every evening except Sundays. The drinks are cheap. A can of beer is 30 LEM ($1.50).
Musicians among us – an evening at the tiki palapa. Jimi, Eric and Stu brought their guitars and Stu’s wife, Stephanie, brought her violin. They strummed until well past dark, while Stu sang. The only thing missing was a camp fire.
At Wednesday’s potluck we celebrated cruiser Joe’s birthday. Susie brought her DJ equipment, Stu and Stephanie played their instruments and a man named Brian played some old rock and roll. Some of us danced to love songs, the YMCA and…yes, the macarena. We’ve made so many new friends here; most are American, a few French and the rest are British. Many of them are going to the Rio Dulce, as we are, and we’re hoping to see them there.
Jimi and I spent an afternoon at the park. As you can see from the photos I’ve attached we saw parrots, ducks, geese, a turkey, a grand representation of Foghorn Leghorn, agoutis, iguanas and a couple of monkeys.
This size of a basset hound.
The roosters are quite large.
Is this rooster mean mugging me?
The sweetest face.
As I walked across the park and small monkey came running up to me like we were long lost friends. I was a bit startled at first. He wrapped his arms around my ankles and then began climbing up towards my shoulders. After a couple of minutes I was in love. We spent the next hour playing with the little guy. He would bounce off to another park of the park, but with camera in hand I would follow him. At the drinking hole, he tried to get a sip, but it was too deep. He dipped his tail in the pond and then sucked the water from it. A larger monkey showed up after a while and we could tell they were competing with each other when they became a little aggressive. We’re told they like to steal things: sunglasses, hats and anything not held down. We kept a pretty close hold on our belongings. Their little hands and feet are soft like velvet and their eyes and faces are expressive. Jimi clearly saw an expression on the larger monkey’s face when he mean mugged Jimi. As Jimi was teasing him with a pair of sunglasses, finally the monkey became annoyed. He looked at Jimi with angry eyes, brows puffed and pointed, eyes slightly squinted and mouth open making a slight hissing noise. Then the monkey let go of the sunglasses, turned around and left.
Getting a drink of water.
I just wanted to cuddle him like a baby, but he was a little nervous of me.
Monkey playing with me.
Tuesday everyone in the harbor experienced a bit of excitement when we heard a distress call over the radio. A sailing vessel landed on the reef and was calling for help. The female voice spoke broken English. We only heard her cry for help once and then nothing. We were told the victims might be French, so Eric was asked to continue to try to make radio contact with them. A dive boat from the dive center was sent out to help and there may have been other boats who responded also. Jimi and I wanted to go out there, but the seas and winds were too rough. Our anxiety levels were raised as we could sit and do nothing but listen and wait. After a couple of hours, we were notified that the couple (in their 70s) were leaving the boat and coming ashore. Cay’s Harbour gave them a place to stay for the night. Other than a few bruises, they were safe, however, their boat was still bouncing around on the reef and the chances of it surviving was not good.
We’re not sure how long the tug boats spent trying to free the vessel. Jimi and I went out to the wreck at 11am on Thursday morning and finally at 5:30 Thursday evening they succeeded. They towed the boat to another harbor so the damage could be accessed. We at least knew it was still floating. They next day, Friday, we were informed that the aluminum boat has a large dent on one side, but it is otherwise fine. The twin keels, rutter and prop, as far as we’re told, is not damaged. What an amazing blessing for this couple, who by the way are German, not French.