Dream Away Update 06-24-2010
Here I am again, with no major updates to the web page, and trying to figure out where all of the time has gone. I did get one update done, and that was on our stay in Isla Mujeres, at the end of last year. The news is old, but I do hope you enjoy the reading and the pictures.
My last update, of April 25th, had us in the anchorage of Laguna El Diamonte, on the mainland of Honduras. We are now under way back to Laguna El Diamonte. We are officially heading back to our "home" marina on the Rio Dulce. You will be able to keep up with our travels by looking at Where Is Dream Away.
We left Laguna El Diamonte on April 26. We followed Tantalus out of the anchorage. Tantalus headed west, as they were going back to the Rio Dulce. They had a plane to catch in about three weeks. We headed east towards the island of Utila. We stayed there overnight, and left the next morning for French Cay Harbor, where we picked up a mooring around noon.
We wanted to stay longer in Utila, but with the trade winds around the Bay Islands of Honduras, anytime you can get to the east, you do it, because when the trade winds fill in, there is no way you will get east.
Now we could get into some serious cruising. By that I mean, everything would be on Dream Away time. All of our buddy boats had gone back to the Rio, or left the Bay Islands, so we were on our own, on our own schedule.
We had planned to stay in French Cay Harbor about a week, and then head east to the island of Guanaja. Once we got there, we could take a leisurely time heading west, as we would have the wind with us. We also had well over a month of cruising time, since Stacy and Tina, would not be arriving on Roatan until June 5th.
Actually, we ended up spending nearly two weeks in French Cay Harbor. Mother Nature had other plans. After we had been in the harbor for five days, the trade winds really filled in. They blew steadily at 20 to 25 knots for the next week. On May 11, we finally got a break in the wind and we were able to leave French Cay Harbor and head east to Port Royal, also on the Island of Roatan. This anchorage is a favorite of ours because it is very quiet and secluded. We actually ended up anchoring at the west end of Port Royal, in Lime Cay Bight.
Lime Cay Bight is where all of the action is in Port Royal. There is a resort there Mango Creek Lodge, but it is very low key, so "where all the action is", is a relative term. The owners, Terry and Patrice, are former cruisers, and their lodge becomes the center for activities, if the resort is not overwhelmed with guests there for diving and fishing. When we arrived in Lime Cay Bight, there were ten boats at anchor. Five of the boats left the day we arrived as they were headed further east. We were glad to get as far east at Port Royal, so decided to hang there for a couple of days, then go on to Guanaja. We had a great time at Mango Creek Lodge, going in and playing Mexican Train, and hanging out with the other cruisers.
By May 16th, we decided the wind was not going to let up enough to get east to Guanaja. Besides, we did not want to rush over, and then have to rush back to meet Stacy and Tina. My good friend from the Marine Corps, Dale and his wife, Karen, would be joining Stacy and Tina for the vacation, so we did not want to be late for the meeting. Tina and Stacy had decided to stay at Parrot Tree Plantation during the week they were here. The resort also has a marina, so we were going to dock the boat there so we would have quick and easy access to their hotel rooms. Stacy and Tina were going to have a room on the second floor with an adjoining door to Dale and Karen's room. It was going to be a great week for all concerned.
Back to our cruising!! We decided to leave Port Royal, and head west to Sandy Byrd's Oak Ridge Marina, in Oak Ridge. We did this to be in the center of services (grocery stores, etc.). Sandy's marina has a nice outside dock, just our size, and water comes with the cost of the slip, which is $8.00 a night. We wanted to wash down the boat really well, wash down the cockpit cushions, and clean out the water jerry jugs that we keep on deck. Once you put fresh water in the on deck jerry jugs, you can only keep it about two weeks, then stuff starts growing in it, and the water is only good for washing, and not for the water tanks.
We left Port Royal on May 16th and went to Oak Ridge. We were docked at the marina by 1100. It was great to get to visit with Sandy again, and to get some cleaning projects done on the boat. We also enjoyed going into town and visiting with some of the local folks we had meet. We went to the "Flavors of the Caribbean" restaurant, to have lunch, which is always great food. We have become friends with the owners, Yvette and Steve Ducker. We purchased five pounds of shrimp from Yvette, so we would have shrimp to eat while we were vacationing with Stacy and Tina. We also did some grocery shopping while in Oak Ridge.
On May 19, we left Oak Ridge and went to Jonesville Bight. This was a long passage of three miles! It was barely enough time to get the holding tank pumped out. Jonesville Bight is pretty much our favorite anchorage, so we really enjoy our time there. It was good to visit with friends there, both locals, and expats who have been living there for many years.
During our stay there I helped Larry, at Woodside Marina, plant a huge buoy on the eastern entrance of Jonesville Bight. It makes the entry to the bight much safer. It was a cooperative effort with Larry, Don, Randy, and myself. Like most projects, it did not go as planned, but after two days of effort we got the buoy set. Actually, setting the buoy turned out to be the easy part. We had all our problems with our support infrastructure. Boat problems, line problems, and other issues kept us jumping. Of course, after each day of intense labor, it was off to the Hole In The Wall for happy hour and drinks.
We finally left Jonesville Bight on May 26th, and headed to French Cay Harbor. We promised all of our friends in Jonesville that we would be back after the one week visit with family and friends. We picked up a mooring in French Cay Harbor, and settled in for a stay until June 4th. During our time there, we caught up on friendships made in this area. We also got some shopping done, and got some needed boat projects done.
During our time in French Cay Harbor, we had to drop the mooring and head out to sea, well off shore so that we could empty the holding tank, and empty our bucket of biodegradable items. The bucket consists of mostly fruit and vegetable cuttings. We came back into the harbor and picked up our same mooring, as we had left our dinghy tied to the mooring when we left.
One morning, while moored in French Cay Harbor, the wind had dropped considerably, so Kitty and I got in our dinghy and went up to Second Bight to check out the entrance into the bight. Second Bight is the location of Parrot Tree Plantation which is where the hotel is in which Stacy and Tina are going to be staying for the vacation. We will be putting Dream Away into the Marina at Parrot Tree Plantation. The entrance into the bight is well marked, but it is very narrow. We were glad we took the dinghy there first before taking Dream Away up there. We now had a good idea of how to enter the channel, and a good degree of confidence of getting Dream Away into the bight.
On the morning of June 4th, we dropped the mooring in French Cay Harbor, and headed out to Second Bight. Here again, the trip was so short that we barely had enough time to pump the holding tank, and get the fruit and vegetable spoils overboard. We made our way into Second Bight, and dropped the anchor for the night.
We spent a pleasant night at anchor and the next morning, June 5th, we picked up the anchor and went into the marina, and got all settled with the lines run, fenders out, and all of the things necessary to be tied up at a dock. We then got cleaned up and took the Parrot Tree bus to the Roatan Airport to wait for family and friends. Of course, the flight was late, but everyone finally arrived, and it was great to see one and all. Stacy, Dale, and Kitty took the rental SUV and stopped by Eldon's grocery store on the way back to the hotel. Tina, Karen, and Jim went back to Parrot Tree with the bus and the luggage. Needless to say, we got all settled in, and the adult beverages and beach time started.
The first night, after getting in from the beach and pool, and getting cleaned up and all showered, all six of us got into the rental vehicle, and headed off to French Harbor. We went to Gio's Seafood Restaurant to have seafood, but especially calamari. We were disappointed to find out they were out of calamari because it was out of season, but we all had a great seafood dinner of some kind. I had the shrimp in a jalapeno cream sauce over pasta, and it was outstanding. After dinner it was back to the hotel, and a couple more adult beverages.
We spent the next day at the beach, swimming and snorkeling. In the early afternoon, we got cleaned up and all six of got into the rental vehicle, and headed up to Jonesville. It was our first time to go to Jonesville via road. The road to the Jonesville cutoff is paved, and the road in Jonesville is paved, but the connecting road is not. Dale and I were in the very back of this vehicle. It was cramped and a very uncomfortable ride, but we eventually got to Jonesville, and to the dock to get a dory to the Hole In The Wall restaurant. We were going on Sunday afternoon because that's when they have an all you can eat lobster and steak dinner, including all of the fixin's, even fresh baked bread and dessert. Did I mention the rum punch there is also great? They also provide cigars as part of the meal. We spent quite a bit of time there eating and visiting with the local expats that Kitty and I know. We all had a great time. We took a dory back over to the dock, got in the vehicle, and went back to the hotel.
The remainder of the week was
spent swimming, snorkeling, and
enjoying the beach and each other. There were excursions for food and
some looking at the island, but we stayed pretty much close to the
hotel. Kitty, Tina, and Karen did a spa afternoon,
but that was by launch to the other side of the bight. Stacy and I
played computers, and Dale
read and did some cooking. Actually, Dale did a lot of cooking during
the visit, including a great stroganoff, etouffee, and spaghetti, plus
really great breakfasts. We mostly had sandwiches for lunches.
When Stacy and Tina arrived on Roatan, they brought three suitcases of mail, magazines, boat parts, and other goodies. On Sunday night, we hauled the first suitcase of parts over to Dream Away. On Monday, the first item I checked out was the new lift pump for the watermaker. It arrived in good physical shape and worked on the bench. I then worked to plumb the new pump into the system to see if would replace the present lift pump. I jury-rigged the electrical connection for the pump, and got it running. I started the watermaker, ran it up to 700 PSI, and ran it for 30 minutes. It was great, no water starvation to the high pressure pump, and the lift pump was barely warm after 30 minutes run time. The new lift pump solved the problem. Now all I had to do was plumb the pump into the system, and then wire it up.
On Tuesday, Stacy volunteered to help me plumb in the new lift pump and get it wired into the electrical system. It took us all day to get the job done, but by the end of the day, the pump was in and functional, and a couple of new circuit breakers were wired into the circuit breaker panel. By his helping me, I saved a bunch of time.
On Thursday, June 17, we did a snorkeling and electronics expedition. Stacy, Kitty, Karen, and I got in the rental vehicle, and headed for Fantasy Island where Karen and I snorkeled. We had been invited over to snorkel by the harbor master of the marina at Fantasy Island. The snorkeling is much better there than at Parrot Tree Plantation. Karen and I got out and did our snorkeling thing while Stacy and Kitty went to the TiGo store and Paradise Computers to sort out the problems we were having with our new WiFi router, and the cellular broadband card.
Karen and I had a great snorkel
as the reef in the area of
the gazebo at Fantasy
Island was very
pretty and there were lots of different fish. We finished the snorkel,
quick rinsing shower, and went
to the bar to wait for Stacy and Kitty. While we were having a drink,
one of the small white-faced monkeys that are all over Fantasy Island came
to the table and begged some of Karen's rum punch which she gave him
from a straw! Really
Kitty and Stacy showed up, so we headed back to Parrot Tree Plantation, and our
room. Stacy and Kitty
got the electronics straightened out, so now we had a router that could
use the cellular broadband card. Now we could all get on our computer's
and have access to the Internet. A
family that computes together, stays together! Stacy also bought me a
keyboard for use in the
Navigation Station while under way. He got lots other great stuff,
too, including a new router, and a golf-ball shaped extension for the
TiGo stick. I felt like it was Christmas. Kitty was tickled, too, as he
got her a couple of DVDs.
Finally the week was over. We had
a great time all being
together. We actually ate most of our meals in the hotel rooms. They
had full kitchens, so
no big deal. Just about every evening, we would have dinner, clean up,
and then sit down for
computer time, or a couple of rounds of Wizard, a new card game for us.
Karen was kind enough to leave the game with us as we really enjoyed it
and look forward to playing it with our friends on the Rio.
We went to the Roatan Airport to see everyone off. Stacy, Tina, Dale, and Karen flew back to Atlanta with a bunch of failed boat parts for returning to West Marine, and Kitty and I took a cab to French Harbor. We had lunch, then back to Parrot Tree Plantation. Our original plan was to leave the marina, anchor in Second Bight for the night, then the next day go up to Jonesville Bight for a few days. But, the wind was blowing so hard that we decided to stay in the marina one more night. We could not have gotten out of the slip with the beam wind blowing at 20 knots.
The next morning, June 13th, we got out of the marina very early, before the wind got up, left Second Bight, and went up to Jonesville Bight. Again, it was great to be back in Jonesville Bight. Of course, we renewed our acquaintances, and also relaxed quite a bit. We were planning to leave the Bay Islands and go to Belize for a couple of weeks, but because of some stories on the Northwest Caribbean Cruisers Net about vastly increased charges, we decided not to go to Belize after all. We changed our plans, but we still have not verified the charges with the Belize government. They have not answered our emails.
We came up with a plan to leave the Bay Islands, and meet up with our friend Paul on his boat, Serenity, on the Island of Utila. We would spend a few days in Utila, check out of Honduras there, then make our way to the Rio Dulce, crossing the bar at Livingston, Guatemala, on the 30th of June. Even this plan changed somewhat. We left our favorite anchorage, Jonesville Bight, on June 20th, and went back to French Cay Harbor. We got into French Cay Harbor and picked up a mooring. June 20th was my birthday, and the next day was Kitty's birthday, so we decided to have our last two Texas steaks grilled out and accompanied by veggies, baked potatoes, wine (that Karen kindly left behind for us), and rum cake for dessert. A very nice birthday celebration for us both. We said our good byes to friends in French Cay Harbor, and dropped the mooring on the morning of June 22nd.
We sailed from French Cay Harbor to West End, which is at the very west end of the island of Roatan. We picked up a mooring in the Roatan Marine Park. We were going to spend a couple of nights there, but because of the weather that was brewing in the Caribbean, we decided to just spend one night at West End. We did have a Roatan/Texas friend, Sparky, come down to Aventura Beach in West End. The folks who own and run Aventura Beach are our friends and we wanted Sparky and Emil to get to know each other as friends and as businessmen.
We had received an email from our friend Paul, whom we planned to meet in Utila, saying that he was having some engine problems, and was not going to Utila. He was also concerned about getting to Laguna El Diamonte on the mainland. Because of Paul's problems, and the coming weather, we decided to cut short our planned stay in Utila and go to on Laguna El Diamonte.
With the new plan in mind, we dropped the mooring at West End on the morning of June 23rd, and sailed to Utila, arriving just after noon. We anchored in the harbor, and got the dinghy in the water. We got all of our boat papers and passports together and made our way into town in the dinghy. We went to the appropriate offices, and got checked out of Honduras. We then stopped by a grocery store for a few last minute items. I also went to a bakery and purchased the last of their cinnamon rolls. We stopped and had a very good late lunch, and then made our way back to the boat. We just rested, kicked back, and read until bed time.
On the morning of June 24th, we were up early, got the anchor up and secured, and were under way by 0600. Would you believe we had west winds all the way to Laguna El Diamonte? It was a 48 mile trip, and we did have the main sail up, but only to steady the boat. It was not much help sailing. We got into Laguna El Diamonte around 1700, and got the anchor down and settled in. The really good news was that Paul was at the Laguna waiting for us.
It is now June 27th, and we are still in Laguna El Diamonte, waiting out TS Alex. We had two solid days of rain, but not much wind from the storm. Today has been a nice, cool day with the sun finally out. Paul and I have helped another cruiser with his engine overheating problem, and it seems we have that fixed. Paul has been over for several meals, and it has been great getting caught up with him. Tomorrow we up anchor, and head out to Puerto Cortez, still on the Honduras mainland. On June 29th, we plan to sail from Puerto Cortez to Cabo Tres Puntas, in Guatemala. Then, on June 30th, we plan to cross the bar into Livingston, and go up the Rio Dulce to overnight anchored in Gringo Bay, then on to our home marina, Monkey Bay, the following day.
The four months we have spent in the Bay Island of Honduras have been wonderful. I promise I will get the pictures we have of the Bay Islands onto the web page as soon as I can.
In the meantime, I did get finish a piece on our stay in Isla Mujeres for you to enjoy. Also, please remember, if you would like to "see" where we are, you can click Where Is Dream Away for a SPOT and, sometimes, some Google Earth pictures.
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WEB page http://www.dreamaway.net