Friday-Wednesday 25-30 Mar, Honduras days 23-29, West End: Swell rolls in and medical scare during our last week in Roatan.
Firstly, 1000 apologies for being so very slack on the blog during our last couple of weeks in the Honduran Bay islands. The reason? Well, even whilst “living the dream” (as many people comment on our cruising life) there are periods where we lose our mojo, and a dark cloud descends upon Cloudy Bay. This is the nature of a couple living in such close quarters 24/7, and especially when one of us finds the lifestyle much less pleasurable than the other. Dull moods are not conducive to writing exciting blog posts … so I didn’t!
What triggered our decline in mood started on Friday 25th March when a “norther” cold front arrived with the usual wind, swell and rain. We were anchored in Roatan’s West End which, despite having the reef to protect us, is rather exposed to strong north winds and swell. But the consensus among fellow cruisers was that the front would peter out just as it reached this far south, and we would only get a few hours of choppy sea before the easterly trade winds kicked back in. Well, to all those individuals who communicated this thinking I have one thing to say: liar, liar, pants on fire! The supposed “slight choppy seas for a few hours” were actually 3m waves breaking over the reef and rolling into the anchorage, making life on board totally unpleasant for not just a few hours but 3 full days ☹
Only by Monday (28th Mar) did we brave a dinghy trip into West End village to collect the dive regulators which had been in for service, and the dive tanks which had their 5 year inspection and valves replaced at the Mares service center.
Monday evening, we discuss what to do about a minor medial issue I have. Over the last 2 weeks I’ve been having strong pains in the right side of my chest. So much so that I needed ibuprofen to be able to sleep. The pain is close to the place where a jelly fish had stung me, and so far I assumed it must have affected the muscle underneath, hence a pain similar to a bruised rib. But with the pain continuing a full 2 weeks now, maybe there is something else going on in there. And, considering this is the last place with any kind of medical facilities before we go to remote Utila followed by the 600 mile passage up to Cuba, we decide that I should best get it checked out.
Next day, Tuesday (29-Mar), we visit a very professional doctor in West End then travel halfway across the island for an Xray. Taxis to get there were asking silly money, so we decided to rent a scooter again. Long story short: I had my X-ray, was given the all-clear and we ended up having the rest of the day scootering around the island. It was a bit of a faff to do all that medical stuff, but also a relief to know that it was indeed nothing worse than the effects of the sting. I know some jelly fish can kill you pretty quickly, but we had never heard of one having such a long-term effect like this. Though the doctor assured us this was quite common here, especially with all the scuba activity in these islands.
Wednesday 30th March was our last day on Roatan before heading off to Utila. In the morning, we have a walk along the beach all the way to West Bay and back, saying our silent farewells to the island. Then at midday, wanting to check our newly serviced dive gear, I go for a dive on the reef with 2 fellow yacht cruisers. It was a nice dive on the outer side of the reef. Lots of gullies to swim through and nice coral, but otherwise nothing outstanding. Happy the gear all worked perfectly, and it turned out to be my longest dive ever, with 65 minutes bottom time. Maybe I’ve finally mastered breathing properly, because previously I always seemed to be the first diver in a group to be low on air.
We then spend our last evening out with Babs and Paul. First having dinner at the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant which on Google has very high ratings. Being somewhat Thai food experts, we certainly would not recommend it. The food was mediocre at best and the prices were probably the most we have ever paid for Thai food. Basically, if you are passing West End of Roatan, don’t bother having Thai food!
After a couple of cocktails at the bar where we had tied the dinghy, we say our sad farewells to Paul and Babs. They have been very good company in these last couple of weeks and we will miss them. They too are leaving in a couple of days, heading west into the Guatemala’s Rio Dolce, to dock their boat (Lyra Magna) over for the summer and head home to the UK. Rather than sail all the way back up USA, we would have liked to go into the Rio Dolce too, but there is no hope of Cloudy Bay getting over the river bar with her 8ft (2.5m) draft. Even with their Moody 44’s 7ft draft and a spring tide, they are expecting to need “tip-and-tow” services to enter. This is where 2 local boats need to be employed: one to tow/drag them over the river bar while the other tips the yacht over (to reduce draft) using a line from the top of their mast. We wish them good luck on that one!