Greetings From Utila!

3/2/12

Dear Friends and Family,

Here we are, anchored in a beautiful clear blue water anchorage off the Honduran Bay Island of Utila.  You may never have heard of this island unless you have cruised here or are a diver.  We went to check in yesterday afternoon and almost every 5th building we saw was a dive resort or shop.  We saw people training to dive near shore and dive boats going just the other side of the reef from the anchorage.  I have a picture of a dive boat by the marker of the end of the reef.  You can see how close good diving is just from our boat!  I have a feeling I am going to start resenting this broken arm!  One diver who was in training told us that you could see lots of fish just under the pier.  Rob snorkeled the anchor yesterday and also saw lots of Parrot fish and Angel fish.

I just showered and got my cast all wet to wash my skin inside.  It feels good but takes a long time to dry.  If I go snorkeling, the problem isn’t in getting the cast wet, but getting in and out of the water by ladder or dinghy.  Even if I walked in by shore, Rob would have to help me put on my gear and there is risk of leaning on or bumping this arm.  I will probably wait until I have the cast off.  My brother Robert, wife Terry, and 18 yr. old daughter Elizabeth are hoping come over Easter and I hope to be able to join them in the water by then.

We had a very bumpy ride coming in.  We motored the whole way with 15 to 20 knot wind about ten to twenty degrees off the nose.  The seas were unsettled as the waves  were more from the north with winds from the east.  You may ask why we left in these conditions but the answer is that these are about the only  conditions that exist on this leg of our journey, but they at least were moderate ones.  The seasick medicine did its job although I got sleepy.  Rob even took some which is very rare.  I did watches though Rob did more than I did but we are recovered and fresh today.  It was more difficult because of the arm but it was fine.  It took longer than anticipated.  We left the coast of Guatemala at Livingston about 1:00 p.m. and arrived here about 12:30 the next afternoon, about 24 hours.  We had been hoping for 20.

We are waiting for friends to catch up with us and then we will likely move on to Roatan, which is the main island and has several anchorages.  Surprisingly, as we are escaping the Rio, others are getting ready to go back in and pack it up for the season.

It was hard to let go of life in the Rio.  Being back in rougher water with salt spray to contend with is the down side but the glorious blue of the clear water, the allure of the sea life and the freedom to explore new places helps compensate one for the loss.  I never felt trapped in the river, just cozy and secure.  Being out here is a little more scary but a great deal more exhilarating.

We had a nice farewell with Carlos and his family.  Because of the language, we have not always been able to say much but Kelli helped with the translation and we even sat down for a nice conversation while Elizabeth made tortillas.  We first took a tour of his new house which is still under construction.  The roof over the kitchen part still needs some space filled in and the floor boards are not in that area of the house as yet.  Then he will need to put a floor in the loft and a ladder or steps to reach it.  They have the connecting dock in to the existing dock and business storage area that Chris already did.  They are marking the docks that will be built soon that will be used as docks for boat storage.  Carlos and his wife will be the caretakers of the boats as their jobs.  If all goes well, this should be a good income for their family.

We wanted to be part of his future as well so we brought them a house warming gift.  It is a table and 4 chairs.  The plastic furniture is most common.  They really didn’t have furniture to speak of and they were very happy to get it.  Their new home will  have more room for it.

The next morning, before we left, Carlos and little Carlos came to bring us a farewell gift.  It is a very nicely done carved cayuka.  You can see the picture and you can see the two of them taking leave in the real thing.  This kind of opportunity to build relationships will be what sets this part of our adventure apart.  We hope Chris and Kelli will keep us up on their progress and some of the local news!

I do want to include pictures we took of checking in.  It is easy and quick to do here.  You go first to immigration where they fill out a form by hand that you take to a near by internet shop to make 2 copies.  Yesterday, they were closed so the guy just hand wrote two more copies.  No cost.  Then to the port captain next door.  He used carbon paper and a very old fashioned type writer to do our form.  Cost was $5.  That lets us stay for 90 days.  Honduras is a huge bargain in that way!  Belize can be up to $400 and the trouble there is that it is not consistent depending on where you check in.  Guatemala was $450 between check in and check out last May.  You may have noticed our crew member helping with check in.  Somehow they don’t mind that he doesn’t have a passport!

Not sure we will have many exciting adventures to share but wanted you to know we are moved and doing well.

Fair winds,

Sue, Rob and Flat Stanley

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