March 20, 2011

Catalyst log – Honduras – French Cay Harbor

Dear Friends and Family,

I have been sending you a lot of Flat Stanley Reports because I don’t want to retype the information and a few of you have said that you like them.  I am writing to the adult crowd this time though.

I am happy to report that I am now CAST FREE!  We actually decided to go three days early and took it off on St. Pat’s Day to celebrate.  I had a consult with a fellow cruiser who is a retired GP.  He looked at my x-rays and told me he thought that the bone would be healed and that there was no need for someone else to take off the cast.  He did warn me that I might really need the brace for awhile and to be careful not to put any sharp pressure on it for awhile.  He left before we took it off.

Taking the cast off was pretty easy.  Because of the composition, Rob was able to use nippers and then scissors for the lining.  There was a layer of fabric attached to the cast and a layer on my arm.

What I didn’t anticipate was how stiff and useless my hand would be.  Most movements are painful though nothing really unbearable.  On Saturday, I didn’t do much but massage it and peel off a lot of dead skin.  That is still going on!  Sunday and Monday, I started working with some rehab exercises that my nephew sent to me.  He is a former therapy assistant.  All are difficult but some seem impossible as there is very little give in the wrist.   Even lifting my hand without the support of my other hand or the brace is difficult.  I can almost get my elbow straight but holding it that way for very long is stressful.  I think that will be the first to come back though.  I am supposed to work with putty for some of the exercises.  I don’t have that but we made play doh and that works just fine!  I am using heat and ice and I can see small progress.  I spend my evenings doing exercises and massaging my hand and arm while we watch movies.  I spoke with my nephew and he said it could take 18 weeks of exercises.  He did say that I could be seeing real gains after about 2 weeks.  So Rob is not off duty yet!

I have not told you much about Honduras since we have been here.  We spent only a short time in Utila when arriving in Honduras and for more than two weeks we have been in French Cay Harbor off of Roatan.  It is a very social place with many boaters at anchor and more at the two Marinas.  It is one of the most popular anchorages on the big island and though there is not a town within easy access by walking you can get to provisioning.  The local grocery store, which has a more American style grocery and products than we have had before, sends a free bus to the Marinas on Sat. morning that takes us for an hour or so of shopping.  They even give a discount of 5% if you spend at least $50.  There is also a produce truck that comes during the week to another of the marinas here.  That marina, called Brooksie Point is new since last December.  The owner there has made it a club for those who are anchored as well.  You are asked to pay $15 per week which can add up but you can use their washer and dryer for only $3 for wash and dry.  With only one unit  though, you may have to wait.  The area is covered but open air.  They have restrooms and showers to use and a place to buy drinks.  They have a large inventory of movies on loan free to members and a TV you can watch plus free WIFI.  That is not so needed here as we get good connection on a modem stick that connects us to the cell phone carrier right from the boat.  What is good about the place though is that they have constant events for us boaters.  Tuesday is a food competition.  Before we came, it was chili and one week before that, gumbo.  Since we have been here it has been pasta sauce and then beans.  Today, it is a rice dish. Boaters compete and bring in their creations and the winner gets $25 and the runner ups get a prize.  The contributors eat free.  The marinas usually provides something to round out the meal and everyone else pays $5.  You know that I would be competing but not with this arm and Rob is more interested in getting a meal he doesn’t have to cook.

Wednesday is Wing night at the other Marina Resort called Fantasy Island.  Their boater area is smaller and not covered but you can go socialize and have wings and chips for $5.  They also do volley ball on the beach three times a week and there is happy hour at the resort bar.  They have a beach and restaurant but we have not heard good things about the restaurant.  Between the two marina’s they have something almost every night.  Sat. is a pot luck at both places and Thurs. is pot luck appetizers,  Sunday morning is a flea market and dominoes in the afternoon.  I forget which night is order a pizza night at Brooksie Point so you can see that there are only a few nights you need to be on your own.

Last week was busy as Brooksie Point had a three month anniversary and had boiled shrimp on Wed.  We went there after wings at he Fantasy Island deck to watch a group of Garifuna.  This is a specific group of people that are registered with the UN as a recognized culture.  They are mostly in Central America.  They are a mix of Carib Indians and African slaves and were shipped to Central America from St. Vincent because they would not heel to the land owners there.  Unfortunately, they are associated here with abject poverty and crime.

They put on a good show though.  They use drums, maracas, a queen conch horn and a drum made from a turtle shell.  By the way, these are river turtles and not endangered,  Many get killed in the fish nets but there is no effort to catch them.  The meat from them is not wasted.  There were three women dancers and a cute 2 year old who just enjoyed dancing.  It was fun to watch her duplicate the moves of the women and you could tell she was not new to this.  They got people up dancing with them.  The men danced in a more aggressive way.  Less with the hip movement and more stomping and charging.  They would dance one at a time.  They would rush up and startle people but never touched anyone.  They wore bells strapped to their calves which really sounded with their stamping.  They actually wore costumes that had a skirt so that their calves showed.  Their loose fitting tops had ribbons hanging from them and they held them out a lot.  They wore highly decorated hats and a mask that was made of mesh so you could see through it as the dancer.  They painted on eyes and a mouth which in the light was not easy to tell if you were seeing something real or not.  It gave them an other worldly appearance.  We heard some Garifuna drummers the first time we were in Belize but they didn’t have costumes or do the male dancing.

On Wednesday, we had three options for a St. Pat’s day party.  We went to the one at Brooksie Point.  At 4 we met in our dinghies.  Some had decorated but the owner, Mike had hats for everyone.  I had on a headband with shamrocks on extensions but they don’t show on the picture. They provided green balloons and green ribbon to tie them with that we could use to decorate our dinghies.  We then went over to a near by resort to do a dingy drive by.  Mike was throwing cans of beer out for people to enjoy en-route.  Did you know that cans of liquid float?  We also got to pick a card for our boat.  We went around Fantasy island and entertained the beach goers there.  We went back to the anchorage where we are and picked a second card.  Then back to the marina where three more cards were posted.  Combined with that and the two we got, the best poker hand would get two free meals.  The hand was won with two nines and an ace high.  They served 4 small deep fried turkeys.  Really yummy!  Also stuffing and gravy with very green mashed potatoes and green died coleslaw.  Tasted good but was too much food coloring.  Desert was cake with green icing.  They had recorded music from our generation and dancing started after dinner.  They had the place decorated and it was a lot of fun.  What is nice about the place is that the boaters pitch in and make it what they want it to be.

We would like to reposition to another anchorage but no room there.  We will see if we can do so before my brother comes.  That is another story.  Right know we are waiting for the birth of our granddaughter any day.  The dad is our blog master so I don’t know if he will be available much coming up.  Hope you enjoy the pictures.  The last two show the wing night at Fantasy Island and the view of the anchorage from there.

Fair Winds,

Sue and Rob

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