A Place Called Calabash Bight

Follow Catalyst’s voyage at:

http://www.winlink.org/dotnet/maps/PositionReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=KG4QFO

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April 3, 2012

Dear Friends,

We are still in French Key harbor but did break away for a couple of days to an anchorage just east of here.  The strong east winds had moderated and so it was a good time to go in that direction.  We went to a place called Calabash Bight.  It is only a couple hours up the coast and goes deeper inland than most.  It is where the local shrimp boats go in a hurricane.  We went to a place that has a couple of moorings. They were put in by an American couple who have bought and built on property there.  They have a restaurant where they serve food from 11 to about 5:30 twice a week.  There are only two options on the menu.  They allow cruisers to come to the space and have a pot luck or play games with no charge.  We got to see the house.  It is about 2500 sq. ft. including the large screened in porch.  It includes two bedroom suits and a loft area.  The only draw back to someone who is thinking about aging is that it is a lot of stairs up from the dock.  They have a dock that you can use to get to the restaurant and a second dock that has two boats on it now but has room for a third.  One is their boat.  That dock has steps to the top.  The basement has a work room but the rest is dedicated to 3000 gallons of drinking water and 3000 gallons of washing water.  The house is very strong and should be hurricane proof.  I have a picture of the view from their lofty porch which doesn’t fully show the panorama but gives you an idea.  They are cooled by breezes most of the year and protected from the worst of the direct sun.  They also own more land around the point that could be developed but they are selling it, asking $375,000.  Sounds pretty good to me since land around Texan Bay in Guatemala was going for what I think is more than that considering size and location.

The villages that are near it are interesting.  The mountain goes right down to the water so there is really not very much flat land around there.  Consequently, people are building on poor land or reclaimed land and build on stilts.  You can go in your dinghy all along the coast for miles along canals or across other bays.  This way you don’t have to go on the outside in the rough water.  We  went quite a ways but didn’t go far enough to see the longest mangrove tunnel in the world.  We did see a famous bar called The Hole In The Wall.  It is pretty funky!  There we also spotted the garbage boat looking like it didn’t have much more room for pick up.  You leave your trash on the dock and they remove it.

Because everything is on the water, most people have a boat and there are water taxis as well.  Some of the places you cannot reach by car.  The people who own the house I mentioned before have to go in their launcha to an area where they have a dock and park their car to get to a road that will lead them to the rest of the island.  No roads to their house.  We were told that it was a good idea not to be out at night.  The reason being is that all the kids are out driving boats like crazy people without lights and there is a good chance of an accident.  See, it is the same all over the world!  We sure see a lot of launcha drivers using their cell phones and texting!

I have included some pictures of some of the houses.  Some are like shacks but most are painted in bright colors.  I guess the city provides the paint but you don’t always get to choose what color you get but it makes for a charming environment.  There are also pictures of some businesses with water access.  One has a sign that says restaurant but we never saw it with the door open.  By one small mangrove tunnel is a small island with a bar on it but it is only open on certain days but has a big Sunday Bar-be-Que.  There are stores that have access from the land and from the water.

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This area was interesting because, though there are many lovely homes built in the hill, it still has a flavor of original Honduras.  With all the shrimp and fishing boats, you can tell that is a major source of employment.  We saw launches with tourists going up and down the canals so just seeing it is a tourist thing.

We didn’t stay a long time because we didn’t take advantage of the water activities there such as a long beach walk or diving or snorkeling and we wanted to catch someone before they left here so we are back.  We also have a more social time here and there were only three of us there at the time, though earlier in the season it is more crowded.

We hope to get to a couple of other places we had not visited before with my brother Robert, wife Terry and daughter Elizabeth when they come on Thursday.  They leave on April 15th and we will be looking for a window as soon as possible after that to head to Panama.  We have missed a really good one waiting around here and there is another while our guests are with us so we think the trend will continue along those lines given our time of year.  We will be logging the most sea miles of the season on that part of our journey.    Being on the boat seems to have been a particularly sedentary experience this year.

Largely that is due to my arm.  Happy to report that I am able to type with both hands and can do some helping in the kitchen but still have weakness and lack of mobility to work on.  Still, slowly, it is happening.  We will have three new galley slaves soon!!!!

Hope your spring is going well and you are happy to be out in the good weather.

Fair Winds,

Sue and Rob

Aboard Catalyst in  Roatan, Honduras

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