…dreaming a better dream

Stefania Comes to Visit – French Cay

July 2012

Ricardo’s cousin from Venezuela, Stefania, arrives to Roatan to get into relax mode. We quickly fall into true Venezuelan spirit and drink, eat and celebrate nothing more than this moment, this momentous visit, our valued guest.

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Tapping into French Cay Harbor

July 2012

We go to a cruiser potluck at Brooksy Point, watch the finals of the European Cup and continue to have a blast recording our songs. Then Linda gets a bright idea and suddenly everything changes…

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Settling into French Cay Harbor

July 2012

Well, now we begin living here so this is just about going to meet the local market, making a phone call to Nonna, meeting neighbors, cooking, eating and living slowly.

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Moving on to French Cay

July 2012

Without potable water aboard, we’re eager to fix the situation… that means lugging 5 gallon bottles aboard, or going to a spot where we can fill up with a hose. So, we radio with other cruisers in the area and find there’s just the right spot in French Cay harbor. We buddy boat with Nauti-Nauti, motoring eastward along the southern coast of Roatan. And we finally get water…

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Life and Times in French Cay Harbor

July 2012

We say goodbye to our friends on Nauti-Nauti and on the trawler extraordinaire, Peking. They are heading to the Rio Dulce for the height of the hurricane season. We then settle-in and start recording again in ernest. We’ve been planning to spend the whole season in Honduras… but Linda’s sudden idea of going to a real studio has us flip-flopping once again. It’s our favorite state of mind. We do make the decision to record in a studio, but where should we go…

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At Home in West End – Music and Potable Water

June-July 2012

In typical fashion, we settle in and get down to routine. Mostly music, but we also take on a two-headed monster… potable water.

One fine morning, we find that we don’t have any potable water left in our tanks… if you remember we filled up about a week ago in Utila before coming here – that’s 350 gallons of water. So, believe it or not, this is actually good news. The bilge pump has been going off – always a worrisome thing to hear – and we’ve been sulking over the very real possibility that we sprung a leak in the rudder post when we dragged anchor in Utila and came to within a foot of the dinghy dock. All you need is one good slam of the rudder onto the seafloor and you get a hairline crack in the fiberglass. And the seas were slamming that morning… Indeed, we’re so sullen and convinced of having sprung a leak on an old wound that we haven’t even tasted the water in the bilge to verify the kind of leak we’re nurturing – we figure there’s not much we can do about cracks around the rudder post right now…

That’s until we run out of potable water. So, we immediately do the taste test: salty = hull leak… sweet = plumbing leak. Now you see why it’s good news to have no potable water left. Yes, it’s a hassle for a few days, but we can at least do something about it. Therein begins a renewed effort to fix the watermaker so we can replenish our supply – we have a step-by-step “how-to” below. And we also track down the leak to the aft shower valve and do the necessary by-pass surgery in the plumbing line until we can replace the faulty valve. We tame one of the monster’s heads, but the other remains out of our control…

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Coastline Walk to West Bay

June 2012

West Bay is where a lot of resorts are located – it’s a little more than two miles south of us. It has a beautiful white-sand beach, if also tourists and peddlers. We love walking so this trek has been on our minds from the first day – we’re enticed seeing both locals and visitors walking along the coast from our perch aboard Bailando. Today we go.

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Diving a Wreck Site

June 2012

We’re enticed by the many dive sites here in Roatan – there’s a very good book that beautifully illustrates each in great detail – but this one site caught our eye almost immediately – a ship wreck. Whereas we can take our dinghy and tie up at the respective mooring and do the dive on our own, we decide it’s better to go with West End Divers – besides safety, there’s other benefits that reduce the toil of diving, like having roadies. But, we’re not technically certified for such a deep dive (even though we’ve been down to 90 feet before, during the whale shark dive), so we have to do a little open-book test to qualify. We prove smart-enough and ace it, so off we go… down to the land of hydrogen narcosis…

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Our first Honduran dive

June 2012

We continue to enjoy life in West End. On our many walks through town we get to know the folks at West End Divers. We decide to join them for a dive and experience the beauty of this country on an even deeper level.

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More Daily Life in West End

June 2012

Good food, music, and a little bottom cleaning…

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Roatan via Scooter

May 2012

After about a week we finally follow through with the instant reaction we had on the first day here: let’s get a scooter and circle the island. So yes we do get a scooter for 24-hours, from noon to noon, so we can break up the tour into two segments. But no, we don’t circle the island. Roatan is about 30 miles east-west and maybe 5 miles north-south. We have a nice couple of days on the road, seeing the backside and the countryside, running errands and getting lost. The usual, we have an extraordinary amount of good luck, all goes well, and we have a blast.

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West End, Roatan

May 2012

We hang out at home for a few days, eating, playing, singing, fixing, and swimming… we see some pretty cool and scary stuff right below our house.

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Utila to Roatan

We have a harrowing experience a day or so before with all the storms. We’re lying in bed and hear a small but telltale bump and jump up. Ricardo looks out the window and is befuddled as to why he’s looking right at the hull of the boat we normally see when we tie-up to the dinghy dock… we’ve dragged anchor all the way to the dinghy dock, pretty much precisely, expertly! Oh Bailando… you always treat us so gently…

“Honey, get your bikini on,” he says and we move into action. Linda takes the helm and Ricardo runs up to the bow to bring in the anchor. Suddenly, the windlass (the anchor winch) switch won’t work. So Linda moves off the dock (we are inches from crushing it) as Ricardo pulls the anchor up by hand, bringing with it cordage, fishing line and other muck. It all ends well but we’re a little spooked and decide it’s time to head to Roatan and hopefully better holding ground.

In this post, we’re up early to get ready to leave Utila for Roatan – we’ll stop to fuel up, add potable water, do a small final visit to the market and head out when done. With zero wind, we motor. Great time. We land on Roatan’s west end, called West End. Our first impressions are very good and we have an inkling that we’ll be here for a while.

The anchorage is empty, having been recently stripped of the 50-or-so mooring buoys for cruising crafts. Apparently, the new mayor had them all yanked because he’d prefer cruisers stay at his marinas, but that’s only a rumor. What’s really happening is that the cruisers are cheap and overstay their welcome, but that too is only a rumor. Whatever the clamor, we didn’t do it… we’re just happy to be here off-season, avoiding all the politics, and enjoying the place quite a bit.

Stormy East Harbor, Utila

We get spanked – the wind clocks around to the west for a few days and we sit pretty exposed, bobbing in the wild…

Orbiting Utila’s Universe

We hang out and go for a walk in town to find a surprising place – a mosaic paradise. The best part… we have it to ourselves.

Touring East Harbor, Utila

We leave SW Utila during mid-morning so we can have the sun overhead as we pass through the reef for the quick ride along the coast to East Harbor. There, we’ll finally check in to Honduras with the Port Captain. Known by the same name as the large harbor it presides over, the town is enjoyable by day, but we find the nightclubs’ dance music to be very loud… although it’s actually pretty good, or at least it isn’t the same old stuff you hear all the time in tourist traps. The scene is otherwise serene.

Taking a Swim in SW Utila

We go for a swim, out and about the boat, check the anchor and find we’re once again very lucky… The water feels great but it’s a bit choppy. The corals nearby are quite colorful.

Exploring the SW Utila Cays

Despite the long day spent on Sucsuc, we decide to continue exploring the other cays in our neighborhood. We don’t land on any of them, but we do get a good spatial sense of this little universe in SW Utila. As we’ve noted before, the flora isn’t what we’d call tropical – it’s more like what we’d find farther north. And yes, the wispy trees are reminiscent of Linda’s hair…

Sucsuc Cay – SW Utila, Honduras

Sucsuc is a splendid place. The British colonial legacy is felt in this dense little town, crammed on what used to be two separate cays that are now essentially conjoined. We go on photo safari.

Real Time Update: Bailando Turns Three

Happy Anniversary Old Girl!

Three years ago today we did the deal in a laundromat in Port Aransas, Texas, and Bailando (formerly Miss P) became ours.

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