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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for Honduras

Places we don´t like in Central America

At our last stop in Belize we met an American chap who was amused to listen to Fiona´s positive reviews of all the places we have visited. He exclaimed “Oh come on! There must be somewhere you didn´t like!”, so in response here is a list of the worst places we have visted:

  • The Mexican/Guatemalan border near Tapachula - rather like a James Bond arms bazaar.
  • Lake Yojoa, Honduras - not all it´s cracked up to be. Impossible to explore without a vehicle. D&D´s gave us D&V.
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras - a big horrible city.
  • Palenque (the town, not ruins), Mexico - a small town with no redeeming features.
  • Santa Elaena, Guatemala - A terrible place. Kids threw soil at us. Little sh*ts.
  • Puerto Cortes, Honduras - nothing to detain the tourist and unreliable/unsafe boat services to Belize (Puerto Barrios/Livingston is a much better route). It´s only redeeming feature is a cinema.

Curiously there was nowhere in Belize we didn´t like. It´s a lovely country. We didn´t spend any time in Belize City, but from the bus it didn´t look too bad at all.

Transportation quandries

After being abandoned at the roadside by a broken bus en-route to San Pedro Sula we were keen for an easy passage to Belize. We planned to leave Honduras on the Gulf Cruza, alledgedly a 45 passenger boat, and cross the Caribbean from Puerto Cortes to Placencia in Belize.

The Gulf Cruza was broken, but another vessel, about half the size would take us. Hmm. When that boat cried off due to insufficient passengers our only option was a even smaller boat going to Dangriga.

Now, ordinarily for a 60 mile sea crossing I’d be slightly nervous about going in an open fiberglass boat, its only safety feature being duplicated outboard engines, but we were desperate not to spend another night in Puerto Cortes or endure the long bus ride to the shorter crossing in Guatemala so threw caution to the wind and jumped in.

All went well, but I’m glad we don’t need to do that again.

A break from the norm

We spent the night in Puerto Cortes - the only thing of interest was a nice Parque Central so after 15 minutes we searched for alternative entertainment. We chanced across a cinema - Ocean’s 13 was billed, and it was in English! Before the show we needed feeding. It was a sleepy Sunday and all that was open was fast food joints so we succombed. One chicken place even had veggie food.

The cinema was funny - 30 Lempiras (75 p) took us into the pitch black room where we had to find a seat by feel. The film was fun, but the sound quality was awful. I don’t suppose it matters if all you are interested in is the subtitles.

Afterwards we needed pudding so headed to the only likely place - Pizza Hut. We ordered a small pizza and a couple of deserts assuming the young waiter would work out our order of requirements. Needless to say he didn’t and we got our meal backwards.

I think the waiter was as amused by us as we were by him.

It was this big…

Although we have now been lucky enough to see the largest fish in the sea (yes, we’re still going on about it!), whilst sunning ourselves in another Bay Island - Roatan, their annual fish festival took place and we were able to admire their huge catches - the biggest fish they caught was a 270 pound Blue Marlin - these are massive fish (as the weight might suggest) and have a long pointy nose (like a swordfish) - certainly wouldn’t want to have met one of those whilst diving! The thing that amazed me most about these fish was their eyes - they were bright blue, but looked like fake glass eyes, weird. Unfortunately we had left our camera at home on this occasion, so no photos - I’m sure google will provide though.

The rest of our trip to Roatan was pretty uneventful, if rather expensive - the North Americans have adopted it as a tropical resort, hence the prices have risen accordingly. We managed to save a few bob by walking to the “world’s second most beautiful beach” (according to our hotel owner) - it was lovely - white sands and crystal clear water, and definitely an improvement to Utila’s lack of beach, however it was spoilt somewhat by the large number of resorts and hotels that have been built along it. Oh how ungrateful we are in paradise!

Pictures of our whale shark

Here are some pictures of our whale shark adventure of a few days ago. We didn´t take them - a terribly nice American chap whose name I forget did and he kindly passed them on.whale-sharks-and-dolphins-005_410.jpg

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Deep Sea World

We have now almost finished our stint of diving in Utila (we will have done a total of 13 dives in 6 days!) and we are now “Advanced Open Water” divers, although not sure how advanced we actually feel!

We have been very lucky in all the exciting animals that we have seen - yesterday we saw some seahorses (I requested them, and our instructor provided - he´s very impressive!). They were very cool and bigger than I thought they would be. Our second dive yesterday gave us our second highlight of our diving to date - we got to swim alongside a male Hawksbill turtle for a good ten minutes - he was amazing, and didn´t seem bothered by our presence at all - just slowly moved on his way along the coral wall.

As part of our Advanced course we got to dive a wreck, which was interesting, and a little creepy, we did a deep dive down to 30m, and also a night dive which in all honesty was a bit disappointing as it was mainly an exercise in avoiding kicking everybody else, or the coral. Don´t think I need to go diving in the dark again for a while!

Tomorrow we are heading off to another Bay Island - Roatan - for a few days before making our way to Belize.

New adventures in Flip-flops

After suffering some mild abrasion by my fins, coupled with sandal wear and insect bites, I have been forced to abandon my trusty posh Merrell sandals in favour of a pair of flip-flops. I have always spurned such footware in the past as I endured negative experiences as a juvenile.

They cost me 75 Lempiras (Two pounds). I´ll let you know how I get on.

My Goretex is mouldy

After two months in the cloud forest my North Face Goretex jacket has gone mouldy on the inside. I have tried washing it in travel soap and a hot shower, but it didn´t help.

Can anyone suggest a suitable treatment, please?

The biggest fish in the sea…

Today was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Having been told by our instructor yesterday that ¨you´ll be very lucky to see a whale shark this time of year¨ we were very excited to come across one this morning on the way to our first ever open water dive (that makes us not only very lucky but possibly one in a million by the way!!).

The skipper was very adept at getting us in the right place to get off the boat and snorkel with this amazing animal - we saw three individuals in total - the biggest being seven metres - huge!

We managed to get in with it six times (although I missed one whilst throwing up, oops!). A couple of times we were wondering where it had got to, until we looked directly below us, and there it was - amazing!

They are quite slow moving and very pretty -  with spots all over their backs. We´re hoping to obtain pics from someone who was lucky enough to have housing for their camera (Keir you couldn´t post yours out to me could you? Hrmph, you swine!).

Chris would like to add two points - whale sharks are planktivores and therefore do not eat people. Number two, the feeding sharks attracted huge numbers of black terns, sooty terns, least terns and the occasional noddy.

None of this would have happened if it weren´t for Hurricane Felix causing upwelling and also ridding the island of tourists which meant we got on a resort boat we wouldn´t usually have been allowed on, so thanks to Felix and our bravery at staying on the island!

By the way,we also had fun on our two open water dives - saw a yellow stingray, some parrotfish and a trumpet fish. Oh and we just passed our written exam (I got 100% of course, hehe!).

Diving, exploring and relaxing in Utila

Before all the Hurricane Felix commotion we had embarked on diving instruction to gain our PADI Open Water certification. We’d spent two days learning and practising in shallow water, when we were ready to jump into the deep water the dive shop had to be shut up and packed away so we have had a couple of days to explore the island and relax (and eat the the food we’d bought to weather out the storm).

This morning we tried to walk to a bay on the north of this island, yet failed - we ended up in a mosquito ridden mangrove swamp and were forced to retreat. We are starting to learn that Utila is not an island for walking.

This afternoon we read our dive books and watched hummingbirds from the veranda - a rather beautiful species called a Green-breasted Mango frequents the feeder outside our room.

We start diving again tomorrow morning. We are in a class of two - just Fe and I - which is great. Our instructor is a terribly nice chap called Dick. You don’t meet many people called Dick these days.

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