The Cruising Adventures of Joan & Ben Schuetz aboard
Part 13: Yawn, it's about time
It has been quite a while since the last newsletter and we don't want anyone to start calling the Coast Guard.
After leaving the island of Utila, we had a really nice cruise to Roatan where Francesca found secure anchorage in French Harbor. French Harbor means a lot of different things to different people. The anchorage is east of the town, and behind the barrier reef. It is protected from north and easterly winds, but as we found, it can still get really breezy there. The bad weather night at Lagoona Escondido also had cruisers in French Harbor hanging on for dear life with winds in excess of 50 knots.
After a few days of 25 to 30 knots winds, we opted to go into the little inner harbor at French Harbor and tie up at the Yacht Club. Well, they call it that, but there is only room for a half dozen boats. Still, we were glad not to have to worry about weather for a while. We met Allison on the sailing vessel s/v "Dreamer". She is a hoot. Their boat suffered bad damage in Belize during hurricane Iris. They had been anchored in the wonderfully protected bay of New Haven during the hurricane, but the protection was hardly sufficient. Dreamer dragged its several anchors and wound up high and dry in the mangroves. It took 16 days with machetes, shovels and a dozen cruiser's boats to get her free. Dreamer has a steel hull and there was no significant hull damage, but the rigging and engine suffered. At this writing Allison's husband is in the States getting a new engine. When we were swapping stories, Allison would say, "I'll call that story and raise you two". Her stories were always better than ours too.
Brick Bay and French Harbor, Roatan, Honduras
Allison on Dreamer
We stayed in French Harbor until the 13th of March, then motored to the mainland port of La Ceiba. What a surprise. The cruising guides have little to say about the north coast of Honduras, but they aren't up to date. There is a small river a few miles east of town. Just inside of the river's mouth there is a new modern boat yard and a bit further up stream a small marina. Tony and Rita Vorleiter, are of German origins, but started Lagoon Marina from scratch about 4 years ago. They have really done it right. There is room for about a dozen boats, a beautiful large new pool, a resident white faced monkey who stays in a tree near Francesca, and an all around excellent facility.
You could call it a jungle marina. There is a man in a cayuca who cruises the river daily shooting iguanas with a sling shot. I am told they are tasty, something like chicken (uh-huh). There are also large snook in the river and their presence is frequently revealed by their wakes; looking like small submarines. A local, shoots them with his spear gun from the bow of a small boat. And in the wee hours of the morning when it is very quiet, you can hear the howlers not far away. The town of La Ceiba has anything one might need and the cost of fruits and vegetables is comparable to the Rio. We have found a little patch of heaven here.
Some friends we met in the Rio, Mary and Carl aboard s/v "Camryka", have put in here also. They did bottom work at the boat yard and then took up residency just in front of Francesca. We have also met Theresa and Al Jacobs, who live aboard a sail boat, but who are principal and teacher at a La Ceiba school that had been sponsored by Standard Fruit Co. Al used to be a US Special Forces officer, and Theresa has just received her PhD. But, Standard Fruit has pulled their sponsorship and they are soon to move to Venezuela for new Administrative and teaching positions. You wouldn't believe how good they have it, so I won't even tell. US teachers would be sick with envy. With took Theresa and Al out to the Cochino Island for a weekend and had a terrific time. Theresa and Al loaded the boat down with all manner of goodies.
My cousin, Ned VanSteenwyk has been living at Tegucigalpa, Honduras for the last 22 years. We got in touch with him a few weeks ago and he came to visit us last weekend. He brought his wife Marta and one of his daughters, Anna Lou. I hope I got the spellings right. They stayed a couple days and we really enjoyed their visit. Ned has been with US AID on and off for many years all over Central and South America and is now a consultant for them. He also has a business providing solar panel systems to areas where there is no power. It is so interesting talking to people that have traveled widely in these regions. The stories are wonderful. (call you and raise you two.)
If the weather holds this weekend, we are taking Theresa and Al to the Cochina Islands about 20 miles to the north east. We have heard a lot of good stuff about the islands and are anxious to experience it. Good snorkeling, island trails and a lodge with good food. The Cochinas are set aside as a Honduran Park and are only sparsely inhabited.
Other than a great life here, there hasn't been much else to report. We plan to begin the return trip to the States sometime next month. In the fall, however, we want to return. We can't get enough of this area.
Joan, Ben & Maggie