For those that want to know the details of the trip you are going to love this one…..here goes:
I was graciously invited to go literally the evening before our departure, by Mitch, who owns the diving operation at Alton’s Dive Center. This trip had been planned for awhile in conjunction with his brother Burney (visiting from Germany along with a close diving friend Rafael). Heiner who is also German was invited to go as well. The plan was to go straight to Guanaja island and spend three nights there at different hotels/resorts, fishing and diving during the day. Well the next morning Mitch had to stay on Utila but insisted we carry on with the trip so we left as scheduled with Joe his local dive boat captain. We wound up doing a 110ft deep dive on a 300 ft ship wreck off of Roatan, which is the island in between Utila and Guanaja (65 mile trip from Utila-Guanaja). So we did not make it to Guanaja that evening but rather wound up anchored off a tiny little island 12 miles from Guanaja called Pidgeon Cay…………which offered no real protection in a 15-20 knot wind. Mind you we are on one of Alton’s dive boats, the Miss Trinity, no facilities-head-bunks etc…..anchored in 10 feet of water….2-4 swell……..Joe and I knew we had to maintain a close anchor watch because of the conditions and the fact there was shallow reef all around us……….I spent a good part of the night wedged in between two 55 gallon fuel drums and the port side dive tank bench laying on the nonskid fiberglass deck to prevent being tossed around all night…I had enough space to lay on my side but not on my back…needless to say it was a worthless night. So we basically had cruised all day to reach this tiny little island to be miserable for the next 10 hours………
The next morning we headed across to Guanaja in a very nasty head sea which subsided once we got within the lee of its mountains…..we trolled for a couple of hours and lost a giant wahoo. We then cruised along the coast line of Guanaja and navigated our way through the reef to a small fishing settlement called Mangrove Bight….very pretty place with very friendly people. We were able to get a mid morning breakfast that was really good…black beans-thick pork-flour tortillas and scrambled eggs. Then we bought a local gent a can of gas for his skiff and he guided us inside the reef line down to Bo’s Bush Island House…….Bo was not around however we hooked up with the owner of Guanaja Island Club located a 200 yards down the beach and stayed there that night. After securing the lodging we did a dive out front…literally because there is a reef break there that has 80 feet of water that comes in toward the beach within about 300 yards. We had a nice dinner and breakfast at the bar-restaraunt….after breakfast the next morning we headed to the far end of Guanaja to make another dive however it was rough seas and we did not locate the dive site that had been recommended. So we kept going and came around to the other side of Guanaja where the cay islands and main town are all located. We stopped at Graham’s Place for a long lunch and then cruised through the tropical highway between the small cays and the main island of Guanaja….somewhat like the Abaco Highway in and around Elbow Cay but these cays are much smaller.
I have links to Graham’s Place-Bo’s Bush Island House and Guanaja Island Club under the “Blog Roll”…..I recommend a quick view of each.
Instead of spending the night at a hotel/resort we for some reason wound up heading to Southeast Cay, which is off by itself-another 2 miles away from everything–deserted…….meaning we spent the third and final night on the Miss Trinity again. At least it was calm……..all we had left to eat was basically some bread fruit which we cut up and fried…very good by the way…better then french fries….but alas we caught on a hand line a 15lb Permit while we were still cooking up the bread fruit so we wound up having very fresh fish under a cloudless-moonless night—-under a billion billion Carl Sagan stars…..Prior to settling in at the anchorage, we did a shallow dive around the island. So once again my bed consisted of a fiberglass non-skid deck.
The next morning we ate cookies and crackers for breakfast as we did another hour troll off of Guanaja…we had a total of 2 rods….an old Shimano reel and a new 6 ought reel……….we then headed back towards Roatan…passing by beautiful Pidgeon Cay…our first night’s hell hole and then down the opposite side of Roatan (from that of when we came over the first day). The weather was great and I was able to see the entire length of Roatan……high end houses and resorts scattered along the way…….we did a final dive…wall dive at the very tip of Roatan closest to Utila…literally 100 yards off a high-end resort…it was a beautiful dive…saw lots of grouper and mutton snapper plus quite a few lobster….unfortunately instead of coming up when the coral wall ended we for some unknown reason (I was not in charge) spent the next 15-20 minutes hovering into la la land so when we did surface we were a quarter mile offshore…caught in a swift offshore current heading to Utila…..so if you read my previous blog you know what happened…..we wound up about 3/4 of a mile offshore after drifting for another 45 minutes instead of 100 yards off shore where the wall is situated…. I finally took charge (of at least me)–dumped my scuba gear and swam a 1/2 mile back toward the tip of Roatan in over 1000ft of water, against the current, knowing that eventually Captain Joe would start searching offshore after exhausting efforts looking for us along the wall that was only 100-200 yards off the bank. When I thought that Joe was now looking offshore I started doing very exaggerated high swimming strokes and kicking my red fins out of the water which is exactly what caught his attention…..he ran out to me and we then headed off in the direction of where my three German buddies were drifting……so everyone was safe and sound……we then headed back the final 18 miles to Utilla with an hour interruption of bad fuel clogging up the fuel system and re-priming the fuel lines…we were back on Utila by 3:30…….
Now back at my apartment at Lazy Daze after squaring away the Miss Trinity…I met the newest Lazy Daze guests…..Adam-Nils-Landon-Stacey and Justine of Edmonton Canada (great people by the way)…somehow they talked me into going out on Utila Town with them and we got back in about 3:30 AM….it was a good way to get rid of a lot of built up stress but obviously another night without much sleep.
The good……I did get to see the entire coastline(s) of Roatan and Guanaja plus enjoyed 4 dives (while submerged)….the bad….read above coupled with the fact that we spent a grand total of 2 hours at Mangrove Bight and 2 hours at Graham’s place and a late afternoon-night at Guanaja Island Club on a 4 day-3 night adventure to Guanaja….so we stopped at a grand total of 3 places on Guananja and spent less than 7 daylight hours on land there……not sure where the 4 days went……….
To say the least it was an adventure and it was a misadventure…First time since I was a kid that I was on an island hopping boat cruise when I was not the one in charge-captain……..so for 4 days/3 nights I was with a Honduran captain and 3 German men on a dive boat……….I still would have gone even if I knew we would spend 2 of 3 nights at anchor on the Miss Trinity, but I would have been better prepared and brushed up on German-not…...we survived one another because they all loved my music mixes and the Miss Trinity has big speakers!……
I do want to thank captain Joe and also state that I had a very good time getting to know my German dive buddies and boat mates and to say a sincere thank you to each one of you for an adventure not to be forgotten and I apologize for the name misspellings ….plus a big thank you to Mitch for inviting me…I know we would have been sleeping in beds if you would have made the trip….happy tropical trails to all the crew of the Miss Trinity. By the way I have posted various pictures of this trip on the “Guanaja” Page of this blog and more are in route.
Till Next Tide,
Mister Blue Sky
Happy Valentine’s Day Carrie!