Saturday, May 28, 2011

Same old problems!

The same old problems keep cropping up, whether it be that the cows have returned to my yard and are destroying my landscaping, disturbing my sleep, driving my dogs crazy, or the return of Ex-President Mel Zelaya. They both have about the same affect. Well, my sleep is not disturbed nor the dogs are not being driven crazy by the return of Mel, but both have the potential of destroying the landscape so to speak.

For the past several weeks our closest neighbor has allowed his cows to roam this end of the island to graze as his pastures are dry and there is not sufficient feed to sustain the animals. We have dealt with this in the past by approaching the owner and insisting they round up their animals or chasing them off ourselves. We have run barbed wire across the front of our beach to keep out his cows and horses but this is temporary as the fence posts eventually rot and the barbed wire rusts. Our property is totally fenced off except for the land facing the sea and all we ask is that the owner maintain his fence and gates so the cows will not get out. The owner is not willing to control his cows and even his workers don't bother to round up the animals. My husband had tried, on 3 separate occasions recently to speak to the man and has been rudely brushed off and ignored. We finally had to set a meeting with the judge this Monday.

These same cows have wandered over to Wilmont Bay, on the other side of this end of the island (quite a walk), and destroyed the water line over there and some solar lights. The owner was called and responded on that occasion by sending his men to retrieve his cows. This was unusual but since substantial property was being destroyed he probably thought it was best to react.

It seems the only way people confront each other about problems on this island is through a judge. No one is willing to talk face to face in a civilized manner. If they are approached, rather than calmly listening, taking in the facts and working with the individual to a satisfactory end, they become belligerent and defensive. It seems they have not learned the finer points of discussion and agreement in a "gentlemanly like fashion". The only time Hondurans will complain to others is if it is someone "beneath" them and then they bark orders. If is a third party they simply are sounding off to someone just to vent. If the person they want to approach is their equal, they will not discuss the matter nor even approach them concerning the problem. We have never seen the logic in this for surely it would save time and frustration to try and solve your problems by yourself first.

Anyway, we now have to go to the judge and try and get a solution as these cows are eating my flowers, hibiscus, clover, grass, disturbing my sleep, littering my yard with cow manure (yes, I know it is good fertilizer but my dogs also like to eat it!) and trampling and destroying my various potted plants.

The other activity that is going on in Honduras which is also upsetting is the possible return of Mel. He has managed to bully, cajole, argue his way back into the country. The present President evidentially cannot stand up to him and I believe that Mel's return signals a downward slide for the country. Riots, killing, more corruption (can it get any worse?), lawlessness and possibly a turn to communism/socialism. Ties are being sought with Chavez and the OAS which is not necessarily a good thing for this country. Groups of people who are easily bought/swayed will be out in force rioting, stealing, burning and hurting others just because they can be bought off and seem to enjoy the anonymity of being in a group where they can cover their faces and reek havoc on people. The country will be hurt financially with his return and tourism I am afraid will fall off drastically.

In general, this should not affect the islands much as all the rioting goes on mainly in the Capital. However, to fly into the country, one usually passes through San Pedro Sula. While, for the most part, it is quite safe to fly in there and tourists should not encounter problems, the U.S. Embassy, if any small outbreak happens, will discourage people from coming here. Now, people can fly direct to Roatan and over to the island on another direct flight, if there are enough people to justify the final leg of the flight. Otherwise they must fly Roatan or San Pedro to La Ceiba to Guanaja. Again, not a real problem except that you usually have to spend an extra day and overnight it in one of the cities.

So, we are facing on this island a lot of cow shit and bullshit, neither of which I am happy about.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The demise of a sailboat

On Wed. evening around 6 p.m. my husband and I could barely could make out the sail of a small craft "in the vicinity" of the interior reef between our house and Southwest Cay. I had noticed the boat earlier in the afternoon anchored off the Red Cliff area which is just south of our home. This is a bad area to anchor as there are a lot of hidden boulders and small corral reefs. Evidently the Captain of the boat had decided to lift anchor late in the day and by the time they reached the area in front of our house evening was falling. It's sails were up and we could not ascertain the exact position of the boat as it was too dark.

When we arose in the morning we saw that the boat had gone aground on the reef trapped there all night. Shortly thereafter a larger boat came from Bonnaca to try and pull it off the reef. The photo above was of an attempt to haul the boat off the reef that day. After much maneuvering, tugging and pulling, the tow line snapped and this photo was taken just before that happened. Several more attempts were made during the day until, finally at about 4:30 p.m., the captain apparently decided to abandon any hope of freeing the vessel and loaded his orange dingy into a cabin cruiser; presumably with other possessions - and rode away.

Just before noon on Friday, Mike and I got in our boat when we noticed that the standing rigging was now gone so as to take photos before the rest of the boat was torn apart for scrap. Evidently the Captain did not have the funds to make any further rescue attempts at a rescue, which would have proven very costly, nor did he have insurance on the boat. He gave up and left the boat to anyone who wanted to salvage her.

My husband managed to take a couple of photos of the boat as it sat forlornly on the reef awaiting its destiny. It was already being stripped of re-usable parts and, we expect, in a very short time there will be little left to mark its passing.

I don't know who the owner is, what country the boat is registered in, how old it is, how long it had been at sea or even the name of the boat. All we know is that someone's home is gone, sitting on the reef as a temporary marker to others to be aware of the dangers when approaching an unknown island and to travel when it is light enough to see what may lie ahead.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sad News

I really hate to pass on sad news but, then, all news in the world, unfortunately, is not always bright and happy.

I was recently informed of the passing of Mr. Jim Chapman who died on Tuesday, May 10th,
in a hospital in Houston, Texas. Jim had been battling a rare form of Leukemia for several years and had just undergone his second bone marrow transplant. I do not many details except that there will be no funeral or service and his family intends to bring his ashes to Guanaja to be dispersed.

It will be hard to think of Linda and Jim as just Linda now. They had been married for many years and had one son who is to be wed this year in Australia. I am sure that everyone that knew Jim would want to send their condolences to the familym thus the reason for this blog.

I know that my heart goes out to Jim's family and the long road ahead towards healing.

On the day Jim died (from what I understand it was about noon in Texas), there appeared in the sky over Guanaja, from about noon to 2:00 p.m. a huge Sun Dog. Now, while this phenomena is not rare, it does not appear often on the island. I have only seen one other one in the 14 years I have been here and not near the size of this one. Of course, one must be looking up to know that is is occurring so, of course, it is missed quite often.

Was it coincidence that this Sun Dog appeared about the same time Jim passed on? Either way, it was a fitting tribute to a life leaving the Earth.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May Day!!

May has started out well. First, on May 1st my husband and I celebrated 30 years together! Neither of us can believe we have been together that long. Time has flown by so fast and we have been lucky enough to have experienced a lot together.

To celebrate I arranged for a 7-course lunch at George & Ginger's Clearwater Paradise Resort. As usual, G&G did not let us down. The day was beautiful, the sky pristine and the water calm and blue. G&G have done a lot to the looks of their resort since our last visit; one thing being a new, beautiful stone walkway up to the house. It was beautifully done and, as I guessed, a lot of hard, back-breaking work had gone into the construction. Rocks were brought over from a hillside across the bay and had to be broken up (by hand), carted to their boat, brought over to their shore, unloaded and broken up again to fit into the crevices waiting for them. Sorry, I did not take a photo and should have. But, if you want to see it make a reservation and come on down!

We started the meal with a lovely fruit and cheese appetizer and mimosas. This was followed by homemade french bread and roasted garlic to spread on it. We next had a chilled pea soup which was absolutely wonderful and then a beautiful romaine lettuce salad with pickled beets, walnuts and a tasty dressing. The main course was fresh green beans out of their garden with a Dijon mustard sauce and slices of chicken breast rolled and filled with vegetables and popovers fresh out of the oven. The outside of the chicken was coated with coconut and the whole thing topped with a tempting raspberry sauce. This was a new specialty of George's and worth the effort he put into it. Desert was a lemon soufflĕ which was light, fluffy and the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

Our host and hostess did everything to make our day special and we enjoyed visiting with them after the dinner was over. To top the day off, there was a spectacular sunset on the way home which my husband managed to catch on "film."

Then, this week, we were rewarded with rain! We are in the dry season and our lawn and plants were turning a dangerous shade of brown. Along came rain Monday night and lasted through Wednesday mid-morning. I had to miss my Yoga class on Wednesday as I did not want to go out in the rain and be drenched before I got there, but this was a small price to pay for the rain. Do not fear, I did my Yoga routine at home. Maybe the fact that I did my laundry Monday and left it hanging out had something to do with the rain??!

There was a surprise on our dock this month also. I may have mentioned it in a recent blog, but in case I did not, we found two baby boas at separate times out on the dock. These were not on the shore, but out on the dock on a post over the water. Each time we encountered a snake which was about 4' long and quite young. My husband, who has a knack for naming animals/pets christened the first snake "Bucky Boa". Bucky I and Bucky II were captured and taken to Manati and given to Annette to be set lose to reduce the mouse/rat population under the restaurant. However, Bucky III was found last week on the dock resting on the same piling which is partially covered by a plank. It appeared that the snake had just downed a meal and was digesting it. The photo here does not do the snake justice and its position was so that it made it difficult to photograph, but I did my best. The snake stayed on this same post, throughout the rough weather and high seas for 5 days digesting its prey.

On the sixth day it had taken its leave and was nowhere to be seen. Well, that is until this morning when we returned from the Cay after our weekly grocery shopping trip. We had some carburetor trouble coming back so, while I drove, my husband attempted to check out what was wrong. Lo and behold after completing the task he announced that he had found Bucky III - he was coiled up on our battery! The snake had to have slithered out onto the dock and across the rope tying the boat to the dock. It somehow missed the water which collects where the bilge pump is to get to the top of the battery. How it endured the boat ride to and from the Cay I do not know, but there he was all curled up. By the time we docked he had slithered to the far side of the battery and could not be seen. I guess he'll come out when he is good and ready.

In the meantime, CocoNut, our dog, stands guard on the dock waiting anxiously to greet Bucky III!