Steve & Carol
Tue 30 Apr 2019 19:55
We anchored in French Harbour near Fantasy island on the South coast of Roatan - it's a protected anchorage behind a reef with the Fantasy island Marina and hotel resort nearby which we were able to use as a dinghy dock and we were also welcome in the marina's little Palapa Tiki bar, which has an honesty bar and the fridges are opened every evening (except Sunday) and you can help yourself to beer wine or soft drinks as long as you remember to write it down in the book and pay before you leave, you have to be careful the islands two monkeys don’t come and tip your drink over though 🤣.
The island also has a large number of Agouti which are tropical rodents.
Jeff successfully managed to get onto Canapasia and Di began the process of trying to find everything we had hidden or locked away!
Over the next few days we did some island exploration including diving in the cut the other side of the island where there is a wreck and on the outside of the reef, all very nice dives when the wind is down and visibility good.
Steve from Wanderlust hired a 14 seat minibus for the day and became our Island tour guide, first we headed northeast to the Flamingo Cultural Center in Punta Gorda - apparently you are meant to book to go so it was shut when we arrived - it did get opened for us to have a look inside but as it is mainly a visual museum whose mission is to serve as a cultural preservation site for their Garifuna ancestors and offers different presentations which teach about local history and traditions and include films and traditional dancing we didn’t get as much out of the visit as we could have.
Next we headed to the west end of the island, on the way we stopped at a computer place - When we were in Guanaja we found out that our ships computer had died for some reason better known to itself, it began to only come up with the message that an “operating system couldn’t be found” - Sam from Wanderlust had a look at it and tried a few tricks but it seems that especially in this part of the world we weren’t able to resuscitate it, therefore, we needed to buy a new hard drive, which we did successfully.
Afterwards it was on to West End for lunch in a beach restaurant
followed by a visit to the chocolate factory - excellent chocolate and then rum factory before heading back to find a shop which could sort our our local Claro sim card that hadn’t topped up but taken money from Steves account - we weren’t the only ones with the same problem and got it sorted eventually, while we did that others visited a marine store and some of the other shops, lastly we descended on the supermarket for a shop before heading back to Fantasy island.
Unfortunalty Steve and Sam couldn’t load anything on to the new hard drive so Steve took it back to the shop to do it for us a few days later while I had a day out with Di and Sharon at a shopping mall.
I visited Arch’s Iguana Farm - which isn’t a farm at all but an Iguana sanctuary / feeding station which Sherman Arch started to help protect Iguanas on the island - Iguana is historically a food source here, in more recent years they have become protected and killing them is against the law - however many of the poorer islanders see them s a meal and so they are still killed here for food, while I was there I met Sheman who is passionate about the Iguana’s who are free to come and go as they please except for a few babies who are kept in a cage until they are 2 years old to give them a better chance of survival. there are at times up to 4000 iguanas visiting his place although when I was there there were fewer as it is the mating season - all iguana eggs hatch in September on Roatan.
We also visited the Sloth and Monkey sanctuary which homes / rescues unwanted pets, it's a bit of a tourist attraction and although some of the monkeys were in small cages they do all get let out at different times on the day and the sloths are free all the time , we didn’t visit until the day before we left French harbour - we were unsure how we felt about the caged animals, as well as the Sloths there are Capuchin and Spider monkeys, Macaws - who can live to 110 years old so totally unsuitable to have as a pet anywhere in the world, Green parrots, who live to 90 - apparently almost every house hold has at least one and they have to be left in wills to someone to look after, all which have been rescued. We were allowed in with the capuchin monkeys, macaws and parrots and the highlight, to hold a sloth! Well it just hung on us really - didn't seem at all phased although they do not like to be petted so they just hang there and look around.
Sargassum seaweed is a problem almost everywhere in the Western Caribbean and Roatan is no different, on the resort at fantasy island some of the workers spent every day collecting it and cleaning the beach - one day we offered to hep our for a bit of exercise - as a bonus we found some elusive frog fish - we have hunted for frog fish when we dive and never found one - here we found 3 or 4 sargassum frog fish, One I relocated to the next bay as it kept returning too near the shore.
We did a bit of socialising - Mojito and Tourterelle came up from the West End anchorage when there was strong westerly winds so we had to have a drink with them at the Palapa Tiki bar.
Slowly the rally members began to head off until Canapasia (now with Di Jeff and their daughter Claudia on board to ensure Jeff didn’t do anything at all on passage except lay down on a bed) Quicksilver and us were the last S2R2 boats there, after saying good bye to Fergus, Nev and their poorly dog Molly on Two drifters who were staying there longer while Fregus did his Dive master the 3 of us headed off to Utila and had a good sail which Jeff managed well.