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Total Nonstop Wrestling Action (Forum) on Roatan

27 Apr

No wait… that already exists. Good thing I created the Roatan Vortex Forum instead.

Now, so far I am the only member (compared to the Wrestling Forum which has over 170,000 members and close to 5 million posts) but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.

There are forums out there that include discussions about Roatan, so why the Roatan Vortex Forum?

Some are geared toward vacationing on Roatan, or at least sub-categories are: Trip Advisor. Others focus on the life of an Expat Abroad: Expat Forum, again, you have to search for a sub-category specific to Roatan (good luck finding Roatan.) And then there are those that are for a community of people who share a common interest: Diving forums.

The time has come to pull them together in one really simple, easy to use, minimal rules (don’t even like the word), location.


Visitors, Newbies (recently moved to Roatan), Expats: Roatan SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) unite! Let’s talk about Roatan!!!

Who Can Post?
Everyone! Just remember to keep it about Roatan—except for the “Just Because” category. You will have to register to contribute; if you’d rather not add your two cents worth, you are still welcome as a Guest and can peruse the forum all you want.

This is where I’m supposed to give you the rules of posting, but, you’ll know if what you posted wasn’t acceptable (rude, crude, nasty, or possible infringement of copy-right material etc.) because as the Moderator, I’ll delete it.

Questions? Don’t be shy, ask away!
So it’s happening… the Roatan Vortex is pulling you here! You are very excited, but wait… Where should you stay? What about the snorkelling and diving? Will you see Seahorses? Dining options? Transportation? What cruise port will you arrive at (there’s more than one?) And the ever popular: are there bugs, is it safe, and will it rain when I’m there? Go ahead ask all you want! The more specific and the less likely a crystal ball is needed to answer, the more responses you will get.

Write a review! We want to hear all about it… really!
You visited Roatan, and had a blast! Be sure to share with everyone; what you saw, where you stayed, and how much fun you had!!! If something wasn’t to your satisfaction we want to know about that too.

Roatan SME’s and Newbies, you know best!
Living on Roatan? Want to share a great place to dine, a business that we should know about? Tell us all about it. Feel free to share your Roatan businesses and links here too.

Please note: Specific details or names of individuals involved; surrounding dissatisfaction are best shared via direct email contact, rather than on this forum (sorry, another rule.)

Coming soon: There will be a handy dandy form for sharing your Roatan experience; in the meantime just tell us all about it right here!

Roatan – Home Sweet Home
So you want to move to Roatan, great idea! I’m sure you have questions: What are the educational options for my kids? Can I buy lactose free milk? Can I bring my pets? What about volunteering? The sample questions I have included are pretty vague… remember, the more specific, the more answers you’ll get.
And if you’ve made the move to Roatan, you can answer some of them. You’ve already started sharing on “The Insider’s Guide for Moving to Roatan” which if any of your suggestions are used in the soon to be released book: your reward is my undying gratitude… only! :-)

Just Because!
Do you ever wonder why? I have questions about those truly important things in life; what’s in marshmallows that make them taste like—well—marshmallows? Are hermit crabs born with a starter shell? Why are there speed bumps on bumpy roads? And why the heck can’t I snap my fingers?

Sometimes I just want to know; what was your favourite toy when you were a kid? What makes you smile? The name of a book that you think I might enjoy?

This is the place to ask and answer those important questions. You can even talk about wrestling here… if you really want to!

What I’ve learned on Roatan

11 Mar

I learned a bunch of stuff this week, and want to share! Some of it directly relates to first time visitors to Roatan, some came from friends on the Island that I’ve known for a long time. There is a tidbit or two from new friends who have contacted me here. And then there is the profound insight I got from watching a classic movie the other night (that I haven’t seen in many years) called, The Stepford Wives.

First Time Visitors
More specifically—first time Canadian visitors. Every Monday until mid May, the Sunwing charter out of Toronto arrives (Montreal just finished for this season); I hang out at the airport, not because I have a job with Sunwing or anything like that, but just because I love meeting new arrivals to Roatan, especially my fellow Canadians! Now before you starting fearing being accosted by the crazy lady, smiling at you as you come through the (one and only) arrival gate at the Roatan Airport, don’t worry… just think of me as your Walmart Greeter on Roatan!

On occasion I’m meeting people I know. Most recently it was a family member and friend, who were staying at my place for a week. Prior to the visit they were hesitant to travel to Roatan. After all, it must be dangerous to go to Honduras! I’m happy to report that they found out that not only are they as safe here, they also discovered that Roatan is a pretty cool place to hang out!

Thanks to their keen observations, I have to up-date 10 Tips to Not Get Treated Like a Tourist. #11 Don’t wear sunglasses! I know, I never noticed this before, but the vast majority of people wearing sunglasses on Roatan are tourists.

I also learned something about the Sunwing charter. This weekend Daylight Savings starts. We don’t do Daylight Savings on Roatan, there will be no moving our clocks ahead one hour, but Toronto does! That means everyone who is leaving this Monday (March 14) has to be at the Roatan Airport one hour earlier than they originally thought!… I’ll give you a few seconds to figure that one out… Still unsure what I’m talking about? Try this… when you arrived this past Monday (March 7) there was a one hour time difference between Roatan and Toronto, but when you leave Monday, March 14, there will be a two hour time difference.

Should keep that info handy for the cruiseship schedules too! Ship time is not Roatan time!

Island Friends
I recently started Roatan Vortex on Facebook. I share lots of pictures of day to day life on Roatan, articles about Roatan that I find around the web Hecktic Travel, and updates of the Roatan Vortex show on Roatan Radio.

Me

I was at Infinity Bay, West Bay Beach on Sunday, and met up with a friend who I had requested to be a Roatan Vortex friend on Facebook. I asked why he hadn’t accepted me as a friend.

What I learned? He didn’t realize it was me! Here is a list of my aliases to help out: Roatan Vortex, DJ Genevieve, Genevieve Ross, (formerly) Genny Ross-Barons and Gennyca.

Me

New Friends
Some I have met through Trip Advisor, Frommer, Fodor, Lonely Planet, and more often than not through Roatan Vortex. Got a question about visiting Roatan? I’ll do my best to answer… or make a suggestion of where you can find out what you want to know. One of the questions I was recently asked requested I give some inside info by comparing two Roatan resorts. It was suggested however, that since I “did business” with both resorts—it was okay if I preferred to not reply.

What I learned? I need to let you all know that I am not affiliated with any businesses on Roatan (or anywhere else for that matter.) Any and all inside information I share is based solely on my personal experience and/or knowledge of the location or service. I just love to share Roatan from an inside point of view—ain’t nobody paying me to do this!

Profound Insight
I watched The Stepford Wives, the 1975 movie on TV the other night, adapted from the novel by Ira Levine (not to be confused with the 1994 remake with the same name—that one was just plain dumb.) I hadn’t seen the movie in quite a few years, and thoroughly enjoyed watching it again. The suspense, the drama… would Joanna escape before it was too late!?

In the manner I’ve become accustom to since moving to Roatan I couldn’t help but glean out the veiled message, the profound insight, the truisms about life on Roatan… oh-oh… I’ve surpassed the word count I like to stay within for the stories I post here on Roatan Vortex! I think I’ll save this one for the next one I write…

To ensure you don’t miss out!

Enter your email address:

When a new story is posted at Roatan Vortex, you’ll be one of the first to know about it. Don’t worry I won’t pass your email address on to anyone, I just love to share Roatan… and I’d hate for you to miss out!

Just one more thing I want to share today! The Roatan Daycare Center website now includes a BLOG! That’s right we be blogging! The first story is now posted, be sure to check back often for more!

An insider’s view of day to day life on a Caribbean Island

26 Jan

There are obvious benefits to living on the Island of Roatan: The tropical climate, jungle foliage climbing to the highest peaks, sugar soft white beaches, all surrounded by the crystal clear Caribbean Sea. Then there are the less obvious benefits that come to light when you hang out here for a while—they too are worthy of recognition! What started out as a list of Roatan Vortex things that pulled me in, transformed into—Drum roll please!

The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island was born!

A celebration of those everyday moments that make living on Roatan extra special! From an insider’s point of view, you too will experience: Watching the sun set while watching the moon rise ***** Not having to know how to drive to get a driver’s license ***** An afternoon nap is encouraged ***** Mangoes, lots of mangoes ***** No worries it will snow in October or April ***** Talking to a gecko in the kitchen ***** The art of eating ice cream on Roatan ***** and more!

77 tidbits of information that only an insider would know. With the bonus of 13 FULL stories that delve a little deeper into the Roatan Vortex experience!

The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island is now available to order at Lulu and in a few weeks will also be available from Amazon–they need a little extra time to get the cataloging done–I think they operate on “Island time.”

The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island will be available for purchase on Roatan too! I’m in the process of having books shipped in–but, I know Roatan is on “Island time!” I’ll keep you updated as to when The Roatan Vortex… An insider’s view of day to day life… on a Caribbean Island will be here and where you can purchase your copy.

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Roatan Vortex now on Facebook too! New friends always welcomed!

Just CLICK here: Roatan Vortex | Create Your Badge

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And be sure to listen to the Roatan Vortex Show, every Saturday starting at 10 AM Roatan Time (CST) on 101.1FM Roatan Radio Live streaming around the world!

If you are currently on Roatan be sure to come out this Sunday (January 30) to the Grand opening of the new studio on Half Moon Bay, next to Sundowner’s, West End, from 1-5 PM. Meet the DJ’s, hear some great music, hang out on the beach, and okay… maybe stick around to catch a perfect sunset too!

10 Tips to Not Get Treated Like a Tourist

29 Nov

10 Tips to Not Get Treated Like a Tourist

West Bay Beach

From the moment you arrive to the glorious Island of Roatan surrounded by the Caribbean Sea, with white sand beaches, and lush jungle flora & fauna extending to the highest ridges, if you look and act like a tourist—you will get treated like one.

Admittedly even though I’ve lived on Roatan for more than three years, I still on occasion get mistaken for a tourist solely based on the fact that I obviously wasn’t born here. But for the most part I don’t get approached with insistent offers of souvenirs or a tour of the Island anymore. Now, there is nothing wrong with being a tourist. But there is a whole new facet that can be added to your visit to Roatan if you blend in a little bit. The following 10 tips helped me out. I’m sure they’ll work for you too!

1. Do not wear anything made of synthetic fibres
A dead giveaway! Not only did I stand-out, I was unbearably uncomfortable wearing a non-breathable fabric. This of course doesn’t apply to my swimwear, which is an assemblage of manmade fabrics designed to keep everything where it belongs—you know what I mean.

2. Do not wear new un-scuffed running shoes
…especially with knee socks! And at all cost avoid wearing sandals with socks…especially knee socks. Personally, I was a flip-flop’s only no socks of any sort kinda gal even before I moved to Roatan (which was no easy feat in the wintertime where I’m from.) I had no choice but to wear what the weather dictated. In-turn, if you are planning on doing a canopy tour or going hiking on Roatan do wear appropriate footwear with socks…just not knee socks.

3. No t-shirts with:
Mickey or Minnie Mouse, or the name of another Caribbean Island printed on it. I had visited many Caribbean Islands before moving to Roatan and always got the t-shirt. But wearing those t-shirts on Roatan is like working for Coca-Cola and wearing something with a Pepsi logo on it…not cool. And as for Mickey or Minnie Mouse—Roatan isn’t Disney World—it’s better!

4. Dress for the weather
If the temperature is below 24C (75F) wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt. That’s downright cold for those of us that live here and have become acclimatized. I used to be able to deal with temperatures below freezing for a few months every year. Now, just holding a glass with ice in it makes me cold.

5. Minimal (if any) precious metal and gemstone jewellery*
The golden rays of sun by far outshine anything I could adorn myself with. The sparkle glistening on the shimmering Caribbean Sea can’t be matched. I quit trying to compete.

6. No big fat wallet jammed in your back pocket or purse*
I carry only the ID I need, with cash (US Dollars or Lempiras) tucked away in various pockets. My Sear’s Card, Zeller’s point’s card, and Blockbuster card (to name just a few) are of no use here.

*These two points are not to scare you into thinking you will be attacked for your worldly possessions when you visit Roatan. Just as anywhere in the world you are, even your own neighbourhood for that matter. The more you look like you have something of monetary value to be relieved of—the more likely it is to happen.

7. Avoid sunburn lines at all cost
I fell asleep while lounging on the dock one afternoon, oh the sunburn I got. For the next few days (until the red tomato tinge of my skin settled down) I was teased relentlessly by friends on Roatan asking me why I was trying to look like a tourist. The flip side to that is if you are too pale. Now, I appreciate there isn’t much you can do to rectify that one until you spend some time here, just be sure to use sunscreen and ease into a healthy glow.

8. Minimal (if any) make-up
Natural beauty shines through (see #7 re: healthy glow.) Besides, make-up just runs down my face. The mascara and eyeliner that was intended to accentuate my eyes started to spread, giving me the appearance of a raccoon. Racoons are cute, but definitely not the look I’m going for.

9. Order a local beer like you know what you’re doing
The funny thing about this one is I’m not a beer drinker. But I did learn how a beer is ordered distinguishes a resident from a tourist.
• Salva Vida, ask for a Salva or “a Brown”—which is referring to the colour of the bottle
• Port Royal ask for a Port or “a Green”—same as above
• Imperial is what you ask for if the bar is out of Salva or Port
• Barena is just called Barena. Note: Salva drinkers will tease you about drinking Barena. But if you are partial to a beer similar to Corona this is the one you want to order.

And if you order a glass of wine (red or white) don’t look surprised when it is poured from a box not a bottle. I have become a boxed wine connoisseur.

10. Don’t check your watch every few minutes
I’m on Island time now. I don’t even wear a watch anymore. I do appreciate that as a visitor you are on a set schedule. But as hard as it may be to resist, repeatedly checking your watch is an absolute give-away that you are a tourist from a cruiseship! I mean, really would it be so bad if the boat left without you and you had to stick around Roatan for a little while longer. Perhaps it’s the Roatan Vortex pulling you in!

And for all of you Texans out there! I’m coming to visit your fine State this weekend and staying through Christmas. Got any tips for me? I’d love to hear from you!

This story can also be found at Honduras Weekly retitled “10 Tips to Avoid Being Mistaken for a Tourist.”

Roatan Weather

2 Oct

Frequently asked questions about Roatan, (besides inquires about the bugs), has to do with the weather.

The weather is the main attraction enticing people to this tropical Island nestled in the Caribbean Sea. It’s always summer! No need for cold weather clothing. No need for blankets on your bed. No need for central heating.

We never have to scrape frost off the vehicle windshield, or worry that the anti-freeze is topped up. No cold toes or frozen fingers. No need for fleece lined boots, gloves, or even socks—it’s always warm on Roatan.

The concern for some people is that it is too warm here.

Perhaps I am too use to it! When the temperature drops a degree or two below 27C there is a fine line between proclaiming, “Hey I haven’t sweated through even one outfit today.” or “Brrr, I’m cold.”

If you are going to spend an extended period of time on Roatan, you too will become acclimatized. However, if you are coming to visit for just a week or two you probably will want air-conditioning to escape from the heat. Personally I’m not a fan of air-conditioning. Going from hot, cold, and back to hot again, I find makes me more uncomfortable than throwing the windows open, praying for a breeze, and basking in the balmy weather. When there is no breeze a fan will suffice.

The number one question I get asked about the weather is, “Will it rain when I visit Roatan?”

Now I can understand wanting reassurance that it won’t. For three years running (before I moved to Roatan) I went on an Eastern Caribbean Cruise—none included a stop at Roatan, which is in the Western Caribbean.

The first year in March, the weather was glorious, no rain, plenty of sunshine and the best tan I’d ever gotten.
The second year in November, a couple of nice days, but there were more that couldn’t be called tropical. Not to mention on the way home to Ontario we drove through a raging snowstorm out of Buffalo.
The third year I went on a cruise in January, I checked and re-checked the Caribbean weather reports leading up to the week of travel. All looked great! Yah, right! The Sea was rough. The sun rarely peeked through the angry black clouds. And the sunlamp tan I had invested in before I left cold and snowy Ontario faded before we returned to port in New Orleans. And then it was snowing during the few hours we were there waiting for our flight back to Canada.

I was disappointed to say the least. But my point is that there are no guarantees.

Chances are, even during Rainy Season you will enjoy glorious, sunny, warm weather on Roatan, but it is possible the weather gods will not be working in your favour.

Rainy Season

When the heck is Rainy Season?
Technically, I think it starts right after Hurricane Season and then fizzles out by the end of February. Since 2007 I’ve experienced Rainy Season start by mid-September, lasting well into March. And, one year, it didn’t kick in until the end of November, and pretty much only rained at night.

The weather is equally as unpredictable where I’m originally from: one winter it doesn’t start getting cold and snowing until January. The next year, by the end of October, heavy, wet snow is on late blooming flowers that don’t stand a chance. And everyone is wearing fleece-lined jackets and toques—that’s Canadian for hat, eh!

Note: Weather conditions, on Roatan and Mainland Honduras, including Rainy Season and Hurricane information—are not the same! If you are checking weather reports for Honduras, be sure to confirm it is specifically for Roatan.

Hurricane Season

For whatever reason, Roatan gets spared the impact of the majority of hurricanes. The last one to do any significant damage on Roatan was Mitch in 1998. And even then the personal injury and damage to property was minimal compared to what happened on Mainland Honduras.

Within two week of moving to Roatan, warnings went out that Hurricane Felix was heading right for us!

Everyone started preparing; stocking up on supplies, boarding over windows, and tourists were evacuated. I had no intentions of leaving the Island and headed to a friend’s cabana (on higher ground.) The wait began, checking CNN’s live coverage as Felix slammed in to one Island and then the next! As it got closer to Roatan, it really looked like we were getting hit pretty hard too. But we weren’t! We never lost power, it never got windy, and there wasn’t even a gentle breeze—let alone hurricane force winds. Heck, cable didn’t even go out! In utter fascination we watched reports on CNN declaring that Roatan was in dire straits!

I was getting emails and phone calls from family and friends in Canada, convinced they wouldn’t get in-touch with me because I was riding out the storm in an emergency shelter somewhere on Roatan…I was on my neighbours porch playing Mexican Dominoes!

Most recently Tropical Storm Mathew was the concern. Just over a week ago it was coming our way. But it turned out to be no issue on Roatan for the majority of the population. There were reports after the fact of storm surge causing some flooding in a few areas. But for the rest of us it barely rained for a few hours. Now I’m not saying we didn’t get prepared—just in case, and I found out that we do have an Municipal Emergency Committee, which offers some comfort in knowing that they are preparing on a larger scale.

It turned out again that there was much ado about nothing. As one person so eloquently posted on Trip Advisor, “- the storm affected Roatan for what… maybe four hours… and we’ve kept this post going for four days!”

So again my point is that no matter where you are in the world—unpredictable, crappy weather happens!

Even Toronto, Ontario, Canada (an hour’s drive from my hometown) got hit hard by Hurricane Hazel. Now mind you that was in 1954.

The funny part of this whole thing is that the day after Tropical Storm Mathew wandered by, we had a couple of the hottest, most humid days I’ve ever felt here! And then a storm rolled in and dumped buckets of rain, the airport was closed at times, and the temperature dropped enough that I said, “Brrr, I’m cold.”

For those unfortunate visitors, who have been on Roatan this past week, they have had less than a Tropical Experience—I’m so sorry! There was no way of knowing this was going to happen. And you sure as heck wouldn’t have seen anything about it on CNN.

Cruising to Roatan?

15 Sep

Prior to moving to Roatan in 2007, I had taken cruises to various Caribbean Islands and enjoyed them all. Part of the fun was anticipating what each port of call would have to offer. But at the same time I also wanted to have some insight into what I would find before I arrived. I would search for information and try to absorb the details I could find. But there was never enough out there.

Now I live on Roatan, and I find myself on the other side of the equation. When I go grocery shopping, or to the hardware store, or even to pick up the mail, chances are I will see a cruise ship or two, docked at one or both of the ports here on Roatan. I observe visitors, in tour busses and taxis, or strolling through one of the towns exploring the unique hidden gem of Roatan.

The first time I saw a cruise ship sailing away from Roatan was at sunset on West Bay Beach more than three years ago. I was relaxing on a lounger, sipping a glass of wine, as the ship faded over the horizon. My thoughts were with those on that boat, knowing from personal experience that many were leaning on the rail at various levels of the ship, gazing back at Roatan.

They would soon be getting ready for dinner, or perhaps to catch a live production in the grand theatre. They would be recalling and sharing the Roatan they had been introduced to—most for the first time. As the daylight waned, and the twinkle of lights dotting the Island began to appear, some would feel the pull of the Roatan Vortex.

A lot has changed since that first encounter in 2007. I attended the ribbon cutting ceremony at Port of Roatan when my husband Dave was one of the musicians playing for the expansion of that port, and I followed the progress as the second port of call, Mahogany Bay, was developed.

At least twice every cruise season, friends (or friends of friends,) announce that they are visiting Roatan on a cruise and I take great pleasure in showing them around the Island. But I am always surprised to hear how little information they have about the port they will be arriving at. Or worse yet, their concern that it isn’t safe on Roatan!

So here is a little inside info on Cruising to Roatan!

I wanted to include a detailed map of Roatan, but an on-line search showed me there isn’t much to choose from. Even the Google Earth map is missing key information (West Bay Beach.) The best one I found came from the Town Center website at the Port of Roatan. Needless to say they don’t have a marker for Mahogany Bay, which is located near Dixon’s Cove, east of the airport. Click on image of map to enlarge detail.

Which cruise-line you are arriving with will determine which port your ship docks at. However, even if your ship is scheduled to dock at Mahogany Bay, the weather (high wind) may dictate your ship be diverted to The Port of Roatan.


The Port of Roatan is on the edge of Coxen Hole. The port includes the Town Center and offers on-site shopping, dining, and other attractions, but there is no beach. You can however walk from the ship in to Coxen Hole. When you exit the port you will find a stretch of local shops offering souvenirs, food & drink, and excursions (if you haven’t pre-booked one already) to other areas of the Island.

Inside info on Coxen Hole

I live in Sandy Bay directly across the Island from Coxen Hole. I usually drive into the town a few times a week, whether it is to get some groceries, stop at the hardware store, pharmacy, the bank, to get the oil changed on our vehicle, pay property taxes at the Municipal Building—all kinds of normal day-to-day activities. I’m involved with the Roatan Hospital and the Day Care both of those bring me to Coxen Hole regularly too. The first time I parked at the municipal lot and walked through town I admit I felt a little intimidated. As a blond haired, fair skinned woman I didn’t exactly blend in. The public areas were far different from what I was use to in Canada. But I quickly learned I had nothing to fear. Oh sure I still get asked if I want a taxi or tour guide, annoying at times, but certainly nothing threatening.

View from Grocery Store Parking Lot

The port at Mahogany Bay is quite different from The Port of Roatan. It is in an area that it is not possible to walk to a town or community. There is on-site shopping, dining, and a private beach (for cruisers only.) I have no personal pictures to share of the beach or other amenities and couldn’t find that they have a website, but here are some pictures I found on-line.

Making arrangements to meet family and friends who arrive at this port can be challenging. From the main road to the gate is a winding, steep, long path. I have some people coming for a visit in October and there are too many of them to fit in my vehicle so I will be renting a van for the day. The only problem is that it will be perceived that I am an independent tour guide and won’t be allowed through to the pick-up area. This means my guests will have to climb the hill to the main road where I will wait to meet them…definitely a challenge to coordinate.

Inside info on this area

Like I said previously, I don’t have personal pictures to share from this port because it is not an area that is easy to access. But I do drive past the main entrance (at the top of the hill above the port) regularly to go to French Harbour. That is where our insurance agent’s office is, the vet that takes care of my dog Mona, and my cat Baby. This is also the location of another grocery store I like to shop at, the print shop, and the library (that has recently moved and will be re-opening soon.)

While visiting Roatan, you may be taken back (at first) how under developed it looks compared to where you are coming from. But you will be awed by the breath-taking scenery, the crystal clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, soft white sand beaches, and tropical lush foliage extending to the highest ridges. There are many tourist attractions to participate in—if that is your cup of tea. Or perhaps lounging on a perfect beach or a driving tour of the Island is in your plans.

Whatever you choose, you can experience, first-hand, a unique to you way of life, and you will meet friendly people that will welcome you to the Global Village of Roatan.

Enjoy!

Note: I forgot to mention, Roatan time and cruise ship time are not necessarily the same. Be sure to confirm what the time is on the Island when making plans. Quite often the actual time on Roatan is 1 or 2 hours earlier than the ship time. Confused? I was when I picked up friends at the port and they thought I wasn’t coming, when I knew I was right on time.

Frog Rescuer

4 Sep

I moved to Roatan, Honduras for a few reasons, one of them because the Roatan Vortex was pulling me here…of course. Another reason was to embrace a simpler lifestyle, surrounded by the beauty that only nature can supply. The challenge everyday is to live in harmony with the glorious wonders of Roatan, while doing the least amount of damage to the natural balance. That might sound corny, but let’s face it pretty much everything made or introduced by humans for the comfort of humans does far more damage than good.

My sister Laurie chose the same idea, different location. When we were kids, for a period of time, my knick-name for her was Duh. I once locked her in a suitcase…well, she agreed to get in it, not like I forced her to, and she believed me when I said I wouldn’t lock it, hence the name Duh! She got wise to my evil ways and I couldn’t call her that anymore, but thirty odd years later I’ve come up with a new knick-name for her—Frog Rescuer.

Laurie aka Frog Rescuer hasn’t visited me on Roatan yet. Some things about it appeal to her, but for the most part she is content hanging out in Canada with her husband Glen and their two cats. A few years back they decided to move to a new subdivision in Guelph, Ontario, the biggest attraction for them was to be next to Guelph Lake, with meandering paths nearby to stroll or go for a bike ride. They weren’t alone with this desire to live closer to nature while still having the advantages of being in the city. The building lots quickly sold and one by one new houses sprang up around them.

In a recent email she shared with me a crusade she had begun. It would seem that living closer to nature—while nice for the humans—it wasn’t working so well for the critters.

My sister’s home has window-wells around the basement windows, as do all her neighbour’s homes. One day she noticed some frogs trapped in one of the window-wells. Now, Guelph frogs are not like Roatan tree frogs. They can jump, but not high enough to get out on their own, so she climbed in and rescued them. Doing an inspection of the other window-wells surrounding her home, she found more frogs needing help, and a few that it was too late to rescue (they had dried up and perished.)

A daily routine of checking for frogs began. But what about her neighbours, did they know that frogs may need to be rescued from their window-wells too? Just in case they didn’t know she made a poster and taped it on the community mailboxes.

SAVE THE FROGS!!!
Please save me from your window wells…a lot of us are dying out here as we jump in and can’t get out!
You will be glad you take care of us, because we take care of your gardens by eating the bugs that eat your plants… so please cover your window wells with plastic covers….or check for us every day and free us from them.
Sincerely, your local frog population

And she didn’t stop there, next up was to talk to the building company to ask them to cover the window-wells on the show-homes. That request was met with blank stares and snickering.

So she contacted a local newspaper and told them what was going on. Guelph Tribune

I’m proud of my sister. She can’t save all the frogs from the invasion of people, but I’m sure the ones she does rescue on a daily basis from a grizzly death are grateful. Besides, it’s not gratitude from a frog that inspires her to do this. She moved to the area to be close to nature and all it has to offer her sense of being—shouldn’t she take ownership of helping protect it?

No matter where we choose to call home, shouldn’t we all?

Rescued any critters today? I’d love to hear about it.

Canada Day on Roatan!

2 Jul

Canada Day on Roatan!

I’ve always enjoyed celebrating Canada Day with my family and friends. Whether it was in our backyard, at one of the parks in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, or in Toronto, Ontario, at City Hall, the year my Great-uncle Mike was given an award for Canadian Citizen of the Year!
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But this July 1st, I’m in Central America, Honduras, on the Island of Roatan. Guess there won’t be any Canada Day parties?

Wrong!

The place to be was Sundowners, West End, Roatan. The party got started just after noon, Canadians and Canadian wanna-be’s arrived from all areas of Roatan, to join in on the fun.

The sailboats, ready to go. The weather, gloriously warm and sunny. A perfect Roatan kinda day!

Strolling on the beach, at the bar, or in the water, the Caribbean Sea was the place to be!
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Captain Morgan, fellow Canadian and DJ at Roatan Radio kept the Canadian music going and invited Canadians to come on up and say hi to family and friends back in Canada.

Dave, Lou, Tracy and I…all Canadians of course! Got out a deck of Canadian cards and played some EUCHRE! Tracy tried to explain the game to some Canadian wanna-be’s…but gave up. *****************************************************************************

I wasn’t able to celebrate Canada Day with family and friends in Canada. But lucky for me I have family and friends here on Roatan that I did celebrate with!

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Sundowners, West End, Roatan is also where we watched Canada win Olympic Gold. You can read that story here Olympic Hockey Night in Canada, on Roatan!

Please Don’t Walk on the Coral

12 Jun

Please Don’t Walk on the Coral

Growing up in Ontario, Canada, I knew next to nothing about the Caribbean Sea, and even less about the second longest coral reef in the world.

Lake Erie Sunset

Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, the community I hail from is surrounded on three sides by Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario, all part of the chain of five lakes known as The Great LakesThe source of the largest fresh water system on Earth!

Wow! That’s pretty impressive…but I never gave it much thought.

For me, as a kid, it just meant there was a beach within an easy driving distance. Then again…as a kid, I never hesitated to ask, “Are we there yet?”
• The Canadian National Exposition (CNE) every year, marked the end of the summer holidays, but also meant I could watch the Air Show my heart pounding with excitement as planes soared, dipped, and performed amazing acrobatic feats above Lake Ontario.
• Lake Huron, more specifically, Tobermory—the Scuba Diving Capital of Canada, is where I almost learned how to scuba dive.

Over the years I had heard that the Great Lakes were getting polluted, that you had to limit the number of fish you ate from them—too many would make you sick. More frequently signs were being posted on the beaches that it wasn’t safe to go swimming—that too would make you sick.
For me…an inconvenience…but I still didn’t give it much thought.

Now I live on Roatan, my front yard is a dock, stretching into the Caribbean Sea. Only a few hundred feet beyond that, I watch waves break on the world’s second longest coral reef.

• I’ve seen seahorses, barracuda, sting-rays, Portuguese man-of-war, and numerous other sea creatures swimming from the reef toward the dock—gracing me with a closer look of their magnificence. I’ve watched a dolphin leisurely swim by, and marvelled at the detail outline of a starfish.
• I stroll along the shore (especially after a storm) picking up pieces of the reef that have broken off and washed ashore. Sea Fans, black sponge, and finger coral (to name only three, of the thousands of species) each piece, as unique as a snowflake, with a beauty of natural form no artist could ever match.

I’m in awe of all that I see and experience, but just like when I was at the beach on Lake Erie, or watching the planes swooping over Lake Ontario, or doing my first open water dive in Lake Huron…

I don’t give it enough thought!

I don’t appreciate enough the importance of preserving and protecting these marvels of nature and all they have to offer. They have been here forever and always will be…right?

Wrong! It is up to You and Me to educate ourselves about their value to our world, the legacy we owe our children, and how, everything we do, we need to – STOP – and consider the impact our actions might be having.

Fortunately in this era of accessible information, education and action are possible. Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) and The Roatan Marine Park offer a wealth of insight into the health and sustainability of these bodies of water.


Enjoy the reef surrounding Roatan and all it has to offer…just remember it isn’t a man-made attraction (like Disneyworld) that can be replaced. It is a LIVING, BREATHING organism that will thrive if cherished—and will die if neglected or abused.

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This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly

And will be the topic on The Roatan Vortex Show, Wednesday June 16, 9 AM – 11 AM, Roatan time (MTN) on Roatan Radio

Roatan Caption #2

6 Apr

I snapped this from Mario and Lori’s glass bottom boat at West Bay Beach. Roatan Coral Reef Explorer

What do YOU think the fish are saying…or thinking?

Share your caption ideas in the comment section below. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!
(Be sure to click on the picture to get a really good look at what the fish are following.)

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