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Roatan Vortex – An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan

21 Apr

So the Roatan Vortex is working its magic on you, you’re considering a move to Roatan, great idea! No longer will time in paradise be limited to your allocated one or two week holidays a year. No more burrowing under the three comforters piled on your bed, peaking out the window and groaning at the sight of fluffy flakes of snow floating down to cover the crocuses and tulips that are doing what they can to convince the skies it is springtime.

Since making the move to Roatan I am regularly asked, “How’d you do it?” That’s easy to answer, “I quit my job, sold everything I owned, and moved here.” The Roatan Vortex pulled me in!

Now that I live here I regularly share why I stay: through the Roatan Vortex blog, The Roatan Vortex Radio Show on 101.1 FM roatanradio.com and through the book The Roatan Vortex—an insider’s view of day to day life on a Caribbean Island It’s time to back up a bit (kinda like they did with the Star Wars movies) and share… drum roll please…

The Roatan Vortex—an insider’s guide for moving to Roatan

The thing is, moving to Roatan is not like moving across town or even from one State or Province you live in to another. You have to approach it a little different and not use the North American side of your brain to plan the move. Yes, clear up and do what must before you come to Roatan, but when the Vortex calls, “resistance is futile”… hey, another Star Wars reference… no wait, that’s from Star Trek!

On your mark! Get set! Slow down!
When I go back to Canada to visit family and friends, they quite often comment that I’m too mellow, as they zoom past me; rushing to work, the store, an exercise class, the mall, to pick up the kids etc. That is the normal pace there, but not on Roatan. Sure you still have things to get done, places to be, people to see, but the pace here is a little different. For one thing it is just plain too hot; you’re going to work up a sweat no matter how slow you go, so why encourage it. Besides, whatever you are rushing to probably won’t be ready until mañana anyway.

Definition of mañana – tomorrow, next week, maybe a month from now, possibly—NEVER!

photo credit - Gumbalimba Park

It’s always Groundhog (Watusi) Day
Another comment I get from family and friends (especially when they come to visit me on Roatan) is that things don’t change much here—and that’s true—with a Roatan twist, of course. The year round summer weather has something to do with that (we’ll talk about rainy season later) and waking to the sun rising at pretty much the same time every day, setting time doesn’t vary much either. The birds are singing, the chickens are scratching; their brood of chicks following behind, while the roosters crow whenever the heck they want to! The Caribbean Sea breaking on the reef, sometimes barely a ripple is created, other times foamy rolling spray outlines the reef. I guess I could say I’ve settled into a routine of sorts. The twist—the vibe of Roatan decides the routine, not me—I’m okay with that! You can be too!

An insider’s guide for moving to Roatan, lots more to share; coming soon:
• Your new address, say goodbye to zip and postal codes
• What to bring (my most prized possession): stainless steel cheese grater
• Leave the rollerblades behind
• Yes, your phone number will be eight digits long
• Setting up your kitchen—everything goes in the freezer
• Choosing your nick name (and other names you may be called)
• Forget about fresh spinach and mushrooms
• Critters you may (no, will) find in your new home
• Decorating is based on mould and rust resistance—not fashion trends
• plus many, many more

For those of you who have already made the move, if you have any tips to add, please do. And for those of you considering making the move to Roatan–ask away!

 
icon for podpress  Roatan SME (Subject Matter Expert): Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

This story can also be read at Honduras Weekly retitled “A life without fresh spinach and mushrooms”

Hockey Night in Canada on Roatan

17 Mar

Hockey Night in Canada on Roatan

Yup, you read the title correctly—today’s insider view of day to day life on the Island of Roatan, nestled in the Caribbean Sea, is about NHL ice hockey!

When I was growing up in Ontario, Canada, hockey was the sport of choice. From a young age most EVERYONE watched and/or played hockey. Backyards would be flooded, and then left to freeze over, in anticipation of lacing up the skates to get out there and play. Arenas: with one and sometimes two, ice rinks could be found in every community. Even when a suitable surface to wear skates wasn’t available, it was typical to see two hockey nets (goals) set up on the road in neighbourhoods—game on! Mind you, it would get regularly interrupted when someone yelled; “CAR!” and the nets had to be moved aside so a vehicle could pass.

I never played hockey, couldn’t skate worth a darn—but I was always an eager spectator. I got to see my first NHL (pre-season game) at the Kitchener Auditorium when I was only 8 or 9 and my first NHL (regular-season game) at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto when I was 12. I was hooked on hockey! And yes—a Toronto Maple Leafs fan—stop snickering please!

For many years, I rarely missed a game. I didn’t get to see live ones too often, but still enjoyed watching them from home.

There was a period of time when I didn’t watch hockey very much anymore (kids at home, career, etc.) and I did lose track. Then I moved to Roatan, and well, I didn’t give hockey much of a thought; tropical island: white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and all that—if my yard gets flooded it sure as heck isn’t going to freeze over! And yet, I’m glad to let you know—NHL hockey is here! So was the Canada Wins Gold Olympic Hockey Game!

Just head over to Sundowner’s, West End, Roatan, Honduras to watch a game. Order a beverage (and perhaps a burger or wrap) at the bar, then make your way to the semi-big screen TV under the palm tree, kick off your flip-flops and settle in to watch a game with fellow hockey fans. It can be a tad distracting at times though… when from behind the TV—a cruise ship can be seen sailing by on its way to its next port of call! Oh, and if you’re not a Leafs fan, best to keep that to yourself—the Box Seat holder’s might “Hab” you, and you’ll be delegated to move the “standing room only” area!

In Canada, when hockey season is over it’s time for golf. The only difference on Roatan… you can go golfing the same day you watch a NHL hockey game! No waiting for the ice to melt!

FYI: Some of the Box Seat holders here on Roatan are organizing a Road Hockey Tournament to raise funds for kid in need, to teach those who are unfamiliar with the fine art of hockey, and to just plain have some fun!

Boards will be set up outlining the rink—can’t have balls rolling across the beach and into the Caribbean Sea don’t you know. Advertizing space on these boards is available! Donations and sponsors (corporate: Tim Horton’s, Canadian Tire, Scotia Bank, TD, Royal, Sunwing Charters, Home Hardware—wink wink—nudge nudge, and individual hockey fans like you) of hockey related prizes and helping get stuff to the Island (can’t buy hockey sticks here) are also welcomed and appreciated. All sponsors will be recognized in a future story that will be posted on Roatan Vortex and on the Roatan Vortex Show on 101.1 FM Roatan Radio. For more information contact me here: Contact Me!

Stormy Weather on Roatan

18 Feb

The weather has been a little out of whack around the world recently; record cold and snow across the US and Europe, and more snow accumulating than my home province Ontario, Canada is used to handling. Even Roatan, Honduras felt the brunt this past week… No, it didn’t snow here!

It RAINED! RAINED and RAINED some more!

Word had gotten out that a system was moving in, when exactly it would arrive and duration could not be pin-pointed, but we knew something was coming. I was hoping it would change its mind, or fizzle out to a (much needed) spring shower. I had assured visitors coming on the Sunwing Charter out of Toronto (the following Monday) the weather would be great! Even if it did rain, it wouldn’t be much, or last very long. I had consulted my crystal ball don’t you know! I think I need to trade that puppy in for a new model… sheesh!

The mayhem started Saturday morning just after 10 AM. I’m not great at keeping track of time on Roatan (three months ago) but this day I remember well. As is typical when the first mists of rain begin to coat the road, someone will lose control—and bounce off a hydro pole! Power went out! I was on-the-air, at 101.1 FM Roatan Radio, broadcasting live to just myself! Power and internet were restored shortly after 11 AM in time to catch the next show on Roatan Radio.

The rain continued to fall throughout the day and into the evening… but no big deal. If anything I was glad that it had started already, perhaps it would be long gone before the Canadians arrived on Monday. It rained all day Sunday, sometimes heavy, other times I was sure I saw the blue skies peeking through… trying to convince myself it would pass over soon. Ah, NO!

(Not so) bright, but definitely early Monday morning, I was being picked up by friends to attend a “Life Celebration” for another friend’s much beloved mother who had passed away in the UK. I waited on my porch for them to arrive, it was raining pretty heavy, and it was only 5:30 in the morning! When the call came that they were waiting in my driveway, I flipped up the hood on my raincoat and made a dash for the vehicle. Silly me… why run to get out of the rain… the vehicle we were taking (down Mud Hole Road, no less) was a Jeep… without a roof! We were off, the rain had downgraded to a mist, and at times nothing at all. Not too bad, except for the mud splatters on my side (no mud guard on the left back tire.) Oh well, we arrived, we were given towels, the Celebration began.

Then it was time to return home…The gentle mist had resumed being a torrential downpour!

I climbed aboard the Jeep, and couldn’t help but laugh the whole way home as floods of water and mud drenched me. I felt like a little kid jumping in puddles… and nobody was giving me heck!

It was now close to the time to meet people at the Roatan Airport, and the rain continued to pour! I heard what sounded like the plane arriving 20 minutes early, and a few minutes later, what sounded like a second one coming in. This didn’t make sense, there should only be the flight from Toronto at this time of day. Rushing to the airport (in the still pouring rain) it was discovered that the flight had tried to land not once, but twice. Due to the weather conditions the pilot had aborted the landings and had flown to Belize with the visitors to wait it out!

(With great sadness (that same morning) at the Roatan Airport, we heard that a small regional flight on the Mainland had succumbed to the weather conditions when attempting to land in Tegusigalpa, all lives were lost—my sincerest condolences to all family and friends. I have also heard (but not confirmed) there was a young soul lost, on the Island of Roatan, as a direct result from the storm.)

A few hours later the visitors from Toronto arrived from Belize, and the rain had slowed down again, yeah, maybe it was done now. Ah, NO! Late Monday evening it started to rain again, and through the night… it rained and rained and rained! A steady hum, as sheets of rain, pounded down, it didn’t stop for even a moment.

As I hovered between sleep and wake—I wondered how much this little Island could absorb, I considered those living in less than adequate shelter and how well were they fairing, I pondered how much of the hillside would lose its grip and slid down to the road below, in-turn, how much of the road—would slip into the Caribbean Sea?

Like the cows in the above photo, I stayed under cover until the storm had long passed. Only venturing out to take photos of my own, once the repairs had begun! Thank you everyone (who was braver than I) for sharing what you captured on your phone cameras. There was also extensive damage to other areas of the Island that I don’t have photos of, all repairs are in progress and/or completed.

Late Wednesday afternoon, I sat on the balcony in front of the Cigar Bar, West End, watching the bulldozer push the truckloads of sand to fill the gaping holes where the road had once been.

The sand and soil that had been there before the rains came… is now a sandbar, just off shore!

While I’d wait for another load of dirt to be dropped off… I took a few shot of the sunset!

Yeah, the storm has passed!

More pictures of the storm aftermath and repair can be seen here: Roatan Rain

Bugs in my Pasta

12 Feb

When the Roatan Vortex pulled me in… Without hesitation I made the move to paradise!

That was more than 3 years ago, and yup, I’m glad I did! But like all good-for-me-choices, even Paradise has a few less than “paradise like qualities.”

Some, I’ve had to accept; no movie or live production theatres. I love a good movie, sitting in a comfy seat, surround sound engulfing me, munching on popcorn, chewing Red Twizzlers, and gulping a large Coca-Cola. As for going to a LIVE production… you can’t beat them, I’m partial to plays; drama, comedy, musical—they all work for me. But alas, those aren’t available on Roatan.

Then there are those things that are a part of living on Roatan, I’d rather weren’t, but I’ve gotten use to them… more often than not… they involve… BUGS!

WARNING: The following information is not for the squeamish or faint of heart! Graphic descriptions of bugs (and other critters) wreaking havoc is described in great detail. The information within this commentary is based on fact and may cause nightmares, or worse yet… scare you off from visiting and/or moving to Roatan.

Kidding! It’s not that bad… actually pretty funny stuff… a few encounters did require doing the “heebee jeebee” dance before I laughed though.

Lizards (including Geckos)
They are everywhere! Once I got used to them, I realized it was a good thing that they like to hang out in my cabana! They are faster than any flyswatter I can buy. It is quite entertaining to watch them stalk their prey… then lunge… the flies don’t stand a chance, as the lizard chomps on their tiny wings and body.

As for my personal encounters with lizards: When I opened a kitchen cupboard, and unbeknownst to me there was a gecko on the back side of the door, I definitely did the “heebee jeebee” dance when the gecko flew through the air (I had no idea I opened cupboard doors with such force) and wound up… going down my shirt!

The only other issue I have with lizards is that they poop everywhere! Now, their fecal matter is not that big, and it doesn’t smell. But, sheesh… why does one always come by (after I’ve made the bed) and poop on my freshly laundered sheets!

Ants
Did you know that 9 out 10 ants prefer FreshMint Pepsodent over WinterFresh Pepsodent? I do, when I have to rinse them off my toothbrush, and from around the edge of the cap. What does that tell you about how much sugar’s in toothpaste!

Army ants are my favourite; I never know when they will arrive, but when they do… what a show! They march (of course they do, they’re army ants) up the stairs by the thousands, then break off into numerous lines, the scouts in the lead, as they enter the cabana. Please don’t try to stop them with bug spray, leave the chemical warfare to eradicate the odd scorpion that may wander in. We’re too big for army ants to bother with anyhow. Just stay out of their way and they will (within an hour or so) hunt down, and cart away EVERY bug in your home! Then, as orderly as they came in… they leave!

Bats
I’ve got enough material and photos to do an entire story on bats, but for the purposes of this one, I’ll keep it brief.

Bats are good! They do a mighty fine job of keeping the mosquito population down. But, the bats, that we have many of on Roatan, are also partial to fruit. So when they’re not winging around at night, swooping in and catching mosquitoes, they are snatching fruit from trees and bringing it to my front porch, where they hang upside down in the rafters to dine. Bits and pieces of peel and pulp are carelessly dropped. The big finally is when they have nibbled away as much as they can… the bat drops the pit, which lands with a loud “clank” then rolls around for a while. Sweeping up after them in the morning wouldn’t be so bad, except they also (frequently) use their dining room as a bathroom too!

I have done battle with the bats for a long time, trying all kinds of contraptions to encourage them to roost elsewhere… nothing worked, until about ten months ago when I devised a plan, assembled the necessary tools and products, and now I can say the rafters above my cabana porch are BAT FREE! Okay, except for that one little guy, that I still have to do something about. Stay tuned for the complete story on how to get rid of the bat in your rafters.

Bugs in my Pasta
It’s warm on Roatan pretty much all the time (of course it is, being in the tropics), an ideal climate for bugs to do their thing—and they like to hang out in sealed packages of dry pasta! The pasta I purchase at the grocery store I inspect for signs of the beasts, more often than not I won’t see any. A dead-giveaway that they will appear soon is if the edges of the noodles are whitish grey, with a chalky dust settled in the bottom of the bag—I’ll put that package back on the shelf and hunt for a fresher one. But, even when I choose one that appears to be bug free, by the time I dump the pasta into a pot of boiling water… there they are, hundreds of them… floating to the surface.

It has been suggested that I should skim them off at this point… I don’t know about that! Once I’ve seen them cooking along with my pasta… I kinda lose my appetite. Instead, I’ve gotten into the habit of dumping the dry pasta into the strainer (that I’ve got ready in the sink) and shake out the bugs before I cook it, watching them scurrying around, as I turn on the tap, and flush them down the drain. Works for me!

Bees
Roatan is not swarming with bees, if anything efforts are in progress to encourage more. Bees are definitely good, and have a very important role when it comes to pollinating plants. I’ve not had any trouble with them nesting in my cabana, but I did witness what was done when a large nest was discovered behind an outside wall at the Municipal Office in Coxen Hole.

I was there bright and early Monday morning to pay my property taxes (that too warrants a story of its own.) While I stood at the counter… waiting, and… waiting, and… waiting, I glanced toward the (glass doors) entrance. The people outside preparing to enter the Municipal Office were frantically waving their arm, swatting and shaking off BEES, that I caught glimpses of through a cloud of smoke that was wafting by.

Oh my God! Is this it… Have African Killer Bees made their way to Roatan? Are we under attack?! Or perhaps there is a film crew outside, and the bees are just prop-bees, the people trying to enter the building are actors in a movie being shot about what would happen if African Killer Bees DID make it to Roatan!

And then I saw him—an empty onion sack pulled over his head, a bucket of smoking coals clutched in his hand. He climbed the ladder, propped against the outside wall, fighting his way past the tangle of electrical lines strung between the hydro poles. In preparation for his attack, a 4×8 section of wall had been removed, exposing a massive bee’s nest! “Onion Sack Head Man” did manage to retrieve chunks of honeycomb (using the smoke to calm the bees) before he switched to a can of RAID!

Getting out of the Municipal Building to return to my vehicle proved to be quite the challenge—dodging angry bees, and other frantic pedestrians anxious to get where they had to go without getting stung!

I made it to the Municipal Parking Lot, and before I drove away, I took a moment to wander to the far end of the lot to gaze at why I choose Roatan.

So what if I have to put up with bugs in my pasta!

Roatan Triathlon 2011

30 Jan

I’ve shared–obvious, and not so obvious benefits of living on Roatan, then there are the spectacular International news worthy events! 2011 Roatan ITU Triathlon Pan American Cup

I got my camera ready and headed out to capture it all!

The fun started on Friday, January 21:

Expo and Registration – 2:00 to 5:00 PM – At Henry Morgan.

Free Tour of the Course – 3:00 PM.

Sunset Gathering – 5:00 PM – On beach.

Opening Ceremony – 5:30 PM – On beach.

A weather system had moved in, churning up the Caribbean Sea (in front of West Bay Beach) that is more often than not, as smooth as a sheet of glass.

The kids had fun, frolicking in the waves crashing ashore!

The parasailing was pretty good too!

And the sunset, well… it put on a show second to none!

Saturday, January 22:

Mini-Triathlon and Free Kids Beach Run.

Registration for Kid’s Run – 1:00 PM

Kids Beach Run – 2:00 PM

Mini Corporate Triathlon Challenge – 3:00 PM

The winners take center stage!

Just as it had been on Friday, the waves were still rolling in, bring in a little seaweed too.

This didn’t hamper the progress of the kid’s in the mini-triathlon and beach run.

The wind did give them a little trouble with getting their competitor vests on for more photo taking though.

But like the true champions they all are… they got it handled.

More photos of Friday and Saturday events can be seen here:

Pre-triathlon Album

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Sunday, January 23: RACE DAY!

Transition Area Opens – 6:00 AM – Athletes must arrive no later than 6:30 AM.

Race starts at 7:30 AM in front of Henry Morgan Resort on West Bay Beach.

With the Triathlon starting so early, and the main road (between where I live in Sandy Bay and West Bay Beach) closed to general traffic for the race, I spent Saturday night at John and Barbara’s so I would be in the right area when things got started. Baba and I headed out early and were on West Bay Beach to join the other spectators cheering on the Triathlon athletes as they entered the water. The Caribbean Sea was still churning and the sky–overcast. While fighting the rough waves (I’m sure) added an extra challenge to the course for the athletes–the usually blazing sunlight staying at bay while they rode their bikes and ran (I’m sure) was appreciated. I’d love to post all the pictures I shot this day. But, the time it would take for the Roatan Vortex site to load, I wouldn’t blame you for giving up on waiting, so instead here is a taste of this extraordinary event, participated in by International class athletes on the little Island, nestled in the Caribbean Sea–Ah Roatan–gotta love it! The rest of the photos can be viewed here: Roatan Triathlon 2011 Results can be seen here: Roatan ITU Triathlon Results and here is what Chris Foster, American Olympic hopeful had to say about competing on Roatan. I pretty funny (and typical) account of getting around the Island–before the race.

Photo Credits: Roatan Vortex, all rights reserved. Please contact me for permission to link and/or to purchase full-size photos.

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!

Life as a Human during Hurricane Richard

25 Oct

It’s been a busy week on Roatan. I’ve added a new website that I am sharing stories from, and I had to get ready for the first direct hit from a hurricane since coming to Roatan. Of course I’m anxious to share all the details with you.

I’ve been meeting some fantastic bloggers who I now call cyber friends. Some of them ask fellow bloggers to write stories for their websites. Life as a Human (what a great name) is one of those places I happened on to and if truth be told, I asked them if I could submit some stories for their readers. I heard back so quickly I thought it must be a, “thanks but no thanks” reply. Turns out the keepers of this site, had recently visited Roatan for the first time and were thrilled that someone who was on Roatan wanted to write for them.

Here’s a taste of what Life as a Human is all about.
“Life As A Human is a lifezine that explores, celebrates and discusses the weird, wonderful, challenging, funny and poignant experience of being human. We feature a diversity of inspired writing that creatively probes the status quo – and the fascinating nooks and crannies of our human experience.

We are a multicultural gathering place for writing that moves and inspires – a venue for the authentic voice, regardless of age, nationality or perspective.”

I’m happy to report that we worked out the logistics, and my first story was posted Sunday, October 24. Life as a Human – Three Months Ago Be sure to check it out, and leave a comment there. I’ll check in often to see what you’ve had to say.

I would have told you sooner about this exciting new connection I’ve made, but the news started spreading a few days ago that Roatan might be in the path of Hurricane Richard, getting his act together not to far from us.

Since coming to Roatan, next to questions about bugs, I quite often get asked about the weather, in particular Hurricanes. Now it turns out that Roatan rarely is hit by Hurricanes. Although the Island is in the Caribbean, and on CNN tropical weather reports it looks like we are getting Hurricanes regularly. Really we aren’t being affected at all. But then along came Richard.

First I need to clarify that while Richard was directly over Roatan, he never did make it to hurricane status, but he did make it to a category1 on his way to Belize. I can’t give you any details on that specific information though. Our power went out soon after Richard arrived on Roatan around 11 PM Saturday, October 23, 2010.

We spent the hours before getting ready, as did everyone else on the Island. But it still was unsure how strong it would be. And besides, all the others this year, changed direction at the last minute–maybe Richard would too.

Waiting was the hard part, an eerie calm before the storm! We were as ready as we could be for his arrival, now that it was confirmed, Richard was coming for a visit. This is the part where I should be able to use all my big descriptive phrases like, “the howling wind, roaring toward us, foreboding of what would soon be tearing at our Island Cabana.” Or, “the torrential downpour, pelting the door, demanding to be let in.”

Now, the winds did pick up noticeably, and the rain did start to pour down, but not to the extend one would expect from a hurricane. So we slept, anticipating it could turn into something more. By 5 AM, I woke to find the power was out, and the cabana was as secure as when I had fallen asleep the night before.

It was still raining quite steady, and the gusts of wind were shaking the palm trees pretty good. It was strong enough for me to get an appreciation for what it must be like to experience a hurricane. While at the same time be grateful that Richard minded his manners like any good house guest should.

By noon on Sunday, it was evident that Richard was soon going to be done hanging around Roatan. In the direction he had come from was showing hints of clear blue sky. The direction he was going–black and ominous. A few tree limbs were down around our property, my front and back porch had gotten a better cleaning than I could have ever done. Power was still out, and would be until 11 PM Sunday. Special thanks to RECO for working diligently to repair the damaged lines and get power restored as quickly as you did.

Blogger Mona helping out!

So now it is the Monday after Richard. I woke to a glorious sunrise, and not a cloud in the sky. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief, including Mona, and once again I can say, “Thank You Roatan–You Never Let Me Down!”

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One more thing I want to share. Hours before Richard arrived, I had to go to the airport to pick up vacationers. Who, by the way, were absolute great sports about arriving on the same day that a hurricane was expected. On my way to get them, an unexpected downpour happened. I had no rain gear or umbrella with me (I didn’t think I needed it yet.) I had no time to return home to get something to cover from the rain. I stepped out of my vehicle, accepting that I would get pretty wet, but I didn’t realize that the puddle I stepped in was not a few inches deep–it was a few FEET deep. One of my flip-flops broke when I lifted my foot to get out of the puddle. So when I entered the airport, I was a barefoot, dripping rain-water, drowned rat! Thanks for not snickering those of you who got to witness how I looked.

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.

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