Mobetah in St. Pete Beach Florida just prior to leaving for the Northwestern Caribbean

Mobetah in St. Pete Beach Florida just prior to leaving for the Northwestern Caribbean

About Us

Until his retirement, Bill Was a Landscape Architect for the National Park Service and Pat was a Physical Therapist.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Bay Islands update! 01/13/11 thru 02/27/11

We left Monkey Bay Marina January 13th and headed down to Texan Bay. After an uneventful 2 hour motor down the Golfete (little gulf in English--a widening in the river), we arrived at Texan Bay and anchored on the inside. We met up with Terry and Sandi from S/V Gambit II (who had left Monkey Bay earlier in the day) for happy hour .... We probably got a little too happy that night! The next day Bill and Terry took the Texan Bay Marina launcha into Livingston to clear out of Guatemala. Everything went smoothly, and we were then ready to cross the bar out of the river on Sunday around noon  (Gambit was concerned about the depth and their draft). We actually crossed the bar about 10am and proceeded over to Cabo Tres Puntas (about 10 miles east of Livingston) and anchored for the night. The prevailing winds are from the east in this area, however they were supposed to die down and the seas were supposed to be somewhat calm the following couple of days, so we planned an overnight to the island of Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras. We left about 11:00 on Monday morning and expected to arrive at Utila harbor the following morning about 7:00am or just after sunup. All went well, there was little wind, small seas, and no problems. We also did not get a single bite on the fishing lines!

We arrived at Utila as planned and went into town to clear in with customs, immigration, and the port captain. Clearing in was simple and uncomplicated. We explored the little town at the east end of the island. The town is full of dive shops, dive schools, hotels for divers as well as bars and restaurants that cater to scuba divers. The town was quite interesting, however, the holding in the anchorage was not very good, so "Mobetah" and "Gambit" went to the west end of the island to the Water Cays and anchored for three days. Even though the wind was quite high, which made snorkeling difficult on the open reefs, we did find a small patch reef just a few yards from where we were anchored that offered some superb snorkeling. We also spotted a lot of small conch but none large enough to keep for fritters, etc. We walked the sidewalk in the small town on one of the islands, visiting small stores and restaurants.

After stopping back by Utila harbor and doing some shopping and filling up with fuel, water and gasoline, we left Utila for West End on the island of Roatan. We arrived at the mooring field (operated by a National Marine Park) about three in the afternoon and were immediately invited to a dingy raftup. A dingy raftup is where a lot of boaters gather together with their dingys tied together and have happy hour (bring your own drinks and an appetizer to share). There were probably 20 dingies there, and a good time was had by all. West End offered good snorkeling and a number of tourist type bars/restaurants as well as gift and dive shops. The mooring field is completely surrounded by beautiful, clear water and reefs to explore. The one highlight of our time in West End was the Superbowl, for which many boaters gathered at a newly opened sports bar.  "GO GREEN BAY". We ended up staying two weeks at West End before moving on to French Cay Harbor.

At French Cay Harbor we found not one, but two, modern US style supermarkets, hardware stores, and US fast food franchises, computer stores and marine supplies. After restocking, we were off to Jonesville Bight which is only about 4 miles away. Many of the resorts and houses located around the edge of the bight (or small bay) are not accessible by road (only by water). From here, you go by dingy to Oak Ridge and on to Calabash Bight by a system of waterways which includes small mangrove canals. Accompanied by Gambit (Terry is a master at finding all the little local establishments), we discovered  many bars/restaurants as well as a seafood processing plant (shrimping and lobstering are really big here) which sold us headed shrimp for $2.00 US per pound. We've been back twice since then and have bought nine pounds so far.  They were processing lobster but refused to sell us any saying that all their lobster were contracted to Red Lobster in the states. We also met an assortment of expats who live in the area.

From there it was back to French Cay Harbor to pickup our guests, Nancy and husband, Steve. ( Nancy was Pat's college roommate.)  After one happy hour and one shrimp dinner, we picked up the anchor and moved back  around to Jonesville Bight for a couple of days. From there we went back to French Cay Harbor for more provisions.  We spent one day enjoying the facilities at Fantasy Island Marina and Dive Resort.  They have a beautiful beach and a nice pool.  Then it was back to West End for more snorkeling, beach walking, and visits to the little resort town.  Before we knew it, our guests' week was up, and they caught a taxi from West End to the Roatan airport. We hated to see them go, and they weren't too excited about flying back into a snowstorm in Chicago. (It was 80 degrees and sunny here.)

We stayed in the mooring field at West End until our week was up.  We were waiting to see when our Texas friends, Rodney and  Katrina aboard "Angelina," would arrive in the Bay Islands before making longterm plans. Their buddy boat got into some trouble, and they had to stop at Puerto Cortes on mainland Honduras for several days waiting on weather before finishing their crossing.

Rodney and Katrina finally arrived at West End just as our generator decided to go on holiday. We spent a couple of days with them before heading out for Fantasy Island Marina to have work done on the generator. We were lucky to get a side tie slip in the marina for $200 a week + $2.00 a day for electricity. We enjoyed running both air conditioners and watching the 30+ English speaking channels on the TV cable. Oh yes, we did find a young mechanic that was able to get our generator making 120 volt AC again, however, the selonoid shut off is shot, and we will have to get one once we are back in the US. (Meanwhile, we will have to shut it down manually rather than flipping the switch). Rodney and Katrina came up from West End once they heard about the air conditioners and cable TV ..... We stayed two weeks and they stayed three.

When we left French Key, we went up to Calabash Bight and anchored just off Mark and Lori's  "Turtlegrass Resort and  Marina" along with about five other boats. We ended up staying a couple of weeks there enjoying the NCAA basketball tournament on the TV in the beautiful home which Mark and Lori have been building for four years.  The resort is a work in progress, and a restaurant is planned but not yet operational. (Check out their website at  There is a shell of a building overlooking the bight that has a kitchen and a bathroom. While we were there, the cruisers used some of Mark's scrap lumber to build a large picnic table, and Bill and John (from Up Jinks) installed three ceiling fans. After that work was accomplished, we cruisers had a place for happy hours, get-togethers and dominoes.

Since seafood was soooooo cheap in the area, we had another shrimp boil. Norm (from Ariel) had his big stock pot, and Bill had his jet burner, so Pat and the girls went on a shopping trip to French Key to purchase corn on the cob, sausage, potatoes, etc.  Norm cooked the seafood boil.  Lee Ann (from Live Sealee) made a great dessert, and a good time was had by all.

While we were there, Maggie, one of the marina dogs (Portaguese Waterdogs) had seven puppies, and they were named for the boats in the anchorage. Naturally, Moby was the smartest and the cutest one of the litter!

Finally, it was time to go, and we headed off to the islands of Cayos Cochinos (a national park) just off the Honduras mainland. We were accompanied by Rodney and Katrina along with Kent and Faye (from Southern Mist). The next day,  they decided to go on to the marina at La Saba (on the Honduran mainland), while we went back to the Island of Utila to extend our visas, since our 90 days were up,  and Utila's Immigrations is the only place that will grant you a reasonably priced 30 day extension.

When we arrived at Utila, we anchored next to Norm and Linda (from Ariel). After a day or so of sightseeing and eating in the village, we decided to go back to the Water Keys at the west end of Utila for a couple of days, since we had had such a great time there earlier. Big mistake!  The winds had shifted a little more from the southeast along with the waves and current, so our great anchorage was pretty rolly. The crews of Mobetah and Ariel decided to end the cruising season, check out and head back to the Rio Dulce. We left Utila about 4:00am headed for Puerto Cortes (where we would anchor for the night). Along the way, we caught a Little Tunny and a King Mackerel. The following day we motored from Porto Cortes to Tres Puntas and anchored there. The following morning, we left early (6:00am) for Livingston to clear into Guatemala. Everything went smooth and by late morning, we were cleared in and headed up the river to Texan Bay for the night . (We could have easily made it to our marina at Monkey Bay before night, however, the wind comes up every afternoon, and it would have made it almost impossible to get into our slip).  We anchored at Texan Bay and were so tired that we didn't even get off the boat.

The following morning, we followed Ariel up the river to Fronteras. While Ariel was getting settled into their slip, we went to the Puma dock to fill up with fuel. Once we were back and settled into our slip, we spent the rest of the day catching up with old friends from Monkey Bay.

Everyone was preparing to go home, so it was decided to pool our seafood and have a Monkey Bay supper. Terry and Sandi (from Gambit II) donated about 15 lobster tails, we donated our King Mackerel that we caught on the way back to the river, and several people donated shrimp that they still had in their freezers. It was quite a feast and everyone had a great time.

Now it's time to start preparing to store the boat during hurricane season while we  go back to the States to see doctors, friends and relatives. Maybe we'll do a little land traveling before we head out.

Stay tuned for more on the travels of MOBETAH