East Enders

It’s been 8 months since I was last in Roatan. On this, my third trip, I feel like I’m seeing more than ever. Yesterday, we took advantage of having a jeep and took off for the East End of the island.

First, we stopped at some friends S met. They’re building what looks like it will be a lovely resort from scratch. They incorporated a tree into the design of one of the buildings; they hoped it would live, but when it died, they hired a local carver to do something interesting. Both African and Mayan influences can be seen in a lot of the art here.

After watching the carver at work, our friend tried his hand and came up with this lovely mermaid.

We took off to go to Camp Bay and La Sirena, a restaurant we’d braved on our last trip. On the way, we stopped at Marble Hill Farm, a local jam maker, but no one was there. However, their deck sure was pretty.

Last time, getting to La Sirena had been like driving on the moon. The road was in considerably better shape this time, and we were tickled when we finally arrived.

Here’s our maitre d’. She was sort of not that interested in us.

Lionfish, a reef predator, was on the menu in this awesome seviche, as well as some Scotch bonnets. Whee!

On the way back, we saw this beautiful home, way back from the road and about as off the grid as it gets.

Then we saw this sign. I wish it were in better focus, but I love the ambiguity. Do they have both a goat and gas? Is it gas made from goats? Or goat fuel? And how awesome is it that it says to “call Tim” and there’s no number. Do you just stand by the sign and call out, “Tim!” in a powerful voice? So many questions. That is the story of this sign.

Then we hopped over to Punta Gorda, one of the first settlements on the island. The first folks to live on Roatan besides pirates—they loved it because the mangroves and mountains made it a great place to hide—were former African slaves from the mainland who were sent here so people wouldn’t have to deal with them. Their descendants are still here, and Punta Gorda is really cool.

Our friend with the carvings had tipped us off to Frenchie’s 44, a terrific restaurant with boat service to a private island, Little French Key.

Now this is where things got pretty exciting. We had to swim around a small island next to the Key in order to be able to snorkel; the direct route was too shallow. About halfway through our swim, we thought, well, maybe we can cut across this other island. Some dogs did not agree. They made rather a fuss and chased us back in the water. S was lucky not to get bitten, but we didn’t. It was a little scary at the time but kind of cool in hindsight because we escaped from pissed off dogs!

Anyway, we swam all the way around the island and the snorkeling was OK, but not nearly as good as what we have close to the house. We decided to brave the coral on the way back and now both have a few dings to show for it. And after that, having six inches of clearance over coral feels like a piece of cake.

Frenchie’s fixed us a great dinner in their deluxe palapa. It’s run by Kaveh, originally from Iran, and it’s beautifully done with art and antiques from all over. “The whole world is here,” he told us.

Home again in time for the lovely twilight sky.

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