Groceries in Roatan

Groceries in Roatan have been easy to get to, for the most part, and the selection of food has been surprisingly great. When in West End, we went to shore and did a quick walk to Woody’s Groceries. Being in a touristy area, prices were a bit high, but the selection was good.

Just before Woody’s was a terrific produce stand, with some of the best fruits and vegetables we’ve seen.

Here in French Harbor, we have several options. Tuesday is grocery day here at the marina. At 11:30, a local man arrives with a truck load of fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs. When he pulls up it’s every man for himself, as cruisers grab what they need.

Howard loves the “veg” truck, as he’s crazy for pineapple leaves.

Later in the day, a mini bus arrives at 3pm to shuttle us off to Eldon’s grocery store. On our first grocery day, the bus was packed full, with all of the jump seats down the aisles in use. Yesterday, we had much more wiggle room.

The bus first stops at a gas station right near Eldon’s. Anyone needing dinghy or motor gas is welcome to bring their jugs along, and get off at the station to fill them up.  They then walk back to  meet the bus at Eldon’s, just a short distance away.

Eldon’s is awesome!!! It is huge, and full of familiar items and brands that we haven’t seen since Florida. We have heard that they get weekly shipments from Miami, which explains the many familiar sights from home.

We have an hour to shop, which was nowhere near enough for me on the first visit. There was so much sensory overload, that I barely had a chance to get anything on my list before it was time to get in line and check out, where we realized that tax here is close to 30%! Yikes!

It’s amazing how all of the people, groceries and gas jugs fit onto the bus for the trip back (especially with so many people last week). Grocery bags and boxes are stacked high in the back of the bus. Gas jugs are under seats or at feet and crush-able things are on laps.

It’s great knowing that we have a definite day of easy accessibility to food, but I wanted more time in that awesome store, so we set out in the Aluminum Princess for our own grocery excursion.

To get to shore, we headed to the Roatan Yacht Club. It’s currently closed, but there is someone there to collect 2.50 from you for tying up at the dock. The grounds, bathrooms and buildings are well maintained, considering the yacht club is closed.

We followed a path that led us up some stairs, through colorful trees and plants, past what was a hotel for the yacht club, but is now private apartments and onto the street.

Once on the street, it was just a five minute walk to Eldon’s.

On this visit, I had plenty of time to peruse every aisle, finding all kinds of welcome sights. I think I’ve mentioned that butter in Mexico was challenging. Here, I happily found good old Land o Lakes! I saw the Indian on the box, but heard angels singing!

We also found many different types of french fries…waffle cut, sweet potato, and onion rings! However, things like this will have to wait, until we get our fridge and freezer back to normal.

Once I’d had my fill of Eldon’s, and we’d reached our carrying capacity, we checked out and made our way back to the dock; up the road; through yacht club entrance; up, down, back and forth along the path; down the steps and back to the boat. If you’re interested, we took out Delorme satellite tracker with us. You can see our route to Eldon’s by clicking the link on our Where Are We Now page.

On Monday, we visited Bulk Gourmet, a store that carries specialty things shipped in from the States. The owners will stop by on their way in, and pick up marina guests who want to shop. Scott and I made our way across the rickety bridge, up to the main entrance and waited out by the main road.

We were picked up in a hummer (not a bad way to go), and delivered to the front door. Inside, there were all kinds of neat treats. Gourmet potato chips, ginger beer for Scott, peanut butter filled pretzels, and spices that weren’t available at Eldon’s. They also had a great selection of frozen meats, but again, that would wait for now.

We have been spoiled here in Roatan, with plentiful fresh produce and an enormous selection of groceries. Here are more photos of the food here, and our travel to get it.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

 

 

Pancakes, Beach Bars And Fish

We left the boat early, to beat the heat of the day in town. I wanted to get some more produce, since the things we’d bought previously were so good. I also wanted to take advantage of the fact that Michelle, at Rudy’s, made pancakes. Since the smoothie we’d had the day before was so great, her pancakes had to be delicious!

Michelle was just arriving to open for the day as we tied to the pier. She chatted happily with us, while opening, making coffee for some local regulars and preparing our pancakes. They were, as expected, terrific! I know pancakes aren’t difficult, or necessarily special, but it was a nice treat to enjoy them by the water’s edge with such a friendly person. And, I didn’t have to put any additional heat into our boat to make them!

If you find yourself in West End, go to Rudy’s and see Michelle! Her personality, pancakes and skills with a blender will ensure more than one visit to the inviting smoothie (and more) shack.

On our way to the produce stand, I did a quick bit of shopping. The store we went into was crammed full of things, but Scott managed to spot painted bird feathers that had been framed. We thought them unusual and different, and chose one painted with a parrot and and iguana.

I then went into Rusty Fish, a shop selling items made from stone, bottles, metal and such. All things are made from local artists, using recycled or found materials. I chose two fish made from a stone that is locally known as Island Jade or Honduras jade.

It’s actually a type of Serpentine, and is a softer stone, making it an excellent material for artwork and jewelry. Island Jade is found on the hill tops of both Roatan and mainland Honduras, and comes in many colors. Some pieces we saw had four or five colors in just one stone.

The Rusty Fish had both carvings and jewelry made from the stone, displaying the work of eleven local stone artists. They also had many other neat things made from all sorts of materials, but we have limited space onboard and showed restraint. With full bellies, and a backpack full of produce and trinkets, we headed back to Sea Life for a break from the evil, mid-day heat.

Our afternoon plan was to dinghy over to some nearby beach bars. Scott didn’t want to go, as the heat and humidity were winning out over his want for a cold drink in the sand. I reminded him that we’d been talking of going to these places since first anchoring here, and if we planned to head for French Harbor the next day, this was our last chance.

We made our way to shore, and tied up near our first stop, Tita’s Pink Seahorse.

Yes, this place is open for business! We wandered past the pile of palm fronds waiting to be burned, and around the tarps. Inside, it was a typical tiki/beach-bar-type place, crammed with various “mementos” hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. We immediately liked it.

From behind the bar, Niki greeted us with a big smile….and delicious drinks! I tried a “Monkey La La,” (a frozen drink, much like a mudslide with banana added) and Scott had a killer rum punch. She also makes a great mojito! We now liked the place even more.

Niki had grown up in Guanaja, where we started our bay island cruising. We chatted with her about how much we enjoyed the island, and looked forward to going back. The bar was full of locals and tourists who were also taking a break from the mid-day sweltering heat. We all agreed that Tita’s was a perfect place to hide.

Just outside on the beach, some local school children were having a phys-ed class. Scott and I were surprised that the class wasn’t held closer to dawn or dusk. The kids were doing lunges in the sand, running sprints and practicing volleyball skills. They appeared less than happy about it, and we could feel their pain from behind our big glasses of cold drinks (sorry kids).

Feeling like we should give the other nearby beach bar equal time, we thanked Niki and her Aunt Tita (who is the owner) and made our way just down the beach to Ronnie’s Barefoot Beach Bar. Unfortunately, Ronnie’s didn’t seem to be as popular with either locals or tourists, as it was completely empty. We weren’t even sure that they were open, until a woman came from under a nearby palapa to wait on us.

While we were deciding whether to return to our boat, or to Tita’s, after our drinks, a local man came up to the bar from the beach and ordered a beer. He’d just come back from fishing, and invited us to see his catch. Back on the pier,  we watched as he started to scale and clean the fish.

Kevin and a friend had fished in 800 feet of water, using just hand lines, no rods. They take turns pulling the lines in, as it’s quite a job at those depths. He asked if we’d like to buy one of the fish. Scaled, cleaned and ready to cook…absolutely!

As Kevin worked on a fish for us, some local dogs played on the pier and in the sand nearby, hoping to get a treat from Kevin. Tired from wrestling with the other dogs, one took a break…on Scott’s foot.

Kevin bagged our fish, and we thanked him and headed back to Sea Life, glad that we’d pushed ourselves to come out in the afternoon heat. It’s now on to French Harbor for us, but first here are some more photos from our day of pancakes, beach bars and fish (and a few more of our surroundings in West End).

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

West End

West End greeted us with suffocating heat. Our days begin in the mid 80s, with humidity at 70%. By mid afternoon, the humidity drops to 60% (oh joy), but the temperatures climb to the low 90s before dusk brings a reprieve. Today has been the worst so far. When I woke up at 5:30 we were at 84, with the humidity at 80%. The day has been spent as immobile as possible.

Howard spends more time outside in the mornings now. He enjoys the breezes in the cockpit, before the heat builds enough to send him inside and into a coma.

In the evenings, he’s become mesmerized by the fish light that Scott hangs off of the transom. I have decreed that there be full supervision, after seeing him hang by one arm while swatting at fish with the other!

Our first day into town was miserable for me. I was literally reduced to tears in the heat; there was no escape. I couldn’t have been more soaked through in under an hour if I’d walked through hurricane rains. Shame on us, for going to town at 11:30. We have done better since, going ashore in either the early am hours, or right at dusk, when temperatures are more tolerable.

That said, we have gotten the lay of the land, which isn’t hard with one street running through town.

We’ve enjoyed some of the places along the main drag, and have found the local grocery store. The stall selling vegetables and produce has some of the best stuff we’ve seen, and we’re happily stuffing our face with lettuce and salad!

Scott discovered a small stall where local women make incredible food, at cheap prices. In addition to the yummy kebabs, they sell baleadas, which is made up of a of a folded flour tortilla that is filled with refried beans and cheese. You can add roasted meat, avocado, plantains or scrambled eggs as well.

They are one of the most common street foods in Honduras, and at 1.47 US a piece, are more than enough for us to share. The egg, avocado and chorizo makes a tasty breakfast!

We had been tying up at the town dock when going ashore, which is used mostly by the local water taxi pangas and snorkel boats. It’s a very busy pier, and no matter where we tie up, even with an ok from one of the drivers, we always seem to be in someone’s way when we return. Everyone is very friendly about it, but it’s frustrating just the same.

Luckily, our neighbor at anchor caught us at the dock yesterday and shared a better location to use. It’s much quieter, closer to Sea Life and, it comes with the perk of having a smoothie shack! Michelle makes a mean, and huge frozen treat!

In the next few days we plan to sample some more drinks in town, and peruse the stores. There are also some inviting beach bars that are very near where we’re anchored. We are hoping that the winds cooperate for us to move to French Harbor in a few days. It’s a short two – three hour trip “around the corner,” but we have to travel into the wind to get there, so will wait for a forgiving day.

In the meantime, we’re enduring the heat and humidity that comes with the territory. Here are some photos of our days here so far.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

 

On To Roatan

At 5:30 this morning, we raised anchor and left the area near Graham’s Cay to head for Roatan. The sun rose through clouds, keeping the early morning temperatures below 85 (thankfully) and providing nice views on our way out.

We made our way back past El Bight and Bonacca, and through water that is crystal clear 60 feet down!

Howard wasn’t happy to leave Guanaja, as he got in some last sniffs…

Soon, we were traveling in 5,000 feet of water (I forgot to mention that on our way here from Mexico, we were in depths of 16,000 feet!). Scott chose our travel day perfectly, as we enjoyed pleasantly calm water all the way. We “flew” along, averaging  7.0 knots!

 

It was so pleasant that Howard enjoyed hours of sleep, in many positions..

Roatan is a long,  long, long island, and was in sight for hours before the shoreline finally came into clear view.

We did an eight hour run to West End, the farthest point that we plan to visit. From here, we’ll make our way back east along the island, making for a shorter trip to Guanaja when we return.

Coming into the anchorage was just a bit challenging, as electronic navigational information for the area is vague  (we were working off of an 8×11 black and white photo copy). Scott had me go up onto the bow as we entered the anchorage, passing over gorgeous views in the water below. He was concerned about possible rocks or coral heads just below the surface, but we went through and into the anchorage smoothly.

We are currently anchored off of West End. It’s popular with tourists, but much quieter and more low key than Isla Mujeres.

Tomorrow, we’ll start to explore our new surroundings. Here are many more photos of our travel to Roatan.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”