Daniel’s Sloth And Monkey Farm

We couldn’t leave for Providencia without spending time with our British friends, Richard and Jan, who are circumnavigating on s/v Morpheus, so we made sure to save time for a day of fun. In the morning, we made our way to Daniel’s Sloth & Monkey Farm. Daniel’s had been on our radar since we found out it existed, but they were closed for renovations on our first attempt at a visit.

Jan, Richard and I set out on their dinghy, while Scott stayed behind. We had decided to pay an agent to check us out of Roatan on a weekend, and he didn’t want to miss the man returning with our passports and exit papers.

Daniel’s “farm” is actually a house with many large cages behind it. His brother, Luke, came out to give us a tour and introduce us to the animals. Daniel started with just a few animals as pets, and has expanded to include several varieties. The cages are very large and kept meticulously clean. It is also obvious by his way with the animals, and by their behavior, that Luke and his family truly care for them.

We began with the coatimundi, or jungle raccoon. Their long, narrow nose balances their long, straight narrow tail. They definitely resemble raccoons, and we learned that they are more friendly. However, because of their sharp nails, we didn’t interact with them.

After stopping by the raccoons and agoutis, we were lead into one of the monkey cages. The three young monkeys were immediately smitten with Richard.

These little guys were not quite as old as Cheeky, our youngest  Fantasy Island monkey. They climbed all over us, and were very adept at unsnapping the back of mine and Jan’s hats while trying to remove them.

When monkey play time was over, we headed for the cages that held macaws and parrots. We were able to feed both types of these beautiful birds. The macaws were a bit heavy, like holding Howard on my forearm!

Luke pointed out several sloths sleeping, un-caged, in the surrounding mangroves (obviously, they are too slow to escape!). We saw two adults…..and a baby!

Sloths are naturally nocturnal, and are only awake for an average of four hours a day. Fun fact, they only poop three times a week, so that four hours is predominantly used for eating. Each evening, Luke and his family hang clusters of leaves from the trumpet tree for the sloths to munch on when they awake.

Many of the sloths at Daniel’s have been brought there by people from the mainland, who have rescued them from harm. Daniel’s Farm now host school groups, educating the children about sloths, and their non-threat to humans

It was now time to do what we’d really come for…hold a sloth!! Luke went into the mangroves along the water’s edge, and helped Snow White down for us to hold.

He placed her on each of us in turn, in a bear hug hold.

She seemed perfectly comfortable to be held, and turned her head to check us out. Sloths have an extra vertebrae in their spine, similar to an owl, allowing them to turn their heads 180 degrees in either direction.

Her fur was coarse, but not scratchy, and we didn’t even feel her “toes” on our back. She has such a sweet, “smiling” face!

When we’d each had time with her, Luke took Snow White back to here perch in the mangroves. He was careful to make sure that she had a firm hold before letting go.

In a sloth’s flash, she had assumed her previous position, and was sound asleep. Would she even remember us when she awoke for dinner?

Of course, there was only one thing to do after an awesome, but hot and buggy day with the animals….bobbing! This time, we stayed in our own back yard, spending the afternoon in the water off of the beach at the resort.

We stayed in the water, drinking and talking, until thoroughly pruned, and then headed off to meet the others at the pavilion. We took advantage of Pizza Inn & Bojangles delivery, and had an easy, yummy and “healthy” dinner of pizza and chicken, before parting ways and heading to our boats.

Our time with the monkeys and sloths was awesome, and the four of us had a great day together. We again have to say good bye to new friends, hoping to share an anchorage or marina again somewhere down the line. To quote a line from a Billy Joel song, “Life is a series of hellos and good byes, I’m afraid it’s time for good bye again.” How true these words are in the cruising world…Cheers mates!

Here are many more photos of our day at Daniel’s Sloth and Monkey Farm.

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

Monkey Business On Fantasy Island

There are many animals and birds that roam the property of Fantasy Island Resort, but the monkeys are definitely the stars of the show. Until recently, there were seventeen monkeys on the island, but they were so mischievous toward guests that the owners had to relocate all but three (the rest have found good homes). Cheeky is a male, and the youngest of the three.

Lucy and Ethel are older females, and Scott and I have yet to tell them apart.

Mischievous is definitely putting it lightly. These three rule the island, sometimes with an iron fist! They will open hatches, climb into boats and take things. Scott and I witnessed one of the girls come out of a sailboat with an entire canister of powdered coffee creamer. She proceeded to climb to the roof of a nearby building and pour the creamer down her throat, her mouth covered in white powder. We’ve also see them slide down electric wires like they’re vines, and dig at the electrical boxes. It’s a wonder they’re still alive.

Most mornings, you’ll find them in the resort’s lobby, stealing whatever breakfast they can from the guests and wreaking havoc in general. Always on a quest for fresh water, they’ll drink from the cooler in the lobby, leaving the knob up and the water running when through. The same goes for the showers in the dive area, they’ll turn the shower on for a drink and then leave it running.

At happy hour, when cruisers gather in the pavilion, the monkeys usually appear for peanuts, climbing from person to person searching for their nutty treats (Scott always keeps some handy in his pocket).

If you’re not careful, they’ll help themselves to your drink to wash down the peanuts. I left a glass of wine unattended for a second, and turned to find it in Cheeky’s hands. He also managed to get a hold of margaritas that were left over from Cinco de Mayo, which made for an interesting and hyper evening.

If the monkeys take something from you, the best way to get it back is to trade for it (except for liquid, which they immediately drink, or dump on the ground). Just demanding it back is unsuccessful, and met with much attitude and noise. Everything is “child proofed” in the pavilion, with locks on the refrigerators and freezers, glass and utensils cabinet and tv.

Lucy will seek out a man she fancies, and stick like glue to him for days. Our friends Kevin and Jeff each told us of their experience with her on separate occasions, and we’ve seen it first hand with Steve, the dock master. For days, Lucy followed Steve from his boat to the office, running along rooftops and across tree limbs. If she couldn’t  make her way inside with him, she’d sit outside and bang on the door to get in. When Steve spent time in the lobby, using the internet, Lucy would lay on him like clothing. One morning, he went to his stateroom to make the bed, and found Lucy sitting on it!

All of the monkeys tease dogs here at the marina constantly, working them into a frenzy.

They have learned to bark like dogs, and Lucy even tried to pick poor Libby (Steve’s dog) off the ground. I think she would have succeeded, had Steve not intervened. We frequently see Cheeky chasing the agoutis and peacocks around as well. No one is off limits.

Cruisers here are used to the monkeys antics, and are always ready for a surprise “hop-on” when walking the grounds, or while sitting in the cock pit. Scott and I had a visit up on the flybridge, while we enjoyed cooler weather outside. They tried to use our paravane rigging to climb over to us. When Scott blocked their attempt, Cheeky showed his frustration by throwing coconuts down from a nearby tree. Lucy/Ethel successfully persevered, and joined us on board.

Here’s some video:

Resort guests are usually surprised and often afraid of the monkeys’ in-your-face interaction. While bobbing in the water with Richard and Jan, we witnessed all three monkeys descend on some tourists who were sitting on the beach.

We went to help, and found Cheeky up in a tree with a tube of sunscreen in his mouth. He immediately realized that it was less than tasty, and threw it down onto the sand below. Ethel/Lucy had obviously done the same, as we spied another tube on top of a beach bed frame. A bag of chips had been ripped open and left for dead on a nearby beach lounger, obviously not their favorite flavor.

We then spotted a girl whimpering with fear, while Cheeky curled his tail around her neck and grabbed her face. He meant no harm and was just saying hello, but she was terrified. Jan went over to intervene, and Cheeky quickly jumped to her, just in time for another guest to hand him a sugar packet! In a flash, he’d ripped it open and gulped it down…great, added energy. Thankfully, they lose interest quickly, and were soon off on their way.

Howard hasn’t escaped the monkey’s attention either. They have recently noticed him through the windows of the boat. The girls were especially interested, and came in for a closer look, getting pretty worked up when they make eye contact.

We were surprised at how Howard kept his cool during the interaction. Here’s video of the monkeys eyeballing Howard through the pilot house window:

We’re going to miss their daily antics. It’s been such a treat to interact with them up close, whether we want to or not! Here are many more monkey photos.

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