We cautiously picked our way through the reef strewn seas off the Honduras Island of Guanaja, having timed our arrival for midday. It’s so much easier to eyeball navigate when the sun is directly overhead. The tiny main town of Guanaja Settlement sits on an island about a kilometre from the mainland and we anchored just offshore.
Locals live in houses built over the water on stilts mainly to avoid the horrendous plagues of mosquitoes, sandflies and noseeims that are a huge problem here. The houses provide respite from the intense heat.
The island is a rabbit warren of concrete streets and wooden planked pathways. George and Candice (who we sailed with from the Hobbie Cays) were here 20 years ago before the destructive Hurricane Mitch and said the entire island was wooden walkways.
Red…..a friendly local who tagged along hoping for a tip….tells us the town has been completely rebuilt since the hurricane. As we follow him to customs along narrow walkways we hear an almighty din – turns out we’re walking past the local prison cell. There’s a very black face peering out at us uttering a string of obscenities – we keep going!
He takes us to immigration and customs where we have the usual wait – everything is done by hand or on typewriters and the paperwork is unbelievable. But at least the offices are air conditioned.
After several hours sitting around in various offices we’re officially cleared in so head to a nearby anchorage and enjoy a fantastic night’s sleep – we always sleep so well after a night passage.
Next morning we listen to the north west Caribbean cruisers’ net and hear the high tides for the mouth of the Rio Dulcie are a few days earlier than we had listed. There’s a nice breeze blowing so, after a quick discussion, we decide to take advantage of the wind and head to Guatemala. The wind is predicted to die by tomorrow and we hate using unnecessary diesel.
Of course we have to go back into the town and check out and that takes several hours……but a bonus is that the fresh produce has arrived from the Honduran mainland so we stock up on papaya, mango, banana, courgette, peppers and herbs. Bliss!
It’s been an all too brief stop in this intriguing island but we’ll be back next season – armed with plenty of mosquito repellent!