Picture of the day:
(click to enlarge)

Grrr... go away!


Lietuviskas aprasymas zemiau

Wanna see all reports? Click here

Day 35: The Moment of Truth

March 14, 2006

There is no other hole like Coxen Hole: as many times as we've been there (we visited the town for the Internet and groceries several times during the two weeks on Roatan), every time there was no electricity in the entire town! A good question is if they have electricity at all.

Needless to say, the first night on Roatan was long: no electricity, nothing happening in the town, no way of knowing what's happening with our car… falling asleep was completely out of the question. (For extra adrenaline, we had chosen a hotel right at the port, just a step from the sea). The howling wind and endless sounds of breaking waves filled our weary minds with colorful visions of Captain Berto struggling against the furious Mother Nature, and the captain, in a desperate attempt to keep the boat afloat, ordering the crew to cut the ropes and dump the two damn heavy cars into the sea…

It's finally 6 AM and we are at the port. No Captain Berto. 7, 8, 9 AM… no boats from La Ceiba whatsoever. No Internet or electricity either. By 10 AM we had walked all the streets of Coxen Hole back and forth three times and knew all the residents of the town. Still no Captain Berto.

However, the long hours of waiting don't go completely to waste, as luckily for the world, we come up with an important addition to the theory of relativity: time flow is directly related to the nationality of the observer. For instance, if a Honduran observer states that the electricity will be back "soon", it would mean "some time today". Another example could be a boat arriving "in a moment" - this means one should expect the boat in about 3 hours. And if you have a meeting with a Honduran at 3PM, and he finally shows up at 5PM, it means that he is 5 minutes late (while you have aged by 2 hours).

At around 10:30AM several boats appear in the horizon… but none of them is Captain Berto! You have to find yourself in our shoes to fully understand what a relief it was, when AT NOON (it was supposed to be 6AM, so entire 15 Honduran minutes later than promised!) we finally saw the white and blue colors of Captain Berto… thank you God for not sinking this boat that is bringing our car… As she approaches, we start discerning the contours of our Nissan, but no item on the ship resembles the white Michelle's Ford… how could they have hidden such a big van so well? Is it under the Nissan?? In the captain's cabin perhaps??

The closer Captain Berto gets, the better we can see the "stuff" she is carrying: boxes of tomatoes on top of loose cabbage heads, new refrigerators and mattresses right on top of the captain's cabin, loose propane tanks, bananas, bell peppers, water melons, pieces of furniture, water tanks, bricks, bags of cement chaotically dispersed all over the ship, as well as three or four pigs, and our Nissan squeezed in between the pigs and the boxes with tomatoes… Add a black flag with a scull, and you'll have a typical pirate ships loaded with booty.

Finally the boat docks, and now we can clearly see that Michelle's van has not arrived. The captain seems to be surprised that we are surprised :) "Well, the other car didn't fit, they will get here on the next boat on Thursday, what's the big deal?" So much for advanced reservations :)

The chaos continues as the unloading begins. The paper boxes with tomatoes are all soaked in water and start falling apart, the pigs would like to eat the tomatoes but are tied to our Nissan on short ropes, so they start squealing like crazy; the receivers of the "stuff" are yelling at each other trying to figure out which tomato or watermelon belongs to whom… Now we understand why some of the watermelons were named "Jose" or "Manuel" - the names being written across the melon in big black letters… "Your car will be ready in 30 minutes", announces the captain, but he is a Honduran :)

At around 2PM it's finally time for the Nissan. The crew prepares a "ramp" made of two large wooden boards, and the captain starts driving the car onto them… Frankly, it all looked so surreal that we had to check with one another several times to make sure we were not hallucinating :)

Since most of the cargo have been unloaded, the boat has risen significantly. Now the ends of the wooden boards are about 4 feet above the dock. Looks like the captain is planning to use the "swing method" :) Turns out we are right!! At the point where the Nissan is about halfway out of the boat, the weight center shifts and the "ramp" swings down touching the dock. Another moment, and when the Nissan is almost on the land, but suddenly one of the boards breaks in half… Now we understand the real meaning of nightmare! :) Fortunately, the car was "on land" enough - had the wooden board broken a second earlier, the Nissan would have remained hanging on the boardside…

Yet, all is well that ends well! We are finally on Roatan, and our Nissan made it to the island, too! (with quite a few scratches on the paint, thick layer of salt all over the car and a substantial dent on the back door, but this was nothing comparing to what we expected when we saw the boat arriving! :))

Off to the closest car wash before the salt has done its nasty job, then to the first available Internet café to find out what exactly happened to Michelle & Gianluca (luckily, electricity is back and we can get online). Turns out the captain told us the truth: after they loaded all the stuff and the Nissan, there simply was no room left for Michelle's Ford. Therefore, our friends gave up and decided to leave their van at Helen's, and took a passenger ferry to Utila instead of Roatan (a more economical option if you are going without the vehicle).

At around 6PM, we finally arrived in West End, the happiest place on Roatan and one of the craziest spots on Earth! :) We will come to learn about that during the next two weeks, so keep checking back for the forthcoming reports!
What a long road to Roatan it has been… :)

A Very Special Thanks to Michelle & Gianluca for guarding our Nissan in La Ceiba until 2AM, as well as for all the travel advice you gave us, and for all the fun and laughs we shared. It was such a pity that the "Operation Roatan" did not go as planned - we would have had some great time on Roatan together! Hope you guys are still diving and having the best of time in Utila; and we truly hope to see you again some time soon!

Tip #1: We recommend you save your nerve cells and avoid shipping your car on Captain Berto by all possible means! However, this boat is the only economic option available from La Ceiba to Roatan (USD100 one way), so you may end up having to use it. Look for Ronad, the captain, cell phone # 965-7052. You can find Captain Berto at the port of La Ceiba on Mondays and Thursdays; otherwise just call Ronad and make an advanced reservation. It's probably a good idea to stay in Ceiba with your car until you make sure it is loaded, and take the first Galaxy II ferry next morning - just in case it suddenly turned out there was no room for your vehicle on this trip :)

Tip #2: Since we immediately knew we were not putting our car on Captain Berto again, we decided to try one more time and check with the other cargo ships in Coxen Hole. Great news! - A car transfer back to the mainland on New Star costs only USD 75! New Star is a much bigger, newer boat with a proper ramp for car loading. The round-trip price they gave us in La Ceiba was very high, but it looks like most of the boats leave the island almost empty, therefore the return price is much lower on any boat. For prices or to book a spot on New Star, contact one of the following people:
Patricia Tablada, the manager (tel: 445-0338)
Nora (963-3449)
Patty (937-3358)
Michael, the captain (918-8733)
You may also try calling Patricia from La Ceiba - there is a chance she'd give you a better round-trip price than the one we got from the captain (we didn't know anything about Patricia at the time we were in Ceiba). New Star departs from Roatan on Wednesdays and Sundays. Be at the port around 10 AM - if they get loaded fast, they may leave around noon.

Cick on the pictures to enlarge

All the major cargo boats have already arrived at the port of Coxen Hole...

Coxen Hole harbour

Dauguma didziuju krovininiu laivu jau atvyko i Coxen Hole uosta...

Here she comes! And her name is Captain Berto :)

Captain Berto arriving

Didysis guminis antinas atvyksta! :)

En peores plazas hemos toreado... (a Spanish saying)

Captain Berto

Nissanas prie denio neblogai pritvirtintas - Atrodo be reikalo jaudinomes, kad gali nuslysti i jura

The Pirates of the Caribbean

Captain Berto turning

Karibu juros piratai


Zvilgnis is arciau

Clowns to the left, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle...

Captain Berto unloading

Ar tikrai, ar sapnuojam?...

Click on the picture to see the video of the unloading of the "stuff"

Unloading process

Noredami pamatyti piratu grobio iskrovimo proceso video irasa, spauskite ant paveiksliuko.

Click on the picture to see the booty in detail

Captain Berto cargo details

Issami Captain Berto krovinio ataskaita

Click on the picture for the unloading of the piglets (warning: contains some violence)

Unloading pigs

Noredami pamatyti parseliu islaipinimo video irasa, spauskite ant paveiksliuko. Jei musu puslapi skaito gyvunu globos organizaciju nariai, mielai papasakosime, kur ir kada galite rasti Kapitona Berto :)

Nuvesk pelyte virs paveiksliuko, spustelk jos kaire ausele, ir paveiksliukas padides

35-oji diena: Ilgai laukus, dar palauk…

2006 m. kovo 14

Taigi, Captain Berto uoste turetu pasirodyti 6 valanda ryto. Uztrunkam gera pusvalandi, kol dar mieganciame mieste issiaiskinam, kur yra Coxen Hole uostas. Pasirodo, siame mieste uostas yra visur! - jis issiteses kelis kilometrus palei kranta, ir kiekvienas laivas turi savo megstama "stotele". Pavyksta issiaiskinti tiek, kad Captain Berto paprastai svartuojasi "priesais medienos parduotuve" :) Apie 7 ryto pagaliau randam ir izymiaja medienos parduotuve, bet musu laivo ten - nei zymes. 8, 9, 10… - horizonte iziurime pora taskeliu - valio!! Nors vienas tikrai bus musu laivas! Kur tau… Vienas po kito atplaukia ivairiausi laivai, o Kapitonas Berto - dinges kaip I vandeni (taigi… o jeigu tikrai I vandeni??!)

Negana to, kad 5 laukimo minutes ir taip prilygsta valandai, visame mieste dar, kaip tycia, nera elektros! Nera nei sviesos, nei interneto, nei galimybes paziureti, ar Michelles kompanija neatsiunte kokios zinutes su naujienomis apie masinas. Isvaikstome visas Coxen Hole gatves ivairiausiomis kryptimis po kelis kartus, ir apie 11 valanda ryto jau zinome ne tik visas miestelio institucijas, bet ir pazistame beveik visus gyventojus :) O Kapitono Berto net ir 11 valanda dar nera.

Is didelio "uzimtumo" papildom laiko reliatyvumo teorija: laiko tekmes suvokimas tiesiogiai priklauso nuo stebetojo tautybes. Pavyzdziui, Hondure atsakymas I klausima "kaip manote, kada atsiras elektra?" dazniausiai bus "turetu atsirasti labai greitai", o paprasius tiksliau apibrezti "labai greitai" savoka, tipiskas atsakymas butu "kazkada siandien" :) Kitas pavyzdys butu laivas, turintis atplaukti "ne uz ilgo" - reikstu mazdaug 2-3 valandu laikotarpyje. O jeigu kas nors I 3-cios val. po pietu sutarta susitikima atvyko 5:30, tai reiskia, kad pavelavo 5 minutes.

Dziaugsmo, uzpludusio mus 12 valanda, horizonte pagaliau pamacius Kapitona Berto, aprasyti neimanoma - NEPASKENDO!!! Vaje, kaip letai arteja…ir labiau panasus I didziuli gumini antina, negu I tikra laiva… O kodel is tolo nesimato didziulio Michelles Fordo? Kaip jie sugebejo ji taip gerai paslepti?.. Aciu Dievui, jau galime iziureti Nissano konturus - negi tikrai nepaskendo?? :)))

Pagaliau Captain Berto priplaukia taip arti, kad aiskiai matome, jog Michelles Fordo ant denio nera (kad butu kur kitur - praktiskai neimanoma; neikiso gi jie autobusiuko I triuma!??). Laivas is tiesu prisisvartuoja tiksliai priesais medienos parduotuve. Akivaizdu, kad musu Nissanas ant denio yra (pirmasyk lengviau atsidustame!), taciau jo bukles nustatyti praktiskai neimanoma - Kapitonas Berto atrodo taip, kaip turetu atrodyti ka tik is sekmingos medziokles grizes piratu laivas: ivairiausios paskirties daiktu, deziu, cisternu, rysuliu, palaidu kopustu galvu ir arbuzu - iki pat antenos virsunes… Ant kapitono kajutes stogo pritvirtinti keli saldytuvai, ant ju virsaus priristi matrasai, sonuose prikabinti plastikiniu vamzdziu rysuliai, laivo priekyje padrikai sumesti bent 200 duju balionu… Dar iziurime pagyvenusia sofa, nauja knygu lentyna, kelias kruveles plytu, armaturos ir keleta maisu cemento. O kazkur paciame sio ispudingo chaoso dugne - saugiai tupi musu masina, tvirtai prie denio prispausta keliais sluoksniais "grobio": vandens cisternomis, bulviu maisais, pomidoru dezemis, kopustu galvomis, didziulemis kekemis bananu… O Nissano pavesyje ramiai snuduriuoja trys vidutinio imitimo parseliai :)

Pagaliau is po kazkurio kopusto lapo islenda pats kapitonas. Puolame klausti, kur taip profesionaliai paslepe Michelles Forda. Kapitonas ramiai atsako - "Jusu draugu masina, deja, I si reisa netilpo. Jiems teks palaukti ketvirtadienio.". O mums, atseit, teks palaukti pusvalandi, kol igula iskraus "prekes" ir gales iskelti Nissana. Net ir nespejes pazinti laiko reliatyvumo teorijos papildymu, vos zvilgterejes I deni, pasakytu, kad kapitonas kalbejo apie hondurietiska pusvalandi… :)

Uz zadetojo pusvalandzio betvarke pasiekia kulminacija - is perslapusiu popieriniu deziu byra pomidorai, prekiu "gavejai" pesasi del kopustu ir arbuzu, parseliai noretu esti pomidorus, bet nepasiekia, nes yra tvirtai priristi prie musu Nissano, todel garsiai zviegia… Kuri laika atrodo, kad papuolem I amzino chaoso busena. Taciau 2 valanda po pietu staiga triuksmas nutyla, ir ateina laikas Nissanui grizti I zeme. Jureiviai paruosia "rampa" - permeta per borta dvi medines lentas (stai ir paaiskejo burtu lazdeles veikimo principas!). Kadangi iskrautas laivas smarkiai palengvejo ir pakilo, lentu galai irgi pasikele gana aukstai nuo kranto. Pamazu pradedame suprasti, kad bus naudojamas "supyniu' metodas - masina uzvaziuos ant lentu ir palengva riedes link kranto, kol lentos persisvers ir galais palies zeme - visai kaip tikrame cirke! Negalime atsidziaugti, kad musu Nissanui teks pabuti pagrindiniu profesionalaus akrobatinio triuko atlikeju…

Kapitonas seda uz vairo, ir meistriskai uzvaziuoja ant lentu - akivaizdu, kad patyres! Nissanas letai slenkasi lentomis link kranto (atbulomis) - vaizdelis toks nerealus, kad kelis kartus pasitikriname, ar nesapnuojame :) Eksperimentui artejant prie laimingos pabaigos (galiniai ratai jau beveik sieke kranta, o priekiniai dar buvo laive), viena is lentu staiga garsiai trioksteli ir luzta per puse… 1 sekunde anksciau, ir musu masina butu pakibusi ant laivo borto!

Ka gi, viskas gerai, kas baigiasi… Adrenalino trukumo dar ilgai nejausim :) Kapitonas sypsodamasis atiduoda raktelius ir pataria kaip galima greiciau nuplauti puses centimetro druskos sluoksni nuo masinos - irodyma, kad Karibu jura praeita nakti nebuvo pati ramiausia. Uz pusvalandzio tamsiai zalia spalva atgaves Nissanas prabyla apie pigiu paslaugu Hondure rezultatus: abejos galines dureles gana smarkiai apibraizytos, vienose atsirades nedidelis ilenkimas, viduje atliktas "patikrinimas" (keistas "inspektoriu" skonis - be keliu ciulpiniu saldainiu, daugiau nieko nekonfiskavo… ). Pamoka - stai kuo baigiasi kelione su kiaulemis (sioje vietoje kalbame NE apie tris salia Nissano snuduriavusius parselius).

Po pietu I miesteli pagaliau grizta elektra, ir pagaliau gauname zinute nuo Michelles, kad ju Fordas is tiesu "paprasciausiai netilpo"! Laivo igula tol krove kopustus, arbuzus ir kiaules, kol vietos liko tik vienai masinai. O tada mandagiai atsiprase, ir pasiule palaukti iki sekancio reiso ketvirtadieni :) Nenuostabu, kad musu draugams nebeuzteko kantrybes - palike autobusiuka prie Helen's viesbucio (kuriame mes praleidome tris Roatano laukimo dienas), Michelle, Gianluca ir Loki pasirinko pigesne sala - Utila, I kuria persikele be "namu". Cia musu keliai ir issiskyre. Nuosirdziausiai dekojame sauniajai trijulei, kuri iki puses triju ryto Ceibos uoste priziurejo musu masina, ir tikimes juos kada nors vel pamatyti. Truputi liudna, kad Roatane nebusim kartu, bet tikrai zinom, kad kazkada vel susitiksim. Juk pasaulis - tai didele stikline vandens!..

Archive of Daily Reports



Costa Rica



El Salvador



Copyright © 2006 Go-Panamerican.com
Web site designed by www.thomaz.org