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Day 29: Long Road to Roatan

March 8, 2006

So we met Michelle & Gianluca again early in the morning, and we all together headed to the port of La Ceiba hoping to get a "2 for 1" deal for the transfer of the cars :) Okay… "2 for 1" was out of the question, but at least something more reasonable than USD 600 per vehicle was our mandatory requirement! We decided that USD 250 was the most we could pay for our Nissan. In case it were more than that, we'd be caught in a very inconvenient situation (see Tip #1 for more details).

The port of La Ceiba is the major gateway to Islas de la Bahia. It's fast and painless to get to the islands without a car - just catch a Galaxy II boat (La Ceiba-Roatan, twice daily, everyday, one-way USD 15. If you are prone to seasickness, better take the magic pill before departure :)). The real fun starts if you want to take your vehicle with you. First, there seems to be no official rules or rates for vehicle transfers whatsoever - everyone you talk to gives you a different price, and then eventually sends you to talk to the captain of the boat, who most of the times is somewhere on the boat, while the boat is on its way to or from the islands… The only company that had some sort of an "office" at the port was "Island Shipping". According to the locals, it also was the only reputable company (use the services of the others at your own risk :) However, their non-negotiable price was USD 405 for our Nissan and almost USD 600 for Michelle's Ford… Needless to say, this price was a little bit too high :).

Since there was nobody else to talk to at the port on Tuesday (all the boats were out to the islands, but some of them should be back from Roatan on Wednesday), we decided to split: Michelle & Gianluca will stay in La Ceiba and wait for the returning boats, while we will try to drive to Trujillo (another port about 130km/ 80 miles east of La Ceiba) and see if we can get a cheaper boat from there. According to the Lonely Planet guide, Trujillo is a lovely Garifuna town and an active port with boats leaving for as far as Jamaica… if this is true, some of those plentiful boats should surely be going to the neighboring Islas de la Bahia.

Trujillo might be a called a decent coastal town (would certainly disagree with "the most attractive" as listed by Lonely Planet), but the road to it is far from pleasant. It took us about 3 hours to navigate among the plentiful potholes and the National Police check-points (Honduras was the first country where we actually got stopped by the police numerous times. One of those times we got fined (USD 2.50) for the "fake" license plate - for security reasons, we had replaced our Californian plate with a "homemade" version with no "California" on it). All obstacles aside, we finally made it to Trujillo… to find out that it was anything but a port! Nobody had ever heard about any boats from Trujillo to Roatan, and we probably made them laugh when we mentioned the cargo boats to Jamaica :) In fact, Trujillo has no port at all, just a little dock for the local fishing boats. One thing for sure, the folks at Lonely Planet badly need to revise some of their chapters…

Other than having no cargo boats to Roatan, Trujillo was a pretty decent place with an attractive beachfront street, lined with nice traditional restaurants, where you can have some of the best seafood soup in the world :)

Tip #1: A good question to ask yourself is if it makes sense bringing the car to the islands at all. If you are going to the smallest of the islands, the 13km/ 8 mi long and 5km/ 3 mi wide Utila, where everything and everybody is conveniently situated in a single settlement within a walking distance, you would be crazy to even think about wasting time and money to get your vehicle there. The same goes for just slightly larger Guanaja, the most expensive of the islands with no regular ferry service even for passengers (therefore almost nobody goes there at all). And frankly, the same applies to Roatan as well, especially if you are planning to stay there just for a week or two, like us :) Although Roatan is a comparatively large island (about 50 km/32 mi long) and has several towns, villages and nice beaches all along the coast, the local taxis and water taxis are cheap (comparing to what it costs to ship a car) and plentiful at any hour. Moreover, you'll probably spend 99 percent of the time diving and partying in West End anyway, while your vehicle will be resting next to the hotel.

Considering the above listed arguments, why would we still insist on shipping your vehicle to Roatan? We could think of about two valid reasons :) First, our car is our best travel buddy, and we don't leave our best buddies in some ugly place called La Ceiba when we go to have fun in Roatan! :) (translation: everything we have on this trip is in the Nissan. If we left the car somewhere in La Ceiba (the town didn't make an impression of being the safest place) and 2 weeks later found it robbed or stolen, that would be a very sad twist of our journey). Second, we had no idea for how long we might want to stay in Roatan. If we left the Nissan at some place in La Ceiba, we would be obliged to come back and pick it up on the agreed date. In conclusion, whatever we do, we do it together with our Nissan, or don't do it at all!

Cick on the pictures to enlarge

Michelle and Gianluca are such hopeless couch potatoes - always drak their couch along! ;) (sorry guys, we're just jealous we can't do the same)

Ford Econoline

Michelle ir Gianluca - baisus namisedos. Kur bevaziuotu, kartu pasiima visa nama!

Loki The World Traveler


Penktoji galva

2.50-dollar adventure

Fake license plate

Dvieju su puse dolerio nuotykis

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

29-oji diena: Ilga kelione I Roatana

2006 m. kovo 8

Is ryto sveciuojames Michelles ir Gialucos namuose - ju Ford Econoline autobusiuke :) "Namus" jie isirenge tikrai pavydetinai: yra ir miegamasis, ir virtuve, ir svetaine. "Patalpos", zinoma, miniatiurines, bet su tokiu namu jau galima keliauti kad ir 20 metu! (toks, beje, musu naujuju pazistamu planas - aplink pasauli per 20 metu). Kol mes geriame kava ir aptarinejame masinu perkelimo I Roatana galimybes, Loki linksmai triauskia sausa kaciu maista ir pavalges dingsta. Kuri laika visi begiojame po viesbucio teritorija, saukdami "Loki, Loki, Loki!! Grizk namo!" - katino neliko nei zenklo. Tik to betruko, kad prie visos laimes dabar dar tas katinas pabegtu…. Uz kokio pusvalandzio kaip niekur nieko I autobusiuka grizta Loki. Veido israiska tokia, kad viska suprantame be zodziu - as gi katinas, kur panorejau, ten ir einu! :)

La Ceiba - pagrindinis Honduro uostas Karibu pakranteje, is kurio I Islas de la Bahia reguliariai plaukia krovininiai ir keleiviniai laivai. I viena is salu - Roatana, mes ir noretumem kaip galima greiciau papulti. Be masinos persikelti labai paprasta - du kartus per diena is La Ceibaos I Roatana plaukia keleiviu keltas Galaxy II. Dvi valandos smagaus sokinejimo per bangeles kainuoja 15 doleriu ir viena piliule nuo pykinimo, jeigu esate linke sirgti juros liga. Jeigu nezinote, ar esate linke I juros liga, pameginkite kuriame nors atrakcionu parke 2 valandas be pertraukos vazinetis linksmaisiais "amerikietiskais" kalneliais. Jeigu galiausiai supykins, zinosite, jog pries lipdami I Galaxy II kelta turite isgerti tablete-kita nuo juros ligos :) Artimiausiomis dienomis pateiksime issamesnes informacijos apie keliones Galaxy II ypatybes :)

Taigi, su keleiviu keltu viskas paprasta ir aisku. Linksmybes prasideda tada, kai norite I salas persikelti kartu su masina. Visu pirma, Ceibos uoste viespatauja absoliuti betvarke. Niekas nieko nezino, bet apsimeta, kad zino viska ir I klausimus atsako taip, lyg butu uosto valdovai. Per pirmaji pusvalandi tokiu konsultaciju masinos perkelimo kaina svyravo tarp $80 iki $800. Galiausiai supratome, kad nei vienas is didziuju kalbininku is tikruju neturi jokio supratimo nei apie perkelimo galimybes, nei apie salygas - reikia kalbeti su virsininku, kuris uoste pasirodys tik po pietu.

Ka gi, turime pora valandu apziureti La Ceibai. Didziule bjaurastis, labai nemalonus miestas. Nera net ka daugiau apie Ceiba parasyti, isskyrus tai, kad is karto tapo aisku, kodel dauguma turistu siame mieste uztrunka lygiai tiek, kiek uzima pasiekti Galaxy II terminala.

Griztame I uosta. Dar uz pusvalandzio pasirodo ir kainu virsininkas. Atidziai ismataves musu Nissana ir Michelles Forda, paskelbia nuosprendi: uz Nissana - $405, uz beveik dvigubai didesni Forda - beveik $600. Mums nuo tokiu kainu po tris kartus apsivercia akys, bet virsininkui tai ne motais - jokiu nuolaidu! "Island Shipping" - auksciausios klases ir geriausios reputacijos kompanija visoje Ceiboje; be to, vienintele, kuri uoste turi ofisa (oi…, o mums pasirode, kad ten uosto tualetas…). Be to, I kaina iskaiciuotas masinos draudimas, kurio nei vienas kitas laivas tikrai mums nepasiulys - rizikuosime nugarmeti I Karibu juros dugna be jokios kompensacijos!

Kaip ten bebutu su tuo draudimu (nugarmejimo galimybe ypac smarkiai "paguode"… idomu, kiek procentu masinu sitaip be kompensacijos nugarma? :)), "Island Shipping" kainos mums vis tik yra per dideles. Ne tik kad tokios islaidos nenumatytos musu keliones biudzete, bet cia jau ir principo reikalas - sitokia didele kaina uz trumputi atstuma tarp La Ceibos ir Roatano yra visiskas absurdas! Aisku, visada lieka galimybe palikti masina kur nors La Ceiboje, o patiems I Roatana persikelti su Galaxy II, bet… labai jau nesinori palikti masinos porai savaiciu nepazistamame mieste pas nepazistamus zmones, todel pirmiau bandysime paieskoti kito krovininio laivo - kas nerizikuoja, tas neima masinos I Roatana! - gal be draudimo kainos daug mazesnes?

Kitos kompanijos net I uosto tualeta panasiu ofisu neturi - reikia eiti tiesiai I laiva, ieskoti kapitono ir tartis del salygu. Atliekame dar viena "viska zinau, bet nieko nezinau" pokalbiu serija, kol pagaliau issiaiskiname, kad siandiena visi didziausi krovininiai laivai yra isplauke - I La Ceiba, atseit, gris rytoj ryte.

Ka gi, diena buvo be galo naudinga ir turininga :)) Kad dar labiau pakeltumem naudingumo koeficienta, nusprendziame vakare nuvaziuoti I Trujillo - kitas uostas, 130 km I rytus nuo Ceibos, is kurio, anot Lonely Planet kelioniu knygos, irgi isplaukia nemazai laivu, kai kurie - net I Jamaika! Jeigu jau yra laivu I Jamaika, tai I Roatana tikrai nors vienas bus! Verta patikrinti. Sutariame, kad Michelle su Gianluca ir Loki liks laukti I Ceiba griztanciu laivu, o mes issiaiskinsime kainas Trujillo uoste, ir is ryto palyginsime rezultatus.

Pakeliui I Trujillo dar karta aptariame visus masinos perkelimo privalumus ir trukumus: jeigu atvirai, masinos kelti I salas, ko gero, neapsimoka. Islas de la Bahia sudaro 3 salos: Utila, Guanaja ir Roatanas. Dvi is ju - Utila ir Guanaja - yra tokios mazos (Utila - apie 13km ilgio ir 5km plocio, Guanaja - siek tiek didesne, bet joje apskritai nera keliu masinoms), kad su masina ten paprasciausiai nebutu ka veikti. Roatanas - didziausia is salu: 50km ilgio ruoze issibarste keliolika miesteliu ir Garifuna gyvenvieciu. Nors 50km nera labai mazas atstumas, Roatane tiek daug pigiu taxi ir vandens taxi, kad netgi visos salos apzvalga privaciu taxi tikrai nebutu per didele prabanga, ypac lyginant su masinos perkelimo islaidomis. Todel palikti masina La Ceiboj, neabejotinai, butu logiskiausias sprendimas.

Taciau galima galvoti ir kitaip! (taip kaip mes :)) - visu pirma, masina yra istikimiausias keliones draugas, o istikimu draugu mes nepaliekam kazkokioje bjaurioje La Ceiboje, patys isvykdami linksmintis I nuostabuji Roatana! (vertimas: La Ceiba nepasirode pati saugiausia vieta, o gyventojai sudare dideliu kalbininku (daug snekanciu ir mazai ka daranciu) ispudi. Toks "sargas" kaip pasaugotu mums Nissana, tai po savaites ar dvieju nerastumem nei Nissano, nei paties sargo). Be to, jeigu kur nors paliktumem masina savaitei, tai privaletumem uz savaites butinai grizti jos pasiimti. O jeigu uzsinoresim Roatane pasilikti ilgiau? Zodziu, nuspresta - Nissanas plauks su mumis I Roatana.

Kelias I Trujillo - prastas, duobetas ir pilnas keliu policijos postu. Girdejom, kad seniau Karibu juros pakrante buvo pati problematiskiausia visoje salyje del aktyvios keliu plesiku veiklos. Panasu, kad Honduro valdzia nusprende su sia problema susidoroti sutelkdama visas keliu policijos pajegas 130 km ruoze tarp La Ceibos ir Trujillo. Viename is patikrinimu susimokame $2.50 (du su puse dolerio) bauda uz "padirbtus" masinos numerius :)) (kad Kalifornijos numeriai nepritrauktu per daug smalsuoliu, ivaziuodami I ilgapirsciais garsejancias teritorijas, pakeisdavom juos I "Z & D gamybos" numerius, is paziuros niekuo nesiskiriancius nuo tikruju, tik be jokiu Kalifornijos uzrasu ir be registracijos lipduko. Iki siandien del to neturejom jokiu problemu, bet vienas policininkas pasitaike turis lietuvisko kraujo - apziurinejo dokumentus ir pacia masina (net kapota paprase atidaryti :)) tol, kol RADO! Jau nuo pirmuju minuciu buvo aisku, kad sitas uz dyka nepaleis. Tikras brolis lietuvis, pasijutome, lyg butumem trumpam grize I gimtaji Kauna :))

Taip naviguodami tarp duobiu ir policininku, Trujillo privaziuojam jau sutemus. Nedelsdami susirandame uosta. Tamsoj nelabai ka eina iziureti, bet toj vietoj, kur turetu buti Trujillo uostas, matome tik nediduka medini liepteli, tinkanti nebent isimylejeliu pasivaiksciojimui, ir pora mediniu zveju valteliu. O kur laivai I Jamaika?? Klausiame vietiniu gyventoju, ar tikrai cia ir yra pagrindinis Trujillo uostas? - Taip, cia. - O tai kur laivai I Jamaika ir Roatana?? - Kur, kur, I Roatana? O ko jums I ta Roatana?.. Verciau jau pirkit is manes geros zoles! :)

Visai linksmas miestelis tas Trujillo, bet siandienai jau nuotykiu pakaks. Geraja vietine "gandza" (populiarus vietinis zoles pavadinimas, tarti "z" su pauksciuku) vis tik ismainome I dievisko skonio Garifuna juros gerybiu sriuba :) O ryt is pat ankstyvo ryto vel bandysim ieskoti laivu I Roatana.

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