Sunday, 16 November 2008

... Central America: Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay Islands

At 630am we were back on the road enroute the bus station to catch our bus to La Ceiba, on the northern coast of Honduras. This would be where we would catch our ferry to Utila, the 3rd largest of the Bay Islands. I was pleased to see that we weren't going to be riding on a chicken bus for our long journey and even happier to find out that we had managed to score one that went directly to La Ceiba. I was rather amused to find that every time we got onto the bus they would wave one of those security wands over us & our carry-on. A little bizarre considering that coming across the Nicaraguan-Honduran border the most I saw in terms of security was when I got yelled at for standing too close to what was the border (a chain in the middle of the road) despite having had my passport stamped. They seemingly couldn't care less about my luggage.

The bus ride was uneventful and pretty comfy except when it started raining and leaked in through the roof and unfortunately both the windows I was sat next to. Actually it was bubbling & spitting on me so making me even wetter than had it been just a mere 'leak'.  Oh well, I don't travel well on buses but marginally better by having a window seat so it was a small sacrifice to pay.  The Honduran countryside whizzed past as we sped along what were pretty good roads for most part, only the occasional bumpy one or one that had half of it 100 metres down the hillside in a ravine due to the recent flooding from the 'wet season'. With a 30min break around 930am for breakfast and another quick bathroom break a few hours later we arrived in La Ceiba just after 2pm.

We had an hour to wait for our ferry and I was pretty impressed when I saw a boat coming in. That was until I realised that that one was headed for Roatan and ours was in fact the little seacat next to it. Despite the fact our boat was called the 'Utila Princess', it was more like comparing a dingy to the QE2!

I figured I should probably take a travel sick pill 'just to be on the safe side'. It looked pretty calm out there but it was raining heavily. Within 5 minutes of leaving the dock I realised very very quickly that looks ARE deceiving. I wasn't sailing across the Gulf of Honduras in the Caribbean Sea, I was sailing across the SEA OF HELL! Ken & I were sat right near the front where the Captain was and believe me I rode every single wave. Some people were screaming so one woman would then shout out 'Shut the f*ck up' every time there was a scream. Both were very annoying when you are trying to disguise your own fear/keep your stomach contents where they belong.

One girl, right in my line of sight, filled at least 6 bags with vomit and then there were a few others puking too. It is also rather disconcerting when a bunch of crew go running to the back of the boat to do 'something' with one of the engines which was making an awful noise. I was holding on for dear life and looking around for where the life jackets were 'just in case'. We were thrown around like rag dolls. When I finally stood up to get off the boat, it looked like I had wet myself. For the briefest of moments I did wonder if it was seawater or urine but promise you it WAS the former!

What should've been a 45-60 minute ferry crossing took us 90 minutes! I found out later, once safely on land, that for part of the way we could only run on one engine. I make the return journey on Wednesday......

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