Tuesday, December 4, 2007

using electricity to save reefs

We don't have people using dynamite or cyanide to fish on Roatan (thank goodness), but we did have a coral bleaching episode a few years ago caused by water that remained too warm for too long. Roatan's reef have naturally recovered since then. This is an interesting approach being used in Bali to assist the coral's recovery. Of course, if the electricity comes from polluting fossil fuel generators, one has to wonder if the net effect would be positive.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

our trails and paths

The last six months since my arrival at Paya Bay we've been busy building a network of paths and trails to make the abundant natural beauty of the property easily accessible for our guests. The Zen Path follows the contour of the cliff, taking you to Lil' Bay Beach. Currently the Zen Path has several hamacas that are hung in places with especially beautiful views of the ocean. My goal is for the path to eventually have several meditation and/or quiet contemplation stations. The Nature Trail to Secret Cove leads to one of the most private and secluded spots on the property. We've built a beautiful hamaca station at Secret Cove that is a great place to chill out with your iPod and watch the sunset. Currently under construction is a cross-training walking/jogging/running path that will eventually have calisthenic exercise stations (e.g. push ups, pull ups, abs, etc).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

corona beer photoshoot on lil' bay beach

As I write this post, BBDO Advertising is doing a photoshoot for a Corona Beer ad on Paya Bay's Lil' Bay Beach! I will update this post later. Paya Bay is that good!

Sunday, October 7, 2007


The other evening one of our guests described the new lighting we've implemented in the cliff rooms as "W-esque" (as in the cutting edge W Hotels). Quite a compliment. I'll take some photos of the rooms at night and post them. Just call us Paya "W" Bay! Hmm. On second thought, let's not.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

photo of the day

The classic photo of Paya Bay Resort taken from the road above the bay.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

crab run

Once a year, at the end of summer when the water is warmest, our local land crabs make a run for the beach to wash their fertilized eggs into the surf. The eggs hatch in the sea and the juvenile crabs eventually make their way back to land. The last few nights we've had hundreds of crabs doing this annual ritual. Lucky has found this spectacle more exciting than you can imagine!

Sunday, September 23, 2007


A very special guest suggested it, so I've started meditating again. I bought a meditation album on iTunes called "Living Meditation - Guided Meditations with David Harshada Wagner." I have to say, he's really good at taking you to that awesome place very quickly.

'God particle' may have been seen

I love quantum physics!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

our reefs need protection!

While the Honduran Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (SERNA) sleeps, the reefs of Eastern Roatan continue to be plundered by poor local fishermen harvesting lobster and large meat fish (primarily groupers and snappers). The short-sightedness of the Honduran government is mind-boggling! To this day, Tegucigalpa still has not declared Roatan's barrier reef a national marine park, and found alternative ways for these fishermen to make a living. The coral reefs of the Bay Islands, along with the Copan Mayan Ruins, are arguably the two most important assets this country has! How - HOW - can you let it be destroyed, you idiots? This spectacular resource belongs not only to Hondurans but to the world. I've decided to not let another day go by without pushing to get every square inch of our reefs protected. Please stay tuned!

[to be accurate, a portion of the reef on the West End of the island is being protected by an NGO]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

my roatan is growing SO fast

Saw a sign on the road today for a new "Megaplaza Mall" that's going up in French Harbour (the new capital of Roatan). The restaurants in the new shopping center will include a Wendy's and an Applebee's (Ugh! Disgusting corporate invasion.) It's amazing that twenty years ago this island didn't even have a real airport.

Monday, September 17, 2007

photos of the day

Honeymooners Derrick and Jennifer enjoying the water at Lil' Bay Beach.

Guests Christopher and Diana using the new access ladder at Secret Cove to go snorkeling.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

the mountain, the woman

Kate took me up on the Picacho Peak Challenge, becoming Paya Bay's first guest to hike to the top of of Roatan's highest peak. An attorney from San Francisco, when we got to the top of the 235M Picacho she exclaimed, "Wow, that's it?! That's ALL we have to climb?! I thought it would be more." We both agreed that it's totally worth it. The views are amazing. You're the best, Kate! May The Secret guide you to your greater good.

Kate and our guide, Fernando, take in the views at the top of the peak.

View from Picacho, looking east.

meet Lucky

Meet Lucky. He's the newest member of Paya Bay's staff. He's "all puppy" at the moment: rambunctious, full of energy, and chewing on everything. He's also a bottomless pit: hungry 24/7 and eating everything a growing puppy can get this jaws on. He's got tons of personality and is already doing a great job in his enviable role as Paya Bay's "resort dog."

Friday, September 7, 2007

Thursday, September 6, 2007

democracy of music

Music is a very important part of the Paya Bay experience. We play a lot of chillout and ambient music at the restaurant/bar. This is the music that best complements the natural beauty that surrounds you. It helps with relaxation and helps raise your awareness of the specialness of place you are staying at. Since it's the music you would hear at a sophisticated South Beach bar or lounge, it really gives Paya Bay a chic edge not found elsewhere on Roatan. When it's time to ramp things up we play 'island music': a compilation of reggae, calypso, soca, and reggaeton tunes that local Roatanians love to get down to. And, of course, on Thursday nights there is the incomparable music of the Garifunas. Their instruments are African drums, conch shell trumpets, empty turtle shell, maracas, and an electric guitar. It's really, really awesome music!

That being said, however, if you book a group of friends at Paya Bay, and you want to play YOUR music, we will give you 100% control. Whatever makes you and your friends feel good and be happy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

felix shmelix

Here in Roatan, We got some wind and rain, but that's about it. No tide surge. Nothing damaged. The evacuation of tourists mentioned in the press was, in retrospect, probably an overreaction. The storm passed well to the south of us. Hopefully the flooding isn't too bad on the Honduras mainland.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I need a chef / kitchen manager

see internship opportunity

in order to do

the amazing and extraordinary things I'm doing in my Life, I can feel no fear. One has power over everything, including outcomes. If you let it, fear only serves to distract you from your real reality: you are in total, 100% control!

Saturday, September 1, 2007


Got my Open Water scuba certification on Wednesday. Looking forward to getting out on the dive boat with our guests at least once a week. Definitely one of the better perks of my job!

Monday, August 27, 2007

semifinal dives

This morning I did my semifinal dives toward my dive certification. Ben, our awesome dive center manager and dive instructor, is certifying me. My sister and I went through the process of being certified as teenagers, but we never got the official document. I figured I should go ahead and take care of that little detail now that I'm living on Roatan and managing a beach and dive resort. The diving here really is great! Tomorrow I wrap up the process.

a chef? moi?

So, I've been advertising an internship position for a chef here at Paya Bay. We currently have local cooks in the kitchen that do a decent job, but my goal is to dramatically improve the quality of our food. Well, our friend Ben (who is a chef) found out what I was doing and insists that the person who should learn how to cook is me, and --listen to this!-- he has offered to teach me. He argues that if I know how to prepare excellent food I will "have command of my kitchen" and will be able to (a) teach my staff how to do it properly and (b) insist that they produce the quality I want. He wants me to read Julia Child's very first cookbook as he says it teaches all the basics about food preparation. He will then he train me in "cheffing" on weekends. Who would have thunk?! I love learning new things, so I'm very excited about this! Meanwhile, the internship position is still available.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

new stuff

These cool little shade canopies have just been added to the Big Beach. They were constructed using primarily locally obtained materials. Don't you agree that while they are rustic, they're also quite original, hip, and cutting-edge? I designed them and they were built by our resident carpenter, Miguel. Eat your heart out Philippe Stark!

Paya Bay as I see it

Rooms 8A and 8B

trail to Secret Cove

This past week the trail to Secret Cove was completed. This tiny cove is located at the tip of the Alligator Head rock formation and is very private. It's a great place to snorkel from as there are many coral heads nearby. I've snorkeled in the area and I can sincerely rate the snorkeling as First Class.

Paya Bay as I see it

The trail to Secret Cove.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Boys and girls, today's word is "SCARY." Can you say SKA-HAY-REE? I knew you could!

Fortunately, despite the fact that the hurricane came so close to the Honduran coastline, the only effect we had from it was some high surf. We barely even got any rain.

Our good wishes go out to our Mexican brothers.

Holy sh*t! Contact

Just came in from walking on the beach. Tonight there is a a half moon. The breaking surf reflects the moonlight and looks like frothy candy on the beach. I feel like Jody Foster in that scene from the movie Contact where she has traveled through space/time and has ended up on this beautiful beach that is bathed in ethereal blue light. The one where her Daddy comes to talk to her. Remember how she reaches up and tap's the sky as if it is merely a few inches away? We're having that kind of beautiful sky here tonight. Jody calls it "Pensacola," if I recall correctly. I remember thinking during the movie, "Gu-hurl, Pensacola don't have no pretty coconut trees like that, Ms. Foster. That's Paya Bay!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

kayaking with dolphins

Just after the Universe has given you a rough time (e.g. this past week) it can turn right around and give you a peck on the cheek. I just got back from kayaking with a pod of twelve dolphins that came in to Paya Bay this afternoon. They mostly kept their distance at about 10-15 feet from the kayak, but several times they swam under it and did the the old 'sideturn' to check me out. It's was pretty amazing to be so close the these 400-500 lb wild animals. I would have loved to take photos, but didn't want to risk taking my nice camera out in the kayak. I made a note to myself, tho, to get some kind of waterproof camera to capture these moments. How can you beat that?!


Tonight my mom said a very beautiful thing to me. She said, "You know, you seem lonely and I don't like to see that. If you want to bring "a friend" to stay with you, that would be perfectly okay with me. Whatever makes you happy would make me happy."

I came out to her in '95. It's taken her twelve years to get to this point. But she got here, nevertheless.

Let's give Mom a big hand.

resort 2.0

The Web 2.0 concept is based on the idea that "the people" create the content of the Web. In this "universe of content" certain particular ideas, concepts, ways of thinking, and/or approaches stand out. These "bright spots," in turn, attract the interest and input of observers who can understand and/or can relate to them, making them even more complete and brighter.

So, I'm thinking why not apply the same concept to resort building. Have "the people" (the masses, dahling) tell me what their concept of the perfect resort is and then observe which of these ideas and concepts attract the most attention. In other words, which ideas become centers of gravity that coalesce the most interest towards them.

resort 2.0 is the cherry-picking of the most brilliant concepts from this process, combining them (where possible) and making them into reality.

So, I'm planting this seed in the universal consciousness.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

wow. what a Mom!

I'm in awe of my mother. While I was flaking up under the pressure of the week, she showed an amazing inner strength and just continued to face every moment with courage and resoluteness. I told her how impressed I was with her tonight. She said, "Aye, son, sometimes you just have to persevere to get through things." I replied: "I hope I will learn to be as strong as you." I really do. She's an amazing woman.

wow. what a week!

I just got through what must have been one of the most stressful weeks of my life. We had a full house here at the resort and had problems with the RECO (Roatan Electric Company) power supply. We had brownouts three nights: Sunday, Thursday, and Friday. Thursday nights was the worse as the power went out from 4pm until 10am the next day. When the power goes out, the water system goes shortly afterward, as we have an "on demand" system that pumps water directly from the well as needed with very little storage space. The group that was in was from California, and they seemed to take things in stride. One couple told me, "We're from California, we have brownouts there, too. We're used to it." Regardless, however, it sucks to have to deal with this MAJOR INCONVENIENCE when you are on your vacation.

Just so you know, we usually have a back-up generator to deal with power outages, but our generator had a melt down a few weeks ago (salt from the sea air eventually got to it, it seems) and it's currently in San Pedro Sula being repaired. So Murphy's law: no back-up generator, full house, power outages.

Anyway, by Friday morning, the long hours (I had been working from 6:30am to 10pm everyday this week) and the stress of the electricity/water problem had taken a major toll on me. I was wiped out physically and mentally. I hate to admit it, but I got a major whipping from this Life situation. Wow. And up until this point, I had the illusion that nothing in Life could whip me.

But, I'm up again to fight another day.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Way More Than I Expected

I knew returning to Roatan was going to be a dramatic change for me. I would be going from living in the Big ATL with its 4 million plus inhabitants to living on an island with something like 45-50,000 people. I knew I would have to make some cultural readjustment in order to get back to the rhythm and pace of the islands. I knew being an out gay man could probably rub some of my small town fellow islanders "the wrong way." I knew I would have to make some compromises and do without a few things I had become accustomed to.

HOWEVER, I'm realizing now that this could very well be one of the richest and most amazing experiences so far in my life. For example, here are some of the items on my Roatan "to do" list:

>> take Paya Bay to the "next level" of development. really understand how to maximize its potential, and courageously take the steps needed to unleash its formidable potential

>> do my utmost to connect with my uber-introspective father and try to develop a healthy, happy relationship with him

>> join the battles my parents has been fighting for over ten years now with two evil Americans who are attempting to do us wrong

Saturday, August 4, 2007

It's been six months

It's been six month since I arrived back in Roatan, Honduras. I say "back" because this is where I was born and grew up. I left for the U.S. when I was eighteen to attend university at LSU in Baton Rouge, LA. After school (undergrad and graduate) I moved from Louisiana to Atlanta, GA and spent the next 10 years in the "capital of the South."