Saturday, April 14, 2012

the amazing mr. jim

Jim Jones, professor of architecture at Kansas State University, and his lovely wife, Judith (also a university professor), are long-time family friends. They recently built a vacation home on the Bay Island of Helene. Prior to having their own island getaway, the couple have been loyal guests of Paya Bay (visiting once or twice a year during the last ten years). They still spend a day or two with us at the beginning and/or end of their Helene escapes. As the photo below suggests, Mr. Jim is an avid fisherman!

Jim loves Roatan and its people. He tells me, "People here just get along really well. There is much racial diversity, yet I don't sense the interracial tensions I've sensed in other places." Jim harnesses his brilliant creativity to think of crafts local people could make to participate more directly in the tourism industry and supplement their incomes. Using local materials, he's found an easy way to construct models of motor-dories, a.k.a. "cayucos" (long boats made from a single tree trunk with an inboard motor that are an idiosyncrasy of Bay Islands culture). He is currently displaying examples of his model motor-dories at Paya's restaurant for comments and suggestions. The bright colors and attention to paint detailing are part of the uniqueness of these long boats. Owners usually take a lot of personal pride in their dories.

Back before roads and cars (not so long ago... when my parents were in their 20s!), motor-dories were the way most locals moved around the islands. The dories are the original eco-boats: their two-stroke motors are super fuel-efficient. Their missile shape is hydrodynamic and surprisingly stable. Depending on the horsepower of their motors, dories can be quite fast. Constructed from a single tree trunk, they are structurally super-strong, virtually indestructible, and  - if properly maintained - can last for generations.

I personally love Jim's model motor-dories! They're beautiful! Bravo, Mister Jim!


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Deirdre Pringle said...

I am so glad that Jim caught a BIG fish, finally. We saw him try a lot of times! He has incredible dedication! I hope he catches a big one when we are there next time!