Monday, May 28, 2012

cherry on the sunday

Yesterday, a group of island friends and Paya Bay "gruends" (guests who've become friends) accompanied me on a boat trip to Helene. Geologically, the Helene land mass is simply a continuation of eastern Roatan. However, it's considered a separate island since a deep, wide canal through the mangrove forest separates it from its significantly larger Bay Islands neighbor to the west. Part of our trip took us through the clear, serene waters of this pristine, beautiful, intriguing waterway. (Island legends claim the canal was built using slave labor by 17th and 18th Century pirates to use as an emergency escape route should the English or Spanish navies drop in for a surprise raid. Certainly one of the gazillion possibilities.)

Our Sunday base camp was set up at Rocky Point, Helene where much-loved American friends have recently built vacation homes. There is excellent snorkeling to be enjoyed in the crystal-clear waters off this southwest corner of Helene. (Click images to enlarge).

Next we took a long, leisurely walk into Helene's surprisingly large town for some cultural adventure. Friend Layle, from Sidney, Australia and a teacher, was fascinated by the infrastructure of the town's kindergarten. Charlie, her puppy, rests under her chair.

We concluded our long sightseeing jaunt with a stop at a local bar. Friend Garry (of South Africa and - importantly - London) and Ms. Layle watch the Sunday afternoon Helene bar scene unfolding before them with guarded fascination as they take it all in.

Pressed by nature's call, Layle decided to try the bar's traditional over-the-sea island outhouse. Realizing our Aussie 'trust fund babe' was about to enter a whole new level of expanded reality, I was overwhelmed by the need to capture this momentous event as it unfolded!

"Oh! It's a pig pen!" Here she marvels at the above-the-sea pig pen at the beginning of the long, wood plank bridge leading out to the rest facility.

She realizes the narrow bridge also serves as an island sobriety test: Don't fall in the "interesting" water between the pig pen and the outhouse, and you pass. You may keep drinking!

It was a breezy experience I'm sure she won't soon forget. Afterwards she said to me with a hushed voice so as to not offend anyone, "Davinci, it goes straight into the sea!" I replied, "Well yeah! Did you see any fish? That's the best part!" I love it when First World friends have mind-bending, reality-shattering Third World experiences!

For the sheer fun of it, several of us piled into the local tuk-tuk taxi for a comical ride back to the Rocky Point area. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, snorkeling, and hanging with our American friends (and awesome Rocky Point hosts) Giovanna, Doug, and Ajian.

The Helene Experience was very interesting, exciting, and fun. Lots of unexpected twists! I've decided to start offering it as an optional snorkeling and adventure day tour from Paya Bay.

Map image above courtesy of Google Earth.

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