story / george
Wind Sports Blow into the Bay Islands
By Jennifer Mathews, Benjamin Roberts, and Thomas Tomczyk
Photographs by Benjamin Roberts
sports Find a Niche on the Archipelago and Expand the Offerings of
Miguel "Micky" Carbajal sails through the quiet
waters of Sandy Bay at his windsurfing school on March 24.
the tourism industry of the Bay Islands is already developed,
there are plenty of opportunities for new recreational activities
to grow. Many of these activities are based on the plentiful
waterfront resources of the islands. Snorkeling and diving
are very popular as well as plain old beach-sitting.
There are some water activities, though, that exploit the
wind for speed: wind surfing, kite boarding, and sailing.
These three sports are finding a growing number of enthusiasts
here on Roatan and on the other Bay Islands, too and there
are a growing number of places that will teach them to anyone
with a spirit of adventure.
Although Roatan is not an ideal destination for the windsurfing
extremist, the conditions that the island offers are ideal
for the amateur and novice. Roatan's reef, which almost
completely surrounds the island, makes for calm seas allowing
stability and control when learning how to balance on the
board. This is crucial when learning how to "turn"
the board and sail which can be difficult when battling
winds and waves while literally walking around the surf
board. Miguel "Micky" Carbajal, the proprietor
of the Roatan Windsurfing School, the only windsurfing school
on the island, describes the sport as a type of "controlled
jumping," noting that learning how to control the board
is a small fraction of the sport itself. "You must
feel the wind." Micky's style of teaching is very much
indicative of the conditions on Roatan, one of a kind.
A former windsurfing professional from Chile, Micky practiced
the sport well before technology began to make its way into
what are now known as extreme sports. "Everything was
much, much heavier," remarks Carbajal, who makes sure
you know each and every step by heart before you even get
on the water. He teaches his students a three step approach
he developed himself. Saying that his biggest sense of accomplishment
is working with people who usually doubt themselves at first
and watching them blossom and learn. "It's a mental
thing as well, you know." Knowing where the wind is
coming from and its strength is crucial in windsurfing,
usually requiring multiple attempts on the board in water
to figure out where you are, and how to either move up,
down, or cross-wind. "Some people get on the board
and just now how to do it, others not so much," remarks
Carbajal. An almost supportive barrage of instruction blowing
at you with 25 kmh velocity is what it feels like to learn
from Micky. It works. Indeed if the winds are blowing as
fast as the instructor, it can be the most difficult object
of windsurfing to master. This is why most experienced windsurfers
refer to the sport as sailing and not surfing. If one does
not have a grasp of wind they will find themselves either
standing atop a motionless board or in the drink.
With 60 boards and 40 sails, Carbajal has the right combination
of equipment for any student and has recently opened a new
location at Fantasy Island. Hoping to attract new enthusiasts
to the sport, Carbajal says, "I didn't come here to
make millions, but to survive. I came to put people in the
sport. I'm a romantic. I love the sport, I respect it. It's
a joy for me."
Bryan Cannon, who currently manages Marble Hill Farms, a
boutique resort on the north shore of Roatan's East end.
In 1995 he graduated from Texas State University with a
degree in Microbiology but, "I fell in love with kite
boarding and I enjoy sharing the stoke," says Bryan.
He opened KiteHonduras at Marble Hill Farms in late 2006
and instructs about 20 students annually.
Jim Smith, owner of Marble Hill Farms wants to turn the
East Island destination into a destination for wind and
water sports. "Sea kayaks, wakeboarding, waterskiing,
windsurfing, diving and kite boarding," are some of
the many water sport activities he sees in Roatan's future.
The kiteboarding lessons take place in Diamond Rock and
by the Saint Helene mangroves. "I had to figure out
the wind and safe spots to ride as there is just so much
coral around," says Bryan. Kitesurfing schools provide
courses and lessons to teach various skills including kite
launching, flying, landing, usage of the bar, lines and
On the first day of lessons, in chest high water, students
work on launching and flying a kite. The relationship to
a kite is key in learning to kiteboard and once someone
has gained a good feel for moving the three to 22 meter
kite by using four lines, they can strap on the board. "We
can teach someone basic skills in three to five lessons,"
says Bryan. The school offers a three hour package of classes
Kite boarding is possible in winds as low as 10 miles per
hour and Bryan estimates that Roatan gets about 70%, or
255 days of the year are good enough to kiteboard. "At
15 miles an hour is when it really gets good," says
Bryan who also teaches more advanced kite boarding techniques
involving loops and jumps.
instructor Bryan Cannon rides the wind at the school in Marble
gets the best, most consistent wind in the months of April,
May and June. The winds usually blow from the East, in the
morning from ESE and in the afternoon switching to ENE direction.
Whereas the South side offers more sheltered and deeper water,
it's the island's North shore that has a perfect place to
learn and practice kite boarding and windsurfing. "With
the island being so high we get many lulls and wind whirlpools
(on the north shore)," says Bryan.
school uses Best brand equipment, including 2006 and 2007
Best Waroo kites and is affiliated with the manufacturer.
These kites has modern safety features such as depowerability
and re-launch features. A new equipment package can cost a
few thousand dollars, but used gear can be had for less.
is an instructor accredited with the IKO - International Kiteboarding
Last July, the school began offering week long kite boarding
packages. "I teach people to be independent kite boarders,
so they can go out on their own and ride," says Bryan.
A kite, board, harness, along with bar and 75 feet long lines
are all that's truly needed to practice the fast-growing sport,
but you may require a life-vest (PFD), wetsuit, booties, gloves,
hood, a couple of kites for varying conditions, etc.
Another kite boarding operation has begun service on Utila.
Lisa Price, and her Kitesurfing Belize school, is a German
kiteboarding instructor who has made her base on Utila's Chepas
beach. In 2004 Lisa left Florida and founded a kite boarding
school in Placencia, Belize. "My objective is not to
be settled somewhere, but rather travel and teach on different
locations," says Lisa, who lives on her boat and teaches
two-three students per week. "I personally like Honduras
much more than Belize, and try to focus in the future more
on Honduras," writes Lisa.
As you look out onto the mooring sites in the waters off the
Bay Islands, more and more you see high end yachts, catamarans,
and sailboats of varied make and model. Many are visiting
or passing through. Some are here to stay. The opportunities
for visitors or residents to partake in sailing adventures
are charters are numerous. One Roatan captain, however, is
set apart from the rest, known throughout the island as Captain
Captain Alex sails a 26 foot Caribbean sloop, handmade in
Belize of mahogany and cedar, which can often be seen in Flowers
Bay across from the Flowers Bay Community Center. The samwood
mast and bamboo boom hold a canvas sail, sewn together in
various colors. The shallow water draft and no keel make it
easily maneuverable with its homemade. Bits of the boat hold
pieces of history, giving to its unique character. For example,
the rain cover to the hull below is cut from the original
sign that advertised his sailing trips from Foster's bar in
"The first time on the boat, I fell in love with it."
Alex is originally from Punta Gorda, but spent some time in
Belize City, which is where he found his dream boat. Originally
used as a fishing and lobster boat in the waters between Belize
and Mexico, the boat was passed from generation to generation
until the last owner let it fall into neglect and decided
to sell it. The boat was made in 1957, "the year I was
born," said Alex. It was meant to be. But in the beginning,
his wife did not see it that way. She wanted him to buy a
newer boat. "Buying that boat, she turned her back,"
laughed Alex. "I bought a big towel, because she didn't
want to touch it. Now it's a joke with us."
Alex bought the "Adventure Girl" in 1992 for $6,000
and said that if he were to sell it today, it would be appraised
at $12,000. He lived for two years on the boat in Belize and
sailed in 1994 from Cay Caulker to Dandriga to Roatan, returning
to sail his home waters.
Originally learning to sail from a visitor from Los Angeles,
Alex passes on his love of sailing through lessons or excursions
to tourists. His enterprise is based on word of mouth or repeat
business from returning tourists. He has no website or advertised
contact info, but tales of sailing with Captain Alex are plastered
all over in blogs and travel review sites. People literally
come from all around looking for the famous Captain Alex.
And they find him easily.
Alex takes a minimum of three people on a half or full day
excursions. Average price per person is $50, depending on
the trip. His boat can hold a maximum group of eight. On excursions,
he usually sails one side of the reef then the other, stopping
at key snorkeling sites, and pointing out interesting coral
On his days off, Alex still prefers to be on the water. He
checks the Farmer's Almanac every day for weather trends and
heads out. "Every day's 'a fishing, not every day's 'a
catching," he jokes. Every nine months he takes the boat
out of the water for minor repairs to sand, reinforce, caulk,
and repair leaks. The more time the boat is in the water,
however, the better, because it cures the wood. "The
only thing rotting on that boat is out of the water,"
Captain Alex finds himself in an interesting position. "No
other islanders sail. They all like power," he said.
"Even my kids don't want to learn. They all want to go
fast, not do something natural that takes time." But
in many ways, he might find himself to an advantage. Many
tourists come to the island in search of the simple things,
getting in touch with the ways of the past. Alex's vessel
and sailing methods cater to just that mindset. In a world
of exaggerated fuel prices and a trend of returning to the
basic and efficient in transportation, he is also in the driver's
seat. "Say you want to go to Belize," he said. "All
you have to do is wait for an East trade wind, and then you
good hat is a requirement out on the water, were the sun's rays
can be quite powerful.
story / george
/ local news
______________back to top
101 Chapter II
by George Crimmin
passed and the minister noted with sadness, "we kept
the dog, but I lost the respect of my sons that day".
They no longer had confidence in what their father professed
to be true. You may not realize it at the time but your
children watch the choices you make in all areas of your
life and base their opinion on your actions. Be a person
of integrity - one they will admire and respect.
Today in the Bay Islands we face a parental crisis of monumental
proportions. Parents, instead of striving to educate their
children, are sending their school-age kids on the streets
to peddle their wares, especially on cruise ship days. Many
tourists evidently feel sorry for these kids and without
realizing it are contributing to the delinquency of these
minors. Without recognizing it, visitors to our fair island
are helping to create uneducated future adult citizens that
will have no alternative but to graduate from selling trinkets,
to either selling their bodies or illegal drugs to survive
in the future.
How do we get the message out that by donating a dollar
here and a dollar there, in the long run they are not helping,
but encouraging our youth to follow a life of crime, disease
and poverty? Children who engage in these activities with
the blessings of their irresponsible parents will eventually
end up engaging in theft, prostitution, hard drugs and possibly
doing hard time upon becoming adults. Without an education
they face a very dismal future.
To continue on our present trend is to invite certain disaster
- if our elected officials have a plan or strategy for dealing
with this crisis they sure know how to keep a secret. Parents
must be held accountable for the behavior of their underage
children. We may not have been responsible for our heritage,
but we are responsible for our future. Without deliberate
and concrete action to reverse this trend, our beloved Island
is heading for a turbulent and crime infested future. It
takes courage to push ourselves to places that we have never
been before. In order to succeed however, we must first
believe that we can. Right now we are heading down the wrong
path - to see it all unfold has been a nightmare. On the
bright side there are brave voices speaking out against
this madness, and the rewards for those who persevere far
exceed the pain that usually precedes victory.
chapter one of this series we established that children
tend to emulate the actions and behaviors of their parents
or guardians. The old cliché "don't do as I
do, do as I say do" no longer has credibility. It just
doesn't work. As previously stated: most parents never really
discover what they truly believe in until they begin to
instruct their children.
Take note of the following: A dog once wandered to a preacher's
home, and his three sons played with it, fed it, and soon
became attached to it.
It so happened that the dog had three white hairs in its
tail. One day, the preacher and his sons spotted an advertisement
in the city newspaper about the lost dog. The description
of the stray they had taken in matched perfectly.
The minister later said, "In the presence of my three
sons, we carefully separated the three white hairs and removed
them from the dogs tail."
The real owner of the dog eventually discovered where his
stray pooch had gone and he came to claim him. The dog showed
every sign of recognizing his owner, so the man was ready
to take him away. At that point, the minister spoke up and
asked; didn't you say the dog would be known by three white
hairs in its tail? The owner, unable to find the identifying
feature, was forced to admit that this dog didn't fully
fit the description of his lost dog and he left, without
story / george
/ local news
Roatan's Kids Off the Streets
(or Before) School Center Opens for Children at Risk
By Jennifer Mathews
to Tugliani, mayor Julio Galindo approached her for help with the
issue before the elections. Helping the islands' children was a
key issue in Galindo's campaign rhetoric, addressing the Center
in his inauguration speech. Marion Lindo, Director of the Women's
Municipal Office (Oficina Municipal de la Mujer), was instrumental
in finding an appropriate space to rent. Tugliani also immediately
started the process of obtaining permission from the Honduran Family
Care Services (Instituto Hondureno de la Ninez y la Familia (IHNFA)),
where she is local Director. Tugliani also served as President of
the Consejo de Apoyo Municipal de la Niñez since 2008.
The Center is funded by the Municipality of Roatan, officially a
public municipal project opened by the municipality to cover a need
to protect the children of Roatan. As the Center does have non-profit
status, the Center may also receive funds from outside sources.
The Center is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
As public schools have two shifts, one in the morning from 7:00
a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and another in the afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to
5:00 p.m., the children who attend school in the morning will be
in the daycare in the afternoon and vice versa. The Center has capacity
to house 80 children and reports receiving between 8 and 15 children
The Center is free, and accepts boys from 5 to 12 years old, and
girls from 5 to 14 years old. This is what differentiates the center
from the original Roatan Daycare Center in Coxen Hole, which receives
children from 2 to 6 years old, who are electively brought by their
parents, and who pay a nominal fee for services. Tugliani also started
the Roatan Daycare Center with Mrs. Eloise Vincent.
The Center is working with a Social Worker and Psychologist of IHNFA
to create a file of each child, visit their homes and schools, and
speak to parents and teachers to encourage the children's school
attendance. The center has secured volunteers to teach religion,
Tae Kwon Do, and painting, and has already received its first group
of volunteers from Child Sponsorship International. "Many locals
and foreigners have been calling saying that they want to volunteer,"
Future plans for the Center include a public day care for working
mothers and a night care facility for mothers who attend night school.
Center employees plan to keep communication with the schools to
make sure the children go from the Center to their school and vice
versa. They also plan to visit the homes of the children attending
the Center to conduct a study on children's needs and how to help
improve home life.
prayer is recited to bless the new Center for Children at Risk during
the dedication ceremony on March 8th in Coxen Hole.
Daycare Center for Children at Risk opened its doors in Coxen Hole
to the public with an inauguration ceremony on March 8. The goal
of the center is to provide a place where children can go to receive
child care and education, away from the dangers of the street, such
as car accidents, robbery, sexual abuse or exploitation, drugs,
or truancy. The Center is guided by the Law of Children and Adolescence,
Article 11 (Codigo de la Ninez y la Adolescencia), and UNICEF, that
children have the right to an education, and a secure and healthy
The project targets children who spend time on the streets begging,
selling, or stealing, particularly in major tourist areas, such
as the streets of Willy Warren, and near the Port of Roatan cruise
ship dock. According to Vivian Tugliani, a key organizer in creation
of the project and now Director of the Center, there have been reports
of child vendors stealing from the cruise ship passengers. "Now
the problem is not only around the cruise ship area," said
Tugliani, "It extends to Petrosun, Plaza Mar, and not only
on the cruise ship days." Chief of Police Joe Solomon, who
has been in service on Roatan for 12 years, said, "In my years
here I have seen many problematic children grow up to become our
future criminals. Just look at the prison. We have to focus our
attention on the children."
According to Tugliani, meetings to discuss the issue began 12 years
ago between herself, police chief Joe Soloman, and Dawn Hyde, now
Port of Roatan customer service manager; and four years ago with
vice mayor Delzie Rosales. "We always came to a dead end,"
said Tugliani, "until now. We came to a dead end because the
authorities did not want to help." Said Solomon, "For
many years we have had the plan, design, house rental opportunity
and goals. There just wasn't enough interest in the municipal. With
the new administration, we are finally getting things done."
According to Tugliani, the center now has the support of the Municipal
and the Preventative Police, who will be responsible for bringing
children to the Center.
Baseball Season Begins
Mix of Old and New By Benjamin Roberts
the realm of Roatan sports there are few activities that can
compete with the island's baseball league. Hoards of families,
friends and fans alike visit the two fields in Gravel Bay
and Sandy Bay bringing food, drinks, and much exuberance in
support of their home team. Spanning over three decades in
organized contests, Roatan Baseball has seen dozens of teams
come and go through the years. Although the seasons have waxed
and waned with as little as three and as much as ten teams
in any given season, the spirit behind the game holds stronger
roots than ever in the present day. Expanding from five to
six teams (Kool, Sandy Bay Pirates, Sandy Bay Giants, Flowers
Bay Eagles, Gravel Bay Marlins and Coca-Cola) the 2010 season
features the addition of Team Coca Cola after a hiatus of
more than six years. The team was granted permission to play
on the bracket after asking Mayor Galindo with a week left
before the start of this season. Sans uniforms, the group
is expected to don the correct attire sometime this month.
With a shallow bench and a small pitching staff as of now,
team Coca Cola has struggled against more organized and experienced
opponents. But their fan base is strong nonetheless, and although
there have been multiple calls by players, coaches and fans
for the restoration and opening of a field located in Coxen
Hole this has not deterred Coca Cola's fans from showing their
support in the other areas. For now the two fields must suffice
and there are hopes to expand with teams in other areas located
east of French Harbour all the way to Oak Ridge and Jonesville.
year Kool edged out the Sandy Bay Giants in the final contest
of their five game playoff series, then ultimately beat the
Sandy Bay Pirates taking the seven game finals series down
to the wire as well, beating their opponents in game 7. This
year every team is gunning for last year's champs, who have
proved themselves to be a "tough as nails" style
team. Sandy Bay's two respective teams, the Giants and Pirates
have the majority of their players returning from last year.
Coupled with experienced and knowledgeable coaching and managerial
staff, the "field" of teams this year looks extremely
competitive. Many hope that Roatan's teams can make a run
for the Honduran tournament as well after Kool was defeated
in the first round and the Pirates were unable to attend on
the mainland. Play ball!
Giants record a lead-off single against Coca Cola at the Sandy
Bay field on March 14.
story / george
of Recycling on Roatan
Created to Administer Recycling Efforts By
local group of recyclers, now official members of the Association,
has been working to bring plastics to San Pedro Sula for about three
years of their own volition. By finally obtaining legal business
status, they now have access to further business support. USAID
gave a year in project support to help them work through the paperwork
to obtain business documents and licenses, as well as donate materials.
BICA and RMP have been referencing and mapping the most advantageous
microcenter receptacles. BICA, ZOLITUR, and the RMP have been combining
efforts to create a business plan for environmental education in
the schools and communities, strategies for implementation, and
support for business and accounting services.
The Cerveceria in French Harbour is slated to provide the compactor,
the building to house it, the microcenter receptacles, and a special
truck for collections. According to Sandy Castillo, administrator
for RMP, and manager for the project, the Cerveceria is financially
responsible and BICA, ZOLITUR, and the municipal are currently working
on the budget proposal, which will be submitted to the Cerveceria.
For the Roatan municipal alone, the RMP and BICA have identified
more than 600 locations for microcenter receptacles. "This
is a pilot program for future projects in the islands as well as
for the mainland," said Castillo. Future goals for the project
include expanding service area to Santos Guardiola, Utila, and Guanaja,
becoming a model for mainland city projects, and expanding the type
of products to be recycled, such as cans, glass, and milk cartons.
The recycled plastic bottles are ultimately shredded to produce
PET flakes. These are used as raw material in the production of
carpet and fabrics, replacing polyester raw material. Glass and
aluminum can be reused in the manufacturing of new bottles and cans.
The board members elected for the Roatan Recycling Association are:
President - Samuel Sandres, Vice President - Jose Angel Calix, Secretary
- Maria de Jesus Ramos, Treasurer - Santos Angelina Villacorta,
Commissioner - Walter Villacorta, Fiscal - Santos Erasmo Ruiz, Vocal
1 - Nelly Villacorta, Vocal 2 - Carlos Romero, and Socios - Rosa
Martinez, Juan Murillo, and Maria Alvarado.
is collected at the Roatan Municipal dump.
Roatan Recycling Association (Empresa de Recyclaje Roatan Sociedad
Anonima de Capital Variable) officially achieved legal business
status on January 25, with a charge to administer plastics recycling
for the municipality of Roatan. The project is a culmination of
a year's worth of planning and coordination by members of the Recycling
Association, USAID, Bay Islands Conservation Association (BICA),
Roatan Marine Park (RMP), ZOLITUR, and the Roatan Municipality.
Key players in the project held a meeting with USAID on February
11, to officiate and close the USAID phase of the project's implementation.
At the event, members of the Association received final donations
of t-shirts, jeans, boots, caps, rakes, and other essentials for
daily work. Members of the Cerveceria Hondureña were also
present to witness the legal designation. As a legal institution,
the group has the capacity to receive funding and equipment from
outside sources, thus growing the business.
Goals of the project include: identifying and placing plastics collection
receptacles, educating the community of the project and how to participate,
collecting the plastics by truck, delivering the plastics to a compactor,
and shipping the plastics to the mainland for processing. By Honduran
law, the Cerveceria Hondureña, which imports a wide variety
of bottled beer and soft drinks to the island, must implement carrying
off of plastics which it has brought in. However, projects to do
so in the past have met with challenges such as a lack of education
of how to use recycling receptacles, lack of knowledge of the location
of receptacles, and robbing of the metal receptacles themselves.