Fact or Fiction? The 10 biggest island myths Part III
As part of our annual effort to tackle the important issues of ‘Island Myths’ the ‘Myth Buster’ team of Bay Islands VOICE set out to find the ‘truth.’ Here is what we found out.

January 1st, 2008
by Thomas Tomczyk

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1. Who is the most famous person to visit Bay Islands? After Columbus, that is.

Bay Islands are attracting a steady and growing trickle of VIPs. As word of mouth spreads, Hollywood celebrities recommend a place where they can retain privacy. Bay Islands are still that place. Even politicians like Gianfranco Fini, ex-foreign minister of Italy and candidate for prime minister stayed for a week at Henry Morgan in January 2007. A few ego-driven local powerbrokers requested an audience, but were turned down. The 55-year-old politician preferred privacy. Guanaja has had Christopher Lambert coming to the island for over a decade. In 2006 Cayos Cochinos hosted Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake. The most recognized star to visit Bay Islands was Richard Gere, with wife, mother in law and children. Gere escaped from Copan to the safety and privacy of Palmetto Bay Plantation. Probably a better, yet less appreciated actor, Michael Douglas, was less conspicuous and had a great time on the East Side of the island.

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2. Do the plastic water bags really repel mosquitoes?

There is a voodoo tradition, now practiced all over Bay Islands, of hanging bags filled with water under ceiling of homes and buildings to repel mosquitoes and sand flies. The practice grew with the proliferation of plastics and plastic bags in particular. Some people believe that an insect will “scare” by seeing, through their semispherical eyes, their reflection in a rounded plastic bag. We beg to differ, not on the basis of optical illusion presented to the fly, but to the insects’ ability to fear. Insects are simple creatures and for them to desire, love, hate or fear is a farfetched idea. At most places using this insect repelling method, the water bag mosquito repellents are small, dusty, barely filled with water bags. As the bag gets dusty, its optical ability to reflect a 360 degree view of the world to an ignorant fly, wears off. If the water filled bag stands any chance of scaring off insects, not people, the bags should be clean, big and nicely rounded with water, as to produce a lens effect. Good luck.

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3. The most rusted car.

As oxidation levels vary month to month, this record taker could change next week, month, year. In the salty island air, supplemented by salty spray, oxidation eats away at Detroit and Toyota metal. With all the Toyota Prados around, there were dozens of discarded vehicles just gathering sea salt and the competition for the most rusted car this year was fierce. We discovered this semi-abandoned vehicle at the parking lot in front of the Galaxy Wave terminal.

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4. Best place to look for ‘flow’ floats that are washing up on shore: Saint Helene, Crawfish Rock.

Dozens of people comb the beaches in a daily ritual , searching for the elusive elusive square Grouper. When the wind blows inshore, or when US Coast Guard is seen practicing maneuvers, the beach patrol increases exponentially. Some people build very nice homes with the money raised from the washed-up ‘flow.’ The activity of looking for washed up bricks of coke has brought a few fortunes and broke apart many families. (See John Steinbeck’s novel, The Pearl.) In one incident, a boat with three Columbians was outmaneuvered by a US Coast Guard ship only to land on Roatan’s north shore close to Crawfish Rock. The Columbians threw away their load and swam for the shore where they were welcomed with open arms. The Crawfish Rockers braved bullets to swim and gather the floating ‘flow.’ Bravery in the sights of opportunity is the name of the game. “They even erected a small but significant obelisk to honor the Columbians,” an undisclosed source living around the area told us.

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5. The Bonacca Cay is full. No more people allowed to settle.

Not exactly. Just because 6,148 people decided to call Bonacca Cay their home, it doesn’t mean that you Mr. or Mrs. 6,149 are not welcome. The 300 by 500 meters cay, 0.15 square kilometers of real-estate has grown in leaps and bounds. The only piece of “public space” is the Bonacca basketball field. The new boat Bimini Breeze running between Guanaja and Roatan should relieve some pressure. To put things in perspective, on Hong Kong there are 6.9 million people, or 6,400 per square kilometer. The population density of Bonacca Cay is 41,000 people per square kilometer, highest in the Bay Islands, and six times more dense than Hong Kong.

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6. Who is the biggest dog on the islands?

There is a fierce competition in this category. A 140 pound Brazilian Mastiff, and a scary looking Doberman-Rottweiler mix have also been spotted and could grow bigger. Still, the biggest Bay Islands dog bone goes to two-and-a-half year old Great Dane Pollux. The Brick Bay dog weighs 150 pounds, measures 37″ tall to his back and, when standing on two legs, is over 6’3″ tall. Pollux was bred in Guatemala and was brought in as a pet by Nicolai Winter, a late German owner of the Yacht Club. When Pollux’s long stare and ever growing size began to intimidate the hotel’s customers, Pollux was given to Enrique Goodman and Jenny Kendel. Now the Great Dane eats five pounds of kibbles a day and works on keeping his megamale status. Pollux, still a virgin but ready to date, still has plenty of room to grow and catch up to the world’s heaviest dog, a 282 pound English Mastiff.

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7. How come most of shoes washing up or Roatan shores are left shoes? Who ends up with all the right ones?

Could they come from one legged people? Are they meant only for one legged recipients? After closer analysis, 8 out of 10 pairs washing up on Roatan shores are left shoes. According to a PhD work of Curtis Ebbesmeyer, an American oceanographer, left shoes follow a different drift pattern then right shoes. When a container ship loses a cargo of Nike shoes, left pairs end up at different beaches, coasts and islands. Roatan, for that matter, seems to be on the path of left shoes. There has to be another island, possibly Cayman Islands, that the right shoes drift to.

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8. Is Flowers Bay becoming the party capital of Bay Islands?

True. Alongside dozens of house parties, Flowers Bay bars and clubs start partying on Friday afternoon and don’t stop till Sunday church services. With a night club every hundred feet, the road strip is the party center with more speakers than West End. The dominant clubs are: the venerable Hip-Hop Club, reserved Flowers Bay Community Center, up and coming Flowers Bay Beach & Culture AKA Beach Bar, laid back Breeze Bar, the happening Players Club. The transformation came gradually as the Flowers Bay road was paved in 2006. Now locals are holding their breath that the road won’t wash away with the winter rains and leave them stranded and with no reason to party.

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9.Americans are getting Helicopters?

In an attempt to think “outside the box”, an idea of the American community having its own helicopter was proposed as the concept could eliminate the need for any road maintenance or road construction. The actual rumor went something like this: “In an attempt to circumvent the pitiful Roatan road situation, the US Embassy has decided to donate 10 old helicopters to Roatan’s American citizens.” Not. The rumor began after the visiting US ambassador and consul were asked point blank “any chance we could get a helicopter here for medivacs and such,” by an anonymous West Bay resident. “No,” said consul Brownee. For now at least, the only helicopters flying around Bay Islands belong, to the Honduran president, US air force holidaying on West Bay, Bill Pullham from Guanaja and a Medivac service owned by Chris Gachet.

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10. And the most popular BI gadget award of 2007 goes to…

It’s a tough call: Toyota Prado vs. Motorola Razr. If you have sold a few acres of land or helped make that sale happen, there is no better way to celebrate than to buy yourself a Toyota Prado. While the streets have gotten smoother, there are plenty of dirt roads the four-wheel-drive luxury vehicle can still be useful on. Despite Lexus, Mercedes and Hummers making their appearance, it is Toyota Prado that is the status standard. In 2006 and 2007, for everyone who couldn’t afford a Prado, or any car for that matter, there are always status symbol cell phones. With prices ranging from four to fifteen thousand Lemps you can program them to ring in four languages. A dream for every West Bay night watchman. [/private]

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