"They've done a fantastic job getting sponsors. They
brought us over to do the nuts and bolts of the race,"
Davis added. The Roatan race drew 103 entries from around
the world, including three of Honduras' top athletes: Pablo
Rubio, Pierre Kernival and Tatjana Cassanova, who placed 7th
in the Elite female category. Set Up Inc., professional race
coordinators, said the number of entries was especially good
for a first time International event. Jeff
Snee, 28, from California US was hoping to place in the top
five, but ultimately came in seventh. "I didn't realize
the course would be this hilly... I wasn't practicing for
hills like this," Snee said. I use early races in the
season to prepare me for later in the season. It's a difficult
race. It's a little early in the season to have something
like this. "There was a small section that had jugged
rocks," added Snee, who was running in professional runners
shoes and could feel every contour of the road surface. The
steep down hills offered a challenge and potential shin splits.
The winner of the women's race decided to walk a couple of
steep hills rather than risk shin splits and other injuries.
With all that biking, running, hills
and climbs the race had few injuries. Heather Szeponfka, a
nurse volunteer from West Bay, treated racers as they crossed
the finish line. "We had two cases of dehydration and
a cut wound that needed stitches," Szeponfka said.
lined bike paths next to steep climbs in order to get
a better and longer look at passing athletes. One of the
spectators was Herb Godwin, also a volunteer in the kayaks
and who cheered on his wife Marcia Godwin, 59, No.16 from
North Carolina, who was races oldest woman participant.
According to Herb, his wife Marcia competed in two Iron
Man Triathlons before, but in Roatan: "She just wants
to finish... these hills are unreal." (PHOTO:
When the March sun peaked on the sky
above Roatan most runners have already completed the race.
Hunter Kemper, 26, the number one ranked ITU triathlete in
the U.S. and the 16th best athlete in world rankings, came
back from behind in the running portion of the race to win
the grueling course in 2 hours and 5 seconds. Hunter was a
member of the 1996 Olympic Team that represented the US in
Sheila Taormina, a 1996 Olympic gold winner, came in first
among the Elite female athletes with a time of 2:30:16. Taormina
ranks 10th in the ITU world rankings and 4th in the USA ITU
With the success of this first Island triathlon, Roatan could
become a regular venue on endurance racing calendar. The island
has long played host to a population passionate about scuba
diving. With white sand beaches and challenging hills with
stunning vistas, the island may become a celebrated hideaway
by those going long, hard distances at high speeds, powered
only by muscle and heart.
Davis, one of the organizers of the Triathlon, helps Andy Potts
to find the exit point at the beach. Potts was leading in the
swimming portion of the event but eventually came in third.
(PHOTO: Thomas Tomczyk)
Thomas Tomczyk & Marcia Quinn
Powerade Bay Islands Triathlon was the first International
Triathlon Union (ITU) rated race to take place on the Bay
Islands. It was touted by participants as one of the most
challenging triathlons ever and is expected to become an important
race within the ITU world championships.
The triathlon incorporated a 1.5km swim in the turquoise waters
at West Bay Beach, between the sandy beach and the world's
second largest coral reef. The 40 km cycle took riders over
some of the world's toughest hills, from the Mayan Princess
on West Bay to Anthony's Key at Sandy Bay. The 10km run was
a combination of paved and dirt roads, with panoramic views
near Lighthouse estates and Turtle Crossing. The finish line
was on packed flat white beach in front of the Mayan Princess
Beach Resort. The transition area was at the Henry Morgan.
Supporters from around the islands gathered
on the beach and cheered on the swimmers as they pushed themselves
out of the water onto the sand and sprinted to the changing
area where they stored their bike and running gear.
Mirriam Hasnon, 26, a schoolteacher
from West End- Roatan was doing her first triathlon and helping
her team in the swimming portion of the competition. "You
sprint the first 400 meters to get into the position that
you want... you get into that pace and you don't slow down
at all," said Hasnon. The first turn in the water was
well laid out and allowed for the swimmers to sight their
course on the lighthouse. This was especially important as
waves obstructed the second turn buoy and the lighthouse guided
the swimmers on course.
Jeremy Davis, 26, from South Carolina
US, was one of the organizers of the Triathlon. His company,
SetUp Inc., organizes over 40 triathlons and dua-thlons a
year; as many as two per weekend. The company grew from organizing
just two events in 1994 and with the Roatan Triathlon it has
opened to international venues and its first ITU (International
Triathlon Union) ranked competition. The biggest and most
well known event Setup Inc organizes is the "White Lake
Half Iron Man" with 1800 participants.
"It's been better than expected.
You always expect a few problems, and so far the biggest problem
has been the two sight buoys and we just replaced them with
kayaks," said Jeremy Davis has been organizing triathlons
since 1997. "This is our first race overseas," said
Davis, "its great... beautiful." On Roatan's side,
Leslie Brown and Sandra Sampayo were the chief organizers
of the event working with Bay Islands
Tomczyk, Managing Editor
Islands Voice, a bi-weekly publication, will serve as a venue
for growth and strengthening of the Roatan, Utila & Guanaja
communities. We will strive to promote a positive image of
the Bay Islands, and at the same time report on issues that
concern local population. We will make all efforts to provide
a dependable venue for good journalism and exchange ideas
that would improve human condition on the Islands.
We will report on the culture, news,
spiritual life, sports, education, business and provide useful
and accurate information to the best of our abilities. VOICE
will provide a venue for expression of ideas, encourage community
programs and show alternatives to Roatan's, Utila's and Guanaja's
youth. We will develop and promote a variety of journalistic
skills and knowledge among Bay Islanders through our work,
example and internship programs.
Bay Islands Voice will make all efforts
to improve understanding and build confidence in the life
on the Islands. We will help in developing a sense of pride
among our community and encourage investment. Even though
we are starting up as a humble black and white English language
publication we will look for ways of including Spanish and
Italian writing in the future color pages of our publication.
We will make mistakes and we will never
be perfect, but we promise to improve with time and respond
to your comments. We ask for your understanding as we will
face inevitable problems of keeping deadlines, making editing
choices, dealing with printing issues and bowing to acts of
The success of this publication should go hand in hand with
the success of this community. We ask for your support through
readership, advertising and contribution of ideas as we embark
on this journey.
ET IKARUS NOVAE AVES
TEXT by Thomas Tomczyk
March 18 Deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Gabriel Peralta
(Guatemala), pres. Francisco Flores (El Salvador), pres. Ricardo
Maduro (Honduras), pres. Enrique Bolanos (Nicaragua), Abel
Pacheco (Costa Rica) held a press conference following their
regional summit meeting in Roatan.
The representatives of the five Central-American
States have joint in making a united statement to present
Central America as speaking with one, strong voice. "...
We see Central American integration as the most efficient
way to fight poverty..." Maduro read from the declaration.
The statement acknowledged the need
to tackle the biggest issues of the region: free trade with
United States, agriculture and it's effect on the future relations
with US and within the region, security of the region and
combating drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime,
disarming and reducing military arms, strengthening of the
democracy and regional integration and developing regional
The "mini summit" on Roatan was a first occasion
to bring four heads of state to Bay Islands. This well organized
and smoothly run meeting has proven Roatan to be a good venue
to host similar events in the future.
Farell, 27 from Maine cleans an infection on the head of Jorge
Siguenza, 7, from French Harbor as Cathrin Avilona, 27, a translator
from Punta Gorda calms the young patient. An American volunteer
medical teem spent three days at Church of God in French Harbor
consulting and dispensing medication.
medical team from Maine in the United States has come to help
with the health problems of the Bay Islanders. The volunteer
group has spent two weeks on the Bay Islands & ten days
on mainland Honduras providing free health consultations and
giving away medications to local population.
The group consisted of three doctors
and five medical assistants and has provided free consultation
in Punta Gorda, Pollitilly, Oak Ridge Bight and French Harbor.
Their previously planned visit to Guanaja had to be canceled
due to rough seas and limited budget that could not pay for
the more expensive air route. "We raised money to be
able to come here," said groups leader Ty Hopkins, 28.
The local support for the volunteer group was provided by
a Christian NGO Friendships based in Jonesville, Roatan.
"We brought enough medicine to
treat about 4000 patients on this trip and that's our goal,"
said Hopkins. The group treated mostly less threatening health
conditions: headaches, coughs, administering worm pills and
treating infections. "I'd like to think that some interventions
we did were possibly lifesaving... maybe a dozen [patients]
or so," said Hopkins.
event is great exposure for us," Husbands explains. "Although
it's not a fund raiser this year, it's definitely a "friend
raiser." Other restaurants shared his sentiments, noting
that the community exposure would boost their business.
The 2nd Annual "Taste of Roatan,"
a brainchild of former restaurateur Diane Lyn, confirmed that
music and food go hand-in-hand in the Bay Islands. Both were
showcased in grand style at Las Palmas on March 9, where French
Frank's Wines, the Bulk Gourmet and 11 restaurants were busy
dishing out samples of their wares.
The nearly 500 'food critic' attendees
sampled cuisine such as Italian sausage, island chicken, tamales,
barbecue, fried pork, and beer battered mushroom appetizers.
Many danced and socialized under the huge palapas until dark.
Several remarked that they had never seen so many people in
one place on Roatan.
After serving 75 typical Honduran meals,
Juana Urbina of Palmetto Bay Plantation, took a short break.
She applauded the event, saying it brings together good food
and good people. "Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves,"
Urbina said, scanning the crowd.
Even more than the food, Al Western,
Roatan Realty, said he enjoyed the festive party atmosphere,
dancing and fellowship. Mary Jazz echoed his words, adding
that she was impressed with the turnout. Edward Ake, however,
chowing down at Burtie's Place, said Miss B is the only one
on Roatan who can do fried hog properly and that's why he
was there. Music included the Garifuna band from Punta Gorda,
Bobby and the Boys from Sandy Bay and classical music from
Ugo and Puro Sol.
As the sun was going down, a young attendee
came up to Lyn with accolades. "You know, this is the
best day I've ever spent on Roatan," she praised. Meanwhile,
Lyn is already dreaming about making next year's event bigger
and better with even more community participation.
and his young Plait Pole Dancers delighted the crowd with their
traditional May Pole Dance. One of the oldest traditions on
the islands, 'plait pole' dancing features a fixed ten-foot
pole with twelve ribbons attached to the top of it. The dancers,
each carrying a ribbon, dance in opposite directions in a wide
circle around the pole, gradually winding the ribbons around
and down the pole in an intricate and ever more tightly plaited
pattern. One mistake, however, can mess the whole thing up,
that thin, fine line between order and absolute chaos. Once
the entire length of the pole is covered in ribbon, the process
is reversed and the plait is undone, in perfect order. (PHOTO:
Food, and Dancing
restaurant owner Carl Husbands, the Taste of Roatan represents
hours of preparation, cooking and steamy heat. But he doesn't
mind breaking a sweat to meet new people.
Husbands, owner of The Back Room, Coxen
Hole, served up 300 tasty mini roast beef sandwiches. At a
bargain price of just 20 Lps., lines formed early at his booth
and business was brisk throughout the day.