bi-weekly print & online magazine
for Roatan, Utila & Guanaja

cover story

written by Jaime Johnston
photos by Thomas Tomczyk

After tying Santa Barbara the week before, it had come down to this sudden death match; if Arsenal emerged victorious, they would be the first team in the history of the Bay Islands to become classified in the mainland's Division II League. "We have to play with confidence and smarts," said Coach Emilio Martinez as he addressed his team before the game. Outside the locker room, over 1000 fans restlessly awaited Arsenal's presence in the stadium. As the players took the field, the crowd erupted with cheers. The island was ready.
The opening minutes of the game were filled with nervous energy that resulted in errors for both teams. Santa Barbara set their characteristic quick pace and Arsenal responded with determination. French Cay teased the crowd with moments of offensive brilliance; three near goals in two minutes had fans in a frenzy. Hustle by Alexander Martinez and Quelty Norales kept the ball in front of the Santa Barbara goal, leaving their opponent with limited opportunities to score. Halfway through the first half, Arsenal Captain Carlos Martinez was awarded a penalty kick and scored the game's first goal. The audience exploded with a roar of firecrackers, noisemakers and applause. Minutes before the close of the half, the ball was centered from deep in the corner to Andres Amador who kicked in Arsenal's second goal. Amador's teammates surrounded him at center field and fans danced around in awe of their team's 2-0 lead.
At halftime, the Santa Barbara coaching staff tried to regroup their players. "The goals in the first half were results of our own mistakes," said Santa Barbara Assistant Coach Orlando Enamorado. With a two-goal cushion, Arsenal confidently opened the second half with numerous shots on goal by Ruben Martinez. Ten minutes later, Santa Barbara came alive. They charged down left field and scored a quick goal before Arsenal could react. "When we were up 2-0, we got too comfortable, like we had already won the game and we lost focus," said Arsenal forward, Quelty Norales. Moments after, Santa Barbara dominated the Arsenal defense and scored a breakaway goal to tie the game. The stadium was silent but for the small group of Santa Barbara supporters. French Cay fans were stunned; Arsenal had lost the lead and control of the game.
"We tried to control Santa Barbara's No. 20 and not give him any chances. If you let down your guard, he will take advantage. He got an opportunity and, with that, they put in a goal. Then, they tied us and, after being ahead 2-0, it was worrisome," said Coach Martinez. Hanford McLaughlin and Jay Hynds were late substitutions for Arsenal. "There were some tired players which is logical because they had played already for 60 minutes and their strength starts deteriorating. But, I made changes thinking it would help and it did,"explained Coach Martinez.
Those in attendance clenched their fists and held their breath in suspense, while Arsenal and Santa Barbara battled through the last quarter of the game. For the first time ever, the crowd began chants of ‘AR-SEN-AL, ARSENAL Santa Barbara lost possession mid-field and Arsenal pushed the ball deep in front of the goal. Alexander Martinez wove through the defense and scored for Arsenal. A. Martinez ran over to the sidelines, yelling and waving, climbed the stadium fence and celebrated in front of his family. "The crowd was the twelfth player on the field for me tonight. They gave me such a boost," said A. Martinez. With a standing ovation, the fans echoed his enthusiasm; people threw their drinks in the air, ignited firecrackers and began the celebrations. Minutes later, time was called and the crowd was ecstatic; Arsenal had done it. A group of French Cay players ran victory laps around the field as fans tried to charge their way through security to join the center field party. "There aren't words to explain the happiness one feels to be champions, undefeated in the region. To be the first championship team in the Bay Islands, it's an enormous happiness," said Coach Martinez.

Goaltender Kenny McNab faced intense second half pressure by Santa Barbara and credited his team's cohesion for the victory. "It was a hard game, especially after their two goals. But, we trust each other; we just kept confidence in everyone and kept our emotions down so we could focus," said McNab. Both McNab and Norales emphasized their coach's influence on the team's approach. "As both a coach and a friend, he is a good person. He is very calm and professional because he always believes in us," said Norales.
Watching as Arsenal celebrated their North Western championship, the Santa Barbara team sat in disbelief at the other end of field. "It was supposed to be a different game," said Enamorado. A 67-year-old club, Santa Barbara has competed three times for a Division II entry, but never managed a victory. "Santa Barbara is the best team we've played," said Arsenal's Schenley Pouchie. The team trained in San Pedro Sula to prepare for Roatan's climate. "It was a tactical mistake that cost us the last goal. We took out an offensive player to put in an extra defense. (...) Arsenal has very strong players. Norales, Ruben Martinez and McNab are the three core players for their team," said Enamorado.
The championship comes to Arsenal after only a few years of play. Roatan Champions for the second consecutive year, this is Arsenal's third title in four seasons. Arsenal remained undefeated against mainland teams throughout the postseason as they worked toward the North Western Championship. No team has ever climbed so quickly into the Division II League. "Today is what the Bay Islands are all about; people live sports on this island and Arsenal represents our integrity and our support to athletics," said Bay Islands Congressman Evans McNab. Arsenal President Leland Woods expressed gratitude to the community for their support of the team, "We couldn't believe it. We sold 800 tickets and had to stop selling because the stands were so full." The new classification will mean heightened publicity for Arsenal and increase the volume of visitors to the island. "I would think that Arsenal's win here should mean more income for local businesses. Teams will travel here and need food, transport, and accommodations. It's good for the area," said Congressman McNab..
The Division II season opens on August 29. There are 12 Division II teams in the competing for the North Division title. Arsenal's first scheduled home game was September 6, but the team first must modify their home field. "Our field is too small and we're going to have to make changes. We might be playing in Oak Ridge or French Cay once we make changes there; we really don't know yet. Most likely, we'll practically have to build a new stadium to meet official requirements," said Woods, "We negotiated to play our first home game on the mainland instead of here and hopefully by September 20, our next scheduled home game, we'll have a field ready on the island." The field in Los Fuertes measures 58m by 87m and league regulations require minimum dimensions of 68m by 105m.
While Arsenal's Board of Directors finalizes stadium plans, the coaching staff looks to make roster additions. "We're going to look for players who want to help Arsenal in Division II. We're not going to get players from the coast; they're all going to be from here on the island," said Coach Martinez.


After six months and eleven issues, the Bay Islands Voice staff is set to take a break. We've survived rodent invasions, man-made disasters and that's just the beginning... TOP TEN REASONS WHY WE NEED A VACATION:

1.- We escaped the red eye epidemic for this long, but we can't push our luck forever.

2.- Shopping for clothes- all the summer clothing sales at Barney's.

3.- Somebody stole all my shoes. And there is only so many places you can wear flip-flops and bowling shoes.

4.- It took five months to finally repair the phone…now, we're exhausted.

5.- We really, really need a hot bath.

6.- My cable reception is so bad that I missed the entire season of "Sex and the City."

7.- Deadlines. When your start making your dog work on the deadline, it's time to take a break.

8.- My old supply of hair products is dwindling fast… really fast.

9.- We made Coach Martinez promise that Arsenal wouldn't win any more championships while we are gone.

10.- There is only so much paradise you can take before you need a break.

We will return to print on September 11 with Issue 12.

Until then,
Thomas, Rochelle & Jaime
Bay Islands Voice Staff

local news


A wave of conjunctivitis, commonly known as red eye, has swept through Roatan starting in the last week of July. The eye infection is easily spread from person to person and causes irritation, swelling and discoloration of the eye. Bay Islanders have experienced how quickly the infection transmits. "We have had about 200-300 people come in with red eye and want to get eye drops. We are keeping a lot of the drops in stock; we just ordered 250 more boxes of all the different brands," said Pharmacist Victor Toro of the Roatan Pharmacy.
There are two different strains of conjunctivitis- one bacterial, one viral. Cloranfenicol and Neomicina are common treatments for bacterial conjunctivitis, while the viral kind will clear up within 7-10 days. "We don't know if there are both types of conjunctivitis on the island because we can't test for it.


Patients who present with symptoms of red eye are prescribed the medicines whether or not they actually have a bacterial infection," said Head Nurse Delia Jones of Roatan Hospital. Jones advises residents to wash their hands frequently and to avoid sharing personal items such as towels and linens.
The recent invasion of the infection has had a major impact on the hospital in Coxen Hole. Their volume of patients has sharply increased; in nine days, doctors saw 199 cases of conjunctivitis. The hospital staff have also been affected. "We have seven nurses off with red eye right now. It's been very busy because we had to cover a lot of shifts. There were two doctors out with it also. It can get pretty crazy here sometimes," Jones said.

by Jaime Johnston

San Salvadorians are Coming! San Salvadorians are Coming!
Hundreds of San Salvadorians escaped to Roatan recently for their Agostinas holiday. Each of El Salvador's 14 departments has their own celebrations; San Salvadorians holiday from August 1-6 to honor El Salvador del mundo. The celebration is a symbol of Catholic faith, highlighted on August 5 which honors Santo Patrono.
Many residents chose to travel for the holiday and the Bay Islands is a popular choice. "There are so many companies in San Salvador who operate tours to the Bay Islands. Many of us come for diving and snorkeling and it is inexpensive for us to spend our dollar here," said San Salvadorian Monica Paredes who arrived in Roatan on August 2. Despite the festivities in San Salvador, which include parades, carnivals, and sporting events, students and workers are tempted to stray from home for the holiday. "We have some nice beaches in El Salvador but none are as beautiful as here. Everyone at home knows about the beauty of this island," said Jamye Aparicia who stayed at Luna Beach Resort with 30 members of her Miramundo Tour group.
For five days, it seemed one was more likely to meet a San Salvadorian than a Bay Islander in the West End-West Bay area. "We keep running into other people from San Salvador. [They are] people we didn't know before we came, but our country is so small that it feels like meeting old friends," Paredes said. The volume of San Salvadorian tourists meant a boom in business for local restaurants, hotels, and tour operators. "San Salvadorians are our best customers. They rent cars for a whole week at a time," said Bessie Giovanni of Arena Rent-A-Car.


by Jaime Johnston

Sherman Arch's workshop is a builder's playground. There are material scraps and unfinished projects littered around the yard; stacks of supplies crowd the storage shed. In Arch's mind, every scrap has potential; every structure has a purpose.
A boatbuilder from French Cay, Arch understands the nature of island business. He began building boats 40 years ago helping his father, Wilson, in the afternoons. "When I was 15, my father died. I just continued his business," explained Arch. In the late 1970s, Arch saw a huge demand for fiberglass boats and started constructing them for clients in all three Bay Islands. "Lumber is ok but the upkeep is very high. Build a good fiberglass boat and they go a real long time," said Arch.
Just as the fiberglass boom began, Arch branched into the tourism business. In 1980, he started Arch's Iguana Farm. "People were hunting them a lot for food and the population on the island was low. I just wanted to help save them; it turned into a little business," Arch said. Now home to 3000 iguanas, the farm hosts several busloads of tourists daily.
In the early 1990s, a friend came to him with an unusual suggestion. "My friend knew I was working with fiberglass and asked why I didn't start building tubs; everyone had to buy from the States and the shipping costs were high," said Arch. Almost overnight, Arch's third business was born.
After ordering materials out of Tampa, Arch built a mold for the first bathtub. "When it comes to fiberglass, the process is the same whether it's boats or tubs," said Arch. Each tub is five feet long and 34 inches across, with six foot walls attached.
Arch prepares the mold with release wax and sprays the color- white is the island's most requested. Building around the outside of the mold, he then cuts down the fiberglass cloth and layers it. He uses five layers of cloth on the bottom and four layers on the sides; he uses plywood bracings for support. A catalyst is mixed with resin and poured over the cloth. "I prefer a polyester resin. I think it's a better product," said Arch. A 'bubblebuster' roller is used to smooth the air out and flatten the surface. The tub dries for about three hours, is separated from the mold and polished. Arch estimates they can build about two tubs per day. Each tub uses 30 pounds of fiberglass cloth and eight gallons of resin. Arch orders the fiberglass in 212 lb. rolls which cost $400 each.
Once Arch began building the tubs, word spread quickly and orders followed. "We built tubs for lots of resorts like Henry Morgan's, Anthony's Key Resort, Luna Beach, and Sea Grapes Plantation. Our biggest order was 40 shower stalls for Henry Morgan's," said Arch.
Arch's shower stalls and tubs sell for $450; in the States, a midrange tub is about $400 before taxes and freight costs. "Sherman does a good finish. His products are more durable than American ones; they have a double floor on them," said Julio Galindo Jr. of Anthony's Key Resort. Galindo estimates that the resort has purchased 15 of Arch's shower stalls since Hurricane Mitch. "Our maintenance crew prefers to handle Sherman's stalls over any other. They're real commercial grade," said Galindo.
Arch produces about 50 shower stalls annually. He hopes to open a store at the workshop with finished models for public viewing. "It's not a big money-making business, but it's been good over the years. I tell everyone: 'if you ever have a problem, just bring it back'. Well, I'm pretty happy because no one ever has," said Arch.

Read other issues of
the Bay Islands Voice

No. 1
March 27 2003
No. 2
April 10 20
No. 3
April 24

No. 4
May 8

No. 5
May 22
No. 6
June 5
No. 7
June 19
No. 8
July 3

No. 9
July 17

No. 10
June 19