AT HALF MOON BAY
by Jaime Johnston
by Thomas Tomczyk
was a room full of captains. On the eve of the Roatan Municipality's
IV Annual Fishing Tournament, a crowd of boat owners and crew met
in West End for food, drink and the spirit of friendly competition
on September 18. Fishing men young and old hurriedly filled in their
registration while trading bets on who would hook the big one. The
tournament's judges outlined the rules as onlookers admired the
prize and trophies on display. At 6am the following morning, competition
would begin, but, in the meantime, everyone gathered to celebrate
the kickoff is fast beginning an annual tradition.
For the fourth year, the fishing tournament is organized and hosted
by the Roatan Municipality. Mayor Jerry Hynds introduced the event
in his second year in office. The planning committee members are
D.V. Woods, Nicole Brady, Delcie Rosales and Mayor Jerry Hynds who
has worked since August to organize the event. "It's a family
thing, a part of the community," said Woods, "It got even
better this year." Woods has participated every year and won
the First Annual Tournament with a tournament record 432 pound blue
A record 27 boats registered for competition this year. "In
previous years, we've had between 15-20 boats. This year, we actually
had call-ins from boats from Utila, Guanaja, San Pedro Sula and
Tegucigalpa, but they were unable to come; it would have put us
up to 40 boats," said Rosales. This year marked the first international
entry. A Cayman boat competed after traveling to Roatan.
The tournament is divided into three categories: Grand Champion,
Ladies and Junior Competition. Each boat can carry up to four anglers
and a Captain. All crew aboard ladies entries must be female and
junior entries must be between 8-16 years old. Fishing opened at
6am on Friday, September 19 and closed at 5pm before opening again
Saturday, September 20. There are few guidelines for the event which
costs 1000 Lps. per entry. Rules state that trolling and drifting
with rod and reel are the only legal fishing methods; fishing lines
are not allowed to exceed 80 pound test. A judge panel was appointed
by the Municipality to supervise the tournament; Curby Warren, Larry
McLaughlin, Omar Anderson and Clint Bodden served as the four judges.
"The role of the judge is to act as the official witness for
weigh-ins and oversee the tournament," said Anderson.
On the first day of the tournament, competitors enjoyed sunny weather
and calm seas. The crew of Miss Tricia, a 38-foot boat captained
by Woods, hooked a big catch only two hours into the tournament.
"We were fishing roughly around Big Bight and hooked a marlin
around 8:30am," said D.V. Woods. Their Marlin weighed in at
As captains called in their hook ups and fish boarded by radio,
it appeared as though Miss Tricia's catch would withstand a day's
competition to remain the leader. The crew from Miss Rosita had
After a slow day, Kevin Wesley and the crew of Miss Rosita decided
to head back to Half Moon Bay. At 4:15, about four miles off of
West End Point, they hooked a fish. "They were so excited,
it was the end of the day and, here, they had hooked this big marlin,"
said Rosita Wesley, owner and namesake of the Miss Rosita.
sons Kevin, Quincy and Stephen were joined by Nicole Belvedere and
Michael Rosales as the crew for Miss Rosita who has been entered
until now in seven tournaments. The crew called in their catch and
returned to Half Moon Bay at 5:59pm; their marlin weighed 215 pounds
and took the lead after day one.
Day two of the tournament had an open start time, with some boats
leaving before 4am. While the group was out fishing, there were
children's activities hosted at Half Moon Bay. Games were highlighted
by a Coca-Cola drinking contest, followed by a coconut bread eating
competition. Contestants were cheered on by the audience who had
started to gather for the weigh-ins; winners were awarded cash prizes
by the municipality. As closing time approached, whispers of a big
catch circulated and a crowd gathered around the dock. A 100-pound
marlin caught by Julito Galindo's crew had created excitement for
a possible new leader. Still the biggest fish were caught on the
At 7pm, the three heaviest Marlins were delivered back to Half Moon
Bay and strung up on the scale for display. After a 3-float West
End parade and a few songs on stage from Sandy Bay's Sherwin and
the Boys, the awards ceremony began. Between camera flashes and
curious observers, the suspense was building for the announcement
of the winners.
The panel of judges was joined on stage by Mayor Jerry Hynds and
his assistant, Nicole Brady to present the awards. A total of 31
local businesses sponsored the tournament prizes. First place was
a $1,000 rod and reel; second and third prizes were rods and reels
worth $600 and $400 respectively. The trophies, gold-plated with
marble stone bases, cost over $700 each. "The entry fee covered
mainly the cost of the T-shirts and hats given to each participant;
the sponsors cover the prizes and the municipality paid for the
band and also some prizes," said Brady.
H.E. Ross of Bay Islands University announced the winning entries.
In the Junior category, Shawn Cooper's crew walked away with top
prize with an 18-pound barracuda. In the Women's category, Quality
Time, captained by Delcie Rosales, won both third and first place.
"It's been successful this year. I would really like to see
more ladies in the tournament. There were only two entries this
year" said Rosales.
In the Grand Champion category, third place was awarded to Bob McNab,
whose 85-foot Bobby II was the tournament's largest boat; his crew
caught a 40-pound sailfish. Second place was given to the D.V. Woods
and the Miss Tricia crew for their 210-pound marlin. "It's
about 99% luck. But you have to have quality equipment, keep it
properly maintained and you really have to know how to set your
reels," said Woods. First prize was awarded by Mayor Hynds
to Kevin Wesley and the enthusiastic crew of Miss Rosita for their
215-pound marlin. The crew was met with praise from the Mayor and
applause from the audience as they hoisted showed off their trophy.
After awarding the Best Storyteller prize to D.V. Woods, Mayor Hynds
shared closing remarks with the crowd: "This is our fourth
event and I really hope it becomes a tradition. This is one thing
that should never change."
THE BAND PLAYED ON...16
COXEN HOLE SCHOOLS MARCH ON INDEPENDENCE DAY
from ten schools and six colleges marched through the tattered Coxen
Hole streets for the Independence Day parade. Despite the heat on
the city's dusty construction site, hundreds of people lined the
roads through town to catch a glimpse of the marching, dancing and
A short ceremony was held on the grounds of Roatan Bilingual School
(RBS) at 7am where Director of Education David Olivera and other
local officials addressed the crowd. The parade began at the RBS
and students marched through the thicket mouth, down Calle Ocho,
and through Market St. to end in front of the Juan Brooks School.
Each school group marched in uniform, with students performing dance
routines in costumes ranging from cheerleaders and beauty queens
to baton twirlers and cowboys. Students from Roatan Bilingual School
marched with signs detailing advice for the parade spectators. "We
carried signs about recovering our values and the kids were excited
about it. We had an assembly to recognize their participation in
the parade; I thought they did very well," said Profa. Maria
Del Carmen of RBS.
college bands performed a mélange of music as parents and
friends cheered. "It was really fun. There are 17 people in
our band and we practiced for the last four weeks to prepare for
today," said Karen Ramires of Luisa Trundle School. The band
from Jose Santos Guardiola (JSG) High School closed the parade with
their dancing and music which attracted a following of over a hundred
people. "We played 12 of our 20 pieces today, including our
new ones. It's taken five months of practice for us," said
Eugenia Anderson, a second-year Bachelor of Tourism student at JSG.
THE RECORD STRAIGHT J.S.G. Municipal Holds Open Town
from the Jose Santos Guardiola Municipality revealed the results
of an internal audit and a recent project listing at their open
town meeting held on September 12. Over 40 people attended the meeting
held at Escuela Urbanza Marco Aurelio Soto in Oak Ridge. Mayor Kerby
Ducker and Vice-Mayor Arad Rochez were joined on stage by members
of the Municipal Council.
Vice-Mayor Rochez presented a list of 29 municipal projects completed
in communities in 2002-2003. Major projects included: new pumps
for Jonesville water lines, construction of area bus stops, and
funding for the construction of Camp Bay's water tank and Diamond
Rock's community park. "We have demonstrated and proven that
even with the little income that we have, we are accomplishing a
lot," said Vice-Mayor Rochez, "While we are doing these
open municipal meetings, we ask the people to help with paying their
taxes and we are going to try to double our work in each community."
In his speech, Mayor Ducker addressed the government audit of the
municipal completed in early August. "An internal auditor was
sent to our office and everything is ok," said Mayor Ducker,
"but, I would like you to know that about 70% of the people
in this municipality don't pay taxes." The audit, prompted
by a public complaint, was conducted by Lic. Juan Angel Zuniga for
the Secretary of State in the Department of Government and Justice.
In his report, Lic. Zuniga observed that the municipal project records
were lacking proper job titles, specific project completion and
payroll dates and didn't have some authorized signatures on budget
items. "We have made some errors; I don't have a major in administration,
but I have a good heart and I am honest," said Mayor Ducker.
In addition to recommendations, Lic. Zuniga concluded his report
by stating that "upon review, funds transferred to the municipality
have been used for projects; this has been proven by documents and
During the public question period, Saul Arias asked the Council
members to consider publishing their tax calculation process. Vice-Mayor
Rochez responded, "We promise to do that; right now, I can
give you the formula: for every 1,000 LPs, we charge 2.5 LPs over
the catastro value."
Jaime Johnston and Keila Rochelle Thomspon
IS TRAVELING TO LA CEIBA
July 28, a new ferry came to town. She's called the Utila Princess
and it looks like she's here to stay. When service began, many people
wondered why Utila needed a second ferry. The Galaxy seemed to be
doing a perfectly good job and customers were never turned away
for lack of space. What did the Princess have to offer that we couldn't
For starters, it has a pretty accommodating schedule. The Princess
makes two round-trips from Utila to La Ceiba each day. Most conveniently,
it allows passengers to leave Utila at 6:30am and return around
5:30pm the same day. In other words, the schedule makes it possible
to take a day trip to the mainland without having to fly. In addition,
the early-morning departure has been popular with backpackers trying
to make their midmorning bus departures from La Ceiba.
Second, but no less important, the Princess has spacious freezer
and refrigerated storage rooms. So, that day trip can easily include
a round of grocery shopping. In fact, some folks have been traveling
as far as San Pedro Sula for a day of shopping. To meet the needs
of individuals and businesses, the storage rooms have two different
rates: personal and bulk. According to co-owner Troy Bodden, several
businesses on Utila have already caught on and are using the Princess'
storage facilities to bring over fresh food. Denny Bush, owner of
Bush's Market, agrees that the storage is convenient and uses the
boat daily to bring over fresh vegetables, dairy, and meats.
Bodden says that the owners have started advertising to attract
mainlanders to the Island which would open up another tourism market
Designed for safety, comfort and utility, the Princess' layout allows
passengers to explore the bridge and descend stairs into the bow,
where additional seats line the sides. A "roll-on/roll-off"
ramp on the port side makes it easy to transport small vehicles,
including four-wheelers, scooters, golf carts, and motorcycles.
In addition to the Princess, a ferry building in the center of town
has been underway for several months. About a quarter complete,
with plans for 50% completion by December, the building will house
a ticket office, two ticket windows, an ATM machine (the first on
Utila), a cafeteria/snack bar, three public restrooms, cold storage,
three office spaces and a covered open-air plaza. The ferry currently
employs 16 people directly and several indirectly through the building
The 120-foot aluminum Utila Princess has a maximum capacity of 250
passengers. Lately, she's been carrying between 60 and 80 people
per trip, exceeding the owners' initial expectations and proving
that Utila appreciates the kind of convenience the Princess has
Tickets for the Utila Princess cost 180 lempiras. The one-hour ferry
rides depart Utila for La Ceiba at 6:30am and 3pm They depart La
Ceiba for Utila at 9am and 4:30pm.