Leaving the rock

die

07/16/2015  When I posted the previous blog, I said that when I’m working at the airport, I welcome people to the island with a smile and say, “Welcome to Roatan.” Later that day I got a friend request from someone that I didn’t know. I vaguely remember getting a WordPress message that someone new was following my blog so I looked at the name and at the friend request and realized it was the same person, so I accepted her friend request. I then looked at Julies FB page and came across this poem written by her husband Robby Bennett and posted on June 25th. {posted with his permission}

It’s called, appropriately:

“Welcome to Roatan”

Ten years they spent dreaming and designing their plans
Out the door they walked, their entire existence in their hands
Another world they both longed to learn and explore
A new life they sought on some distant Caribbean shore.

The sun was just starting to show its light
Soon they’d be catching their dream flight
Anxious and nervous they stepped out of the cab
Their bags taken under arm as he pays their tab.

Checked in and passed security, they waited to board
Butterflies in their stomachs as the engine roared
The plane lifts up and into the sky they did roam
Another world they would both soon call home.

Nothing more than clouds and ocean below
The plane flew them where they wanted to go
Tears in their eyes as they glanced over the wing
As off in the distance their island could be seen.

They dropped through the clouds as the plane flew over the beach
Touching down as the engine slowed and the tires began to screech
The captain came over the speakers “Welcome to Roatan”
Ten years in the making they finally realized their plan.

Smiling faces greeted them as they exited the plane
Immediately they knew their plan was not in vain
No more worries or keeping up with the Joneses
A much simpler life with daily hammock dozes.

Listening to the melody of the waves and trade winds
Barbecuing the days’ catch or making new friends
Laughing and loving, living life like it was meant to be
Or sitting quietly, just the two of them down by the sea.

Lazy days, doing nothing or diving on the reef
An unreal world that seems totally make belief
But it’s their new life, exactly as they planned
Far away from old troubles, “Welcome to Roatan”.

Isn’t that an awesome poem? He should be marketing moving to Roatan, he expresses the feeling so perfectly.

I have since been in contact with Julie and she can’t believe I’m a greeter a the airport and that I say that to people. I look forward to meeting them!

I am never thrilled leaving the rock, really not. This time I was excited for the opportunity to see my parents and sister and to do some shopping but was not mentally prepared for what life in the US is all about.

The shoreline of Roatan is so gorgeous.

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The small island on the left with a dock is owned by my friend Milesse. It is a divers paradise, check out Barefoot Cay.

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French Harbor, where I lived when I was down here alone for 4 months.

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Little French Key (r) and Big French Key are the two islands in the bottom center.

I had a nice trip to the states, it was interesting to say the least;  I was flying on the day United’s computers crashed. again. My flight from here was 2 hours late making the connection in Houston next to impossible. We were landing at 6:45, my flight departed at 7:05. Fortunately we have Global and that allows me preferential treatment as opposed to waiting in the formidable lines for immigration. I cleared it in mere minutes and ran to the baggage carousel. I found out that my connecting flight to Baltimore was also delayed until 8:20. Hmmm, it’s possible I’ll make it. We are Premier Gold with United which means your bags get offloaded first (except in Roatan where they do not understand the word written on the tag that says PRIORITY) However in Houston I waited for 40 minutes; my bags did come out first after the four flights that came in before we did. The line through customs was at least 250 people long, no lie. Off to the right I saw a sign that said GLOBAL EXIT ONLY so I ran like hell with my cart with 2 suitcases on it to that line and there were 4 people in front of me. I re checked my bags and ran up the escalator to security. There was no Premier line, dammit!! I got in the regular line and when it was my turn to get in the full body scanner,  just as I stepped in the girl said, “Miss, can you please step out, WE HAVE TO RECALIBRATE THE MACHINE.” My brain was screaming, WHAT?? YOU NEED TO DO THIS NOW? I HAVE 7 fu*&%ng MINUTES. It took a few minutes to do, I went through, gathered my belongings and started to walk as fast as possible which wasn’t fast enough. I kicked off my flip flops, grabbed them and ran to the gate. I asked the ladies there if I made it and they said barely. Once I got on the plane there was a girl in MY SEAT. Oh no you don’t.. I said, you are in my seat, three times before she looked up from her phone. She said, I’m in 8F, I said, good because I am in 8A and you are in my seat. There was already someone in 8F and the 2 people in 8D and E were both ticketed to sit in the same seat, 8D. The girl in my seat said you can just sit in 8F and I said NO, I want my seat. Dammit to hell..They finally got that straightened out and I was in my seat and off to Baltimore, not arriving until 12:30 AM. Only 1 suitcase arrived, thankfully it was the full and not the empty one. I went in to the United agent who was super sweet and helpful. She looked it up and said, “it’s in Houston, TSA confiscated it.” WHAT? It’s empty except for an empty Samsonite nylon duffle bag.  She assumed that’s why it was taken and assured me it would be delivered to me in the Solomons on Friday. Luckily it was not a big deal to me, one less bag to haul for now.

My plan was to get a good nights sleep and then my friend from decades ago Bill Gross, who happened to be in MD at the same time (he is currently traveling the US) was going to pick me up for breakfast. I got to my hotel after 1 and crashed. I told Bill that I would call when I woke up and then he could come get me. I was aroused from the sleep of the dead at 8:30 by my cell phone ringing. I jumped out of bed and grabbed it, knowing it would be Bill. I was still mentally in a different time zone and wondered WTH he was calling so early, until I glanced at the clock. Holy shit, 8:30. I asked him how long it would take him to get here and he said, “I’m here.” Alrighty then, quickest shower in history, reloaded my suitcase and was out the door. We went to Crackerbarrel for breakfast and to rehash the many years that have passed. Funny, didn’t seem like that long since I had last seen him.

We spent a few hours chatting then he took me to BWI car rental where I picked up my illegally?? driven car for the week. Since my parents live 90 min. from BWI, I have no other options than to rent a car and use my credit card as the only insurance. The rental company never asked if I had insurance either. I do however have a legal US drivers license.

From there I drove to the Potomac Mill outlet in Woodbridge, VA. I had my heart set on a Vera Bradley backpack.

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The outlet mall is ginormous, I had a difficult time finding the store. Once I stepped in the mall I was overcome by the sights and sounds and people, swarms of them, everyfreakingwhere.

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I was elated when I saw the Vera Bradley sign and almost ran to the store. I was overcome with all the colors and patterns and sizes and styles and zippers and choices. The only pack I could decide on was black and that defeated the whole purpose, so I left. It was too much for me.

From there I drove back up towards Baltimore and then down to my parents. I was so glad to get out of the car! When I walked in their house they invited me into their “warehouse.” My room filled with boxes. All Amazon.com.

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This isn’t all of it, things were delivered for several days.

Just a few pics from Asbury in the Solomon’s, MD. The grounds are nicely maintained but that’s about the only positive thing I can say abut the “retirement village” they are living in.

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their back yard

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Their sun porch where they spend most of the time.

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Osprey nest, Solomon’s Pier

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Mama Osprey

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Guarding the baby birds

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Asbury Solomon’s buildings

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On the Patuxent River

Not going to go into the reasons we are displeased with the place they live, it’s too depressing. BUT, on the flip side, my parents are doing quite well considering Mom turns 90 on August 1st and Dad is 94. They both still drive, not a great distance but they are mobile. It’s always an adventure going to visit them and this time was no different. I find it exhausting changing your daily lifestyle for a week, but worth it in the end.

More on that and my revelation that I had while in Marshall’s in Lexington, Md. It was kind of an epic event for this shopper girl. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.

They came to see what I was doing down here.

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Whoever said “Time flies when you’re having fun” knows their shit! I can’t believe a week has flown by and Cicily and Cheryl are on their way home. I hated to see them go. We were very busy the whole time they were here, so much so that I’m whooped!

Their flight was two hours late arriving in Roatan due to mechanical problems. I always check flight tracker so I was aware and watching the flight online. I arrived at RTB moments after the plane landed. They got through immigration pretty fast and we were on our way. First stop, Eldon’s for groceries. After that we went back to the Bulk Gourmet for a few things and headed home.

Once they got settled we went down to our neighbor John’s pool for a dip. It felt fantastic and the water was nice and clear. (unfortunately not always the case) We floated for a while and then came back up to the house. Bill was making pizza for dinner with fresh pineapples and mozzarella and provolone cheeses. Yummy stuff!

The plan was to hit West Bay Beach early on Friday. There were no cruise ships in either port and the insanity surrounding Semana Santa hadn’t quite kicked in. We got there before ten and went snorkeling right away. Cicily has snorkeled recently but it’s been years for Cheryl. It didn’t take long for them to get their sea legs. Cicily has a messed up snorkel so we were going to get a new one on the way home. After snorkeling we put that stuff in the car, got our rafts and plopped on the chairs at Banarama.

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Sea fan

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Christmas Tree worms

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Fishies, big one is a Yellow Goatfish

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Squirrel fish

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Blue tangs

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Coral

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close up of elliptical star coral

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tiny sea urchin shell

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Parrot fish

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French Angelfish

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school of tangs

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A most gorgeous fish, Stoplight Parrotfish

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Stoplight Parrotfish, fabulous markings

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Yellowtail juvenile damselfish, it was neon.

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Not sure what kind of fish this is, anyone know??

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Cheryl, getting ready to get her float on.

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West Bay beach

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yes, it’s that perfect.

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Paradise

The three of us floated on the rafts for a while with some cold cervezas. It’s all great floating until your beer is empty and you need another. They seriously need surf delivery. We ate some lunch there then decided to call it a day. On the way home the car miraculously drove itself to Umbul Umbul. So funny how it does that, talk about auto pilot!! I was pissed because I forgot to bring a check and I only had a little cash with me, which fortunately limited my spending. Probably a good thing. Cis and Cheryl were having a blast and each bought some cool things. We hit Barefoot Key on the way home for a new snorkel for Cis and came back to the house. Bill had supper cooking for us when we arrived.

Bill got the roof furniture finished while we were at the beach and carried the 4 chairs up to the roof. He just built the table today. We spent many nights on the roof looking at the view and the sky and all the junglish beauty that surrounds us.

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These will NOT blow off the roof for sure!

On Friday evening I got a message from my friend Sam Arch about going to Pigeon Key on Saturday. We were worried about the weather and I said to Sam in a message, “if the weather is bad we can always turn around.” His response was that he never turns around, he always goes where he is headed. Gulp, OK, calling for thunderstorms but, we’ll trust Sam. We met him at 8 AM at the Iguana farm. Most of the iguanas were still in the trees sleeping but there were still quite a few wandering about. Once he got the boat ready, the 5 of us were off. Sam brought his girlfriend Chelsie along for the day. I’m so glad he did and we got to meet her, she is such a sweetie and they are the epitome of young love. So much fun to be around them. Sam was born and raised in the waters around Roatan, he reads, writes and speaks perfect English and Spanish and he knows these waters. I was totally confident in his boating skills and we were in the new boat he and his dad built, Miss French Key. We left French Key a little after 8 and went to Los Fuertes to get gas. On the way east after filling up the sky got darker and darker.

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French Harbor

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love the building in the rear

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Nice boat name

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Ominous dark clouds

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The cow and the calf

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Helene

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dark spot is our destination

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really, it is that color!

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So in love with these hues

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Pigeon Key, takes about 4 minutes to circumnavigate on foot

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weird pods and flowers

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conch wall

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stunning beauty in every direction

Near Calabash it really started raining. Chelsie was chilling in the bow of the boat so the 3 of us stood out of the rain in the cabin with Sam. We went through the mangrove cut and came out at Rocky Point, going right past my friend Perry’s house. Once we cleared Rocky Point the sky started to clear up and the sun came out. Sam was right, it was going to be a beautiful day on Pigeon Key.

We wandered around the island and met some people who came in a boat right after us. They were from Canada, turns out they were relatives of our friend Francis, small island, small world. We found this out the next day at La Sirena.

Sam was going to show us the snorkel area so the 4 of us set off. It was easy swimming going with the current and once we got there it was magical. Really, like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It was a huge underwater garden of every kind of coral you could think of with a vast amount of unusual fish swimming in and out of the huge coral heads. At one point Cicily motioned for me to go up and when I did she said, “I think this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” It was ahhhhmmmaazzing. Many thanks to Sam Arch and Arch’s Aquatic Adventures.

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This is my friend Sam. I’m so happy I met him (and Chelsie) they are 2 of my favorites for sure. Sam is a fish in the water, he can hold his breath for what seems like 20 minutes and he always spots cool stuff.

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Blue Tangs and Sergeant Majors

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Elkhorn coral

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Maybe Pillar coral???

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under the sea

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Elkhorn

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Coral

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Elkhorn coral

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underwater garden

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Corals and seafans

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Sam grabbed my camera and got this shot and the next one of the Queen Angelfish

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Queen Angelfish

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Black Durgon

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Coral

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Rock beauty, Sam took these two photos

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Rock beauty fish lips Photo Sam Arch

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Reef squid, Cicily spotted these

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So cool!

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Elkhorn

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Sam took this also, this is unusual to see a Porkfish

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awesome coral

It was really hard swimming back to the boat because we were swimming into the current but we made it, exhausted but excited over what we had just seen.

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Cheryl chilling on the boat.

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really, this is in my backyard, so to speak???

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This is one of the reasons I love living here, the colors of the water.

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Bye Bye Pigeon Key, we’ll be back.

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Our intrepid guide/captain and his fabulously gorgeous girlfriend Chelsie!

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Enjoying the trip

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Can we move there tomorrow??

I’m going to end this post after only two days. It’s already long and I’m tired and want to eat and go watch The Voice.

I was supposed to go to a pool party today at Llyn and Wendy’s and I had every intention of going. Until I got home from the airport and grocery shopping and made the mistake of laying down on the bed. That was all it took. I think I need a few days at home for R & R and to assemble my thoughts for the rest of the post of Cicily and Cheryl’s visit to Roatan. I hope they enjoyed being here as much as I enjoyed having them!