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A nobody; a nitwit; a pilot; a motorcyclist; a raconteur; a lover...of life - who loves to laugh, who tries to not take myself (or anything) too seriously...just a normal guy who knows his place in the universe by being in touch with my spiritual side. What more is there?

05 January 2007

The Yacht

Being an island, there are only two ways off of Guanaja: Plane and boat. Many of the people here have relatives on the mainland, and there is a lot of back and forth traffic. Three airlines service Guanaja from (and only from) La Ceiba: Islena; Sosa; and Atlantic. Airfare from here to La Ceiba is relatively cheap - 1200 lempira, which works out to be about $60 one way. The planes are small and the flights are usually packed.

But there is also, apparently, a scheduled ferry boat that goes between here and the mainland. Recently, it was mentioned to me that someone would be travelling down on "the yacht."

The yacht?

The thing they call "the yacht" goes from Guanaja to Trujillo, the closest town on the mainland, about forty miles directly south of here. From Trujillo, a bus goes to La Ceiba. It is supposedly an easy trip and the total fare is very reasonable.

So I got curious about this "yacht." Today, I happened to be in town when it was at the dock. And here it is...

The, um, "yacht"

Right-click on the picture and select "Open Link In New Window." You've got to see this thing bigger than on the blog page. Then come back.

Dear God, it's horrible! It is the most UN-seaworthy thing I've ever seen in my life. Yacht? More like deathtrap, if you axe me.

Would YOU let your family ride on this?

Again, right-click on the picture and view it full-size.

When it comes to airplanes, the government of Honduras is unbearably fussy. But when it comes to boats, evidently, anything goes!

(By the way, those things that look like giant clothespins are actually regular-size clothespins; I had to climb up on someone's porch to get that shot and there was a clothesline in the way that I didn't see.)


Anonymous said...

Dude its a third world country! Not the QE2 Still interesting though. At least there are life rafts! (But are there enough?)

Bob Barbanes said...

Third-world country. Yes. I am reminded of that every day of my life. It's still jarring. Shocking, maybe, at what passes for "acceptable" in these third-world countries. We Americans lead our insulated lives. We hear about ferry accidents in India or someplace with a huge loss of life, and we cannot comprehend how it can happen. Because our image of a "ferry" is one that says "Staten Island" on the side and is governed by a strict set of safety rules and regs.

Coming from my former life to this life is like jumping through the looking glass.

P.S. No, there are not enough life rafts. At least the water is warm and fairly calm - most of the time.

La Gringa said...

Nice! But think of the hundreds of thousands (maybe millions) who ride buses every day, too.

There was a terrible accident not too long ago where apparently the bus was tied to the underframe (whatever it is called) with a rope! There was an accident and people were killed and maimed.

The bus company said the bus driver did it and they didn't know. The bus driver said the company made him do it.....blah, blah, blah.

The government recently made a big deal about bus inspections, but only about 10% were passing inspection and I haven't heard anything else for months.

I think I like my chances on a sinking boat better.

Bound for Ceiba said...

I guess the lesson is to bring your scuba gear along on the boat... who knows when you'll get the chance for an impromptu dive?

La Gringa said...

I thought you might be interested in a letter to the editor published in Honduras This Week Online about the Galaxy ferry that runs between Roatan and Ceiba.

Mike/ "feather61" said...

Now, Bob - according to the news in Oct. '03, I think the Staten Island ferry is ahead of the Bonacca ferry on points; 11-0 just in the last four years. Should the locals really aspire to US standards?

Bob Barbanes said...

In aviation, we calculate safety stats on "fatal accidents per flight hour" or "accidents per 100,000 passengers carried." The Staten Island Ferry may have killed/injured more total people than our "yacht," but I'd love to see how many passengers the one in New York City carries on a weekly basis compared to ours.

Although I'm sure your final question was in jest, yes, the locals really should aspire to U.S. standards. If you'd seen the craziness I saw just today at the airport...bad storm right overhead when Sosa was trying to land. A prudent pilot would have just circled for ten minutes until the storm moved off. Sosa landed. I could not believe my eyes. I thought I was witnessing a crash.