Wednesday, September 24, 2008


hugh "chef boy ar blaze " vs skipper " pretty boy " leonard

what better way to celebrate honduran independence day,  than a boxing challenge ? 

  • chef hugh and dive boat skipper leonard have been talking about this day for months .  would they actually go through with it ? a hush came over the crowd as they pushed their way into the ring : a gringo vs. local match up. this was either going to be very entertaining or very sad. 

  • the ferocity of the opening salvo took us all by surprise (there'd been a lot of bravado in the months leading up to the fight but they are friends) . with both guys standing toe to toe in the center of the ring and swinging hard it looked like chef hugh was going down and going down hard.

skipper leonard kept chef hugh on the defensive with a wicked series of combination punches that had chef hugh reaching deep into his gut for the strength to continue . 
just as the still placid crowd had expected, looks like the gringo's gonna go down and out in the first round. 

out of nowhere and from down low, hugh unleashed a wicked right cross,  shocker....... "pretty boy" leonard hits the deck ! 
the silent crowd erupted and with them still ringing in his ears leonard was back on his feet in a second, THIS WAS GETTING GOOD ! 

with the crowd ignited by the surprise knock down and chef hugh 
taunting him with the muhammad ali shuffle, leonard came back fighting like a man possessed . ain't no gringo chef gonna take out the "pretty boy" from sandy bay. 

coming in low to avoid a roundhouse left , leonard gets inside . 

hugh didn't 
even see the right cross coming  but he felt it ! 
time for skipper leonard to take cooking
 boy to school.

chef hugh hit the deck hard , down and bloodied ............but not out . 
up in a flash , sporting a cheeky grin and once again doing the ali shuffle , hugh continued to taunt leonard as the crowd egged him on . two knockdowns and we're still in the first round ,
the "thriller in utila" is living up to the hype .


  • and then the unthinkable , out of nowhere a torrential rain storm and the ref called the fight. the ring is too slippery.

  • rumor has it , an eccentric fight fan had put up a substantial purse which neither pugilist can collect on .................... until the rematch .

hemmingway would have enjoyed independence day on utila. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

utila carnival (july '08)

the end of july is carnival season on utila (don't worry Rio , we're not trying to de-throne you). 
after two nights of neighborhood 
celebrations saturday is the "big" parade and fireworks. with about 50% of the islands vehicles (about 15) and virtually all its citizens participating, utila carnival is tons of fun for locals and visitors alike. winding its way from chepas beach through town to the lagoon, it's very cute and a great time was had by all . most in the crowd followed their favorite float until the center of town was gridlocked and the kids in the drumming band got to really strut their stuff. it was nice to see so many of the expats involved (many are from new orleans , so its in the blood). during the day it's a family affair but at night things heat up and the bars along the water front are hopping, a prelude to "sunjam" only two weeks later . 

COMING IN SEPTEMBER, utila independence day and the strange ritual of a boxing ring in the center of town and all challengers welcome !

my first five months of living at treasure beach on utila (jan.-may '08)

i've had a wonderful time during my first five months on utila and i've really got to experience the good life in the bay islands of  honduras .  we are really happy with the construction of our house at treasure beach.  
the man who sold us the land , roger white,  held my hand during the whole process (my construction experience was in residential rehabs and high end retail store design in chicago), his tropical building expertise and friendship really made what could have been a nightmare, a dream . the construction crew did a great job under tough conditions (ie. 3000+ bags of concrete and sand plus 600+ rods of rebar all hand carried and shuttled by little boats to the beach and then hand carried to the job site in 90 degree heat , that alone took several weeks) . its very labour intensive construction as the only mechanical/elecrical tools that are used are saws.  the guys showed up six days a week , very week , peter my foreman was awesome; a real craftsman .
after this first five months i've really learned to appreciate the design of our home, it really catches the prevailing east wind, which blows most afternoons . i have all the french doors open 24 hours a day and the shutters let the cool breeze blow right through the house , while keeping the bugs out . the only a/c i've had to use was in my bedroom at night and then only once or twice a week . most of the gringo's i've met here are running a/c constantly because of the "americanized" design of their homes or hotel rooms . the "grand bahamian" style home is really the way to go here on utila. 
i've done lots of diving and decided "c.j's drop off" is my favorite dive sight, love the deep one's !  we saw whale sharks again which is an awe inspiring experience no matter how many times you get the chance. 
fishing with junior diamond was fun and something i'm going to get a lot more serious about in the future, watch out wahoo !
i choose not to have a t.v. and i'm glad, instead i spent a lot of time enjoying the island nature and star gazing  . the trees in honduras produce the most gorgeous flowers and every other week a different kind was blooming in the jungle behind treasure beach. however, the reef in front of our house was THE constant source of amazing sights , day and night . very week i saw something i'd never seen before . one night it was thousands of bioilluminesent jellyfish floating by , another it was a fish spawning with millions of glow in the dark eggs everywhere and big eagle rays gliding by eating them . many nights i would end up falling asleep on the end of the pier after watching that nights amazing events .
a small new resort called "utopia" is about fifteen minutes walk from our house and it was nice to have a place to stroll to . i usually spent a couple of evenings a week down there having dinner and drinks , the food is excellent , easily the best i've had in honduras . the chef hugh and the barmaid ryan became good friends and they would usually come to hang out and snorkel at our house on their day off . 
living close to the cays is very convenient for buying supplies and for grabbing the occasional lunch at "fishburger" or "hermans cay view" restaurants. the caysians still live pretty much as they have for years, fishing everyday and collecting conch and lobster during season. leading up to easter every house on the cays had huge sides of fish drying on its roof in preparation for good friday. every time i visit the cays i see something i want to take a picture of.
well, i'm off to the states for a few weeks so that's all for now . i shall return to utila soon . 


  • DRIFTWOOD INN - great for a cool breezy lunch on the dock, bruce on the b.b.q. at night (his brisket is famous on the island but i like the beer battered snapper). a favorite amongst the expats, horse shoes on the sand & u.s. sports on t.v. sunday afternoons.
  • LUNCH AT THE CAYS- wether you choose beau's "fishburger" or mr. hermans "cay view", no trip to utila is complete without lunch on the cays. everyone goes for the fish burgers but i prefer the chicken or lobster (in season). great places to spend a surface interval, bring your camera.
  • MANGO INN-best pizza on the island, authentic thin crust italian style from the brick oven. beautiful gardens, watch the hummingbirds feed by day, bats at night.
  • THE INDIAN WOK- consistently good indian/asian cuisine, a welcome new addition to utila.
  • THE PURPLE PELICAN-my new favourite place for lunch. located at pine point one of utilas prettiest beaches. nice food, beach chairs and lovely water (i've never seen so many starfish). stay for a couple of hours, eat, drink, swim and relax.
  • THOMPSONS BAKERY- the place to stop on your way to that first dive of the day. great coconut bread and cinnamon rolls.
  • TRANQUILLA BAR- a favorite of backpackers and locals, great place to sit on the water and watch the sun go down. an eclectic music selection fuels the party as the evening progress', an institution on utila.
  • TREETANIC BAR- located in a treehouse on the grounds of the jade seahorse. atmospheric , hip bar thats a favorite of the divemasters and younger expats. things usually get going around 10pm,. nice crowd, good vibe.
  • ULTRA LIGHT - great falafel sandwiches and chicken schwarma . very reasonably priced, quality middle eastern food.
  • UTOPIA RESORT- for a special evening out of town, chef hugh prepares the best food on the island (probably honduras), his menu changes daily . try the blackfin tuna if its available, amazing ! accessible only by boat from town, contact the hotel to make reservations and transportation arrangements.

About Me

My photo
my adventures in island living . after visiting utila as a diver for four years (it reminds me of ambergris caye belize, 20 years ago) i bought some beach front land in 2005 and built a home for myself in 2007. i'm located on the beautiful southwest shore opposite the utila cays at treasure beach. now i'm in partnership with my builder Roger, designing/building beautiful homes for our clients (we've completed 5 so far) and living my island dream !