Thursday, November 12, 2009
Well rainy season is upon us, last week three days of torrential rain and more of the same this week. However when the rain stops and the sun comes out i get to see this view again and it never gets old. I've spent the last two weeks working on my padi dive master course which has been a lot of fun and i even got to assist Juca teaching a padi advanced open water course. I'll be hitting the books while i'm back in Chicago and will pick up the practical part of the course again when i return to Utila.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
We planted some young banana shoots (donated by our night watchman "El Pastor") in February and they've just sent out their first fruit. Really beautiful and i had no idea that each baby banana had a flower on it, kind of like a courgette (zucchini). Hopefully we'll be around when they are ripe, i love bananas and the potassium stops me getting leg cramps when i dive!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Every year on the nights leading up to the September full moon, the land crabs come out of the jungle and migrate down the beach to drop their eggs into the sea. There are literally thousands (the pics don't do it justice), they're even up the almond and sea grape trees. Every night for a week or so we watch this amazing sight that is like something from a National Geographic episode, it will either intrigue you or freak you out!
Sunday, September 6, 2009
well i guess it was inevitable, they're showing up all over the caribbean. however, seeing two on one day, at different dive sights, was still a big surprise. we saw our first utilan lion fish (juveniles) on dives one morning last week, one at "the pinnacle" on the northside and another at raggedy cay on the westside. we tried to get them with a knife but they're slippery devils and to be honest we were worried about getting stung. they certainly are pretty though.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
although the bay islands have been unaffected by the current political situation in honduras, it's inhabitants have strong feelings about what's been happening and the way in which it's reported in the media.
Monday, July 27, 2009
while travelling to europe for a family wedding, honduras' top diving instructor mr. juan carlos castillo molina stopped off in chicago to see honduras vs. u.s.a. in the world cup qualifier. there were so many honduran fans in chicago for the match (2-1 over u.s. fans) that when i took him sight seeing around my town, he met more people he knew than i did!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
one of my favorite things to do in the evening is to snorkel from our pier. you never know what you might see and it's as good as any night dives i've ever done. the sea is very other worldly at night and when there's no moon (and my dive light is turned off, or broken!) the phosphorescence is magical.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
our night watchman has a little dog named camilla who's taken quite a shine to me (or my couch) lately. back in january when she first started patrolling our beach at night she wouldn't come near me. then one night i came home and found her asleep on one of the couches on my veranda. now she's my best buddy and hangs out with me every evening and usually sleeps on the veranda outside my bedroom at night. she's a great watchdog and chases the crab hunters off of our beach every night (she likes to "play" with the crabs and doesn't like the competition) and is most insistent that nobody goes on our pier except the treasure beach residents. camilla, mi pequeno amigo (i think that means, my little friend).
i'm so proud of the new house we just finished, it's beautiful. the pineapple house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a huge kitchen/living/dining room. i spent the last few days living in it to make sure that there's no little electrical or plumbing tweaks needed but all was perfect. like the coral house that i completed last year, the pineapple house really takes full advantage of the prevailing east wind to naturally cool the house. the big veranda that wraps around the house stays shady all day and is the perfect spot for siestas and what an amazing view!
Thursday, April 9, 2009
beth and i have had an amazing week of diving and snorkeling. we've seen three whale sharks, including a forty footer that we snorkeled with twice. it was feeding at the surface on a bait ball created by a big school of bonito and was joined in the feeding frenzy by manta (or perhaps mobula) rays and some very big wahoo. what a sight, beth estimated the whale sharks mouth to be at least five and a half feet wide (she used her body as the measuring tool) ! we also snorkeled with a pod of spinner dolphins which was a fantastic experience, they are absolutely beautiful and amazingly fast. however, not all the action has been out in the deep blue water, at treasure beach this week we've also seen southern rays, tarpon, spotted eagle rays and a moray eel. all-in-all a great week to be in the water, which has been 80 degrees!
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
yesterday the thatchers came and put the roofs on the beach casitas/palapas. now we have large shady, palm leaf covered places to enjoy the sea breeze while staying out of the hot caribbean sun. at the same time we started to move the kitchen , bathroom cabinets and furniture into the pineapple house, exciting times !
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I started a little tradition during the construction of the Pineapple House, “staff lunch Saturdays.” I usually do a fish or chicken Thai curry with rice and it’s the first time I’ve ever cooked for more than 6-7 people. It’s a fun way to do something nice for the guys, after all, they bust their humps for me in the hot sun, six days a week and never complain. Plus I get to feel good too. When I remind them on Friday at knocking off time that its staff lunch tomorrow, they all cheer! They’re a great group of guys and a real bunch of characters, most of them have been with us for 3 or 4 years now (I know they all look like kids but they’re all in their twenties).
As usual our foreman Peter Howell and the crew have done an amazing job on the Pineapple House, the fit and finish of every post and beam is perfect. Aside from the beautiful woodworking done on site, Peter has also made me some beautiful furniture in his woodshop on Pigeon Cay. I have to say the bedroom furniture, bathroom counters and kitchen cabinets I designed have all been constructed impeccably by his cabinetmakers, I’m really pleased.As much as I look forward to Treasure Beach no longer being a construction site, it’ll be strange not to have the crew around the place everyday. Hopefully we’ll all be starting a new job next month, a water front restaurant about a mile west of Treasure Beach for our friend Sebastien, a chef from the south of France.
Monday, March 16, 2009
this week we're putting the final touches on my most beautiful project to date, the pineapple house at treasure beach. paint touch ups and landscaping today, followed by the installation of the kitchen cabinets and appliances, bathroom sinks and moving in the furniture and lighting. an exciting week for me and the crew.
UTILA : MY TOP TEN PICKS FOR FOOD & DRINKS
- 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.
- 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 !