Saturday, January 1, 2011


A few follow-up comments from past blogs:

The last holdout colony of ants, the ones who lived under the hatch turtle, I believe have been vanquished. I was starting to think we had developed a super-breed, Maryland plus Guatemala plus Honduras, but a couple drops of the Terro that I brought back from the US did the trick. In fact I believe that at this moment, the boat is free of any sort of animal, other than the two of us.
UPDATE: actually, no. Yesterday I saw a cute little gecko-like animal, not more than 2" long, scuttle under the water tank/.Long may s/he live.

The lionfish, an invasive species from the Pacific that moved into this ocean after Hurricane Andrew and onto my radar as we were diving and snorkeling in Roatan last year, are around all these islands in substantial force. At West End Roatan, riends report that they sight dozens each time they dive. But still, only park management is allowed to shoot them. From Lighthouse Reef the same report except there's no one out there to keep you from vigilante-ism; additionally the comment that there are numerous fish in the 3-4 pound size. And there's a public relations campaign encouraging eradication (method unspecified) in Providencia, a Colombian island.

Lionfish are said to be tasty, but the risk of being pricked and poisoned by a very unpleasant venom contained in the dorsal spines is off-putting. Perhaps we could get a marketing genius to align lionfish with fugu, the poisonous pufferfish that the Japanese play Russian roulette with.

Last December I was jauntily invoking Johnny Depp and the pirates of the Caribbean, as we spent the night, by ourselves, in an isolated anchorage, Diamante Lagoon, on mainland Honduras. So this last item is harder to write about, as it involves murder. The victim was a man we knew from the Rio Dulce, and admired, a very smart and mellow person. In fact his picture is in the blog as a participant in the 4th of July blind dinghy races. Milan Egrmajer was killed there, by pirates, about the time we were rounding Cabo Gracias a Dios.

Well, I'm not feeling so jaunty any more. In fact part of me is really angry, at the entire country of Honduras for being such a dysfunctional, poorly governed place with so many guns and one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm angry at the entire system, the mindset, not just at the gunman and his associates (which maybe just goes to show how irrational an emotion anger can be). The rest of me is having to persuade myself that the law of averages is still on my side.

Often in Honduras I had the feeling that we tourist gringos in our 'enclaves' were 'protected' by private interests. The management of the shipyard pays for protection; drug cartels keep the lid on bad elements who might otherwise bring unwanted attention to the area; local merchants or whoever benefits from our presence hovers over us. You could say it was 'market economy justice'; we were protected by economics more than by rules of polite conduct. We certainly need looking after in places like Honduras; we bumble around, looking rich, ignorant of all local politics and issues, putting ourselves in the middle of situations we know nothing of, oblivious to their ramifications, and powerless to change the circumstances.

So Milan was shot point-blank by one of four men in a lancha which had approached his boat, Adena, asking for help. His poor daughter, down from Canada for a trip to Panama, managed to frighten them off with a flare gun. She then spent what must have been terrified hours trying to get help. What news reports I've had access to are amazingly discordant in essential details and the comments attached are appalling in their lack of sympathy and their misunderstanding of the circumstances.

It's just a terrible situation all around.


Anonymous said...

Ann, I'm so sorry to hear this. I'm sorry you've lost a friend and that you're having to face the questions of being out on your own. I've only heard a few of your stories, but have always been amazed at the way you guys make it "out there". (Spoken like a true American.) Please keep your wandering spirit and keep sharing it with us. Let us know if there's anything we can do.

Ann aboard Galivant said...

Thanks for the comment, Alyssa. Just that I know how relieved they must have been to be in such a secure anchorage in such weather - our circumstances were similar - and then to have the guillotine drop then and there as opposed to any other of the possible countless times and places. But, every morning, getting out of bed, we're all 'out there', until one day, one of us isn't. I've got that in mind now, but hope not to dwell upon it too much longer!

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone will every be brought to justice for what happened to milan. captain john (at the marina opposite tortugal) seems to have his finger on the button and he says that it is likely that the murderer came from rio tinto and that even if the locals know who did it, nothing will be done as they don't have any reason to worry about tourists coming into the village. there is no road and no trips out of tela coming by sea. the only thing they have managed to do is deprive themselves of anyone to rob!!