Posts Tagged ‘coral’

Don’t Try to Rescue a Portuguese Man-of-War!

February 11, 2010

It’s overcast on Roatan today. A weather system blew in during the night. The sunrise unseen, covered with grey rolling clouds. In the distance, the usual soothing sound of waves encountering the reef—replaced with the roar of them breaking hard. These are the days I love to walk on the beach. It’s too breezy for the sand-flies to grab on and bite my shins. No need for sun-screen or hat—it would blow away anyhow.

Strolling along with Mona (my dog), she chases crabs, and I comb the shoreline for new found treasures. Pieces of coral, shells and sponge, litter the beach, all worthy of being admired. Occasionally I find a starfish or two, too far from the receding tide to return to the sea on their own—I toss them back in the water. Hopeful, I’m helping.

I’ve also learned a lesson on what NOT to try to rescue. During one of my walks, on a day such as this one, I came across a creature I had never encountered before. It was the most unusual thing I had ever seen. A translucent blue…bag, water sloshing inside, with pie-crust crimped edges, and sand encrusted stringy tentacles bunched up underneath.

I nudged it with a stick, and shooed Mona away when she came to take a sniff. I suspected it was some kind of a jelly-fish, but with my limited (zero) knowledge of marine life—I really wasn’t sure. Even if it was something that could sting me, didn’t it deserve to return to the sea? It obviously couldn’t get there on its own.

I tried to pick it up with the stick. This didn’t work. Poor thing just plopped back down on the sand—getting even more coated. The next available rescue tool was my flip-flops. One in each hand, bring them together like salad-tongs, ready to toss a salad, I scooped up the creature and flung the blue glob toward the sea. I stood back and watched as the creature bobbed along. Proud of my accomplishment I whistled for Mona, and we continued our walk. After progressing only a few feet, I felt a strange burning sensation on my arms and legs, red angry welts confirming the locations. I realized my error. When I launched the creature, I was unable to contain all the tentacles with my footwear, a few grazed my arms and legs—I had been stung!

Racing back home, I skirted around the creature; it had washed ashore again, only moments after I had thrown it in the water. While I read-up on what I had tried to rescue the stinging began to ease.

I told marine-suave friends what I had done, they jokingly suggested that the next time I attempted this kind of thing, I just have to get someone to pee on the stings (supposedly the best remedy). I assured them that wouldn’t be necessary. I learned my lesson—don’t try to rescue a Portuguese man-of-war!

Advertisements

Where the Heck is Roatan?

December 29, 2009

Where the Heck is Roatan?

Answer – Between Utila and Guanaja.

At least that is what the very popular tourist t-shirt has printed on it.

Without making you feel like you are back in grade school geography class, (I would get pretty glassy-eyed in that class). I will keep the explanation simple.

Roatan is an island off the coast of Honduras, in the Caribbean Ocean. On one side is the even smaller island of Utila, and the other side is the island of Guanaja (hence the t-shirt). All three islands are part of the chain of islands known as the Bay Islands. Roatan is surrounded by the second biggest barrier reef (Australia is first). The beaches are soft white sand. The foliage is lush and tropical (yes, bananas and coconuts grow here), starting from the beaches rising toward a central ridge of foothill’s. I don’t think they qualifies as mountains—okay, so not boring you with geography isn’t my only reason for keeping the details simple.

When I stand on our dock looking to the North, a few hundred miles away (I think) is the border between Belize and Mexico. To the West (when watching the fabulous sunsets) I am facing Guatemala. South is mainland Honduras, and to the East is the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. I should mention that Honduras (which Roatan is part of) is in Central America, between Mexico and South America. I’m not trying to be condescending; before I came here I didn’t know where Central America was, let alone Honduras.

With great pleasure, I could tell you so much more about Roatan; the ocean, teaming with coral and marine life, the jungle landscapes, the glorious year round tropical climate, the diverse cultural mix, tourist attractions, etc. etc. etc. But there are many sites offering much better information on these kinds of details.

What I have to share is a firsthand account of living here. And through that I believe you will come to love it as much as those of us who have chosen to call it home. Roatan is a hidden gem worthy of exploring. But be warned: Once the Roatan Vortex sucks you in…You will never want to leave.

I’ll elaborate on that in my next post.

(more…)