Our Little Slice of Paradise Found
July 4th, 2006 by Mark & Lori
Roatan is one of many islands off the coast of the Honduras in Central America. Specifically, it is Roatan Island, Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America (for Google Earth fans, our exact location is: 16.24.02.02 N 22.214.171.124 W). I had been to Roatan in 1977 and 1979 as crew on CSY (Caribbean Sailing Yachts) sailboats built in the Tampa, Florida factory and bound for the bare boat charter base at Brick Bay on Roatan Island. In the 70’s, minimum services and access to other areas on the island were limited at best. There was no electricity and "roads" were unpaved trails. These days there are paved roads (more pot holes than road in some places!) and electricity is now generated by RECO. But this co-op has been experiencing problems and has mandatory as well as random rolling blackouts that follow no specific pattern. The island is divided in two halves by what could be considered akin to the “county” division we have in the States. The West end is called Roatan Municipal and the East end is Santos Guardiola. It is unclear where this dividing line is (depends on who you talk to) but I think someday we might find it. It is roughly in the middle of this 40-mile long island, which is also 2 miles wide more or less.
Lori (my wife and best friend) and I had been planning to cruise our CSY 44 around the globe until some medical problems cropped up for us both and made us rethink our plans. So, we decided to cruise the Western Caribbean because it remains mostly as it was years ago, unlike the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the Virgins, which are now very expensive and changed forever from what they once were.
Our first dilemma to overcome toward the end goal of cruising was considering the sale of the house we were living in, instead of renting it. At the time, I was managing and servicing rental duplexes and learned very quickly that I had no desire to rent out the house while several hundred miles away on a sailboat. We determined that the rental income would not be worth the associated headaches, so decided to sell our Tampa home. Still burdened with the idea of having a "Home Base" of sorts to pull into, rest a bit, and call home (and where Lori could put up a Christmas tree), it occurred to me that Roatan fit the bill nicely because of its location in the Caribbean, land was reasonably inexpensive, and we could keep our boat in the front yard so to speak, live on a tropical island, and cruise to our hearts content!
So, in July 2006, we set out for one week of exploration on a Delta flight to Roatan Island to see what we could come up with and hoping that we could afford it as well! It so happens that we also have friends on Roatan who live in Oak Ridge, a small town on the East end. Oak Ridge is a nice fishing village and harbor. These friends were gracious enough to allow us to stay with them while we began our search for our perfect piece of property. While staying Oak Ridge, we did visit the West end, which is like Key West was back in the early 60's. Sand roads run along the water’s edge and are full of bars, restaurants, and fishing boats. That was not quite what we were looking for and the property values were sky high anyway. I never could figure out why someone would come to a tropical island just to live in a place like that. We looked at the middle sections of the Island finding it a nice place to hang out and also a good place to keep a boat in one of the many Bights (small bays) that are on the South side of the island. But none of them really appealed to us. Later in the week, we went with our friends we were staying with to visit people they knew in Calabash Bight. The only way to get to the Western side of Calabash Bight is by boat. It is a very nice passage from Oak Ridge because you stay inside the reef and travel through mangrove channels. During the ride, we passed by a point that is in the middle of the bight on the West side.
On the return trip, we looked a little closer at this vacant piece of waterfront property and Lori and I were hooked right off the bat, it was so beautiful. Then, we looked closer and spotted the for sale sign.
The next day, we contacted a "buyer’s representative" (not a broker per se) and asked about that piece of property. After about a day, that seemed like forever (we were not yet accustomed to “island time” where everything moves at a very slow pace), he called back and asked us if we would like to see it along with some other properties for sale in Calabash Bight. We agreed and met him at BJ's bar & grill in Oak Ridge.
When the buyer’s rep, Lori, and myself arrived at the property, we hiked up and down and all around.
Lori and I wondered right away why it hadn't sold yet. It was a wonderful piece and so much of the other property in Calabash bight had already sold or was under contract (later on we learned that the listed realtor on the sign was out of business and also had a reputation for substandard property dealings on the island). Afterwards, we looked at some other large tracts of land that were breathtaking, but that we could not afford. So, our thoughts and conversation revolved around the piece on the point. We were beginning to get both excited about the possibility and apprehensive about the price. After a day of trying to locate the owner, he was finally found and the asking price was given, which Lori and I thought was a good deal but still a bit out of our range. After some thought and serious hand wringing, I came up with an offer I wanted to counter with, but Lori was adamant about making it a bit higher because she didn’t want our offer refused. Eventually we came to an agreement and went to the buyer’s rep's office and made the offer.
Then the waiting game began. Lori was really stressing out about it, badly wanting it to work out and I have to admit that I was a wee bit uptight too, but tried not to show it. However, I think Lori did a better job of hiding her anxiety!Jump to the top
- Chapter 1
Our Little Slice of Paradise Found
- Chapter 2
Offer Accepted & Reality Check Time
- Chapter 3
The Fun Begins
- Chapter 4
The "Guest House" Turtlegrass Pequeño
- Chapter 5
Our Sailing Adventures or "Aeolus Goes Home"
- Chapter 6
We Start Our Life In Roatan Together
- Chapter 7
Lori On The Social Scene & Mark's Ups and Downs
- Chapter 8
Beware The Dangers of Dingo's Drop
- Chapter 9
O.O.R. (Only On Roatan)
- Chapter 10
Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season
- Chapter 11
- Chapter 12
Is It Done Yet?
- Chapter 13
Enjoying The Process
- Chapter 14
Rain, Riots and Reproduction
- Chapter 15
The Daring Dangling Mark Show
- Chapter 16
- Chapter 17
Steps Forward on Shaky Ground
- Chapter 18
Drama, Duppies & Doggies
- Chapter 19
When the Bizarre Becomes the Norm
- Chapter 20
Just When We Thought We Were Done