|I apologize for the slow pace of this update, internet is off and on, mostly off and SLOW here! I promised you pics of my medical procedure and I shall deliver, manana!
Utila is the smallest of the 3 main Honduras Bay Islands, the furthest west and therefore the closest to Guatemala, which is why we decided to stop here first. It is also the closest island to the mainland, about 35 kilometers away. Utila receives the fewest visitors of all the islands, partly because about 2/3 of the central part of the 14 kilometer by 3 kilometre area is covered by water and mangroves.
When I first stepped ashore I was reminded of Bimini in the Bahamas and to John it seemed like Hopetown, also in the Bahamas. It is so good to be back in the Islands. Everything is better, the water, the sand, the walking, the food, the music, even the grocery stores. We laughed at ourselves spending 2 weeks searching out hard to find items in Fronteras and then arriving here to the wide variety of items for sale.
The official currency of Honduras is the lempira at an exchange rate of about 19 lempiras to one US dollar, which has us scratching our heads once again as we price and pay for things. Utila is the least expensive of the Honduras Bay Islands and a popular destination for low budget travelers, which seemed like another good reason to stop here first.
The official language of Honduras is Spanish but here in the islands the main language heard is English, with a definite island accent. Spanish is widely spoken also.
The main draw of Utila is it's inexpensive dive programs which people, mostly young backpackers, travel from all over the world to enjoy. The main road is lined with dive schools and we watch the boats heading out each morning and in again in the evening loaded with divers. The Bay Islands are on the southern fringes of the world's second largest barrier reef and are Honduras' main tourist attraction.
Utila is also nicknamed the party headquarters of the Western Caribbean. The young crowd dives by day and parties at night. The loud music carries over the water and goes on until about 4 a.m. Just as it shuts down some boater who has been asleep since 7 (sounds like us) starts up his generator. It is a lively place, and a nice change to hear the action from our snug little home out here.
The Captain and I made a trip to the Medical Centre on the island when we arrived because I had developed a little hard lump on one breast. It had appeared suddenly and turned out to be a cyst, which had developed infection and turned red and tender.
The clinic was efficient and the doctor and his nurse very professional but laid back. The male nurse had bare feet and shorts and the doctor was even less formal in appearance. The doctor opened the area up and drained the puss and cheese like matter (yum) that he described and cleaned and packed the wound. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? He told us that it is the most common procedure he performs in the clinic. Infections down in this climate can move so quickly that oral antibiotics are not enough, hence the removal of the infection.
John not only came in to watch the procedure but took pictures. Doctor John (yes for real) says he is the most photographed person on the island and told us that when trauma cases come in with lots of blood and gore the local news station follows with all their cameras so he didn't find it odd at all that we were filming his little operation. Tomorrow I return at 3 to get the packing out and then I get some compresses for it. The clinic isn't normally open on Sat and Sunday but the doctor is here so he will come in if someone needs him.
The total bill for the office visit, procedure, anesthesia, dressing and 10 days of antibiotics, a shocking 1,825 limpiras, or $96.00 which sounds much better.
So for now we are here, and thankful that the lump was just a cyst. We will continue on to Roatan in a couple of days, a much larger island with numerous anchorages and a much safer place to be with the boat. I'm glad we didn't skip Utila though, and hope to explore more of it before we head on.