March 14, 2009
We left Isla Providencia en route to Roatan and planned a night stopover to rest at the very remote and desolate Vivarillo Cays, Honduras. This would essentially break this one long passage into two, more comfortable 40 hour legs. While beautiful, Vivarillo Cays (pronounced "keys")are nothing more than a tiny chain of islands used by fishermen, and occassionally drug runners, as local lore has it. The Cays are located off the NE shoreline of Honduras, as you round Cabo Mon Dias, to head west towards the Bay Island chain (Roatan, Utila and Guanaja). Technically, it's more of a reef system - inhabited by the occassional fishermen, who we believe are primarily harvesting shrimp. There are some dilapitated piers and outbuildings on the primary isla, but it appeared to be abandoned overall.
We had heard from another cruiser that in the off-season, these fisherman may resort to fishing for shark (sold to the chinese market for their valuable fins.) They tell us that they catch the nurse sharks, harvest their fins and then leave the rest of the carcass in the sun to rot and be eaten by scavangeing birds. The stench and flys can be overwhelming.
We pulled in and tucked behind this tiny, spectacular island with our buddy boaters, the Cunninham family on Kikuyu. Immediately we were aware of the smell of rotting something! Later in the afternoon, the boys went out for a snorkel (PK caught a small lobster) but as they got closer and closer to the island, they could certainly smell the horrible stench of rotting fish and were keenly aware of the presense of swarming birds and flys. They didn't bother to land ashore but neither did we see any sign of human life on shore. It was a beautiful anchorage, but we would only spend one quick night and then be on our way to Roatan.