June, 2006 Edition
Download page June separately (PDF files)
Carnival coming soon 22nd of July-30th
by Mayor Alton Cooper
Utila Safe from Hurricanes?
by Steve Dankewich
The first of June is the official kick off date for Hurricane season in the Atlantic. We had plenty of close calls and big waves during last year’s all time record breaking season and according to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), another busy hurricane season is projected for this year. "For the 2006 north Atlantic hurricane season, NOAA is predicting 13 to 16 named storms, with eight to 10 becoming hurricanes, of which four to six could become ‘major’ hurricanes of Category 3 strength or higher," added retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Utila, thankfully, avoided any serious damage from all of the 28 named storms that wreaked havoc on most of the Caribbean, Gulf Coast and Florida. One of which being "Killer Katrina", who released a wrath of Biblical proportions on the City of New Orleans. (Rev 18:21)
Utila is famous for avoiding these most powerful storms, but why? There are many explanations from many schools of thought. On the spiritual side there are those who believe that God himself, made Utila with his own hands, to protect the good people who inhabit this island.
If God were building Caribbean islands, it would be true that he could not have chosen a better spot. Utila is the southern most island in the South Western Caribbean and is placed perfectly in the Gulf Of Honduras just 18 miles from the North Coast. Here, The Pico Bonito Mountain Range rises to over 6000’. When a storm encounters these mountains they have the strength in elevation to disrupt any Hurricane’s power and thus reducing the overall potential damage a storm could inflict. All these factors combine to take Utila off to the side of the "Hurricane Highway".
Statistically, it is proven that Utila is one of the safest islands in the Caribbean. In the past 150 years there have been only three hurricanes where the eye has passed within 20 miles our island and only one direct hit (Fifi 1974). The only islands on par with Utila’s hurricane safety record are the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao).
This brings us to the age old question…Why are we here? When we are talking about Utila it all makes sense. Utila is blessed. For the last 200 years people from all over the world have landed on Utila’s shores and have seen the children laughing and playing freely. Felt the cooling east wind while sitting underneath a coconut tree at Chepas Beach and have chosen, if not been chosen, to make Utila their home. These are the people that had built the foundations of this island’s strong community a hundred years before electricity ever came to Utila.
Today on Utila we have every luxury. But, many of the islanders believe Utila was a much better place before we had all these modern conveniences. We should all listen to these people and work together to keep this community strong. If God, indeed, did make Utila with "His own two hands" I am sure he would wipe it clean if we no longer deserve this gift. Utila is blessed and we need to keep her blessed.
So be good to your neighbor... It just might keep the storms away.
GUEST meetings discuss boat security in Harbor
Utila has been having problems in the Bay for some time now. At the moment the bay looks empty. Normally, around this time of year, there are about 15 to 20 sailboats in the harbor. Now you might be seeing three or four boats. What is going on?
Many boats that were parked in the harbor this year and also last year, have been broken into. Amongst sailors Utila is now known as the area were you are most likely to get robbed in the Northwestern Caribbean. Many of the sailors therefore avoid Utila and visit the other Bay Islands.
Concerned citizens decided that it is time to do something about this. Neil Keller put together a meeting which was held at Mermaids restaurant on Thursday May 18th. Unfortunately this was also the day on which PADI had their yearly Member Forum so many people couldn’t make it. The meeting, however, still took place. So far the group, which calls itself GUEST Give Utila Effective Security Today, has held two meetings. It now plans to hold a meeting every Thurday at 7.00 PM at Mermaids restaurant.
A lot of things were discussed at the meetings but the main focus was put on what is nowadays called "Burglar Bay". "There is a lot of negative news about Utila harbor on the internet and radio channels and this is not what the island needs. There has been hardly any reaction from the community. That is why it is time to get together and try to come up with a solution," said Neil. "It is felt by boaters that the municipality is not doing anything so it has to come from within the community," he continued.
When we asked the Mayor and the Chief of police about the situation in the harbor they said that the harbor is being patrolled every night between 8pm and 10pm and has been for the past few weeks.
One of the people at the meeting said "You can’t go to the Mayor for everything. You need to go to the police, take the appropriate steps that need to be taken before you go to see the Mayor." Someone else pointed out that a lot of tourist and even Utilians are not aware of the legal steps to take in the case of a robbery. Or they might not have enough time to take this route or maybe not speak enough Spanish.
Most of the robberies occur just after sunset. Some people believe that people keep an eye on the boaters to see when they go to shore. Once they are on shore they signal to others to let them know that there is nobody on the boat and the burglars go off and do their thing. "One of the things that is often heard is oh it is done by mainlanders. Even if it is, something still has to be done. It occurs on Utila. It doesn’t matter who does it as long as actions are taken against them," said a concerned citizen.
During the meetings a number of possible solutions were mentioned:
- One idea was to have babysitter. Norm, who has been on the island for about eight months now, has been thinking about setting up a business for boat sitters. "Young kids from the island can go and watch the boats while the boaters are on the island for a drink or a meal," said Norm.
- Get the municipal police to patrol the harbor. They all have a boat license and the municipality has three boats. Some people, however, believe that the federal police are involved in the robberies. "One boater went to the judge to report what was stolen. He was happy that at least they did not take his camera. The police came to his boat to have a look and write down what was missing. They searched the place and after they left the camera was gone too," said one of the attendants.
- Put up a mooring system for the boats. Then you can charge the boaters per night. This money can then be used to pay for security.
Another issue that was brought up during the meeting was that a problem that could arise it that when all the boats are gone, the thieves might start robbing the island. This has to be prevented and the only way to do this is to catch whoever is doing it. But that seems to be the main problem at the moment. That nothing is being done, according to one of the attendants.
Utila has had problems with crime before on the island. Last year when we had a crime wave they introduced tourist police. The crime rates dropped not long after. This proves that the island can get together and sort out the problems.
At the end of the meeting it was decided that a letter would be written about the problem in the harbor. This letter will be presented to the mayor Alton, the cabildo and to the instituto de turismo. Then the letter will be sent to the institute de turismo in Tegucigalpa.
"The situation has gotten to the point where some boaters now leave their boat in La Ceiba and come over here on the ferry. They feel that it is a lot safer to leave their boat there and just come over here and stay in a hotel," said a local business owner.
GUEST will have a meeting every Thursday at 7.00 PM at Mermaids restaurant. Everybody who is interested in joining the group or attending the meeting is more than welcome.
by Eric Diemer
Every month the Iguana Research and Breeding Station writes an article for the Utila East Wind. This time we will write about Utila’s biggest snake, the common boa, scientifically called Boa constrictor. The boa belongs to the family Boidae, which also includes some of the biggest snake species in the world. Usually the common boa grows to sizes between 2.5 and 3 meters. The Subspecies occurring on Utila, Boa constrictor imperialis, is a little bit smaller. In other regions of Latin America boas can reach huge sizes, the biggest boa ever found in the wild was 5.6 meters!
The Boa constrictor is light brown with a dark pattern. Its head is strikingly angular shaped, with small eyes on the side, which are slit-shaped like the eyes of most nocturnal animals. The boa does not see very well, and therefore it developed another sense: on both sides of the mouth there are little holes in the skin, through which she can perceive infrared radiation. It uses this sense to find prey in the dark of the night. The prey mainly consists of small mammals, especially rodents like rats and mice, birds and lizards.
The boa waits in one place and lures until prey passes by. With its special sense the boa can see animals that are warmer than their surrounding, so-called warm blooded animals like mammals and birds. It can sense them and catch them even in total darkness. With this sit and wait-strategy the boa saves a lot of energy, so it only needs to eat every 3 to 4 weeks. In case it does not catch food for a longer time, it has lots of fat reserve, from which it can survive.
Unlike most snakes, the Boa constrictor does not reproduce by laying eggs but it bears up to 60 living juveniles. It’s habitat consists mainly of different types of forest, including tropical rain forest, dry forest and mangrove forest. Of course its habitat varies in the different areas of its huge distribution that goes from the south of Mexico to the north of Argentina.
The Boa type that can be found on Cayos Cochinos has a different coloration than boas in other regions. This particular boa is much lighter and in some individuals the color is brownish pink with a light brown pattern. This special coloration made the so-called "Hogg Island Boa" a popular pet in Europe and the US. In the 1980s over 5000 boas from the Cayos Cochinos were caught and sold to the pet trade, which caused heavy damage to the populations. According to the IUCN, Boa constrictor is classified as an endangered species, and it is listed in the CITES appendix. It is therefore illegal to collect and sell wild-caught boas without a special permission. But still some people break this law and try to export wild-caught boas from the Bay Islands.
Many people are afraid of snakes, especially when they are as big as Boa constrictor, although there is no reason to be afraid of it or even kill it. This species of snake is not venomous, and if you do not try to catch it, it will not bite or harm you in any way.
If you want to know more about Utila’s unique Flora and Fauna, or even see a Boa constrictor in captivity, you are invited to visit the Iguana Research and Breeding Station. Open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2pm till 5pm. For more information call: 425-3046.
Translation: Gilda Ordoñez
Cada mes La Estación de Investigación y Crianza de la Iguana de Utila escribe un artículo para el periódico Utila East Wind. En esta edición hablaremos de la serpiente más grande de Centro América: La boa común, cuyo nombre científico es Boa constrictor. La boa pertenece a la familia Boidae, que a su vez incluye algunas de las especies de serpientes más grandes del mundo. Usualmente la boa común crece hasta alcanzar longitudes entre 2.5m y 3m, la sub-especie que existe en Utila Boa constrictor imperialis, es una de las mas pequeñas. En otras regiones de Latino América las boas logran crecer hasta alcanzar proporciones inmensas. La boa más grande encontrada en estado salvaje midió 5.6m de longitud.
La Boa constrictor es de color café claro con manchas oscuras; la cabeza de forma angular; ojos pequeñas a los lados de la cabeza: la visión de la boa no es muy buena por lo que ha desarrollado otras estructuras para superar esta limitación: a ambos lados de la boca posee unos pequeños orificios especializados para percibir la radiación infrarroja. Utiliza este sentido por la noche para detectar sus presas que están constituidas básicamente por pequeños mamíferos, especialmente roedores como ratas y ratones, también pájaros y lagartijas.
La boa espera en un lugar estratégico y asecha hasta que su presa pasa. Con su capacidad de detectar la radiación infrarroja. La boa puede atrapar en completa oscuridad organismos que son mas calientes que su alrededor, este es el caso de los animales de sangre caliente como mamíferos y pájaros. Con la estrategia de sentarse y esperar por su presa, la boa logra ahorrar bastante energía, por lo que solo necesita alimentarse cada 3 o 4 semanas. En caso de que no logre alimentarse por un largo periodo de tiempo, ella posee una gran reserva de grasa en su cuerpo la cual le sirve para sobrevivir en estas situaciones.
La Boa constrictor, a diferencia de otras serpientes no pone huevos si no que pare hasta 60 crías vivas. El hábitat de esta serpiente consiste básicamente en diferentes tipos de bosque incluyendo el bosque lluvioso tropical, el bosque seco y el bosque de mangle, con una distribución geográfica desde el sur de México hasta el norte de Argentina.
Las especies de Boas de Cayos Cochinos a diferencia del resto de las boas que se encuentran en Honduras y otros países. Poseen una coloración rosado parduzco con manchas de tono oscuro. Esta peculiaridad hace que la conozcan con el nombre de "La Boa de Cayos Cochinos", la cual se ha convertido en una popular mascota en Estados Unidos y Europa. En la década de los ochentas más de 5000 boas fueron capturadas en Cayos Cochinos para ser vendidas al tráfico de fauna de vida silvestre, lo que causo serios daños a las poblaciones de estos reptiles. Conforme a la Unión Mundial para la Naturaleza (UICN), la Boa constrictor puede ser clasificada como una especie amenazada de extinción, y se encuentra en la lista de la Convención Internacional de Trafico de Especies de Flora y Fauna Silvestre (CITES), por lo que capturar boas en la naturaleza sin un permiso especial y para luego venderlas es ilegal. Pero siempre hay quienes violan ley y tratan de exportar boas capturadas en las Islas de la Bahía.
Muchas personas tienen temor a las serpientes, especialmente cuando son tan grandes como una boa, pero no hay razón para matar o sentir miedo hacia las boas. Este tipo de serpientes no son venenosas, y si evitas tocarla o capturarla no te morderá o hará ningún daño.
Si quieres saber mas acerca de excepcional flora y fauna de Utila, o incluso observar una Boa constrictor en cautiverio, estas invitado a visitar La Estación de Investigación y Crianza de la Iguana de Utila. Abierto lunes, miércoles y viernes de 2 PM a 5 PM. Para mas información llame al 425-3946.
Global Warming. How does it affect our coral reef?
by Augusto Gamero
creases in the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans reportedly caused by the burning of fossils fuels and industrial pollutants. The gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels and industrial pollutants are called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, chlorofluorocarbons or CFC’s (present in air conditioning systems) and others.
The increase of a few degrees results in an increase in the volume of water which contributes to sea-level rise due to the melting of polar ice caps, the earth’s largest reservoir of freshwater. All this freshwater and melting glaciers getting into the sea may cause a change in the oceans’ currents that bring warmth to some places in the world, therefore this change may lead to a, what some scientists call "little ice age" .
That is why "global warming" does not necessarily refers to increasing temperature on earth, but generally to abrupt climate changes such as harsh winters and very hot summers.
It is important to mention that in the past global warming has occurred as a result of natural influences. The term, however, is most often used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases.
Nowadays we can all witness some consequences of global warming that are responsible for changes in global climate patters, such as long droughts, more hurricanes, rising waters drowning low-lying communities, change in rainfall patterns and a wide range of impacts on plants, wildlife and humans. One of the richest and most beautiful ecosystems in the world, the coral reef, is being impacted by global warming as they can only live in waters between 18C and 30C. Therefore, with the increase in temperature of the surrounding water, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of coral bleaching events during the past 2 decades (which have had some of the warmest years in history). When ocean temperatures get too high, coral polyps lose the symbiotic algae inside them, causing them to turn white, or "bleached," and eventually die. Since global warming trends may also lead to more extreme and unpredictable weather, there has been an increase in tropical storms that can do extensive physical damage to coral reef ecosystems as we have witnessed during hurricanes in Honduras especially after Mitch in 1998.
Rising sea levels may become a serious threat to coral reefs and to small island nations based on coral reef atolls.
What is the future of the coral reef?
The future of the world’s coral reef is not optimistic, as 10% of the entire coral reef in the world has already been destroyed. At this rate approximately 70% will be killed in the following 40 years.
What can be done?
The first step to help buffer the impacts of global warming is to educate and create awareness amongst people that global warming exists and affect us all. The second step is to use our hands, take actions. We should all get involved, governments, NGO’s, schools, universities or individuals. All conservation activities, such as protection of mangroves, sewage control, over fishing control, water pollution control, etc, helps prevent further reef damage instead of accelerating the impact of global warming.
Another way in which we can all help is to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by using solar energy, biking or walking instead of driving which uses fossil fuels and reducing the usage of air conditioning systems.
What are we doing?
The extent of world-wide degradation of reefs was first documented by a global survey undertaken by Reef Check in 1997. (http://www.ust.hk/webrc/ReefChecks/summary.html). Everywhere coral reef fisheries resources are being pushed towards extinction by heavy over-exploitation and habitat degradation from land-based activities. Furthermore, inhabited coasts are affected by widespread runoff.
The Bay Islands Conservation Association (BICA), together with motivated volunteers from all around the world, is carrying out Reef Check research on the coral reef s of Utila to evaluate its health. With the results work on solid management plans of the area can be planned and impacts mitigation measures created. BICA is also working on environmental education programs at the local schools and supporting all governmental and private efforts for the conservation of Utila’s natural resources.
Calentamiento global es un término utilizado para describir los incrementos de temperatura en la atmósfera del planeta Tierra y de sus océanos, causado por la quema de combustibles fósiles y contaminantes industriales. Los gases producidos por la quema de estos, son los llamados gases de invernadero, como el dióxido de carbono, vapor de agua, clorofluorcarbonados, o CFC (presente en los sistemas de aire acondicionado) entre otros.
El incremento de unos pocos grados en la temperatura de la Tierra tiene como consecuencia el aumento en el volumen de agua que contribuye al ascenso del nivel del agua de los océanos debido al derretimiento de los cascos polares, la reserva de agua dulce más grande e importante del mundo. Toda esta agua dulce que ingresa al agua de mar podría causar un cambio en las corrientes que llevan calor a algunas partes del mundo, y es este cambio en las corrientes oceánicas lo que podría conllevar a lo que algunos científicos llaman "pequeña era de hielo".
Es por eso que calentamiento global no se refiere necesariamente al incremento de la temperatura de la tierra, pero generalmente a abruptos cambios de clima como inviernos duros y largos y veranos muy calientes.
Es importante mencionar que el calentamiento global ha ocurrido en el pasado como resultado de influencias naturales, pero el término es más usado para referirse al calentamiento que se predice ocurre como resultado del incremento en las emisiones de gases de invernadero.
Todos presenciamos o hemos presenciado algunas de las consecuencias del calentamiento global, responsable del cambio en los patrones climáticos, como largas sequías, más huracanes, aumento en los niveles de agua que inundan comunidades en zonas bajas, cambio en los patrones de lluvia, y una variedad de impactos en plantas, vida salvaje y humanos.
Uno de los sistemas más ricos y hermosos del mundo, el arrecife de coral, está siendo afectado por el calentamiento global, ya que sólo pueden sobrevivir en aguas con temperaturas entre los 18C y 30C. Por lo tanto, con el aumento en la temperatura del agua en la que habitan, ha habido un aumento sin precedentes en el número de eventos de blanqueamiento de coral ("bleaching") en las últimas dos décadas, en donde se reportan los años más calientes de la historia.
Cuando la temperatura de los océanos se eleva, los pólipos de coral pierden el alga simbiótica que vive en ellos, lo que provoca que adquieran un color blanco, y eventualmente mueran.
Debido a que el calentamiento global puede ocasionar climas más extremos e impredecibles, ha habido un incremento en el número de tormentas tropicales que pueden ocasionar daño al arrecife de coral, como lo hemos presenciado durante los huracanes en Honduras especialmente después de Mitch en 1998. El aumento en el nivel del mar podría llegar a ser una amenaza seria a los arrecifes y las
islas y naciones que dependen de estos.
¿Cuál es el futuro de los arrecife de coral?
El futuro de los arrecifes de coral del mundo no es nada prometedor., ya que el 10% de toda su cobertura ha sido ya destruida. Esto significa que a este mismo ritmo, aproximadamente un 70% será destruido en los próximos 40 años.
¿Qué se puede hacer?
El primer paso para amortiguar los impactos del calentamiento global es educar a la gente y crear conciencia que el calentamiento global existe y nos afecta a todos. Esto tiene que estar seguido por acciones, en las que todos tenemos que involucrarnos, gobiernos, escuelas, ONG, universidades, o a nivel personal. Todas las actividades de conservación, como la protección de los manglares, control de deshechos, control de sobre pesca, control de contaminación de agua, entre otras, ayudan a prevenir más daños en los arrecifes en vez de acelerar el impacto del calentamiento global.
Otra forma en la que todos podemos contribuir es a reducir la emisión de los gases de invernadero, usando energía solar o eólica (energía haciendo uso del viento), usando bicicleta o caminando en vez de utilizar vehículos que consumen combustibles fósiles, y reducir el uso de sistemas de aire acondicionado.
¿Qué estamos haciendo?
El grado de degradación de los arrecifes del mundo, fue documentado por primera vez por un monitoreo global llevado a cabo por Reef Check en 1997. (http://www.ust.hk/webrc/ReefChecks/summary.html). Muchos recursos de pesca están siendo empujados hacia la extinción en todos lados del mundo por sobre-explotación de recursos, degradación de hábitat por mal uso de la tierra y residuos que llegan a costas deshabitadas desde zonas pobladas.
La Asociación para la Conservación Ecológica de las Islas de la Bahía (BICA-Utila), junto con voluntarios motivados de todas partes del mundo, está llevando a cabo un programa de monitoreo de arrecife (Reef. Check) en los arrecifes de coral de Utila para evaluar su salud y con los resultados obtenidos implementar planes de manejo concretos del área y crear medidas para mitigar los impactos en este importante recurso.
Al mismo tiempo, BICA está trabajando con programas de educación ambiental en escuelas locales y apoyando todos los esfuerzos gubernamentales y no gubernamentales para la conservación de los recursos naturales de la isla.
"Comienza tu obra; comenzar es haber hecho la mitad; comienza de nuevo, y la obra quedará terminada". Anónimo
Think: SMART part 2
S ustainably M anaging A quatic R esources T ogether
by Jules Page
Two motivated dive masters, also environmental scientists, got together and started a new environmental campaign. The Think :Smart campaign encompasses different subjects for residents and tourists to Utila be more ecologically friendly. These subjects are Live :Smart, Eat :Smart , Dive :Smart and Drink :Smart . We covered most of these topics in the last edition of the paper. The final topic is Eat: Smart
Utila has a great variety of seafood on offer at our various restaurants and supermarkets. It is important however that we understand where the seafood is coming from and what effect it is having on our delicate reef environment.
Personally I love seafood, and it seems my favorite dishes are made from species whose populations are being destroyed at an alarming rate. PADI uses a great analogy: a plane, which is made up of metal, screws, bolts and rivets to name but a few of its pieces. When we take away a screw the plane will most likely continue flying, with little problems. If we take maybe a screw, a bolt, and a rivet away from the plane it might be still be okay. However if we take all the screws out, the plane may just fall out of the sky! That is what is happening to our reefs. Think of the marine life involved in reef ecology as the parts of the plane.
Lobster plays an important role in a reefs ecosystem. Lobsters have a special liking for yellow lipped snails, coraliophilia (direct translation coral lover). They chip away at the outside of the shell and have themselves a nice dinner. The yellow lipped snails’ populations have been kept to a normal rate up until recent years. In just three years I have seen the number of these snails double. This is having a devastating effect as the snails are eating our coral, primarily the Staghorn and Elkhorn coral species, the only coral species on the U.S. Federal Endangered Species List. We need lobster on our reef, keeping the snail population in healthy numbers. This doesn’t mean we have to stop eating lobster; however, we should only eat when in season and encourage the government to help support initiatives to help maintain lobster populations such as lobster houses.
Conchs are not only a favorite food of humans but also of eagle rays. Who remembers the days when a flying V formation of six rays would cruise past one of the local docks? Unfortunately, with the diminishing number of conch to feed the rays, these specialist feeders are heading to new grounds in search of food, or while constantly searching for their sustenance they become weak and can fall prey to their predators. In the Caymans they only serve farmed conch, and ban the illegal collection of conch from the reefs.
Grouper, whilst being a very tasty fish, are also fantastic predators. Have you ever seen the mouth of a grouper open wide, it is like fishing net. The grouper waits patiently for the right fish to swim past and then opens its jaws. It creates such suction that whatever was swimming past is now sucked inside this fishing net mouth! Blackapicki’s, Damselfish or Stegastes, whatever you call them, these farmer fish are a favorite for our groupers. It is important that groupers grow large enough so that they can continue feeding on this fish. The damselfish threatens the reef as it basically picks the corals to death, planting algae in its place. While it fiercely protects its farm from invading algae eaters it is slowly destroying the base of the coral. Staghorn is once again at risk as a result of its ability to provide protection inside its branches, Damselfish love making their homes here. By only eating groupers in the correct size range we can help put a stop to fishing this fish to extinction.
Sharks, I can’t imagine the stories I was told. Schooling reef sharks out by the old airport! It’s a dream to me. These days when a shark is spotted it is often the highlight of a dive trip. Sharks do not reach sexual maturity until an average of four years. This means a shark needs to survive this long to be able to then breed only once a year. The fish are being caught at such a young age they never even get a chance to breed. Sharks play an important role in taking out sick and dying fish and targeting fish in abundance such as old wives and triggerfish which keeps the reef in natural balance and harmony. By avoiding restaurants that still serve sharks we can hopefully encourage fisherman to stop catching undersized sharks.
We hope for the support of the local businesses, dive shops, municipality, visitors and locals. In order for this campaign to be a success we need to work in conjunction with restaurants and cafes.
The THINK :Smart campaign posters will be appearing in restaurants, hotels and dive shops soon. If you would like to get involved please speak to Jules at Cross Creek Dive Center. Since the motivated dive masters that initiated this campaign have now left the island, we need help now. Let me know if you are interested.
Number one Kindergarten
Utila’s Frederico Canales Jardin de Ninos has for a long time been a shinning example to kindergartens across the country. It is hard to believe it could have improved, but it has.Miss Maria Burgas seems to have endless energy for the children under her care and for providing them with a cheerful, brightly painted and inviting, up to date environment for their early schooling.
There are 2 classrooms that house 64 children but the place is spacious and kept neat and tidy. Something that Miss Maria starts to teach her students from day 1 is respect for their surroundings and for each other.
Three areas have been added to the main classroom.
Area de desarrollo personal y social. (Area for personal and social development.)
Area de desarrollo con relación al Entorno. (Area for development of environmental awareness)
Area de desarrollo de la comunicación y la representación. (Area for the development of communication)
The communication area has a new T.V. and DVD player and an area with a mini post office for the children to leave messages. The reading area has been fenced in and is amazingly well organized considering the amount of children using it for reading and playing. New school books, one for each child are stacked on the book shelves. Each book has a photograph of the student along with their hand print in paint. Upon completion the children receive a diploma which their teacher keeps until the end of the year when no doubt there will be an impressive graduation ceremony.
The air conditioned computer room that was added a few years ago continues to improve with the addition of a printer donated by Mr. Broussard. Thanks to the Mayor a year’s supply of every kind of paper is stacked neatly beside it. Outside the computer room is a new water cooler so the students have a constant supply of cool water all donated by Mr. Johnny and Johnny’s Water.
The Utila East Wind staff was warmly welcomed by the students and spent a very pleasant hour listening to songs and watching children dress up, laugh, shout and giggle. Every child’s eyes were on Miss Maria as she involved all of them in games to encourage them to count, practice their letters and learn new words and concepts. It’s easy to see why people are so willing to donate to this school and Miss Maria has every reason to be proud of what she has done with it. There isn’t a better kinder any where else in this part of the world.
Dengue fever is viral illness that is transmitted by the bite of certain mosquitoes, especially during the day. Dengue can be found in several areas including parts of South and Central America. Last year we had an outbreak of Dengue on Utila and for this year experts expect a "never seen before" outbreak of hemorrhagic dengue on the Northern coast of Honduras later this month.
Hemorrhagic dengue is a separate disease. It is a severe and sometimes fatal infection that occurs when someone with immunity to one type of Dengue virus is infected by a different type. There are four different types of Dengue. Early symptoms of hemorrhagic dengue are quiet similar to those of dengue fever such as sudden high fever, headache, muscle ache and joint pains. However, after several days, the patient might become irritable, restless and sweaty followed by a shock-like state. Bleeding can appear as spots of blood on the skin and larger patches of blood under the skin. It can also occur from minor injuries.
How can dengue be treated?
Hemorrhagic dengue is caused by a virus for which there is no cure or vaccine at the moment. They are working on a vaccine which is expected to be finished within the next 5-10 years. The symptoms can be treated by re-hydration, either by drinking lots of fluids or with intravenous fluids, transfusion of blood or platelets to correct bleeding problems and sometimes oxygen is administered in order to treat low blood oxygen. If the disease is spotted and treated early and aggressively the patient has a good change of recovery.
How to prevent it
As we said before there is no known cure of vaccine for hemorrhagic dengue or dengue fever. So what can we do to prevent it?
Que es dengue?
Fiebre por dengue es una enfermedad viral que se transmite por la picadura de ciertos mosquitos, especialmente durante el día. Dengue se puede encontrar en varias regiones incluso en Sur y Centro América. El ano pasado hemos tenido un brote aquí en la isla de Utila. Para este ano, expertos predicen un brote de fiebre por dengue hemorrágico como nunca visto en la zona del norte de Honduras el fin de este mes.
Fiebre por dengue hemorrágico es una enfermedad diferente. Es una infección grave y a veces fatal que se presenta cuando una persona con inmunidad para un tipo de virus de dengue se infecta con otro tipo. Hay cuatro tipos de dengue en total. Las primeras sintomas son parecidas a las de fiebre de dengue como una fiebre alta, dolor de cabeza, dolor de músculos y articulares. Pero con dengue hemorrágico la persona se pone irritable, inquieto y sudoroso seguido por un estado que se parece a choque. Sangrantes también pueden aparecer como sangre en la piel, sangre debajo de la piel y de heridas pequeñas.
Como se puede tratar?
Dengue hemorrhagico es causado por un virus por la cual no existe cura ni vacuna en este momento. Esperan tener una vacuna en unos 5-10 anos. Si se puede tratar los síntomas con rehidratación; tomar muchos líquidos, transfusión de sangre o pataletas para corregir problemas de bleeding y a veces administración de oxigeno para tratar sangre bajo en oxigeno. Si la enfermedad es notada y tratado temprano y agresivamente la paciente tiene una posibilidad de recuperación.
Como lo podemos prevenir?
Como dijimos antes, no existe cura ni vacuna para el dengue hemorrágico. Pues que podemos hacer para prevenirlo?
-usar ropa de manga larga
-usar repelente con DEET y mosquiteros
-quedarse adentro in areas creened y con aire acondicionado
-eliminar sitios donde mosquitos se puede reproducir
-cambiar el agua para sus animales frecuentemente
Backpacker of the Month
I came to Utila for the first time two years ago and stayed for only one month. I returned in February to stay for eight, do my dive master, build a house and work. Work is convincing private foundations and government agencies to give me money to play with fish then writing articles convincing other biologists that the money was well spent. Repeat. When not doing that, which is often, I dive, think about building a house, being stupid and walk up and down the beach looking for bonefish and permit. My stay is now five months. At the end of the June I am moving to Cayos Cochinos to work organizing research projects for university undergrads and Operation Wallacea volunteers (who will pay!?). My parents visited last month, with cute little his and her geriatric backpacks, and liked the island. So in September it is back to Canada to play with fish in rivers (cold, crap visibility, strong currents) and make money to, maybe just maybe, come back here and really build a house.
Things I like about Utila: walking, bicycles, improved selection of produce, Utilians, listening to boat captains talk on the radio, fisherman, La Ceiba, Thompson’s almuerzo, Johnny, diving.
Things I don’t like about Utila: cars, four-wheelers, golf carts, motorcycles, scooters, rotten produce, foreigners talking like Utilians, blaming ‘Spaniards’, entrepreneurs, San Pedro Sula (except the market), filling in the swamp, talking about diving.
News in brief....
The Reggaeton Fundraiser at Bar in the Bush in May attracted a large crowd. Bands included included; Forever one love, Ghetto Songs and Mamy Yankees from La Ceiba and of course the Utila’s own Utila Thrillas. The fundraiser was held to get money to help buy instruments for the public school band. Money was raised by charging an entrance fee of Lps 100 for adults and Lps 50 for children.
Baby found at Cemetery
A 7.5 month old fetus was found last month at the Utila’s cemetery. The body weighted 2 lb, 13 oz and the umbilical cord and placenta were intact. The mother has not been found and it is thought that she has left and went over to the mainland. It is not known why the baby was delivered early and why it was left at the cemetery.
Café Mariposa (turn right before Banco Atlantida) is now open for business. Sunday 8am-noon, Wed-Sat 3pm-10pm. They will also be catering for special occasions and functions for up to 40 people.
An accident involving a cyclist and a truck by Bar in the Bush resulted in a skull fracture and swelling of the brain of the cyclist. The medicentro were fast to treat and test the teenager who was then taken to the D’Antoni La Ceiba. Full recovery is expected.
Dr. John said he has never seen so many skin and soft tissue infections as recently on Utila. He says that if anyone has signs of infection they should not delay treatment.
Please help the Utila Community Clinic by canceling any bill you may have there. There is a list on the front door.
After having some problems putting our website up it should be up and running by the time this issue arrives on the island. Come and check it out at www.utilaeastwind.com If you have any photos you would like to put on the website or if you have any suggestions please let us know. Email us at email@example.com
Utila Animal Clinic
Rodger and Lorraine are building an Animal Clinic/Shop at countryside. Here they will perform surgery and check out your pet. They will also sell pet medications and pet accessories in the shop. The veterinarian will continue to perform services for free. Donations are very welcome.
Princess dropped prices
The Utila Princess dropped the price of their tickets to Lps 200 for a one way ticket and Lps 300 for a return ticket. It is not known if these prices are permanent or if they will change again. So get your tickets now if you go to La Ceiba quite often or you would like to!
Guanaja Express dropped prices
The Guanaja Express has also dropped its prices. A one way ticket to La Ceiba now costs Lps 210. The boat leaves at 07.50 pm every morning from Ecomarine’s dock and the trip takes about 45 minutes.
No line at Bank
Have you noticed that if you go to the bank nowadays you are usually one of the few ones in there? Gone are the days of two, three hour waits. This is partly due to the fact that you cannot buy your lights and the bank anymore. For the month of May you could only get your lights at the UPCO office. It would be great if it will be kept this way.
Report your news
If you have any news that you would like to see printed in the news in brief section please let us know. Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 425-3322 or 355-4463