Sage is the Rage
Since the Utila ferry leaves at 9:30am from La Ceiba (pronouned Say-bah) which is an hour from Tela, we decided to catch the bus around 7:30am to give us an hour of extra time. Early morning departures are easy for us since Asher is up at 5am anyway and it is much better to travel before things really heat up. We hauled our packs on and made the short walk to the main road to flag down a bus. Andy showed up just in time to say goodbye and when I passed Asher over to him, we could see Andy’s eyes begin to well up. Andy gave us real hugs and was genuinely sad to see us go. We were blessed to meet Andy and I’m sure our paths will cross again.
We always check to see what the locals pay before buying anything so we know when we are being charged a “Gringo Tax,” but the bus driver was not budging on his inflated price. With no other options, we jumped on board. The road from Tela to La Ceiba was gorgeous with fields of agave interrupted by lush rolling mountains grazed by cattle. Though the scenery was fantastic and Asher equally so, we couldn’t help but notice how long the “one hour” bus ride was. We finally crawled into La Ceiba at 9:10 but we still needed to catch a taxi to the ferry. The bus driver was not at all concerned with our time line and got off before our stop to have a smoke break. We had no choice but to jump off the bus and toss our 100lbs of gear into the back of the first taxi we saw. As we ripped down the road, Alyssa busted out her Spanish to confirm whether we had a hope of making the ferry. Mario, the taxi driver assured us we would make it with five minutes to spare.
As we jumped out of the cab, ferry workers were already loading up our packs and we quickly purchased two first class tickets on board the brand new Utila Dream ferry. For as long as anyone can remember, the only way to get to Utila was by the old slow Utila Princess ferry with a hefty fee of $25 each for a one way trip. Just three days before, the new Utila Dream started up and capitalism ensued. For $16 each we got two first class tickets and we opted for first class because we knew it would be the first and only time we would ever travel first class anywhere (and it was only $5 more than regular seats). Our seats were luxuriously leather and the AC allowed our bodies to regain some equilibrium. Despite the fact that we had difficulty standing up due to the rocking motion over the waves, Asher pulled himself all the way up from the seated position for the first time. We all cheered, including the captain.
We had to do a bit of negotiating but since we plan to stay on the island for a few weeks, we managed to work out a great deal. After scoping out a bunch of places, we ended up at Rubi’s Inn, a hostel complete with hammocks in the garden, large immaculate rooms, a communal kitchen and best of all, a private dock. We dumped our packs, sorted our gear, inflated Asher’s ride, then jumped in right off the dock. Magical. The water is crystal clear, calm and refreshing. A large sailboat was mooring in the bay just in front of our dock and we joked about climbing on board and waiting for the owner to return. After more underwater peek-a-boo, we laid Asher in the hammock and started jamming on the ukulele. Asher fell fast asleep just blowing in the sea breeze.
While we were playing, a young man walked by, jumped into a dingy and paddled out to the sailboat. I looked at Alyssa and said, “we have to meet this guy.” He paddled back into the dock during our second round of swimming and we made our introductions. Sage is a 24 year old from London, England who bought a sailboat on a whim and has spent the last 15 months charting private sails around the Caribbean. We were fascinated to hear his background and he was equally fascinated to see that we were trying longterm travel with an infant.
Now that we had our own kitchen, we strolled to the market to buy some produce to make up a nice hearty vegetable soup and on our way back to the hostel, we bumped into Sage and invited him for a bowl of soup. He mentioned that he has been eating rice, beans and eggs for ages and gladly accepted our offer. While I whipped up the soup, Sage held Asher so Alyssa could feed him his evening oatmeal with hemp hearts and banana. We dined on the seaside picnic table and watched the sun set beyond the sailboat and into the sea. We listened to Sage share stories of his family’s cross Atlantic sail when he was a teenager and how he hopes to continue sailing his whole life. We swapped one adventure story after another until Asher requested his evening bath and we made plans to paddle out to see his boat in the morning. It seems as though Asher is truly finding his travel legs and it seems as though we have just found paradise.