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The Road Most Traveled

When I first visited Guanaja, 13 years ago, one of the things that stood out to me was the major method of transportation: boat. The only road on Guanaja—dirt and full of holes—went from one town to another (Mangrove Bight to Savannah Bight), leaving only trails or the water for the rest of the island.

While it was new to me at first, it didn’t take that long to adapt. Since you’re traveling in a boat most of the time, that means things are going to get wet. Groceries are bagged or boxed; suitcases that aren’t water-resistant get sheathed in trash bags; and there’s always a rain jacket stashed in case a passenger is shy about getting hit with saltwater spray. I usually just dress knowing that I may get splashed. If I need to be dry on the other end of my trip, I’ll bring a towel and/or a change of clothes.

But a couple of years ago, the dirt road was paved. Then, cars and scooters started showing up on Guanaja. Now, folks in Mangrove Bight save a lot of time and money by getting many necessities in Savannah Bight, rather than taking a boat all the way around the island to Bonacca—the cay that’s the municipal hub of the island. Similarly, Savannah Bight residents don’t have to make boat trips to Bonacca as often for groceries, because some are delivered directly to their town.

It still seems strange when scooters blaze past me while I’m walking on the road (no sidewalks), or when I look over my shoulder to see a truck right behind me, waiting for me to move. But eventually, it’ll be as old hat as traveling by sea. Besides, the road doesn’t go near my property, and I don’t imagine a road ever will, so I won’t be giving up the boat anytime soon.