Roatan and Bay Islands Discussion List Archive

    Posted On: 15-Jul-2001
    From: "Steve " []
    Subject: RE: [roatan] Swan Islands


    I didn't find much on the Swan Islands in the archives of any lists. I
    didn't find anything about them being given up to Columbia. I remember
    they had been declared a nature preserve some time ago.

    I've also thought often of visiting. I knew a guy who had been there
    the Contra conflict and he said that there wasn't much there. There is
    historical account below and some URLs:


    An old travelogue I found:

    > My first trip to Swan Island was around January or February of 1960. I
    > sailed on the Don Emilio B. with Captain Johnny Cooper of Oak Ridge,
    > The boat was owned by the Hamilton Brothers Company of Tampa FL which
    > bananas from Costa Rica to Tampa. The boat stopped at Swan Island to
    > transport supplies to the Weather Bureau and FAA as well as make passage
    > and from the island for the Americans who worked there.
    > I remember to this day the day we finally sailed out of Tampa. We went
    > south off Cape San Antonio, Cuba, across Misterioso Banks and finally
    > Swan Island after about 3 days at sea.
    > I will never forget Captain Johnny telling me in his low gravelly voice,
    > voice that I would hear many times over 2738 and 2750 marine
    > tell me "there is your home for the next 6 months".
    > I was on Swan Island when the Coast and Geodetic Survey Ship "Explorer"
    > to survey the island around March of 1960. They also took a census of
    > was on the island which caused quite a furor in Tegucigalpa.
    > I was there, around April of 1960, when U.S. Navy ships appeared
    > offshore...then an LST came up to the beach, started offloading all
    > equipment and Seabees. They built a dirt runway, buildings and a radio
    > transmitting station. The radio station first called "Radio Swan" then
    > later "Radio Americas" broadcasted anti-Castro propaganda and was very
    > likely a CIA operation. Anyway...the guy who was in charge of that
    > operation was quite surprised when he found out that I could speak
    > and realized that I could understand what was being broadcast.
    > Right after Radio Swan was built...a group of University Students came
    > protest the census taken by the Explorer. They arrived on the Betty B
    > of was a shrimp boat owned by Bruce Borden. My tour was up
    > when they got there, so I got on the Betty B with them and sailed to
    > (Bonnaca) where I had a rip-roaring good time for about a week.
    > I then got on the Offshore which was owned by Hano Griffiths of Hog
    > We sailed back to Swan Island then to Grand Cayman where I picked up a
    > flight to Miami then home to Texas. The Offshore was loaded with fruit
    > sell in Grand Cayman...Harry Carter of Bonnaca hired the boat for this
    > purpose.
    > That is a thumbnail of a little bit of what happened my first trip to
    > Island in 1960.

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