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Old 24-02-2016, 08:04   #1
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Swan Islands, aka Santanilla Island

Hi all,
I'll be sailing single handed next week from Grand Cayman to Guanaja Island, Honduras. There is a small island about midway along the route called Swan Islands or Santanilla Island. I've been told that it makes for a decent rest stop. Has anyone been there? Is it a good anchorage? Most importantly, is the approach free of dangers?
Thanks for the input.

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Old 19-03-2016, 18:49   #2
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Re: Swan Islands, aka Santanilla Island

Did you et any response regarding the Swan islands, I'm curios as well?

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Old 19-03-2016, 19:56   #3
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Re: Swan Islands, aka Santanilla Island

Ive sailed by Swan, but never stopped. Have friends who have stopped. There is no protected anchorage, just the lee of the islands, so rolly and a fair weather stop only. Honduran military there was grateful for visitors.
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Old 19-03-2016, 20:10   #4
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Re: Swan Islands, aka Santanilla Island

I stop at swan island a couple of years ago on my way to belize.
On the west side of the island, in front of the concrete jetty there is a good anchorage for an overnight rest, very rolly, but easy access free of dangers.
On the island there is an Honduran Navy base, a bounch of kids in flip flops left on the island for a couple of months at the time, very friendly and relaxed ... give them sodas, chips and cookies and you'll make new friends.
We exchanged a few beers for snappers with a fishing boat at anchor.
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Old 20-03-2016, 04:42   #5
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Re: Swan Islands, aka Santanilla Island

Nice stop at Swan Island, Honduras, by Val Ellis ➥ Nice stop at Swan Island, Honduras —
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Old 05-05-2016, 21:45   #6
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Re: Swan Islands, aka Santanilla Island

The Swan Islands have an interesting history, most significantly as the location for the CIA's 'Radio Swan' between 1960-1968.

As part of the covert action authorized by Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy to undermine the Castro regime, Radio Swan was operated by the Gibraltar Steamship Company a CIA proprietary company sending political propaganda, a news service, and agent broadcasts to Cuba in the years following the fall of Batista.

During the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, Radio Swan served as a communications relay to anti-Castro forces. In 1968 the CIA shut down Radio Swan and relocated its communications equipment to SE Asia to bolster US psyops in support of the Vietnam war. Today little is left of the buildings that housed the isolated cold warriors during its time as a black operation.

Honduras had bitterly laid claim to the island, and upon the eventual departure of the US government in 1974, it placed a small and permanent garrison of soldiers on Swan to prevent any future visits from trench-coated gringos. However, that did not prevent a return of the boys from Langley.

In late 1986, with the concurrence of the Honduran government, the larger of the two Swan Islands became a secret way-station for weapons and military supplies being sent to the contras (the FDN and UNO) in support of their Nicaraguan insurgency. When that conflict sputtered out, the Americans once again departed and the garrison once again found itself guarding their desolate and wind-swept islands.

Despite the poor anchorage, lack of water, and paucity of activities, the Swan Islands nevertheless make for a fascinating sailor's destination.


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