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Sunday, July 22 2018

Caretaker Profiles

The Seafaring Caretaker - A Profile of Captain Jack


Date of Birth: November 19, 1923
Interests: Video photography, travel, and deep water sail boating
Quote: "I'm going to live to be 100, or die trying."

PHOTO

Captain Jack Neiman is a true world traveler.

He got his chance to see the globe the hard way - by participating in a lot of wars: World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Cold War. He spent a lot of time in the Navy and was able to see a lot of the world while he was in the service.

After so much activity, Captain Jack took early retirement from the Navy in 1963 and, at the age of 39, got involved in the field of property caretaking. Captain Jack started his caretaking career at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in eastern Tennessee, right on the North Carolina border.

He stayed for one summer, working at the hikers' guest house called LeConte Lodge on top of Old Smoky Mountain along the scenic trail there. He truly enjoyed that caretaking experience and, after spending so many years at sea, wanted to settle down into a land-based caretaking lifestyle.

As fate would have it, though, Capt. Jack got sidetracked from caretaking when he delivered an airplane to Bolivia. He readily took to the Bolivian culture and didn't want to leave right away.

Five years after his Bolivian adventure, Capt. Jack got back on track with caretaking when he landed an exceptional job as a caretaker for an American physician. The doctor's home was built on a warm, paradise island. The island, Roatan Island, is one of Hondura's three Bay Islands. It is located about 30 miles north of the Honduran coast, east of the Gulf of Honduras.

It's a beautiful green island with mountain peaks rising to 700 ft. With a population of 20,000 at the time Capt. Jack was a caretaker there in the 1980's, Roatan was an inexpensive tropical Eden. Until recently, most American retirees settled in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Belize since Roatan was slightly more difficult to reach and relatively undiscovered.

When the doctor choose to build his home on Roatan, he was looking to escape from the expense, noise, and crime of the United States.

The doctor found that the Honduran government made it fairly simple for an American to move to Roatan. There was no duty charge on the first load of household goods, the first car, and the first boat, though there was a $1,000 fee for establishing residency.

The doctor's home, a two-bedroom ranch-style house, is located high above a scenic lagoon with a beautiful view of the ocean. It was very comfortable for Capt. Jack and his girlfriend, especially after he rewired the whole house for electricity.

Capt. Jack's main responsibility was just to be a presence at the house and property to prevent any theft or vandalism and take care of any maintenance problems. He built his own boat dock down in the lagoon for his 30-ft SeaRay power boat. He usually received what he needed from the supply boats that came to the island twice a month. Sometimes he would fly over to Honduras with his twin engine Cessna or he would take his power boat across the gulf to the mainland to pick up supplies.

The doctor would come down from America every August and March. That's when Capt. Jack would take his vacations in his power boat or fly his plane back to the states for some visiting.

After living there for 11 years, Capt. Jack recently decided to pack it in and move on. Capt. Jack thought it was time to give up his idyllic lifestyle and start traveling again. Since leaving Roatan, Capt. Jack has become a full-time RVer in the States. He's been traveling in a 20' VW Winnebago - Rialta.

He recently drove from Key West to San Diego with a commercial side trip back to Honduras. He has an offer to "sit" as a guest ranger at a 175,000 acre military bombing range in Florida for the winter. They will provide him with full hookups for his RV. He's also tempted to take a corporate pilot position in Honduras, but isn't sure if the "climate" is right at this time.

Whatever Captain Jack ends up doing, he'll end up making an interesting and exciting adventure out of it!

PHOTO

Capt. Jack with his "guard" dog by the Doctor's home.

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