Guanaja Island, Honduras is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 14 crew member on the International Space Station. Guanaja Island is located along the southwestern margin of the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 60 kilometers north of mainland Honduras.
The island is situated near the western edge of the Cayman Ridge, a topographic feature comprised of rock types indicative of ancient volcanic islands, sedimentary layers, and ocean crust. The Ridge formed as a result of tectonic interactions between the North American, South American, and Caribbean Plates. Guanaja
and the nearby islands of Roatan
(not shown) comprise the only portions of the western Cayman Ridge currently exposed above water. Guanaja
island is also notable for its largely undeveloped character -- the exception being highly concentrated development on Bonacca Cay, a small island (roughly 0.5 kilometers by 0.3 kilometers) located along the southeastern coastline of the main island. The main island has little in the way of roads or other infrastructure -- a canal is the major means of traversing the island of Guanaja
- making it an attractive destination for hikers and eco-tourists. The clear waters and reefs that almost completely encircle Guanaja
also attract divers. In 1998, hurricane Mitch destroyed almost all of Guanaja
(97 percent) of the island's mangrove forests, impacting coastal habitats and resulting in soil erosion. Regeneration of mangroves is slow and active re seeding efforts have been suggested as the only means to restore the forests.