Brandon diving in Roatan

Brandon diving in Roatan

Brandon and Kathy

"Explorations"

diving in Roatan

Kathy diving in Roatan


The Resort

Dive Operation

Around the Island

Shopping and West End

Canopy Tour

Diving - the Underwater Sights

Underwater Photo Gallery

Roatan, Honduras, January-February 2006

A good dive trip and a learning experience with the camera

Kathy - stuff in the water

Kathy - cleaner water

A fellow diver who we met on the 2005 Cozumel trip organized a small group dive trip to Roatan, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras.  There were seven of us and we all got along well.  We flew down (non-stop on Continental) on January 29 and back on February 4.

We had been somewhat concerned regarding the weather.  Roatan had been getting quite a lot of rain and some of the forecasts that we saw showed more rain to come.  When we landed, sure enough, it started raining while we were waiting for our luggage.  But luckily it stopped.  The next day was cloudy, and from then on we had clear, blue skies.  Because of the rain, the visibility in the water was not very good in the beginning.  But as the week progressed, the visibility improved each day.  By the end of the week, it was fairly good (but not as good as Cozumel). The picture above on the left shows all of the debris in the water; the picture above on the right shows the clearer water.

The Resort - Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island sign

Fantasy Island sign

Fantasy Island Resort is actually a small island that you reach by driving across a somewhat rickety bridge.  When we arrived at the resort we were pleased at how green and lush the grounds were.  And we learned that there were all sorts of animals roaming around - monkeys, bats, small furry rodents, peacocks and ducks, etc.  Our room was in a new wing and quite nice.

The first two pictures below show the view from our balcony. The third picture (on the right) shows our room (and others) from across the bay. The next set of pictures shows Kathy's friends. (Most of the land pictures are Kathy's.)

View from our room

View from our room

View of our room

Monkey

Monkey

Monkey

The Dive Operation

Dive boats

Mark, our divemaster

The dive operation was well run.  We were on the same boat all week, with the same divemaster, Mark.  The boat went out three times a day for three single-tank dives.  Most of the dive sites were less that 20 minutes away.  Between dives we could leave our gear on the boat and at night we put it in a locker in the dive shop.  We also did shore dives on two afternoons.  Kathy practiced with her camera on the shore dives.

Around the Island

Beach

Beach

As I mentioned, Fantasy Island is quite green and lush.  The beaches are nice and the ocean views are picturesque.

Ocean

Hotel grounds

Bay and green foliage

Shopping and the West End

Street vendor

Street vendor

Of course there is more to a vacation than diving. On two different nights the hotel put on a show on the beach. One night there was a fire baton twirling show; another night there was a bonfire and native dancers. Unfortunately, it was too dark for pictures. But we did get pictures of another non-diving activity - shopping. On Wednesday afternoon we skipped the dive and went on an organized shopping tour. We stopped at a couple of individual shops and then in the town of Coxen Hole (named for a pirate who hid out there) and the settlement of West End.

In Coxen Hole we saw street vendors and also went to the grocery store. At West End we watched the sunset and saw a very small green flash.

Vegetable stall

Boats at West End

Sunset at West End

Canopy Tour

Street vendor

On Thursday afternoon we signed up for a "canopy tour" - we did this without carefully reading the description on the flyer. We missed the part that called it an "extreme" activity. The tour consisted of about 13 zip line rides from one tree to the next. After getting the hang of it on the first zip line, these rides were relatively easy and quite fun. However, there were also 6 or 7 "bridges" which weren't bridges at all. They were tight wires to walk across or suspended boards that moved when you stepped on them. Holding on to the overhead lines to steady yourself was very strenuous. And then at the end when you were exhausted, there was a climbing wall to get up to the final zip line!

The picture on the right shows the view from the top of the hill. The pictures below show our guides giving us instructions.

Kathy in her harness

Guides giving instructions

Listening intently

Diving - the Underwater Sights

Even though the visibility wasn't the best, and even though I am still struggling to learn how to use my camera, I did get some pictures that illustrate the marine life that we saw.

We saw more sea horses than I have ever seen before. The iridescent blue vase sponges were everywhere. We saw lots of indigo hamlets and green moray eels. Once at the start of a dive, I was still adjusting my camera when a green eel swam right under the camera. I snapped a quick shot but the camera wrist strap was in the picture (see the last one below). On another dive, a large green eel swam between Kathy's legs. To see the rest of the underwater photos, click here.

Seahorse

Vase Sponge

Vase Sponge

Indigo Hamlet

Indigo Hamlet

Green moray eel

divider

C. Brandon Jones
email: Brandon "at" cbjones.info
updated March 2006