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Published: June 12th 2017
Geo: 16.3302, -86.5194
Okay, every trip has its highlight, and the snorkel tour we took here on Roatan was our unanimous choice for this trip's piece de resistance moment. Anna and I had visited Roatan last year, when we were aboard the Epic. You may recall that that trip was rerouted because of a hurricane, and we had never expected to be visiting Honduras. That being the case, we never ventured out of the port area, choosing instead to enjoy the relatively empty ship to ourselves. This time we were prepared, and I had booked us a snorkel trip through a small local "wellness retreat." The world's second largest natural reef (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia) lies off the coast of Honduras, and I wanted Katherine and Anna to have the chance to snorkel. I had been snorkeling a few times in the Red Sea years ago, and very much wanted to try it again.
High winds forced our captain to abort our planned docking, and instead we docked at Mahogany Bay, which happened to be the same place Anna and I had been on the Epic. This worked out better for us, and we certainly didn't want to have to
deal with the high winds at the other dock. We were some of the first people off the ship, and we easily found our driver waiting for us outside the Customs area. One of the reasons I had booked this particular tour was the fact that they have their own snorkeling area, and the size of the group is severely limited. We drove over to the other dock -- where we were supposed to be originally -- to pick up a family of three that arrived on a Carnival ship, and off we were. We had a tour of the island while we made our way to the opposite shore, which was sheltered from all the wind on our side. The place we were heading was a "wellness retreat" opened by a retired couple from Oregon. They'd visited Roatan as part of a Latin American trip five or six years ago, fell in love, and decided to open a small retreat. They host snorkeling and scuba dive groups, yoga and meditation retreats, conferences, etc. They only have six rooms, but they say business is doing well. They've built the retreat along a rugged hillside, ensconced in trees and tons of
We were hooked up with two dive masters from the island, one of whom holds U.S. citizenship and is a former Navy SEAL. We geared up and headed out to the reef; we were about 1/2 mile off shore, which was a bit daunting at first, but we soon forgot everything going on above the water. It took Anna and Katherine a couple minutes to get acclimated, but as soon as we all started to keep our heads under water, and ignoring all else, it was simply spectacular. Words cannot describe what we were seeing. The reef was literally inches below our feet, and sealife was everywhere. Our main guide -- AJ -- was amazing, and he gave us all personalized attention. He would swim down to point out various fish and coral, often taking our waterproof camera down with him to snap pictures for us. After about 45 minutes in the water, we got back on the boat and heading to another part of the reef called the "drop off." I was so excited, I quickly got everything back on and jumped in the water. Everyone else was taking their time, so I looked down and....GULP?! All
I could see was black. I turned around and could see the reef again; we were at the very edge, and the reef simply stopped and there is a 5000 ft. vertical drop into nothing. I had a slight moment of panic, as I envisioned a shark shooting up from the depths, and I "quiety" suggested everyone else jump in the water and join me.....to present other offerings for the sharks. ;-)
We finished up after another 45 minutes or so in the water, had a short mangrove tour, and then returned to the retreat, where they had an organic lunch for us with AMAZING watermelon smoothies. We were all thoroughly exhausted, but it was a very good exhausted.
Tot: 2.623s; Tpl: 0.072s; cc: 11; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0462s; 2; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb