Blogs from Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras, Central America Caribbean - page 9

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We just finished watching our final sunset for the trip and are getting ready to fly back to Portland tomorrow. We spent yesterday on the dock in the sun, with periodic swims when it got hot. It seemed a little hotter the past few days but tough to tell, and when you have A/C in the room and are always within a few steps of the pool or the Caribbean it doesn't much matter. A couple nights ago we were worried that we hadn't seen a really good sunset, so we went down to the dock and swam as the sun dropped below the horizon. It was nice, but sharing it with two adolescent boys jumping from the top level into the water next to us kind of killed the moment. One of them either had ... read more
Gumbalina Park Canopy Tour
Zipline Canopy Tour
iguana up in the tree next to one of the platforms


Tuesday morning and facing only two more full days here. It has gone quickly - especially since reaching the halfway point a few days ago. Yesterday we spent the day in West Bay, which is just about at the western tip of the island. The guidebook said that it has Roatan's best beach and we weren't disappointed. White sand, very light blue water almost absent of sea grass, and a wall of rock (old coral) at the end of the beach that is a beautiful, dramatic boundary to a very pretty stretch of beach. We liked the beach more than Sandy Bay (mainly docks) and West End but West Bay is the first spot we've seen with large hotels along the beach and dozens+ of chairs in front to sunbath in. We walked along a well-trafficked ... read more
Water Taxi from West End to West Bay
West Bay's beach
West Bay's beach


We've passed the halfway point of our trip. Yesterday we finished our scuba dive certification and did our second open water dive. Beautiful swimming along the reef. There were so many fish next to us, then if we looked up there would be a school or two passing above us also. Our favorite may have been a large teal-colored fish with a yellow argyle pattern on its tail (actually a couple colors, not unlike a blue, teal, yellow and red crayon getting left in the sun and blending together with bits and pieces staying the original color). It chased a smaller fish all around a piece of coral next to us for 10 seconds or so (very cool!), before losing the smaller fish and pooping next to us as it swam away (not so cool). We ... read more
Swimming off the dock at Blue Bahia
Swimming in the pool at Blue Bahia
Getting ready to dive


Today we did our first open water dive. We checked with the dive shop here (Octopus Dive School) yesterday and decided to do the two-day PADI certification course. This will enable us to dive on future trips, and since Roatan is supposed to have some of the best diving in the world we figured this is the place to learn and get certified. We had homework last night and actually stayed up quite late reading the book (73 page chapter with additional video on DVD) and got up early this morning to cram. First Kate giving us homework for the wedding and now more homework on our honeymoon! We talked with the instructor a bit before going out to the end of the dock and putting our equipment together and getting in the water. Definitely unlike ... read more
sunset
sunset
The end of the dock


I’m sitting here in my newly unpacked room during my second night in Roatan but my first night in my new home. Last night I was the first teacher here (who’s living on the grounds) and the electricity wasn’t working yet, so Miriam had me stay at her house. I spent most of the day at the school, trying to sort out what boxes are mine from the massive amounts of stuff. Turns out that moving a whole school can be really chaotic. I’ve found a few boxes for my 2nd grade room, but I’m thinking that resources will be fairly sparse. ALSO it turns out that I get my own music room! Exciting, but I also have to set up 2 rooms. Not that I have very much stuff to really set up anyway. So ... read more


Well, if you read the previous blog you know that I finally got my hands on a turtle, 3 weeks later. I wasn't able to get out and track today because of the dive locations, but hopefully we can get close tomorrow and give it a try. It's pretty tough without the boat access I had planned for. The man who my advisor insists I need to use to help me track is not exactly the type I want my work to be associated with. He is definitely a nice enough man and very generous, but he keeps many animals on his property and the living conditions, especially for the primates, are unacceptable in my mind. I realize we are in a developing nation, but it breaks my heart to see animals housed in inferior living ... read more
Attackfish
The reef
Pretty, but nasty lionfish


On Wednesday we finally tagged our first turtle. Without the assistance of Darren, one of the dive masters at Fantasy Island Resort, it may not have been possible. They have been a lot harder to catch than expected. Unfortunately we do not have a boat by which we can do a longer term tracking (4-6hours) so we went back with the dive boat on Friday to see if the turtle was still hanging out in the area of release and thankfully, yes it was still there. On Thursday we came across a small turtle and attempted a capture. At one point the little shit swam circles around me, staying just out of arm’s reach, as if taunting me. If it is possible to look like a moron underwater, I can assure you that is what I ... read more
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(Apologies for redundancies, text was copied from my research blog: turtlechaser.wordpress.com) Since arriving at Fantasy Island Resort in Roatan in early July, I have spotted more that 20 turtles on dive surveys along the south coast of the island. According to locals, turtles of various sizes frequent the reefs here throughout the year. Unfortunately, due to some logistical issues, I was unable to begin tagging turtles during my first week here. Naturally, that was the time when I saw several calm, curious juveniles who almost seemed to be taunting me by swimming so close. Thankfully, other divers were able to photograph these turtles, as I was still waiting on my underwater camera housing to arrive. Once the housing, and the rest of my gear did make it to the island, I was thrilled to get out ... read more
Darren's heroic capture
Roderick about to get set free!
Measurements


There’s something about a night dive that is incredibly energizing, maybe it’s the adrenaline of looking over your shoulder into a black abyss of water where only earlier that day it was crystal clear, unknowing the known. Maybe it’s just finishing the dive without suffering any mishap such as getting lost without a flashlight, which is pretty feasible. Maybe it’s the knowledge that the predators come out to feed at night, they zoom in and out of your pathetic flashlight beam, if you’re lucky you may catch the attack. It could be the excitement of searching for animals that are only active at night such as the octopus, almost like a treasure hunt, who will be the first to sight it? Hanging on the mooring line during my safety stop after diving Missing Link at night ... read more
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Saturday was a chill day with two dives at French Cay Bank and CocoView Wall with the Prince Albert wreck to finish off. Unfortunately there was a cloud of stinging nettles at the end of the last dive that I swam through. The worst sting was on the lip, that really hurt. Otherwise, that night we watched the traditional dancing of the Garifuna, the first large settlement of people on Roatan. In 1797 the British left them here at what became the town of Punta Gorda after deporting them from San Vicente (an island in the Caribbean), where they had originally arrived there due to the African slave trade. Most of the dive boat captains and dive masters at Fantasy Island Resort live in Punta Gorda and are of Garifuna descent. On Sunday morning we dove ... read more
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