Today marks exactly one month since I’ve arrived in Roatan. It’s odd; sometimes I feel like I’ve been here for forever, but other times I still get culture shock. It does keep life exciting though, when something as “simple” as going grocery shopping can easily turn into an adventure. Anyway, yesterday was one of those “…and I LIVE here!” days. Some of my ‘housemates’ and I were picked up by our friend and her family, and they took us to a rope swing and rock climbing. It was one of the coolest days I’ve had yet here on Roatan, and I feel really lucky to have such nice friends.
Our first stop was a rope swing with an absolutely gorgeous view. We got to it by driving down a road which ended in a dead end, where we parked and then walked through a grassy/woodsy trail that brought us to the cliff of the iron shore. For those of you who don’t know, a lot of Roatan’s shoreline is called the “iron shore” because it’s made up of lots of dead black coral and rocks. Anyway, this rope swing was along part of the iron shore, and was amazingly picturesque-
nothing to see but clear blue water, the jagged shoreline, greenery, and the horizon. The rope itself was suspended from a pole on this little platform on a rocky cliff maybe 30 or so feet above the water. To use the rope swing, one held on to the rope and jumped off the platform, making sure to hold on tightly to clear the jagged rocks below before swinging over the water, and then of course letting go and falling into the water. The first time I jumped I was pretty sure I was going to die by losing my grip and falling on the rocks- needless to say, I held on very tightly and landed in the water triumphantly, if not slightly un-gracefully.
We spent a couple hours at the rope swing, and then after lunch went to a rock climbing wall. The wall was a cliff in this forest (which we got to by going down another dead-end road…I don’t know how people find these places), and someone had anchored a chain at the top of the cliff. Our friend had rock climbing gear and the rope, so we were harnessed in when climbing. This was quite unlike my previous experience rock climbing indoors, however, for 2 reasons. First, the “rocks” in the climbing gyms have nice rounded edges which don’t dig into your fingers and sometimes scrape you, and they are also securely in the wall and don’t wiggle and threaten to fall out if you pull on them. Being around real rocks definitely makes things more interesting. Secondly, the ropes in the climbing gyms are at the top of the wall so that when you fall you mostly stay where you are and then can gently make your way down the wall. Where we were climbing the rope was anchored to the top of the cliff which jutted out a little from the wall, which meant that when you fell you flew away from the wall and were dangling in the air a bit before swinging back toward the jagged rock wall (yes, my day did involve a fair amount of me flying toward jagged rocks while attached to ropes. I’m impressively unscathed, which just a few scratches and some sore arms). Every time I pushed off from the wall I must have gone at least 5 feet away from it (if not more). It was really fun, though-I think coming down from the wall was my favorite part.
After doing the rope swing and rock climbing for a good part of the day we were all tired out and headed to West Bay beach for a few hours. The highlight of the beach was when I went snorkeling with my friend and we saw a turtle! We also soon after that got bullied by a school of small fish- we were swimming when we realized we were being followed by a bunch of these little fish we had seen lots of times before, but which had once bitten my friend and actually made her bleed. We tried to swim away, only to see MORE of the same fish coming towards us from another direction, but finally escaped with just slightly bruised egos for having been bullied by our tiny aquatic comrades.
Long story short (well, actually, it’s not really that short I guess, looking at everything I just wrote), it was a really awesome day. I’m still amazed that I live in a place like this.
On a side note to all my East coast people, I hope you survived the hurricane alright. If you lost power, or water, I feel your pain.
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