Saturday, 24 May 2014

Roatan, Honduras - Scuba Diving from West to East

I decided that I should not spend my last three weeks like a bump on a log in one small part of Roatan so I decided to take a mini trip to the east end of the island to see if the diving and scenery were much different.  The drive from West End to Oak Ridge was only about a half hour (Roatan is only 30 miles from one end to another) and I spent the trip chatting in my limited Spanish to my driver, Francisco.  The Reef House is on a caye a short hop from the mainland...literally 500m but a small boat picked me up from the dock where the cab stopped.  I got a great deal to stay and dive at the Reef House Resort, $100 USD/day for 3 dives, 3 meals, and accommodations (really nice room with AC, hot water, TV, and WiFi).  I head back to West End tomorrow after 3 lovely days and nights here.  When I arrived there was only one other guest staying here, Joan.  Each day starts with a lovely breakfast at 8am, we head out at 9am for two dives, return for lunch then go out for our third dive at 2pm then the rest of the afternoon can be spent lazing in the sun, visiting with the charming parrot, Polly, enjoying a beer, and visiting with eachother and/or the staff.
The dive boat 
Colorful houses on the mainland, viewed from the narrow channel between the caye where the Reef House Resort is and the mainland

The Reef House Resort is in a lovely spot, right on the ocean.

Room with a view

Pier right out in front of the resort

Polly and I became fast friends.  He is allowed out of his cage to wander about and he waddles along the ground and follows me... how sweet.

Polly loves to have his neck scratched!  He leans in and closes his sweet! 
Joan getting a little sugar
He has also taken to sitting on my shoulder in the evenings.  He is a real performer loving to mimic laughter and wolf whistles, he also clucks like a chicken, says "hello", "pretty bird", speaks a little Spanish, and makes a number of clicking and cooing noises.  He is a definite highlight of this place and I look forward to seeing him each day.
Diving here is similar to the West End but there are many more soft corals and sea fans here.  Our excellent divemaster, Davitt, is amazing at spotting all sorts of critters for us and he really puts on a show.  He is doing his part to protect Roatan's reefs from the invasive Lionfish which are not native to this part of the world and are outcompeting other marine life.  Davitt always brings a Hawaiian Sling (type of spear) with him on dives and any Lionfish he comes across get speared and either taken up to the boat for Davitt's dinner or fed to other marine life on the reef during the dive.  On one dive Davitt fed a lionfish to a black moray eel with white spots and on another dive he held the lionfish out in front of a toadfish (a type of ambush hunting fish).  In both cases, the moray, and the toadfish gobbled up the lionfish like a little treat!  It was really cool to watch.  Besides the bloodsport, Davitt was able to spot a few seahorses, tiny moray eels, shrimp, crabs, and even an eagle ray.  He is a great spotter!
Joan doing a Giant Stride entry
Schooling blue tang
Flamingo Tongue (a type of colorful cowrie)
Colorful soft corals
spectacular hard corals too!
A very well camouflaged little filefish

Davitt with his spear and a lionfish on the end of the spear
Luring a moray out with a free lionfish lunch
This crazy French Angelfish followed us for the whole dive 
Joan with the crazy Angelfish.  Unbeknownst to her, the angelfish was playing in and biting her bubbles

Well camouflaged juvenile trumpetfish
Lovely soft corals and Gorgonian fans

Neck Crab - so cool and well camouflaged
Long nosed seahorse
Sadly on my final day here I woke up with a horrible crick in my neck that extended down into my upper back that hasn't gotten better at all despite 2 aleve and a few rum and cokes.  I had to bail out of the third dive today because I was in so much pain and it was a struggle to turn my head enough to read my pressure gauge.  I spent the afternoon hanging out with Polly, reading a book in the sun.  Not a bad plan B.  Tomorrow I head back to West End for some more diving and to spend my last week before travelling home to Calgary!

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