Roatan 3

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30 October 2012

Most people we spoke to before coming here hadn’t heard of Roatan and if they had, they didn’t know anything about it…Here is a little info on Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras…

Lying off the East Coast of Honduras, Roatan is the largest, most developed and most visited of the Bay Islands. Basically a long, forested range rising from the Caribbean, it maintains much of the original landscape that the Adventurers knew in the 17th and 18th Century. There are numerous towns around the island, each offering their own unique character to Roatan visitors. The Island is approximately 60 km (37 miles) long, and less than 8 km (5.0 miles) across at its widest point.

Bay Islands of Honduras
Bay Islands of Honduras

The highest populated town of the island is Coxen Hole, capital of Roatán municipality, located in the southwest. Other important towns include French Harbour, West End, and Oak Ridge. Roatan is located near the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea- second largest worldwide after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and has become an important cruise ship and scuba diving destination in Honduras. It is this that attracted us to Roatan. We are hoping to snorkel and dive as much as possible.

We have already met some really cool locals and expats. Cary is well known everywhere she goes and is quite a socialite. She doesn’t cook, so regularly goes out to various popular restaurants and favourite expat hangouts. English is the first language of all native islanders regardless of race and Spanish is spoken second whereas Honduras is primary Spanish speaking. It remains this way because of the islands past as a British colony. The locals prefer to be called islanders and are proud of their heritage.

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Wonderful snorkelling on the reef
Wonderful snorkelling on the reef

We woke early and after tidying the house, carried our fins and masks to the end of the jetty and jumped off into about 2 feet of water. We snorkeled towards the reef but soon realized that we weren’t going to see clearly as the water was murky and churned up from the previous day’s winds and rain. We swam out to the reef hovering over a few sparsely covered coral-bommies not really impressed and quite despondent if this was a sign of what we could expect.

By 10:00am we were back to enjoy a great breakfast. Cary was keen to take us to Coxen Hole (the capital) to visit Ace Hardware shops. Patrick who is not diving currently due to the low season came with us because he worked in construction in his previous job. The projects Cary wants us to tackle include building a small block wall to prevent the run-off coming into her back entrance. She lives in a gated community and some of the villas are still under construction and the roads to them are not paved. When it rains the runoff gushes down the hill straight towards Cary’s place. The goal is to divert the water higher up the hill as well as build the very low retaining wall to keep any excess off her carport and to gravel the area in front of her carport.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the well stock, wonderfully, air-conditioned hardware. Our list of supplies was soon in the buggy, and didn’t cost an arm and a leg to purchase either. We stopped at the “bloqueria” to pick up a bag of cement and 20 cement blocks as well as 2 cubic meters of gravel.

Back home we offloaded and walked down to the jetty to snap the setting sun. Did I tell you, we saw the “green flash” after all the years of watching the sun setting over the ocean we had to come to Roatan to finally see that it is true. On an extremely clear day when no clouds interrupt the horizon line, just as the sun vanishes there is a sudden green flash – we have kept a skeptical look-out for it and at last we really did see it.

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