Open Water Adventurers

Trip Start Sep 13, 2004
Trip End Apr 30, 2005

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Sunday, March 13, 2005

Oh my... so much to tell... we have had a fantastic past couple of weeks!

After our time in Granada we went north in Nicaragua to a town called Leon. Not much to report from there as it was the hottest place we've ever been and we really didnīt do much excpet lie under the fan in the shade... we did manage a visit to the cathedral, central america's largest, during an evening prayer session which was neat.

From Leon we started a three day bus marathon across the rest of Nicaragua and up to the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Making things a bit more interesting was the fact that our Lonely Planet book got stolen and we didn't really know where we were going, that and I (Julie) got sick. Many, many, many, chicken buses (old yellow school buses used for local transportation here, called chikcen buses as they pack as many people, chickens and whatever else on to them as possible) later we arrived in La Ceiba, the jumping off point to the Bay Islands.

We had a few days to kill before we were scheduled to meet some friends on the Bay Islands so we set off into the jungle outside of La Ceiba for some river rafting. It was a bit difficult to get excited about the trip at first as we had arrived in a Caribbean downpour and things only got wetter as we went into the jungle, but even in the rain the jungle lodge where we stayed was amazingly beautiful. This river rafting was very different from the trip we did in Argentina, the rapids were quite a bit bigger and the boats much smaller (us two plus guide). We spent about an hour in the river with our guide doing some "training" where we had to jump off cliffs, swim through the rapids and side down rocks and waterfalls, too much fun. Then we rafted for about an hour, did some class 5 rapids, went over a small waterfall and screamed a lot. I fell out of the boat on one rapid and scared myself a bit. All this in the most unbelievable jungle scenary. After rafting the sun came out and we had some nice relaxing time at the lodge, reading, swimming in the river and meeting some new friends.

The Bay Islands are a group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Honduras, there are three large islands and many smaller ones, their claim to fame being that they are right smack in the middle of the second largest coral reef in the world and have some of the world's best diving. We stayed on Roatan, the largest of the islands and we are convinced it is paradise (see photo). The island is about as big as Saltspring and home to a strange mix of Spanish/ English Hondurians (we've decided that "Caribbean" should be it's own lanuage as we had trouble not only understanding but even trying to figure out if people were speaking english or spanish), an indigenous Indian tribe, backpackers, wealthy Americans and many international divers from around the globe. The island is also complete with the perfect Caribbean setting, white sand beaches, palm trees, clear, blue-green, tropical water, sunsets that blow you away and of course the reef right outside your door. Just thinking about it makes me wonder why we left.

It was there that we met up with Trevor and Christine (Trevor used to work at the pool on Saltspring with me, and I travelled with both him and his girlfriend Christine in Thailand last spring) from Victoria and together the four of us rented a very comfy cabin across from the beach for 10 nights. I can't tell you how happy we were to unpack our bags, cook our own food and sit on the deck with friends from home.

Most of our free time was monopolised with diving. We did both our PADI Open Water course and our Open Water Advanced course logging a total of nine open water dives over the 10 days. This basically qualifies us to dive anywhere in the world to a maximum depth of 30 meters (the recreational diving limit is 40 meters). It was, in the words of our immensely entertaining, completely daft and very talented instructor, also named Trevor, "a laugh" (pronounced lawf if you're from the north of England). In Canadian, we had a f%$"&ing blast. Weightlessness is downright groovy and you wouldn't beleive the things we saw. (Try sea turtles, 4ft moray eels, octopus, squid, lobster, baracuda and a 300 ft wreck... we even dove at night, but how does one describe carribean phosphoresence as seen from below?) We very nearly signed up for the 2 month divemaster course, got an apartment, burned the tickets home and spent the next 6 months in paradise getting paid to dive... come to think of it, what the hell is wrong with us?!

We're now back in La Ceiba, on the road tomorrow to the ruins at Copan then on to Guatemala. Although we can't imagine how anything else we see/do is going to compare with the last week. Nevertheless, it's our duty to find these things out. Today marks six months since we left home... funny, we don't feel any older...

Love to all,

Julie and Pete
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