Scuba Diving

Trip Start Nov 15, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Honduras  , Bay Islands,
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A short taxi ride to the ferry port and $28 later, I had my one-way ticket to Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands.  A lot of people head to Utila because it is supposedly cheaper but apparently the diving isnīt as good and they churn the people out in terms of getting certified to dive, so off to Roatan it was for me!  Kevin decided to go to Roatan as well so I met him at the ferry port and we endured the bumpy ride to the island together.  It was quite funny actually because the sea didnīt look rough at all but I guess there was a 1 - 2m swell so up and down we went, just like on a roller coaster.  the company obviously knows that itīs a bumpy ride as they give out sea sickness pills when you buy your ticket and also on the ferry, thereīs a guy handing out sick bags and toilet roll!!!  Yes, there were people being sick all around us - this poor woman with her baby & toddler was also then sick after the kids had been sick!
Organised chaos is how I would describe the baggage reclaim.  Itīs all done by hand, no conveyors belts, people pushing and shouting out at the men to hand over their bags.  Suffice to say, it took a good half hour to 45 minutes to get your bags.  We then found out that there was no other way of getting to West End but by taxi as the collectivos no longer ran that route, so for a whole $20 (clearly a rip off), we set off through the beautiful island to West End.  We bagged ourselves 2 spaces in the Coconut Tree Divers dorm for $5 - lovely wooden cabins and booked in for diving the next day (Kevin booked himself on the 3 day PADI Open Water course so we could then fun dive together afterwards).

The Diving Saga:
My first dive and only dive on Roatan was on a site called "spooky channel" and yes it was eerie, partly due to the visibility but also the dark blue water and huge rock formations.  It was like something you see on TV on the discovery channel.  We didn't see much wildlife - a huge spider crab and then some snapper and some vibrantly coloured small fish as we hit the reef.  But the first half of the dive we swam in and out, over and under the giant rock formations - it was amazing - like no other dive Iīve done before.  BUT at some point towards the end of the dive, my ears wouldnīt equalise and caused me some pain.  Upon returning to the boat, my ears felt tender and slightly painful so I decided not to push it, and stop diving for the day in order to be able to go the next day.  The following day they didnīt feel any better and I felt like I had a bad cold so off to the pharmacy for some decongestants I went.  The next day I attempted to dive but to no avail.  I made it to 2m for all of 2 minutes and had to resurface as I couldnīt equalise.  Gutted!  No, in fact, absolutely devastated.  I stayed on the island for 5 days and could only dive once!

If youīre not diving in Roatan, youīre screwed basically as the island is a divers paradise and as such, everything revolves around diving.  In West End for example, where I was staying there is just one street where there are just dive shops and restaurants / bars- nada mas!  (a little like Mancora except Mancora had surf shops and restaurants / bars).  The bars have their happy hour at 5pm and close at 12am (unlike Mancora where is it 9pm and 3am respectively), because everything revolves around diving and there are dives every morning and afternoon, with the last boats coming in at around 4:30pm.  Anyhow, I was also recommended West Bay Beach for a dayīs visit.  So I went in a water taxi to West Bay Beach for the day.  Yes the beaches are gorgeous white sandy beaches with turquoise crystal waters but it is also very resorty - hotel after hotel with beach sellers parading up and down the beach.

After 5 days I leave Roatan, bunged up and a bit deflated that I couldnīt dive more, but Iīm off to Belize next for the ultimate diving - I just need to make a swift stop at the pharmacy for some antibiotics (yes, you can get them over the counter here!) and anti-inflammatory pills and all should be well!
I left the island with a swiss couple.  The ferry ride wasnīt half as bad on the way back and once in La Ceiba, it was a taxi ride to the bus station and a 3 hour chicken bus ride back to San Pedro Sula for a connecting bus to La Laguna.  We were actually going to go to Puerto Cotres and get a bus or walk to La Laguna where you buy the ferry tickets to Belize but since La Laguna was in the way, we hopped off in the hope that the town of La Laguna would have a place to stay.  That would save on taxiīs back and forth.  Tickets for Belize the guidebook says are sold under the bridge at the fish market.  We found that reasonable easily but since there was no office, just a boat and some dodgy looking characters about, we decide to wait until the morning to buy the tickets, when there would be more people about.  We checked into a hotel for the night - how nice is it to have a double bed and a TV?! (you forget that you take the small things in life for granted until you donīt have them anymore).

Honduras - General Observations:
1) All food involves tortillas.  If you havenīt ordered a dish that contains tortillas, youīll get them on
    the side anyway!
2) The Hondurans love pot-noodles as a snack!
3) The Hondurans love the English accent as they believe it to be how English is properly spoken
    (although they really shouldnīt take a leaf out of my book as my accent is mistaken for
Australian 9 times out of 10 since Iīve been travelling with Aussie's for the majority of my trip).
4) One of the 4 national beers here is called Salva Vida - pero no salva la vida!!! ha ha ha.  For
    those who donīt speak Spanish, the beer is called Lifesaver but it sure donīt save your life!!!
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