. We knew it was a rip off even after bartering him down to a quarter of the starting price. You could rent from a dive shop for the same price but we didn't want to have the gear for 24h so we just paid the guy. The gear wasn't the best and looking back at it now we probably should have gone to a dive shop. We snorkelled off the beach as we were told it was supposed to be comparable to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I think the bar was set little to high. The snorkelling at West Bay was ok but it was definitely no Australia. The reef was in pretty rough shape due to its popularity with lots of the coral broken. There was all the regular fish you would expect to see but nothing out of the ordinary. Tomorrow we are going to go on a snorkel tour with a boat so we are hoping to hit some more remote locations with more to see. The divers from our group who we talked to said the diving was really good so it has given us faith for tomorrow.
After snorkelling we ran into quite a few people from our group just relaxing on the beach so we stopped and chatted for a while before making the walk back to our hotel around noon. The sun was pretty much directly over our heads and just cooking us. We made a stop at the hotel to get changed then headed up the road into West End to get some lunch. We ate on the end of one of the piers and the food was pretty good although we found out later it was one of the restaurants our guide recommended against
. The beer was also quite excellent in the afternoon heat. We continued walking up the island after lunch to see what we could find which was nothing too exciting. After a stop for water and a homemade popsicle, we made our way back to the hotel. The rest of the afternoon was spent on the beach near our hotel drinking beer and swimming. The sunset was amazing. We watched at the end of one of the piers near the hotel. After sunset it was time to get ready to go out for the traditional island dinner, the only formal activity we had planned.
Nine of us from our group and our tour leader got picked up at the hotel and made the 20 minute drive over to the host family's property. Our guide knew this family very well so she felt right at home. The property had many small houses on it all inhabited by families who were related. Our main host was Mazy and her 8 kids of all different ages. Many of the cousins who lived there came by too as well. Mazy has started hosting these traditional dinners as a source of income in order to help build and maintain their local school as well as improve the buildings where the families live. Our first course was conch soup which was really good. It had lots of veggies and big chunks of meat. Conch doesn't have much taste and a rubbery texture like calamari. For the main course we had chicken with rice, beans and plantains. Then there was the rum... Included with our meal was a half gallon to share and a half bottle of Giffity, a traditional island drink made of leaves and roots. The rum was your regular cheap rum you can get at home, as you would expect in a half gallon bottle but mixed with coke was good. The Giffity was something else, I don't know what the alcohol content in it was but it made the rum at 40% look amateur. The taste was interesting too and left a burn long after the drink was gone
. After supper there was dancing with the locals from the host family. I managed to weasel my way out of it by agreeing to push the kids on their swing. The swing was a thick rope looped around a tree a few times. Simple but the kids loved it. They all wanted to go higher and faster which left me pretty exhausted afterwards. Looking back I think the dancing would have been a better choice. We ended the night around midnight all pretty tired and half cut from all the rum. It was good to get to bed.
Tomorrow we have a snorkel trip booked in the morning and free time for the rest of the day. I seem to have come down with a cold, there has been some sickness going around the group before we arrived so I'm not surprised. It hasn't stopped me from doing anything, it is more just annoying. Gina is still doing great.
Some times vacation is so hard, we had a free day in Roatan today to enjoy the white sandy beach, the turquoise waters and the warm sun. With nothing planned until the evening we slept until it got too hot in our room around 8:00 then got up and had breakfast. There was A/C in the room but we didn't use it so it forced us to get up and make a day of it. Breakfast was yoghurt, granola and mini bagels from our grocery run yesterday. We headed out and made the 45 minute walk to West Bay, the main commercial centre on the island and where most of the tourist stay. We are staying in West End, a smaller tourist centre just up the island. The walk along the beach was nice. There was a few spots where you needed to walk through the water to avoid some rocks but not a bad way to start the day. There was an option to take a water taxi from our hotel which really would have cut down on the time but we usually prefer to walk everywhere and this was no different. In West Bay we rented snorkelling gear from this sketchy guy on the beach