Saturday – Getting There! No problems at all with any of the flight legs. Left Roanoke on time, had a leisurely breakfast in Atlanta where we met Kara, then a 2 hour and 45 minute flight later and we’re in Honduras! Sadly, it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to get through customs, as an American Airlines and a United flight arrived just minutes before our Delta flight. The Honduran immigration had everyone scan their fingers and thumbs on both hands and they took a photo of us before granting us entry into the country, so that added to the time it took to get through, but thankfully everyone’s luggage arrived. We were escorted out, our luggage was handled for us, and we got in a mini-bus and made the 30-minute trip to Turquoise Bay Resort.
Lunch is served until two pm, and dinner doesn’t start until seven. As we arrived at three, the staff opened up the kitchen and fed us, which made us all very happy. Our luggage was taken to our rooms and we went to unwind and unpack.
As far as accommodations go, no one is using the word “luxurious.” It was most aptly described by someone in our group as “Dive Camp,” as it reminded us of the camps we used to go to as kids. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not roughing it… there’s working air conditioning and nice, firm beds, and the maids do a good job of daily cleaning, but the fixtures are dated and the rooms are relatively Spartan.
What more than makes up for our rooms is the food. Unlike Cozumel where the food was, “life-sustaining,” the Turquoise Bay dining staff do a great job of giving us a variety of flavorful foods. Each night seems to feature a local dish, and Monday night’s empanadas were my favorite.
Sunday – Dive briefing and our first trip out to sea! We were assigned to the Lola, a spacious dive boat all to ourselves. The twelve of us divers easily fit on board with plenty of room to spare between us. Kevin, our captain, is ever cheerful and extremely chatty and is quick to joke with us. Maynor, our primary divemaster, is very thoughtful and helpful. He travels slowly underwater, allowing us photographers plenty of time to snap pictures and stay with the group.
Sunday and Monday were local dives… so local that the boat ride was just ten minutes out, which means that after our dives we headed back in to the dock so the staff could switch tanks for us. Those of us prone to sea sickness enjoy not having to spend an hour of surface interval time on a rocking boat in the ocean.
The reef is very, very big here in Roatan. Over many thousands of years, the reef has grown to more than 60 feet tall in some places, with many swim-throughs for those with good buoyancy skills. The marine life is good and diverse, but many in our group have been to Bonaire and we can’t help but compare what we see there to what we’re seeing here. Most of what we see is yellow-hued due to the plant life and sea grasses. Still, everyone is having an enjoyable time and we’re getting to see lots of good stuff. The highlight for Monday was a free-swimming moray.
Tuesday – The long boat ride! We loaded up at 8:15 this morning and took just over an hour to reach a wreck… an old cargo ship resting in a sandy bottom between 90 and 105 feet. From there, we headed to shallower depths and explored the reef. Our second dive of the day was at Turtle Cove, but the turtles weren’t quite the highlight of the trip… it was the yellow frogfish that stole the show. A night dive was planned for this evening, but due to Tropical Storm Earl the plans changed and we made a mid-afternoon dive. Only four divers chose to attend that dive, which turned out to be a super relaxing drift dive for over seventy minutes.
We’re about to head to dinner and to share photos and stories as we anxiously await Earl’s arrival and to see if we’ll be able to dive tomorrow. But as of mid-week, the Diving Enterprises crew has had a great time so far on our Roatan vacation.