A super long travel day from Copan, leaving at the crack of dawn and arriving after sunset, had us arriving on the beautiful island of Roatan. Roatan is known for its amazing coral reefs and decent beaches. And when I say amazing, boy do I certainly mean that. I honestly think it’s the best place in the world to go snorkelling and diving. There are many diving businesses ready to take you out to the best spots. If you’re not comfortable being 10m underwater with a tank strapped to your back, then you will still find the snorkelling simply marvellous. In fact I simply swam from the beach to some of the most amazing coral reefs – seeing parrotfish, squirrelfish, morays, reef sharks, and even a spotted tiger ray!
Roatan is a fairly touristy place, but there are so many Americans, Canadians, and Australians who have come here and never left. There are some great restaurants along the various stretches of waterfront, and the nightlife is decent with both the locals and tourists joining in. From budget to splurge, there are hotels and resorts a-plenty.
So I don’t at the time of writing have a diving licence, but that didn’t stop me from going diving. All around the island you can find diving schools and I signed up to one, doing a little research beforehand with the help of Rod, one of the guys who was in the same boat as me. We picked a place that just had a really relaxed feel about it. The people there were there to enjoy their day, go out for a dive or two, and have a few beers at the end of the day and talk about interesting things they may have seen on their dives.
I did the required half hour or so of theory at the beginning – most of it is straight forward, but there was a few interesting facts that I learned about compression of air and such. It’s definitely important to know this stuff, but it’s not like it is rocket science. We then walked to the beach with our dive gear and had a swim around. This part is mainly just to show the diving instructor that we don’t completely freak out underwater, or that we are not completely retarded and inept. So all this took us into the afternoon, and we went and did a proper dive in the deeper water. Here’s me on the boat out to the reef.
I took my handy little camera down – it’s rated to 12 meters and we were told we weren’t going deeper than that.
Some other guy who came along with us.
It’s kinda hard to get a decent shot about 10m down, sorry.
Check out a vid I took with my camera.
I love diving so much, and am so at home with being down there. We spent about 45 minutes under water, with a max depth of 12m, and I still had a third of my tank of air left. It went by so quick, I was disappointed to go up! So I decided to go for another dive the next day. Because they knew I was at home in the water I didn’t have to do the theory again the next day and whatever, just went straight into it. I was with some more experienced divers the next day. I didn’t take my camera as I thought we might be going deeper. I wasn’t allowed to because I’m not certified, but I did anyway ;) That dive was amazing – going through some underwater valleys, saw a moray deep in the shadows, chased around some sharks for a while, and watched one of the other divers spear a lionfish.
Lionfish are a pest in that part of the world – they are not actually originated there. Apparently they look very nice when they are babies, but they soon grow quite large – too large for most fish tanks – so people would throw them into the sea instead of just killing them. They are predators and eat the eggs and other small fish, so it is in the best interest of everyone if the divers themselves go hunting for lionfish. Some of the locals would brag about how they speared 15 lionfish in one day.
I will definitely be back to this place one day to do some serious diving, and relaxing.