18
Dec
09

Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras – April 2006

I really needed a dive trip to a hot & sunny region and one of my buddies was available, so we headed to Roatan since the Fantasy Island Beach Resort was cheap (under 1400 including tax for flight/hotel/food/drinks and 5 days of 3 tank diving with shore diving included). Direct flight from Toronto to Roatan, on Westjet. Westjet has lots of legroom, leather seats, and satellite tv screens in each seatback.

We drove down to Toronto from Ottawa on Friday evening, stopping at the Airport Hilton for a few hours sleep and free parking for the week. The flight down was very entertaining, as the flight crew was hilarious and made the trip seem short. Beautiful blue water greeted us as we flew over the island, and the blast of hot & humid air on stepping out of the plane was very welcome. Minivans picked us up and whisked us off to FIBR, where we a drink awaited us during checkin, which was fairly brief.

We almost didn’t find our room, since our key said 47 but the room was actually D-7. On the other hand, once we found our room we were happy, since it was just steps from the dive center and boats, and had a great view off the porch, with water just steps away. The rooms are basic, but clean and more than adequate. It’s a 3-star, so no frills.

We proceeded to do our first (shore) dive a couple of hours later, where we found numerous hermit crabs messing up the viz with their constant digging in the sand/silt, and found the airplane and wreck.

The next 5.5 days were filled with diving, eating and sleeping. Sigh. Colourful fish, expanses of blue water off the walls, and plenty of photographic subjects. See my gallery http://scubagirl.smugmug.com/gallery/1361101. We did a shark dive with Waihuka Diving one afternoon, which was my first. It was great after the initial adrenaline rush. See the shark photos here: http://scubagirl.smugmug.com/Tropical-Diving/Roatan-Shark-Dive-April-2006/1364664_xHVNP#64372734_T3EsN. Yes, they are purple. My monitor’s colour was off, and I’ve since lost the originals to a hard drive crash. Topside photos: http://www.smugmug.com/gallery/1361175_zmu4b#64494501_D8hQu

The food was pretty good, 3-star food (not too much variety, but tasty nonetheless). The highlight was Friday’s lobster & seafood buffet: grilled lobster tails, shrimp, crab, conch & everything else seafood imaginable. Homemade blueberry & coffee icecream were great. Good selection of fresh fruit, which was also offered on board the boats post-dive.

Our DM, Darren was good, and we had some nice lengthy dives (last back on the boat; is the boat still there?) Shore dive got murkier throughout the week, like diving in fog, though not so bad on top of the wreck and on the starboard side. We never saw much of the plane, it was pretty silted up, although most of our shore dives were twilight/night dives anyway. Mary’s Place is vastly overrated, and our dive on it was like an Indy race, so much so that I nearly lost my breakfast in it. I ended up spotting tons of macro stuff on most dives which was great — got lots of photos. In most places, the shallows all had noticeable surge, which made photography challenging at times. Yes, lettuce coral IS razor sharp.

The boats were spacious, and fresh towels were supplied after each dive. DAN O2 kits were on every boat, and they were very safety-conscious.

I was wary of the biting bugs, but I must say that I came away with fewer bites than most places I have travelled. I sprayed unscented Sport Fishermens’ OFF (30% DEET) on my legs the first couple of days, and the only day I got bites was when I lay on the beach once for half an hour before lunch.

Overall, I had a great trip (hope my buddy did too), got the R & R that I really needed, and would recommend this place to anyone who wants a no-frills dive resort in a sunny destination.

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