Roatan – July 2012
Twenty-six divers journeyed to Roatan this past July 4th week, flying either Continental through Houston or Delta through Atlanta. Everyone arrived in time to do an afternoon dive, either required for first-timers, or a fun dive for the rest of us.
Most of the group had over-the-water cabanas, with porches, screened windows, wood floors, air conditioning, refrigerators, ceiling and floor fans, lots of shelves, a few hangars, a desk, and several low tables; there was plenty of room for spreading out. The bathroom had a huge sink counter and plenty of hot water. The rest of us were in the ocean-front rooms, literally a stone’s throw from the cabanas. They were also roomy and had lots of space in the bathroom.
We had great weather, and it was actually cooler there than it was in Pittsburgh that week! The sand fleas were out in force; regular application of bug repellant with DEET, along with long pants and tops in the evening, works well, except for Bill, who they absolutely loved!
CocoView has five boats, each one a different color for easy identification. Our group used two boats; even with the maximum of 16 divers it would be roomy. There is a large camera rinse tank and camera table towards the stern. Morning dive briefings were held at 8:30am on the boat before starting the engines, and we left on time each day. Dive sites were close-by. After the first dive and about an hour’s surface interval, we had the choice of a drop dive anywhere along the wall or on the Prince Albert wreck, or we could skip the second dive and head back to the dock. The same two-dive routine was scheduled each afternoon at 2:00pm, so we dove on the Prince Albert wreck twice a day, plus during our dusk/night dives. The conditions varied each time, with better or worse visibility. One of the resident green moray eels is still there; there was also a small plane wreck nearby.
The diving was good. We saw several big green morays besides the one on the wreck, large crabs, a good number of seahorses, and lion fish have definitely arrived in Roatan. At Calvin’s Crack our guide found two uncommon large eyed toadfish. Mary’s place, a canyon dive with several swim-throughs, was the prettiest site. My favorite was Menagerie, where a free-swimming green moray followed us for at least 10 minutes and got up close and personal. And at Carib Point a scrawled filefish followed us for most of the dive, even after we turned around! The optional shark dive was thoroughly enjoyed by several of our group.
Night diving couldn’t be easier—gear up, walk to the water and head to the Prince Albert wreck. Over the course of two night dives, I saw several large lobsters in the grass, octopus, sleeping fish, and various types of crabs.
The food ranged from good to excellent. All the meals are buffet-style, with plenty of food and lots of choices, such as cereal, eggs, pancakes, and waffles for breakfast, meat, soup, salad, and rice and beans for lunch, and meat, fish, salad, pasta, vegetables, and of course, dessert for supper. Coffee, lemonade, water, and ice tea were always available.
There’s plenty to do out of the water, too, such as being fascinated by the hummingbirds at the feeders, doing an island tour, zip-lining in the jungle, flying to the mainland to visit Mayan ruins, playing pool or table tennis, listening to Doc talk about the local history and politics, taking a photo class, or learning how to improve one’s buoyancy. The local children put on a very entertaining dance production one evening, and the bar was always popular. Oh, and there’s that hammock thing.
CocoView has figured out how to do pretty much everything right. The orientation dive isn’t required if we return in less than five years, so I guess we’ll be heading back to Roatan before then.