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Dolphins of Roatan

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Dolphins of Roatan
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Dolphins of Roatan!
...from the journals of CW Bryant

March 25...
    After a short plane ride from La Ceiba, we landed in Coxen Hole on Roatan, a small tropical island, 35 miles off the north coast of Honduras.  Mom and I were looking forward to a few days of snorkeling, playing on the beach, kayaking and best of all... swimming with dolphins!  I can hardly wait!
    We took a cab ride from the
West Bay beach has some of the best snorkeling on the island. airport, that I won’t forget!  Mom and I held our breaths as our cabby swerved to miss people, passed cars on curves, and toot-tooted his horn while racing along the winding road.  Flowering trees, shrubs and shanty homes whizzed by!
    Phew, our cabby slowed down for a road full of pot holes that runs along the bay through West End, a small beach town with lots of cafes and roadside shops.  
    We’re staying at Half Moon Bay Resort, it’s in the next bay over.  Our wood cabin looks out onto the bay.  Two cabins share a porch and
This bumpy dirt road runs through the beach town of West End. each has their own hammock.  I like it here!
    We first walked out to the end of the dock--the water is really clear and oh, so blue.  I saw fish right away!  They have several kayaks and paddle boats to use, cool!
    “Hey, Cody, let’s get our suits on and go for a swim?” Mom was ready.  Boy, I was too!
    I did flips off the swim platform, dove to the sandy bottom and paddled a kayak before the Caribbean sun made a spectacular setting.
    As we played Crazy 8’s on the porch, me in my hammock, we met our neighbors, Steve and Karen from Colorado.  Steve’s into bird watching!  
     We had dinner at the resort, mom had conch and I had shrimp, yum!  Then I was ready for bed.
March 26...
    The roosters woke me this morning! It was about six a.m. and the restaurant wasn’t open for breakfast yet, so we decided to Kayaking the bay in the early morning was a treat.kayak the bay.  It was so calm, you could hear the oars slice the water and the kayak glide across the ripples.  It was low tide so we got to explore a coral reef while practicing our oaring.
    West Bay is a super pretty beach with some of the best snorkeling on the island.  You can walk there in about an hour.  What’s more fun is to take a water taxi and that’s what we did!  Usually, you can find water taxis at Fosters in West End--a short walk from the resort.
    As we got closer to West Bay, we could see the coral reef just under the clear blue waters, only yards from the beach!  Coconut trees, my favorite, made this beach totally perfect!  And, best of all, there were iguanas there too!
    The snorkeling was awesome.  We saw parrot, squirrel, and angel fish, spotted blue damselfish, fairy basslet, and puffer fish--they’re funny!  Swarms of Blue Tang reflected shades of iridescent blue. Wow, a huge curious grouper approached, we watched each other from a safe distance.
    Different sized tube sponges and graceful sea fans dotted the coral and sea floor with black spiny sea urchins tucked into the crevices.
     Corals, called brain, elkhorn, pillar, stoney leaf and fire looked as their names described.  Some were massive, and quite amazing.
    “Be careful not to stand on the coral or kick it with your fin,”  Mom warned.  “That will kill the coral and along with it, homes for many marine animals.”
The snorkeling here in Roatan is awesome.
    The reef is small in the shallows and grows larger as the water gets deeper, like skyscrapers, building floors upon floors to reach the sunlight.  It’s great to dive down to explore crevices, under overhangs, or to get closer to a parrot fish feeding on coral.  Do you know that they have two front teeth that look like ours?
    We then reached the end of the reef, it’s like a wall that drops into the abyss.  Was that neat!  Schools of jack, tuna and other large fish swam in the distance.  I was on the lookout for big sharks. Lucky for us, we didn't see any!
    We met the skipper of a sailboat, who travels the seas to wherever his employer wants to vacation.  His boss, who must be pretty rich, flies into these fun spots and stays on his boat.  Is that cool or what?  
    I had just enough time to chase a fast green iguana and climb a tall coconut tree before our water taxi was back to pick us up.  
March 27...
    Today, Carlos, our water taxi driver suggested we snorkel a ship wreck--cool!  Off we went in his 16 foot skiff to the Big Bight.  It was about a half hour trip around the island; we first headed for the open ocean, then zig-zagged our way
between the atoll closer
While headed to snorkel a ship wreck, we passed through a mangrove swamp. to shore.  Slowly we made our way across the calm shallows of red mangroves, then jetted for the open sea...
    There it was, caught on the coral!  What use to be a Greek tanker, called Syng is now a scrap of rusted metal.  Wrecked in 1903, you could make out the bow rising above the water and further back a big metal drum.  The rest of the ship was under water--mom and I were ready to explore.
    “Shipwrecks make great homes,” mom said.  “It’s like an instant housing development--nooks and crannies for the fish to hide in and plenty of space for plants and animals to attach to.”  
     You could see a few rusted metal girders still running the length of the ship and the prop and anchor were really big!  It was covered in coral--many colors and different shapes.  There was part of a room that was fun to swim in and out of.
    On our way back we stopped to say hello to Carlos’s mom.  Reina lives on a farm tucked back in behind the mangroves.  As we drank juice from a coconut, Reina showed us her farm.  She grows mangoes, grapefruit, oranges, bananas and coconuts.  There are big pines and many flowering bushes, too. Chickens run all around and there are several big pigs.  She invited us into her home to see some pictures of her kids, like Carlos as a little boy.  At times we found it hard to understand each other, although her kindness was always understood.
     “Reina and Carlos, por favo
The Roatan Parrot is found only here on the island.r a photo?” Mom asked as she pointed to the camera.
     We told them we’d mail her the picture when we got home.
   Reina made sure we had some just picked oranges to take with us.  What a really nice lady!
    We ate a good hamburger from Foster’s  in West End while on a bus headed to Coxen Hole, about 30 minutes away.  There are no banks in West End and we needed to exchange some traveler’s checks for Lempira--Honduran money!
    After returning to Fosters, we grabbed a water taxi to West Bay.
    Guess who we met there?  Steve and Karen, our neighbors at the resort.  They picked the same palm tree as mom and I, to sit under!

    There’s a huge rock that juts up out of the water, not far from shore--we saw lots of fish there.  Like these two squid that shoot through the water like small white torpedoes.  They’d scoot far ahead, out of reach... then laThis 3-ft long barracuda had a mouth full of fine razor sharp teeth and quite the attitude.y still in the water waiting for us to catch up, only to scoot off again.  I think they were playing tag with us and, no way could I catch’em!
     Wow, we came upon a barracuda --3 feet long, a mouth full of fine razor sharp teeth and boy, did he have an attitude!  He was not going to budge from his spot in the coral!
    “Cody, swim up next to him for a picture... OK guys, show me your pearly whites!” Mom teased.
    He did, however swim off reluctantly, probably annoyed with all the pictures
mom was taking.
     For dinner that night, mom had grouper wrapped in banana leaves and I had tempura, at West End’s Deja Blue Restaurant.  From the deck, you can watch fish swim below in the spotlighted water.  They like coconut bread crumbs!


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