MESSAGE: Roatan, Honduras *Video*
I ended up getting a little “stuck” here – spending 2 whole weeks on the island’s West End, hanging with friends and partaking in all types of water sports: fishing, sea kayaking, diving, and snorkeling! It was a great way to end the year before I headed home for my Christmas break.
Here I am on my last day on Roatan:
Can’t see the video? Click on this link: Erin in Roatan
MEET (Cool Meet Ups) – Sundowners for a Monkey La La. Sunsets on the beach are always amazing, but especially so at this kick-back beach bar. Here’s the recipe for their famed Monkey La La cocktail:
- 1 oz Smirnoff® vodka
- 1 oz Kahlua® coffee liqueur
- 4 oz half-and-half
- 1 scoop ice cream
- 2 oz cream of coconut
Blend until smooth and frothy. A deadly good drink! You’ll easily suck down at least two!
EAT (Tasty Eats) – Sustainable Seafood. My friends at Roatan Marine Park, where I did some volunteering while on the island, have embarked on a responsible seafood campaign to educate us about the safest fish to eat.
They place all the seafood in the surrounding waters into 3 categories: green (go), yellow (caution) and red (stop). Those in the green-go category include black-fin tuna and the poisonous lionfish, two of the fish I tried during my time on the island. Here I am catching my 3 lb. black-fin tuna which we sashimi-ed up that night!
Do you know the sustainable seafood in your neighborhood? Check it out and enjoy healthy eating for you and your finned friends!
SEE (Must-see Sights) – String of Pearls. We went on a moonless night and turned off our flashlights under water. The String of Pearls were especially thick that night. It was like swimming in the night sky with sparkling stars all around. All I know is it’s one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Ever!
My friend Marco, from the Coconut Tree Dive Shop, wrote a more scientific explanation about this amazing sight:
“The string of pearls phenomenon is actually the mating display of ostracods. Ostracods are tiny crustaceans, about the size of tomato seeds and they use their bioluminescence to attract mates in the same way that fireflies do. It’s a common phenomenon throughout the Caribbean and is usually best seen about one half hour after sunset or moonset. Male ostracods release their bioluminescent chemicals into the water as a string of dots. It’s a species-specific display – sort of a Morse code. The spacing of the dots in the water is unique to a particular species so females, recognizing the code for their own species, can swim to the end of a string of dots and know that they’ll find an eligible male.”
SHOP (Gotta Have) – T-shirts. Don’t usually pick up t-shirts on my travel, but I was here right before Christmas, so I nabbed a few original designs for my nephews. Pretty cool and only $8 each = bargain!
ACTIVITY (Gotta Do) – Diving! I came to the Bay Islands on the Caribbean side of Honduras to do a little diving. The reef off Roatan, the main island, offers 73 species of coral, including Staghorn and Elkhorn corals, 41 species of sponge and 185 species of fish. That’s a lot of marine life!
I got my Advanced Open Water certification here – so now I can formally enjoy wreck diving, night dives, and deep water dives. I only have about 30-40 dives under my belt, so this was the perfect time to improve my skill level.
It was all going great until I tore my ear drum due to trouble equalizing underwater. So I’m off diving while I heal. Good news: I should be better by the time I get to Southeast Asia and Thailand’s southern islands in February!
GIVE (Greatest Need) – Personal Bodyguard. Honduras was just classified as the #1 murder capital in the world. This nefarious honor is mainly due to drug trafficking (huge amounts of cocaine are moving about and the Bay Islands are a notorious drug smuggling location).
Also Roatan itself has a weird Hatfield – McCoy type feud going on that has left people seriously injured and others permanently packing up and leaving the island. And during the time I was there, a tourist was killed during a 1-day cruise ship layover, causing several large cruise ship companies to cancel Roatan as a port of call.
Summed up – Roatan is living up to its past reputation as a haven for pirates and buccaneers. This is a hot blooded place where you don’t want to make enemies!
ENJOY (Extra Fun) – Kayaking / Snorkeling Combo. My friend Kristin and I rented a kayak and paddled over to West Bay (about 1 hour), stopping by sailboats to greet the sailors and look for cookie handouts (we didn’t get any).
We stayed in West Bay to snorkel the reef, then paddled back in time for a chips and guacamole feat. Just another fabulous day in a fabulous place!