Five days in Roatan flew by. And while compiling my notes and photos for a post about my time there, I had to admit that quite frankly, I didn’t squeeze much into them. I could blame the weather, or my partner-in-crime Rika (with whom I was too busy gossiping and giggling to be bothered to leave a beach chair), or the gorgeous hotels we stayed in that I had zero desire to leave. But really, I don’t think there’s a need for excuses. Because we did do one thing, and on Roatan, it’s the most important one.
We went diving.
On a previous trip to Roatan five years ago, I’d done two dives on the West coast of the island — a post from that day reveals that my underwater photography has certainly improved over the years! This time, I was pretty pumped to go diving on the islands less visited yet more spectacular East coast. We were bunking down at the beautiful Barefoot Cay, which has an onsite dive shop that we could report to moments after stepping out of our own bungalow — my favorite kind of morning commute.
We hopped onto one of the Barefoot boats, and off we went to Mary’s Place, often regaled as the top dive site in all of in Roatan.
I could see why. We weren’t blowing bubbles long before we stumbled upon our first seahorse, hiding out amongst a forest of healthy corals and schools of busy fish. Unfortunately this was when I started to realize that my Canon PowerShot S100 was acting erratically — this and my dives in Bermuda were the last I’d ever take with it before it went to camera heaven. While it served me loyally for years, the focus and color balance of the camera were definitely a bit wonky on these dives, though I did my best to set things straight through post-processing.
Speaking of post-processing, I get emails and comments asking for editing tips on a pretty regular basis these days. While I’d love to whip up a post about it, it’s the kind of thing that would be so much better taught in person. I’m currently mulling over the idea of trying to put together an underwater photography and editing workshop this year in Thailand. I’d love to gauge interest in something like that, so raise your virtual hand if it’s something you’d consider attending if you were near!
But back to Roatan. We didn’t linger long with that seahorse — there were squid to catch! Cephalopods are some of my favorite underwater creatures to meet underwater. Don’t even get me started on cuttlefish.
But, never a species to be upstaged, another seahorse emerged, just daring us to try to give anything else our attention. As our divemaster signaled it was time to head back to the boat, I gave a satisfied okay sign in return. Despite my technical camera difficulties, it had been a gorgeous dive.
But the surface interval was about to be even better.
Climbing onto the boat and shimmying out of my gear, I looked over Rika’s shoulder as a flash of silver caught my eye. “SHA….rrrrrkkk?” I gurgled, and started reaching for my mask and fins before my brain had fully processed what my eyes had — it wasn’t a shark, it was a pod of dolphins.
Or, as one of the Spanish speaking divers who had just surfaced cried, “Delfín! Delfín!” I’ve been blessed to see dolphins many times from the surface of the water, most memorably in Hawaii, but this was the first time I’d seen them on their own turf, in the blue. They clicked and sang at each other, and moved with such grace. It was a tear-up-in-the-mask kind of moment.
It’s pretty hard to top that, right? Well, we had one more dive in which to try. This time we were headed to a site called Parrot Tree Point, which I was disappointed to learn was not named for a band of underwater parrots.
But hey! There was a pretty cool scary-looking eel and barracuda right off the bat as a consolation prize.
And some gorgeous swim-throughs guarded by — you guessed it — yet another camera-loving seahorse.
Emerging from the swim-through, we followed along a coral wall pulsing with life. I spotted several of my fish favorites including a skittish filefish, an aggressive lobster, a shy banded cleaner shrimp, and — oh hey! — a very rare indeed Rika fish.
Yup, diving in Roatan was pretty alright.
When it was once again time to surface, we still had one more surprise in store. After all, ow could we possibly leave the ocean without a swim-by from an ever-so-special eagle ray? At this point, we were getting downright spoiled — dolphins, seahorses, and an eagle ray, all in one day of diving? I didn’t know what we’d done to deserve it.
Ready to book your ticket to go diving in Roatan? Head to Barefoot Divers, where you’ll be treated like underwater royalty. I loved being the only boat out on the dive site, and being whisked from pier to dive point in so little time! And major props as well to Rika for just being an absolute gem. Don’t even think about heading to Roatan without checking out her hilarious blog.
I can’t think of a more lovely sign off to my time in Central America! Next post, we’ll be hopping right on over to the Caribbean, where I broke up my journey back to the US with a sweet little stopover in the Cayman Islands…
What sea creature is still on your underwater bucket list? Have you been diving in Roatan? And hey, let me know what you think about that workshop!
Many thanks to Barefoot Divers for hosting me. All underwater photos in this post were taken with Canon PowerShot S100 and its Canon PowerShot S100 Underwater Housing. See a full list of my photography gear here.