Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day 4 - Isla Roatan

Mike and Misael

 This morning, we arrived to Isla Roatan earlier than we were originally scheduled since we didn't stop in Cayman. We werent' the first off the ship, but we got off around 8 or so. We weren't sure if our driver would be there yet for West End Divers, so we called the dive shop. We couldn't find a pay phone, so we used our cell. Wonder what that bill will be? :) Anyway, they said that he was already there waiting for us but that we have to leave the port area and walk a couple of blocks to get to him.

We walk through the "fake town" as Morgan called it. The port was recently built by Carnival, and the buildings are very cute and new. It definitely doesn't match the rest of the country, but it was nice. They have a ski lift to the beach from the port. It is kind of cute, but it was $57 for all of us to ride over and back so we skipped it.

We walked out of the port and went left as instructed. We had to go up and down a few hills and then we saw all of the people waiting. This guy was standing there with a sign for Mike Gleason. Woo hoo! We found it! Our driver was Misael. He ROCKED! If you need a driver in Roatan for the day, his cell is 011-504-9912-0027. I highly recommend him. He was courteous, safe on the roads, a great guide, and patient with us, our schedule, and the kids.

We piled in the minivan and headed to the West End. It was an interesting ride. Roatan is definitely divided between a upper class and a lower class. Some of the houses made you want to cry when you think of a person actually living there, and others are incredibly beautiful with a fantastic view of the water. The roads are narrow, and Misael told us that there are no speed limits and no stoplights. Interesting...

Kids at Shark Bite
Fam at Shark Bite
Chair at Shark Bite

As we got to the west end, the road was dirt and very, very narrow. There were little shops, restaurants, and apartments all there next to the beautiful water.

West End Divers was right there in the middle, and Mel was there to greet us. She was awesome. She squeezed Mike, Chris, and I onto a boat that was about to leave, and she got Katie, Morgan, and Michael ready to do their instruction for their first dive ever. Mike Chris, and I were on a boat with 5 or 6 other people, and they were from all over the US. Nice people. Chris buddied with Heida. Mike and I buddied together. I noticed that we were the only people without a wetsuit. uh oh...hope I don't freeze! Virgillia was our divemaster. She was awesome! We saw all kinds of stuff - huge grouper, a turtle, an eel, and lots of beautiful coral and other fish! Some beautiful angel fish and some blue flurescent coral. We also saw a puffer that was puffing! Very fun dive. We went about 60 feet and we were down for about 50 minutes including our safety stop. I think stopping smoking and all this exercise paid off on the dive! I ended up with 1800 psi of air when most where around 1000 or less. :) I used to be an AIR HOG and would always be one of the first to get low. No more! :) I really enjoyed this dive. It had been a long time since I had gone for scuba.

When we came back, the kids were in the shallow end learning the basics - buddy breathing, clearing your mask, etc. Laura was their instructor, and she was very patient! She was great with the kids, and they all liked her a lot. We went back to the shop to warm up a bit and to get something to drink before going on the boat. The water was really nice but it was cold when I got out with the wind! The kids had watched some video about scuba diving and the dangers that can happen. Morgan was especially freaked by the video. I told her that she isn't going deep enough to worry about it today and to relax and breathe and she would be fine.

We all got on the boat with our divemaster, Ray. Then, Morgan, Katie, and Michael got on with Laura. I was nervous that one of them would freak out. Our group went in first and went around for about 15 minutes until the kids came in. I was so happy when I saw all of them below the surface and signaling that they were ok. They all did FANTASTIC! I was so proud of them all. We had a great dive and saw lots of beautiful coral and some cool fish. No turtles though...the girls would have loved that. I think it was a huge success and they all said they want to get certified. Too cool!

We got back to the dive shop and dried off, tipped the staff, thanked them for a special day, and went to eat! Misael was there waiting for us, and Mel settled out our bill. She was awesome! Thanks Mel for a FABULOUS day! We highly recommend West End Divers if you are in Roatan, Honduras!

We went to the Shark Bite for pizza after the dive. I guess we should have been more adventurous, but we were all starving and it was recommended. Misael came with us. The place was decorated really nicely, and the pizza was SOOOOOO delicious! We got two pepporoni ones for the kids and then we tried the mediterraean and shrimp slices. Misael was so nice to have eating with us, and he was fun to talk to. We also had beer from Honduras. Salva Vita, which means Life Saver! It was really good.

After lunch, we had planned to quickly stop at the monkey farm and then go for quick shopping. However, the monkey place was full. Misael was so great and instead he found a guy who had a monkey so that the girls could see one! His name was Douglas (his real name) or Dollar (when he is working). He was SOOOOOOO cute. Morgan, Katie, and Michael all played with him, and we took pictures. It was $2 a picture and well worth it. The only bad thing was that the monkey bit Morgan's thumb as we were leaving. He was sitting in her hand and didn't want her to leave. He was so affectionate and hugged each of them and curled up on them.

Road by West End Divers

Other side of road by West End Divers

Morgan with Douglas

Katie With Douglas

Whole Family With Douglas

Douglas curled up giving love

Michael with Douglas

Katie with Douglas

Next, we did a quick shopping trip. I got a key holder that has a pretty view of the water and some info about Honduras. Morgan got a couple of things too - two small vase like things and a parrot picture. Katie got a small wooden piece. Michael got a duck carving.  It was fun!

In front of Legend

We ended up back at the ship where we debated whether to ride the ski lift, to go to Fat Tuesdays for a drink, or to go back to the ship. The ship won! We got back on board and dropped our stuff in the room before going up to do the water slide. I couldn't believe we had made it to day 4 without the slide, but I guess it had been so cold the first few days that it wasn't worth it. Unfotunately, by the time we found a table and put our stuff down and walked to the slide, it was CLOSED. Like at the minute we walked up. Ugh. It closes at 5! Oh well...

Mike and I got a drink and sat in the adult only hot tub. Morgan went back to the room to nap. Katie and Michael got ready for Circle C. Chris went to find his O2 friends.

We didn't do a show before dinner. We just hung out on the deck and watched us sail before geting ready for dinner. Morgan also went up to deck 9 to take pictures of the sunset. Man was it beautiful!!! She did a great job of pictures!

After dinner, we just hung out on the deck and then went to bed.  The kids went to Circle C and O2. Morgan went to bed early as she was really tired.  We also found out that Carnival doesn't have cheese and crackers on room service. What a sad sad thing this was. We LOVED that on Holland America. It was sad. Minus one for Carnival.

On deck relaxing....

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