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Home again – Roatan II Day 8

I am back in the US now so I thought I’d wrap up the trip with one last post. We had to have our check in bags ready by 7 AM, one last breakfast then meet the boat by 9 AM. It’s just a short a boat trip to the bus then off to the airport. Unlike last year, we stayed in the main terminal before going through the security line. The airport is very small and it can get quite crowded by the gate area if you have more than one flight leaving.

We boarded then plane but did not move for a while. The pilot finally announced they were having problems starting one of the main engines. After a few more unsuccessful tries, he informed us they are waiting on a special tool to manually start the engine. I am sure it was something expensive and sophisticated but I had this vision of the crank that used to start the original automobiles. I was expecting to see some poor mechanic standing by the engine trying to crank over the turbine by hand and yelling at the pilot if he had the clutch in or not. Anyhow, it took almost two hours but eventually the engine was started and we made our back to Atlanta.

Due to the delay, we had to really hurry to clear customs and make it to our connecting flight. I was literally the last person on the place with less than 3 minutes to spare before the plane was scheduled to take off. While I was happy we made our flight, I did not have time to stop and get something to eat. As we were rushing to our gate, I passed about 5 different restaurants at the airport that seemed to be all calling my name. Also, I had to gate check my carry on baggage. I was not too thrilled about this as it had my more important diving equipment inside and my electronics but thankfully, it made it OK.

Flight home was uneventful. As is normal now, you only get the single bag of peanuts and any extra food has to be purchased. It seemed like a Pringles day for me so that is what I decided to snack on. Of course, they were overpriced but they did the job. My friend has some breakfast bars he was happy to share so that helped as well.

Once we landed in the US, we were able to clear customs and pick up our bags in a fairly quick fashion. Nothing compared to the hours it took us last year when we came through the Miami airport. I told my friend that with future flights, we should do our best to come through Atlanta again. It was quite a different experience. We made a quick stop at McDonald’s and then made it home shortly after midnight. I was happy to spend the night in my own bed and not sleeping on the airport floor as we did last time.

The next day was spent catching up with the kids, unpacking and washing all my Scuba gear. Some of it got a nice warm bath in a fresh water rinse. The wet suit and swim gear got a double wash with Listerine and Wool-lite. As crazy as that combination sounds, it really does work. The wet suit and shirts came out of the washer smelling a whole lot better than they did before they went in. This is one of the few times where it is OK if I do my own laundry!

All in the all, the trip this year was as spectacular and enjoyable as it was last time. The biggest difference was our physical condition. We all felt remarkable well and did not have any noticeable side affects at all. My ears feel “heavy” but there is no discomfort or pain. About the worst thing that happened to me were slivers from the shark drive and my arms and legs are peppered with tiny bug bites. It looks like I took a couple of barrels of rock salt to all my limbs. Those minor issues aside, I feel in pretty good shape for 23 dives in one week. This is another huge difference from our trip last time. I’m not sure if it is because we are more experienced or reserved or it is just coincidence. Either way, we were all relived to not have suffered as we did before.

This trip has also confirmed we are dedicated divers and will be planning on at least one major trip per year. We have only been back one day and we are already making plans for next year. As much as we enjoy CoCo View, we are going to branch out and try somewhere different. No definitive plans yet as it depends on who will be joining us and their preferences. In the mean time, we are looking to expand on more dive trips within our local area. Something like a long weekend where we can get some dives in without it costing a lot of money. Needless to say, this will not be the last entry I’ll post with regards to our dive trips.

As promised, he is an album with images from the trip. If it is not obvious by the photos, this particular resort has all the basic comforts you need but its main purpose is for diving. And when it comes to diving, CoCo View Resort surely delivers. Photo album: http://imgur.com/a/jxcSt

Until next year …

The morning moor dive was at “Mary’s Place”. Take note people, this is how you name a dive site after your lady without allowing for obscene innuendo’s. This is a very popular dive site and for a good reason. Because of this, we left 15 minutes before we usually do in order to beat the other dive boats. On this dive, you drop down the reef wall and enter a large crevice through a tunnel. You swim for a short while then hang a left and enter into another crevice. At the end of that crevice, you come out to the reef wall again. It was a sunny day out so if you look up while swimming through the crevice, you can see the sunlight streaming down into the water. This makes for quite a spectacular dive. The actual coral reef was healthy (larger) with lots of different variety of corals. At one point, it appeared as though the coral reef was breathing with streams of bubbles coming through holes scattered along the reef bottom. This was actually another group of divers making their way through the crevice and their bubbles were finding their way through pores in the reef. I hovered over the top of the crevice and watched the other divers below. I was joined by a school of yellow tailed snappers that were quite colorful to watch due to their namesake yellow colored fins and tips of their tails.

The final drop off dive for our trip was Newman’s wall. I happened to have my smaller flashlight with me from the night dive so I was using that to look into the dark crevices and caves of the reef wall. I am constantly surprised at how hollow the reef can be with all its tunnels, caves and crevices. I found a couple of lobsters hiding in one of them and tried to coax one of them to come out. He was not interested and in a flash, disappeared into the reef. Once we reached the Front Yard, we took a quick spin around the sunken plane then over to the wreck of the Prince Albert. I did something new this time and dropped into the actual wreck through a hole in the deck. I swam through the middle of the boat going from one empty compartment to another. I got to the end and realized there was no way out going up so made a quick U turn and found a compartment that would let me out. This made for an fun last dive and a good way to end our second visit to CoCo View Resort.

Once on land, we broke all our gear down, gave it one last good rinse and hung it out to dry before we pack it in our bags. After dropping off our tips for the resort staff and boat crew, I walked around and took some photos of the resort. I’ll post those online and add a link when I am back in the US.

Breakfast: French toast, scrambled eggs and hash brown. Lunch: Fried chicken, potato wedges, coleslaw, vanilla cake and watermelon. Dinner: Steak, lobster and free rum drinks. You can bet I took full advantage of all those options!

Final dive details:

Date: 2014-03-14
Time: 08:43
Max Depth: 77
Dive Time: 65 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Mary’s Place, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 22

Date: 2014-03-14
Time: 10:51
Max Depth: 75
Dive Time: 59 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Newman’s Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 23

The morning moor dive was at “Calvin’s Crack”. This is the dive that you have to drop down and swim through a small hole in the reef that opens up into a huge crevice that goes up to the top of the reef wall. The end of the crack exits into the deep blue beyond at 90 feet then keeps going and going. As soon as I exited the tunnel, a moray eel came out of the wall and starting swimming back up the crevice towards the entrance and the other divers. The next two people out are the two that are most weary of moray eels. Fortunately, they didn’t see each other and no-one panicked. Later on, we saw a large toad fish hiding in the reef wall. These are about the ugliest fish you’ll ever see and remarkable well camouflaged. We saw another smaller one on top of the reef wall and even though it was not as large, he was just as ugly.

The morning drop off dive was along CoCo View Wall. We’ve been fortunate to see the occasional lobster but on this dive we saw four of them all huddled in the same hole in the reef wall. There were two large ones and two small ones. I’m not sure if they were related but it really looked like a little family of lobsters. I tried to coax papa lobster out of the hole by tickling his antennae but momma lobster must have told him that he was not allowed to come out and play.

The afternoon moor dive was at “Iron Shore”. We saw the now common moray eels and lion fish. Also saw another larger sea-horse. By far the most exciting thing we have seen so far was an octopus that shot out of the wall and covered the head of a large mud snapper fish. The fish attached back and the octopus tried to escape and released its ink. The fish retaliated by biting off one of the octopuses legs and eating it. The octopus finally disappeared into the reef wall. Even the dive master got excited because that was a very unusual event. Later on, another diver pointed out a Harlequin Pipe Fish. I’ve been told these are very rare and I was fortunate to see one. It looked like a tiny snake coiled up on the reef and I barely noticed it there. But boy, do I feel fortunate that I got to see one – I can check that off my bucket list now!

For the afternoon drop off dive, we went along CoCo View wall. We saw yet another moray eel. Then we saw a spotted lobster which is rare as about 90% of the lobsters you see are the spiny kind. Most surprising thing was when I was at about 45 ft down and a guy with just a snorkel and mask shoots on past me in a free-dive. I couldn’t believe how fast he was swimming and he must have reached 50-55 feet easily. Suddenly I felt inferior with this unnecessary Scuba tank on back when all he used was a mask, snorkel and his own lungs. It was very impressive to see but apparently, that is not uncommon for free divers to reach that far down.

This was our last opportunity for a night dive so we decided to make it five days in one day. It also means that with the two dives on Friday, I will complete 23 dives in one week. This is one more dive than we did the last time we were here. It is also more dives in a week than anyone else in our group has done. Not that it had anything to do with the decision at all do complete the night dive. It is pure coincidence – I swear!

Anyhow, this night dive was extremely difficult. The waters were so churned up it was extremely murky. Even during the day time, visibility would have been tough but at night, it was near impossible. We had planned on diving by the ship wreck and I let the other diver lead. I was convinced he was heading in the wrong direction but I had to stick with him so I just followed along. I don’t know how but we ended up at the ship wreck just as planned. It’s a good job he was leading. The next stop was the sunken plane. I headed off in that direction and after swimming for a while, we ended up at the safety stop which was almost a full circle from where I started. I guess it is true what they say, when you are lost, you veer to your dominate side and end up completing a circle. So after a quick U-turn, we head back to the ship wreck.

Once we were there, I write a note to my buddy that we are going to follow the rope that is tied between the ship and the plane. I knew approximately where the rope was and swam towards that. My buddy started to go in the complete opposite direction as he was also turned around. It really was that confusing due to the darkness and the murky conditions. For the rest of the dive, we followed the guide ropes and reflective buoys and didn’t veer off track. I’m glad those markers are there because we would have been totally lost without them. Despite the navigation issues, we still had a fun dive and made the best of the conditions.

This time last year, we were really suffering from the effects of diving so much. This time, I feel remarkably better considering we have done the same amount of diving under the same conditions. My ears feel “full” but there is no pain and they are not blocked. Unlike last year, I am actually able to take a shower without hanging onto the rail and I can walk in a straight line (unless rum drinks were consumed). We have been more conservative with our dives this year and I have been following my regime as far as remaining decongested so that may have helped as well. Regardless of how, we are all going to be happy about completing our last two dives without feeling like we are pushing ourselves.

Here is what was on the menu for today: Breakfast: Scrambled eggs and waffles. Lunch: Chicken with rice, steam vegetables and water melon. Dinner: Turkey, mash potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, apple pie with ice cream. It felt like it was Thanksgiving and boy, did it taste good!

Here are the dive details:

Date: 2014-03-13
Time: 09:04
Max Depth: 100
Dive Time: 63 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Calvin’s Crack, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 17

Date: 2014-03-13
Time: 10:48
Max Depth: 57
Dive Time: 52 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: CoCo View Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 18

Date: 2014-03-13
Time: 14:09
Max Depth: 70
Dive Time: 66 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Iron shore, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 19

Date: 2014-03-13
Time: 15:46
Max Depth: 55
Dive Time: 53 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: CoCo View Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 20

Date: 2014-03-13
Time: 19:30
Max Depth: 61
Dive Time: 47 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: CoCo View Front Yard, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 21 (Night)

Cara a Cara – Rotatan II Day 5

Today started a little earlier as we had to leave for the shark dive. Last year, it was an hour boat ride for us to get to the location. This year, we went on the “fast and furious” boat that is the newest one in the fleet. It is much more powerful and faster so we were able to get there in just 30 minutes. This boat has two decks and even has a bathroom down below. All things considered, I was a little envious that our boat doesn’t have the same facilities. Unless you count jumping off the back and holding onto the life preserver while you float in the ocean and pretend that no-one knows exactly what you are doing. I don’t even try that method as I would be floating out so long they would have to pull me so we could leave for the next dive.

Seeing as you are reading another entry, it is safe to assume the shark dive was successful. Once again, I dropped down the mooring line to the coral below and was greeted by a couple of inquisitive sharks. I assumed my position in the back of the line and waited for the action to begin. At first, there were only a few sharks swimming around. Normally, as a diver, this would be a good thing. But I wanted to see lots and lots of sharks. I was not disappointed. By the end of the dive, we counted around 16-17 sharks – quite a few more than the 7-8 we saw last year.

We followed the same routine as last year’s dive. The guide threw the bait bucket out to get their attention. We swam amongst the sharks and I played “chicken” with a few of the more curious ones. They swam straight towards me and I just floated in the same spot, staring at them, until they veered around me at the last second. This allowed me to get a real close up look at them. Once again, I am reminded of how elegant they really are up close.

The bait bucket was opened and your typical shark feeding frenzy began. What is not so typical is that I was about 20 feet away from all the action. It did not take long at all before all the bait was consumed. One lucky shark managed to score a big piece of fish and swam directly over us as it left. We were able to clearly see the hunk of fish hanging out of its mouth and all its teeth visible.

After the feeding was complete, we were allowed to swim around the sandy patch looking for teeth the sharks shed when feeding. I swam directly to the guide and he simply handed me one so I graciously grabbed it and swam off. This will make my second tooth that I have collected from these dives. After a few minutes, the dive was over and we ascended back to the boat. In hindsight, that was the worst part as I received several slivers in my fingers from the coarse rope. I’m still picking them out the next day. Considering I was next to a shark feeding frenzy, I am grateful that is the only injury I received!

As we were leaving the shark dive dock, we drove by one of the large cruise ships that was docked in the port. They were having a life raft drill and many of the life boats were deployed and bobbing around in the harbor. We saw another one being lowered by a crane just as we were going by. Having been on a cruise ship myself, it was a comforting sight to see they practice such a thing and the life boats actually work!

On the way back to the resort, I talked to guy that owns a house on the island, has his own boat, and dives here 10 weeks of the year. His wife stays on the island all winter. I wanted to ask him if he needed a new dive buddy or even a cabin boy. I would gladly clean his house and even wax the hull of his boat if I could spend 10 weeks a year diving on the island!

Since we were on the shark dive, we missed the normal morning dives. After lunch, it was back on our regular boat for the two afternoon dives. The moor dive was at “Tulio’s Reef”. This was one of the more memorable dives with regards to the wildlife we saw. We saw two seahorses – a brown one and really colorful orange one. It was significantly larger than any others I have seen. We saw another huge moray eel – no idea how long he was as he just had his front portion sticking out of a cave. Judging by the size of his head, he was quite large. And one of the interesting things we saw were two squid just lazily swimming around. They were not long tentacle squid but more like the little squid called “Pearl “on “Finding Emo”. I hovered right next to the larger squid and got a really good close up. All in all, quite a spectacular dive.

The drop off dive was CoCoView Wall. On that dive, we saw four lion fish all swimming together in a group. You see a lion fish here and there but it is unusual to see them all together like that. We also saw one of the largest lobsters I remember hiding in a crevice in the wall. The rest of the dive was another leisurely swim along the wall and over the ship wreck.

As far as our meals go, this is what we had: Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, fried dough, and grapefruit. Lunch: Chicken tortillas. Dinner: Lasagna, garlic toast; banana pudding. In addition to the obligatory beer, popcorn and chicken wings for appetizers!

Today will be our last full day of diving. We only dive in the morning on Friday to give our bodies time to “desaturate” or purge the nitrogen gasses before flying home on Saturday. This week has gone so fast – we are already planning on what we are going to do next year ;)

Here are the details for today’s dives:

Date: 2014-03-12
Time: 09:10
Max Depth: 71
Dive Time: 38 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Cara a Cara, Waihuka Shark Dive, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 14

Date: 2014-03-12
Time: 14:17
Max Depth: 63
Dive Time: 63 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Tulio’s Reef, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 15

Date: 2014-03-12
Time: 15:52
Max Depth: 57
Dive Time: 63 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: CoCoView Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 16

PS – I forgot to include details for yesterday’s dive. I have updated the post so please visit the website at http://10500bc.wordpress.com if you are interested.

Mother Nature – Rotatan II Day 4

Today was the first day of my modified schedule. It’s partly because I am so tired I go to sleep early and partly because Mother Nature insists on calling at the most inconvenient times. If reading about my bladder and my bathroom schedule makes you queasy, please skip the next paragraph.

As anyone who has read this blog since its inception knows, my keeping hydrated is very important. For reasons we don’t quite understand, we get incredibly thirsty and dehydrated whilst diving. To combat that, I always increase my fluid intake. At least two glasses of something with each meal. The problem is that the pressure of the water feels likes it is all directly applied to my bladder. I have to mentally focus during normal conditions so completing the task 60 F under water just doesn’t happen. This in all seriousness results in a very uncomfortable dive. So, my new schedule is when I wake up at 5:30 AM I consume two large glasses of water. I don’t drink at all with breakfast. This gives me three hours to flush the pipes before diving. I tried this yesterday and it worked. We typically have two hours for lunch so I only have one glass of water for lunch and I do the deed before the 2 PM dive. For dinner, I make up for lost time and drink my regular two glasses with my meal plus whatever other beverage the bar makes available for us. Yesterday was the first day I tried this and I am happy to report, I kept Mother Nature at bay and had comfortable dives. For those of you that actually read this paragraph, you really should expand your literary choices!

It appears some people are drooling over the menu choices while some people are actually envious. If you fit the latter description then feel free to skip this paragraph! Breakfast: Sausages, eggs and biscuits. Lunch: Fish fingers, grilled cheese sandwiches. Dinner: Beef brisket, BBQ chicken. After Dinner Delight: 3 Rum/ginger ale drinks (I had two free drink coupons. I assume I paid for the third. I’ll check my room tab and get back to you). For dinner, we also were entertained by a group of kids from the local island who showed us traditional dancing. Last year, a young senorita dragged me out onto the dance floor and attempted to teach me how to dance. Alas, she failed but I did fake it the best I could. This year, I decided to spare her the shame of failing to teach a tall, lanky white guy how to dance and disappeared before they got to that part of their routine. Really, I didn’t do it for myself; I was doing them a favor.

Now onto the details of the dives. The first moor dive was a place called, “Lita’s Hole”. The dive location is named after the wife of someone who as conducted lots of marine research in this area. It was a wonderful dive site – one of my favorites so far. So I can see how it is flattering to have this dive site named after you. That being said, if you are going to name a beautiful dive site after your wife, please reconsider using the word “hole” in the description. After we made the dive, someone made the comment I was thinking the whole time. He surfaced, looked at Lita and said, “I liked your hole”. See what I mean?!? The reason for the description is because there is a hole in the upper part of the reef that leads into a tunnel that exits you on the reef wall. You have you descend head first and carefully navigate through the tunnel to the other side. Not only that, the reef itself was full and vibrant with many different varieties of coral. There was one type of coral that looked like a huge stalagmite covered in valor. As the current swept past the coral, the surface would move in waves like brushing against valor fabric. Also, we were visited by schools of blue Créole Wrasse fish. They reminded me of the fish in “Finding Emo” and I kept waiting for them to form a sign and spell a word for me.

Morning drop of dive was Newman’s Wall. We would have normally dropped off at the other location but we already knew there were lots of divers there so we went to the quieter place. Nice leisurely dive along the wall and back to the ship wreck. Our dives and getting longer and longer as we continuously improve on the way we dive.

The afternoon moor dive was at “La Ventana al Valle” which is Spanish for “Window” to something or other. This was another spectacular dive site with one particularly notable visitor. We came across a moray eel that was easily 5 feet long. He was swimming along the reef wall then decided to come out and say “Hi”. It caught a couple of the divers by surprise and boy, did they scoot back and up in a hurry. Later on, it was in the shallow reef and swam really close to me. Once it started to swim away from, and had its back to me, I swam directly above as it weaved through the coral. As dangerous as they can be, this is definitely one of my favorite wildlife that I have seen at Roatan. We were also visited by schools of the blue fish again and I was still waiting for my personal sign but all they did was swim around me and disappear into the deep ocean below.

Once again, due to the number of divers, we were dropped off at Newman’s Wall again. This was by far, one of the most relaxing and casual dives I have had on this trip. I am at the point where I am totally comfortable with all my gear, my new dive computer and I am able to just relax and complete the dive without burning through my air too fast. It really is all about technique. Once you find a rhythm, you float along with a minimal amount of effort. Words can’t do it justice what a feeling it is to dive like this.

Here are today’s dive details:

Date: 2014-03-11
Time: 09:05
Max Depth: 77
Dive Time: 61 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Lita’s Hole, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 10

Date: 2014-03-11
Time: 10:53
Max Depth: 67
Dive Time: 69 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Newman’s Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 11

Date: 2014-03-11
Time: 14:10
Max Depth: 69
Dive Time: 66 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: La Ventana al Valle, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 12

Date: 2014-03-11
Time: 15:47
Max Depth: 63
Dive Time: 57 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Newman’s wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 13

I’m writing this on the morning of Day 5. Today is the day we go feed the sharks. If you don’t hear from me again, then my idea of riding on the back of one of the sharks was probably not a good idea…

Dive week begins – Roatan II Day 3

Today was the first normal day of diving. Meet for breakfast a 7:30 AM. Pancakes sounded like a good idea again so that is what I had. After breakfast, I stopped by the Dive Shop looking for a new mask. I have finally found one I like and I wanted a spare in case something happened. They were kind enough to loan me one so I can check it out before buying one. The mask not sealing correctly is what caused me lots of issues the last time I was here.

We were on the boat by 8:30 AM for our dive briefing. We were finally reunited back with the same boat captain and dive master that we had last year. We’ve also started to get to know the rest of the divers on our boat. The diving gives us a common interest so it seems you are able to make friends with all different kinds of people from all different walks of life.

The moor dive was at “Carib Wall”. The immediate thing I noticed was how large and full the coral appeared. Apparently, this is one of the newer dive sites so we were able to see healthy growing coral that has not endured day after day of divers pounding at the reef. As fortunate as we are to dive these sites, it is also a reminder what impact diving has on the reef system. We skipped the morning drop off dive to compensate for some of the deep diving we did the day before

Lunch time today consisted of chicken with mac and cheese. Now normally, I am not a big mac and cheese fan. I can take it or leave it but out here, even that tastes so good!

Afternoon dive took us “First Bight Wall”. It was this dive I decided to try the loaner mask. Just before I entered the water, I clipped my own mask to my gear – just in case. As soon as I entered the water and looked down, I immediately went, “Woah! This is not the same. Nope. Not doing this”. I think it was simply the blue color of the mask that I could see in my peripheral vision. Given the anxiety issues I have worked through, I have now learned not to change anything about my diving experience. I swam back to the boat, threw the loaner mask on deck, and switched to my own mask. By now, I am fighting the waves, huffing and puffing and getting all worked up. After a minute, I was not calming down. I decided the only solution was simply to get under water and dive. So that is what I did. I submerged and headed for the rest of the group. Within a few seconds, I was fine again.

On this dive we saw a couple of really large lobsters and our first sea-horse. As with last year, I am always surprised at just how small the sea-horses are. I have no idea how our dive master can find them but he manages somehow. About half way through the dive, I realize I have a splitting headache. With all the diving we do, this is generally not a good thing. Eventually, I figure out my mask strap was twisted from putting in on so quickly. Once I fixed that, headache went away and life was good again.

Drop off dive was CoCoView Wall. Nothing unusual about that part of the dive but we did have lots of fun when we reached the ship wreck. We spent a lot of time looking at all the coral that has grown on the ship and chasing some of the largest grouper I have even seen in these waters.

After a quick shower, off to the dining hall for hor d’oeuvres (popcorn and corona) then we had steak and shrimp for dinner. Can’t complain about that at all! After dinner, about 8 PM, we teamed up with a couple of other divers and went on our first night dive. It is still amazing the experience of diving at night. Pitch black, beams of light piercing the darkness like light sabers, fish suddenly swimming into your beam and disappearing. Sometimes, I look away from my light into the darkness and just listen to the sound of our bubbles rising to the surface. Closest way I can explain this is walking through a forest at night with ear plugs in and looking through a tube so your field of vision is greatly restricted. Yes, I do consider this exciting and exhilarating!

Because of the added night dive, I didn’t accomplish much once I got back to my room. Quick shower, rinse off my gear, hang up to dry then off to bed. This is why I am awake at 5:30 AM writing this entry!

Here are the details for toady’s dives:

Date: 2014-03-10
Time: 8:55
Max Depth: 64
Dive Time: 63 min
Water Temp: 81 F
Location: Carib Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 6

Date: 2014-03-10
Time: 14:17
Max Depth: 55
Dive Time: 59 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: First Bight Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 7

Date: 2014-03-10
Time: 15:45
Max Depth: 53
Dive Time: 70 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: CocoView Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 8

Date: 2014-03-10
Time: 20:14
Max Depth: 64
Dive Time: 56 min
Water Temp: F
Location: CocoView Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 9 (Night)

Last year, on the first full day of diving, I was still apprehensive. So when I ate breakfast, I only ate a couple of yoghurts. Today for breakfast, I ate the same thing. Plus pancakes and eggs. No apprehension anymore!

The first order of business for today was the welcome orientation. This is where we are reminded of how the resort is run, the dive operations and the additional classes and training that are available.

Today’s first dive was a moor dive. This is when the boat is anchored and we exit and return to the boat. The site we went to was “In and Out”. It was mostly shallow reefs then a wall where the coral dropped off to the deep blue beyond. One of the more exciting things to happen was when a moray eel decided to come out and play. Normally, they are shy and like to hide in cracks and crevices. At this location, people have been feeding the eels so their nature has changed. So much so, this eel decided to come out and swim amongst us.

This was fine while you were watching. However, the eel swam towards one diver that was not aware and actually nipped at her leg. She had no idea the eel was there until it swam under her and right in front of her face. She did not even notice the eel had nipped at her so no damage was done. I recently purchased a plastic slate with an attached pencil that straps to my arm. This allows me to write messages to other divers. I scribbled a quick message telling her the eel nipped at her leg. While she remained calm, it did freak her out a little!

On the same dive, I saw one of the largest lion fish I have ever seen. I know that some dive locations hunt lion fish because they are an invasive species but out here in Roatan, we are allowed to observe and appreciate their natural beauty.

The next dive was a “drop off” dive. This is where the boat drops you off close to shore and you swim back at your own leisure. This is what the resort calls the “Front Yard” and eventually takes you to the wreck of Prince Albert. We dive the front yard a lot so while is not boring, it does not usually amount to anything out of the ordinary. There are many instances where I really don’t care if I see anything new, just the act of diving is exciting for me. These drop off dives are those times when you just relish in the fact you are underwater and enjoy yourself.

Once back on land, hop in the shower for a quick rinse and off to lunch. Today we had broiled shrimp along with beef taco’s and rice. Some of the best beef tacos I have had. They have truly spectacular food here.

The afternoon moor dive was at a place called “Valley of the Kings”. This is one of better coral dives I remember at Roatan. There were lots of unique coral including some colored a deep dark green. I don’t remember seeing that kind before. We were also fortunate to see one of the largest lobsters I have seen hiding in the crevice of the wall. Also, a nice sized turtle that penitently waited for us to all take a look before swimming away. And finally, we saw one of the largest moray eels I remember seeing. This one was not as active and stayed in the coral bed before swimming away.

The afternoon drop off dive was CoCo View Wall. Saw another large lobster and more lion fish. Once again, we leisurely made our way back to the ship wreck then back to shore. We were down deep for a long time on this dive so we didn’t spend much time at the wreck. We were there long enough to do something we had not done before. We swam through a hole in the side of the boat, into a large room, dropped down into the bowls of the boat, and then swam up through another small opening. You really have to pay attention when doing this to ensure you don’t get your hoses or gear caught on the structure of the boat. Goes without saying, this only adds to the overall level of excitement.

Once back at the room, I took a nice long relaxing shower then caught a quick nap before dinner. Tonight on the menu was pulled pork and snapper with more rice. I don’t know if it is because I am just so hungry or they have really good cooks but it seems as though every meal is the best one I have had!

Here are the details for today’s dives:

Date: 2014-03-09
Time: 09:54
Max Depth: 100
Dive Time: 53 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: In and Out, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 2

Date: 2014-03-09
Time: 11:27
Max Depth: 110
Dive Time: 50 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Newman’s Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 3

Date: 2014-03-09
Time: 14:13
Max Depth: 77
Dive Time: 58 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: Valley of Kings, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 4

Date: 2014-03-09
Time: 15:41
Max Depth: 101
Dive Time: 54 min
Water Temp: 83 F
Location: CoCoView Wall, Roatan
Notes: Roatan II Dive 5

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