Friday, January 3, 2014

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan is approximately 77 kilometres long, and less than 8 kilometres across at its widest point. It's the largest among the Bay Islands off the northern coast of Honduras. Located on the Caribbean Sea. Roatan has become an important cruise ship and scuba diving destination in Honduras. Tourism is its most important economic sector, though fishing is also an important source of income for islanders. The island also has an International airport serving flights from the US. So pretty much all american tourist here.

West End bay
I took a ferry from La Ceiba to Roatan. 1hr 15mins later I arrived at Roatan, the weather wasn't so good, cloudy and drizzling. :-( I was told that storm Harvey is approaching, I should go diving now before the storm arrives or else it would be another 2 days. I tried to dive that afternoon but the dive center cancel their trip as the storm is approaching. It was after 2 days that I could managed to get in the water.

The Eagle Wreck
The first dive was a wreck called El Aquila(The Eagle). It was sunk on purpose in 1997 by Anthony's Key Resort to make for a new premier dive site. The visibility was good after 15 meter depth, I was enjoying more the wreck then the fishes around, but there was actually not many fish. 2nd dive was boring, we saw a turtle, some gigantic crabs and lobster and that’s it. This dive we were 10 in the group with an Instructor, too big a crowd in the water. I was diving with Native Son Dive Center.

The next day I switched dive center to Coconut Tree Dive Center. I did another 2 day dives. It was a better dive center in fact, they have loads of DMT, and tons of Instructors around, more professional in terms of organisation and facilities and the dive group is smaller. We had a better dive on the 2nd dive at the Light House, there were more fishes around. Lobster seems to be abundant here. I did 2 more morning dives on the 5th day and that was nice too. One dive with equipment cost US$30 which is much more cheaper as compare to Belize. There is a Marine Park fees – US$10 valid for a year.

Sunset at West End

Killing of Lionfish
In general the dive sites here has less fishes then Indonesia, not much macro, I have not seen a single nudibranch, reefs are covered with lots of corals but they are not as colorful as in South East Asia, the terrain are more like a canyon of coral that breaks into small swim thru latches with white sandy bottom. Nice to swim in between them. Water is warm and calm, I could dive with just my rash guard. No current (that explains why there isn’t much action) There are plenty of dive sites to choose from so not many divers cramp in one dive site. One thing surprised me is that they (Instructor/DM) hunt and kill lionfish here, said to be killing all the coral reef fishes, doing this help to control the spread of invasive lionfish that are taking food and habitat from native fish that are important to the local ecology and economy. I am not sure if this was the reason why there is not much fish in the reef.

Travel date :  18-25 Aug 2011
Travel route : Travel with Ferry from LA Ceiba town to Roatan
Accommodation and diving : Couchsurfing, Native Son Dive Center & Coconut Tree Dive Center
Type of diving : Reef, wall, canyon
Water temperature : 28-30°C
Best time to dive : Diveable year round but avoid hurricane season from June to November.

 -F-> Flight -B-> Boat -C-> Car
El Aquila
Great Barracuda
Orangutan crab
Spider crab
French Angelfish
Soldier fish
Trumpet fish
Giant moray
Butterfly fish

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