Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Vacation Day 10: Isla Roatan
I think Roatan was the port I was most looking forward to on this trip. Last time we did an island tour and we all agreed it was one of the places we were most likely to visit on a land vacation. The people are poor but very kind and I’ve never felt even remotely unsafe there. The island itself is just gorgeous and unspoiled. I’d been doing a bit of research on the snorkeling there because it’s supposed to be some of the very best in the world. The nice thing about returning to the port was that this time I knew exactly where I wanted to go and exactly what I wanted to do. We hired a private driver for the day which, unlike some of the other ports, is super cheap on Roatan. When he picked us up I told him I wanted to do three things: see the monkeys, go to Infinity Bay in West Bay for snorkeling and hit the cameo factory!

Just like last time the monkeys were a huge hit! G loved playing with them. Since we were one of the first groups there we got to spend about 10-15 mins interacting which was really cool. We also got to pet a lemur, see some really big and beautiful macaws and hang out with some toucans! This was an incredible bargain at $10 for the three of us and G was free!

There were some lemur

And assorted birds

including these giant macaws

Having visited the monkeys and birds we were off to do some snorkeling. We planned to go to Infinity Bay but as it turned out, because there were two ships in port and they knew they could get it, the resort was only selling day passes at $25 each!! Uh, no. We then tried next door at Paradise Beach. They had also sold day passes at only $10 each but said they were full. We planned on being in the water the great majority of the time so we just parked our stuff by a tree… FREE! The great thing about having the guide for the day is that he sat there in the shade while we were in the water and watched our stuff. Like I said, a total bargain. We then hung out in the water snorkeling for the next 2.5 to three hours. About half of the time this included G up on her raft.

The snorkeling was fantastic! Far, far better than the fantastic snorkeling we’d experienced in Cozumel a few days earlier. We also got really lucky with the weather: very warm, completely clear blue sky, and hardly any wind which made the water very calm. Using the info I’d gleaned from the discussions on cruise critic I made my way across the area where most people go (which is like a large fish bowl filled with lots of big and hungry fish and pretty great in its own right), across the very shallow part of the reef (you had to navigate a bit because some areas were impassable), and out to the drop off of the reef. It was so beautiful! We saw tons of really gorgeous fish and the reef and coral were incredible. I snapped tons of pix with hopes that something would come out. I got some OK ones but none do the location any justice at all.
Even though I could have happily snorkeled for a few more hours, it was starting to get late. We’d been so busy snorkeling and enjoying the beach that we forgot about eating! Wisely Bobby had snagged a couple boxes of cereal from the breakfast buffet that morning so we fed G those combined with some Doritos picked up from a local convenience store. More great parenting I’m afraid. Poor G… she’s such a trooper and she doesn’t seem to mind too much that we’re such slackers on vacation :-)

I think this one is a parrot fish

The water was sooooo clear and pretty

I have no idea what kind of fish this little yellow guy is but there were tons of them.

These guys were small, maybe 3-5 inches long, and QUICK!!! I tried very hard to get a somewhat centered pic of one for awhile.

I forget what these are called but they're pretty common.

These guys are bigger, maybe a foot long or so, and really well concealed in the rocks.

I didn't know what the heck this was at the time but learned later that it was a reef squid. They're actually kind of creepy looking.

Although it had been a busy day we still had enough time to drop by the cameo factory and make a “donation” to the island. I love the cameos. Most of the ones they had in the store were carved from brown and white conch shells. But this time they also had some pink ones which I guess are carved from a different kind of conch. I find them fascinating. Little works of art created from shells and a little dremel type tool. The clerk said that it takes an average of 1-3 days to make each one depending on complexity. Amazing.

Not wanting to change things up, we were almost the very last people on the ship!!! This was an earlier sail away time though so we had time for G to have a little nap before our second Elegant Night dinner.

Another dinner winner! Chateaubriand with béarnaise sauce and tiger shrimp. They pretty much had me at béarnaise sauce. You could poor that stuff on cardboard and I’d still eat it. My body is going to go into shock when we go home and start eating regular and much more healthy food again :-) One of our tablemates (yes, we still have tablemates, we were unable to make a change to a private table) was celebrating a birthday and shared her cake with us. Of course, G didn’t have any dessert because she started begging to go to the kids club before the appetizers were served. Bobby finally consented once she’d had her entree LOL!
Stuffed full of rich food we decided to catch a comedy show. It was the early show –which is family friendly—and pretty good. We laughed a bit I guess. The moment that ended we moved on to the showroom. I didn’t have high hopes for the show that evening. It was billed as “swing music” and I thought it was going to be big band music which isn’t usually my favorite. Wasn’t I surprised when it turned out to be the best show of all! The music wasn’t big band at all. Instead it was a mix of modern, elvis, tina turner, etc. They even did a version of Hotel California :-) and the costumes and little bursts of fire and smoke were great! After just a few minutes Bobby went to get G from the kids club so she could enjoy it with us. I was so happy she allowed herself be torn away because she loved it!!!

This is G joining the dancing waiters with Zoey, one of our other tablemates. G and Zoey, who was 8, really hit it off!

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