We have been trying to scuba dive at least one port per cruise since Sakari took an interest to this several years ago.
We were just here 4 months ago and dove with West Bay Divers and had a great time. When I found out we were coming back here again, I knew I wanted to dive again but just a different dive location. However, I had broken my leg a few months prior and I just didn't know if I would be able to dive.
So Roatan...oh how we've loved you every time we've been here. This is my "go to" place for scuba diving. The reef here is just AMAZING!
I actually considered not wanting to cruise for the fact that I wouldn't be able to scuba dive, snorkel or swim really. So, I searched everywhere for something to do here. We felt like we've done a lot and we are not your "tour" type of people most of the time.
SLOTHS!! Just like me!! That would work. But going to see the sloths really wouldn't be an "all day" thing for me. So I really wasn't sure.
Then I got this really wild thought....like really really wild thought!!! I contacted West Bay Divers (that we dove with 4 months ago). I actually texted the owner of the company (who was so nice to text me after our dive last time to make sure we had a good time...like that has NEVER happened before with ANY tour/dive/excursion company. That really made me have high regards for this company). So after texting the owner, he gave me his email. I told him everything that had happened to me after returning from my last cruise, the condition I was in, and ask for his thoughts about being able to.....you got it, scuba dive!
To my surprise, he wrote me back instantly and told me that if I could obtain a release from my doctor that I was able to dive then they could accommodate me! They have the diving scooters and said that I could tandem with an instructor and it would pull me along with them and I wouldn't even have to worry about using my leg. SAY WHAT?!? PERFECT!!! I was so excited I almost jumped for joy, but sloths don't jump, so I stayed firmly planted on the ground.
I went for my ortho follow up at the beginning of December and got a release statement saying I could travel AND dive with no restrictions! (I had to chuckle at the "no restrictions").
So....WE'RE GOING DIVING TODAY!!!!
Right outside the port, we met up with our driver. He said "follow me". We crossed the street and started walking...and walking...and walking. Wait, I totally forgot that the last time we were here we had to walk down the street for our ride and it was hot and sunny out. This time it was hot, sunny and I had a broken leg and a super heavy boot!!! I was going SLOW!!! Like really slow! He kept turning around to see if I was back there. I'm pretty sure I was panting like a dog that just chased a rabbit.
He did take a shortcut to cut down on the walking and into the graveyard we went. Yikes! If this is any indication of what today might go like...I'm turning back now. And it would go on and on it seemed like.
We finally made it out of the graveyard and onto the street where we would still have a very long walk along an uneven road and side of the road, where we were dodging traffic as if we were playing frogger.
We FINALLY made it with me huffing and puffing and chanting "If I had known we would have to walk this far, I would have booked with someone else that picked me up at the port!" Seriously!
We arrived at West Bay Divers...it felt like we had just left here...and basically we did!
We checked in with the dive shop and immediately seen Eva, who was our dive instructor last time. The hubby made the comment "Weee'rrrreeee baaaaackkkkk" and laughed. I said with excitement "Are you our instructor again?" She told me no, that she already had another group going out with her that day. But she wasn't really smiling and didn't seem friendly for some reason. I felt like she was looking at us weird and almost biting her tongue about something. You know how you walk into a room and everyone shuts up and you just know they were talking about you? That's the unwelcome feeling I got at that moment. 🤔
Then we started talking about our "plans" for the day and then that's when they hit me with the news...they were NOT going to be taking me out with the scooter. They said it was against PADI rules for someone that is not certified to be on the scooter diving...even with an instructor. I told them about my conversation with the OWNER and he was the one who suggested it to begin with otherwise, I wouldn't have even scheduled a dive because I can't kick with my foot/leg. I told them everything that had happened to me and to my surprise, everyone already knew! They let it be known that I was the talk of the entire office and staff and they had all read my emails. Well, if they read my emails, then they knew what my intentions were for the day and SOMEONE should have told me that this was not going to happen. They explained to me they could get their license yanked if they did it. They called the owner of the company to discuss what to do next.
Meanwhile, I'm super hot about the situation and thinking I just wasted my time and money getting here for no reason because I really didn't want to just hang out on the beach and be hounded by the locals to buy stuff. By no means do I want someone to get their license taken away but I should have been told!
As they were on the phone with the owner, I took Sakari out to the beach to get our "Christmas" photo.
I went back up to the office and they explained the situation again. They did say the owner said he was really sorry for the confusion and he wasn't aware that they couldn't ride tandem with a non-certified diver. But, what they were willing to do was to give me my own instructor and if I couldn't kick with my leg/foot, they would pull me along. While that doesn't sound too appealing to me, for the simple fact that I like to get close to the coral and take pics, or whatever the case, it was all I had to go on. I do know that some dive companies offer handicapped diving and people dive without even having a leg. So, if they can do it, so can I.
I WAS DOING THIS NO MATTER WHAT!! I told them I'd play it by ear and if I couldn't do it or it became too uncomfortable, then I was stopping. They said we'd go super slow and at my pace and my instructor would be right beside the entire time. At any time we could stop. Ok, I agreed.
Also, we were going to do a BOAT dive. I had told them that I already did Mandy's Eel Garden 4 months ago and wanted to go somewhere else. They had given me a list, prior to coming, and I had looked over a couple of places. Turtle Crossing sounded interesting, somewhat shallow and hopefully we'd see some turtles.
We had our "class" and then I headed over for a quick bathroom run while they took our equipment out to the water for our skills test. When I returned, my instructor was standing at the dive shop deck and said "I'm sorry, I will not be able to take you. I just dropped the tank on my foot". GASP!!! Oh em gee....his foot was terrible! A HUGE knot on the top of it and continued to swell as he stood there. He said he was in so much pain and his girlfriend was on her way to pick him up and take him to the hospital. Meanwhile, they were trying to call someone to come in to help with the dive. I felt so bad for him!!
So we actually arrived here at 11:30am. Between all the talk back and forth about how to dive, doing our class and skills, then waiting on someone to arrive as another instructor, we did not get out on the boat until around 1:45pm. It was a long wait.
Then after the instructor showed up, they gathered all of our equipment, put it in a wheelbarrow and said "We're heading to the dock". But wait, where's the dock???? It was quite a walk for someone like me without a boot or shoe or anything. Sand is very hard to walk in when you don't have a broken foot. I tried to stay on the part where the water comes in and hardens it a little, but of course your feet sink somewhat and with it being on a slope, it was a very hard walk for me.
When I finally made it to the dock, we passed about 8 armed guards standing on the dock, in uniform and all with machine guns. Now that was somewhat scary!
Then came the task of trying to get on a moving boat...oh boy. It took me awhile to gather the courage and then some more time to maneuver onto the moving boat. I was so freaked out and holding on for dear life to the boat. I hate when someone tries to "help" you by giving you their hand. Your hand is attached to an arm. Your arm moves. I don't want to hold your unsteady hand trying to get on a boat. Give me something solid to hold on to because I can guarantee I'm not letting go of it. I held onto the top of the boat bars and eased my way down to a seat. Whew!
Off we went.
It was a very short ride. We stopped down at Bite on the Beach to let someone off there and then on to Turtle Crossing.
Here's a short video of some of the boat ride:
We stopped, everyone got on their equipment, and it was time to get in the water...from a moving boat. The hubby went in first. Then they had me walk to the end of the boat and sit on the back end. They put my bcd and tank on and told me I would just kinda roll into the water as they lifted the tank. It felt awkward and I was scared. I kept looking how far down it was. I kept looking over at the sharp blades on the motor sitting there. I could just picture myself falling sideways and hitting those blades and cutting myself open. I was just really starting to freak out. But, I tried not to let it show.
They lifted the tank up and I leaned and in I went. Whew, I was never so glad to hit the water. Now to see what my ankle felt like. It was weird...super weird. I could feel every piece of hardware in my leg and ankle. But, it didn't hurt. It would just take some getting used to.
I held onto the rope and tried to take my mind off of my foot as I watched Sakari get ready to come in. The were going to have her walk in
Ok, it was time to do this thing!!!
We started easing our way down the rope. Hubby had already took himself down lol no issues. I was kind of waiting on Sakari to get down and move out of my way. My instructor kept giving me the signal to go on, but she was in my way.
I guess I would have to let go of the rope and just go on. No issues so far.
We were starting to drift off a little and Sakari was having some issues. I wasn't sure if it was her ears or what. Sometimes she has issues, sometimes she don't. She would later tell me it was a combo of equalizing her ears and a lot of issues with her mask. I really need to get her another mask of her own. She left hers at our dive shop about a year and a half ago during her last class and when I checked back with them, no one had turned it in. So, I really need to get her another that actually fits her face.
I was kinda circling around and trying things out while we waited on Sakari and my instructor was holding onto me and then letting me do a little on my own. I felt ok and gave her the signal I was ok. She eased up a little and out of my personal space. I honestly can't stand for someone to get close to me when diving and I'm always looking around to make sure there's no one near me at all times. But, I knew that this was needed this time around. (The hubby took a lot of videos with the GoPro but I worked the ENTIRE DAY today trying to find a GoPro editor to use to post them because they ended up horribly green and I just hate the way they look. I downloaded a program, worked the entire day on it, even added music to it, then once it was done...it put a huge logo across the entire thing!!!! I was pissed. I wasn't even going to start the rest of this review until I had it figured out).
Sakari finally managed to make it down and we were off. She was armed with the Olympus Tough TG4 and I will share her pictures first.
So I'm going to share these really crappy GoPro videos my hubby did because it kinda goes along with the review. I'm sorry in advance for the green look they have to them. I tried. I tried really hard to find a program to make them look better. But, I'm done trying. LOL
Here we are finally going down and Sakari still trying to make it down the rope.
At this point, I was figuring out that I was able to do this on my own and was feeling a little more comfortable. My instructor had let go of me and was just staying close by.
A little more time had passed by and I was feeling more and more comfortable. My instructor seen that I was managing on my own and stopped being right by my side. (Of course this came after several reassurance signals from me that I was going to be able to do this on my own).
Sakari had finally made it down and was starting to take her pictures. You know she's ok when you start to see that. But, the instructor was holding on to her in an upright position, which of course she's going to complain about. She hates being held on to. I know exactly how she feels now.
Sakari desperately trying to go on her own and wanting to play in the bubbles.
Now remember, Sakari is an artist. She doesn't see things the way the rest of us do. She tries her hardest to explain to me "her world". Have you ever heard of the people who will see a color from hearing a note/song? That's kind of her. She will see an object that we see as what it is but she will see it as something else. She says her brain will see weird things and she makes something else out of what we are seeing. It's hard to explain.
So, she's chasing our bubbles...but what was she seeing in her mind? The opportunity to catch a unique picture...of jelly fish. Look at the bottom of this picture. Is it not the coolest capture ever?
I have to admit, there was a lot of bleached out coral in the area. 😞
The hubby went off in a different direction really quick and it caught my eye. He looked as if he had seen something and I started slowly trying to make my way over there. I was really hoping that I wasn't missing anything.
It was a school of blue tangs. So pretty. I love when we see these swimming together like this.