LITTLE FRENCH KEY 2014 Website:
This will be our second time going to LFK. We loved it so much the last time that we decided to return again.
You could tell it was going to be a gorgeous day and it was already getting hot. Thank goodness there is some shade there to sit in under the tree.
We gathered enough people to fill 2 vans and we left the port at 10:10am. I have to say that it was a much different experience than the last time we did this. The last time, we came in by Carnival and was at Mahogany Bay (which is much closer to LFK than Coxenhole). We had the LONG walk out of the compound and up and over the hill to get to the taxi vendors. This was much simpler to do and a lot less walking. Also, last time we arrived and was immediately put into a private vehicle and taken over. There was no waiting and no filling vans before going. So, an entirely different experience. I guess you trade off one good thing for another. But no complaints here.
Then off we went. Our driver was very slow. I was not use to this. It seems like no matter what or where we have been, they are pushing it to the limit. This driver was not even going the speed limit. I'm very grateful for the safety...but I want to get to LFK as soon as possible and enjoy my time there.
There are 2 little towns that you will pass through while en-route to Frenchys 44. The second one you come to is called "Spanish Town". Everyone there speaks Spanish. It looked like a poor town and had a lot of little side road vendors set up in shacks.
I can tell you that we dropped off a few employees that came from LFK on our way back to the ship that must live here and help out on the island.
Then you will find your expensive mansions along the way as well. (Sorry, moving buses and my camera skills don't usually get along, this would be no exception).
They have a huge shopping center along the way. I remember seeing this before, so this must have been past the Carnival compound area.
I was more than happy to see the road we turn down. I remember this road well from the last time and had been looking for the sign once I knew we were getting close. There's just a few houses on this road leading to Frenchys.
It wasn't too long before our ride came to pick us up. It was the same bardge boat that we were on last time.
When we checked in at the counter on the dock, I decided that I would do the snorkel tour. The hubby (with his ear problem) decided he would stay back with Sakari and just let me go. I knew that it was an extra $10 charge to be added to our price and I had prepared for that.
We purchased the $88 package which included our transportation of course, our boat ride over to the island, admission to the island, lunch, 2 drinks and use of the non-motorized sports like the canoes. For the extra $10, they take you out to the reef via a boat and give you the tour of it. I was excited. The last time I decided not to go to the reef and I had been kicking myself since then because there are so many questions regarding how good it is on here. This time, I wasn't going to pass it up.
Now since we are returning customers, Larissa (the owner), gives you a 10% discount for returning. When the employee at the desk added my charges up, he was $22 over the amount. I had to pull out my phone to double check because I wasn't sure how he was coming to that amount. (He was not giving me the 10% discount, which I discovered). When I informed him about the discount, he said "Oh, I didn't know about that, but if Larissa said you get a discount, then I'll give you the discount". I'm not sure if the employees are not aware of this or what, but no big deal.
He put the wrist bands on us and I didn't notice at the time, but my wristband matched everyone else in my party. Hmmm. I would later find out that he didn't even give me the wristband that included snorkeling that I paid for.
We got on the boat/barge and was excited to head over to the island. Aren't we an excited bunch?
It is a very short boat ride over to the island. (As seen in the pictures, you can see the island from Frenchys 44).
We are pulling up to LFK and what is this??? We are not going the same way. Hmmm. They have built a brand new dock and entrance on the side of the island facing Frenchys. Before when you would arrive, you would enter at the lagoon area and get on and off at the dock that leads you to the 2 story platform and lagoon island. This dock is on the side where all of the animals are located. It was a beautiful new deck complete with their name on it and seating.
The gentleman that brought us over told us to come with him and he would be giving everyone a tour of the place. Well like always, we manage to fall behind (as we sometimes do in tours because we are busy exploring).
I could not believe my eyes! This place has changed SO MUCH since I was there. It was like walking onto a brand new island that I had never seen before. The amount of construction and new buildings were amazing.
These were the cages lined up from the last time we were there:
These are the cages now:
These cages are HUGE! They are stories tall, tons of houses at the top, ladders, ponds and so on. Wow, what a change. These animals are so loved and well cared for and they do everything to give them a great life and keep expanding and making their homes bigger and better.
Look at all of the houses way up there for the birds. I guess it's so high up there that they can retreat when they feel threatened or bothered and we can't reach them. It must also feel like they are high up in the jungle in their tree top homes. How nice.
This use to be their "yard"
Now it is filled with the animals and the huge cages. I joked with the owner about how he was running out of room because now, there is only a walkway between one of the large cages and his house as seen in the picture below.
Just a little history about LFK and the owners.
Kevah is from California. He visited Roatan and fell in love with it. He purchased a vacation home over at West End and met his wife Larissa. They later found the island we now know as Little French Key and decided to make that their home and a place to raise their children. (I'm jealous and wish they would adopt me)
They have been working on the island for many years and opened it up to the public, I believe, around 2011. It continues to be a work in progress as you can see when you are there by all of the workers on the island building and making improvements. I am very grateful that they have given others the opportunity to experience such a beautiful island by graciously allowing us to share their place with them...even if it's only a day.
The animals they have on the premises are all rescue animals they have obtained from different circumstances. They have a profound love for animals and as Kevah told me himself, especially his son Leo. It was his son that begged and begged to get the lion, which is one of the newest additions to the island, after seeing how abused he was and learning the story about his mistreated life in the circus. It took a lot of convincing on his sons part to get dad to get this poor lion which we now know as Lawrence the Lion. He was rescued in June of this year.
Lawrence had suffered from deformities such as a clef lip, an arched back and leg pains with arthritis due to the circus people de-clawing him as a cub. He was under fed (only being fed 2 chickens every other day). When he was rescued, Kevah went out and purchased him an entire cow!!! He devoured it. He now eats 30 pounds of meat a day which include a balanced diet of chicken, beef and vitamins. He had gained over 100 pounds after being at LFK in the first month and is looking quite healthy now.
Lawrence had surgery to help correct his cleft lip. Lawrence had lived his entire life in a small circus cart enclosure. They built him a huge enclosure to spend the rest of his life in. Plenty of room to roam. When they released him into his new enclosure, it was the first time that he had been out of his previous "box". He was laying on his back and enjoying the shade when we were there. Ahh the life he has now. What an amazing animal, king of the jungle, Little French Keys jungle now.
So, I just have to say...I have read negative comments here and there about how some of the animals are abused and they looked terrible and just really degrading the people and animals at LFK. Obviously you haven't taken the time to read up on the place and get the facts. These animals are being well taken care of and they come to the owners in terrible condition. If it wasn't for LFK, there's no telling what might end up happening to the animals. This is a place for them to come and get well and improve. So before posting negative things, please take the time to do some research and know the facts. Or better yet, while you are there at LFK, looking on in "disgust"...take the time to talk to the owners or even the workers there to find out about any particular animal and the "story" behind them and their journey to the island. You will be pleasantly surprised.
As we were walking along looking at the animals, along came some workers with a small donkey. It was the cutest thing ever. Sakari just wasn't sure of it and was scared to touch it. I'm not sure what is going on with her lately, but she has become scared of dogs and several types of animals. She backs away and won't pet them, but yet she is such an animal lover. She hasn't had any bad experiences that I know of and the only time that I'm aware that she has been bitten by an animal was the monkey at Victor Boddens in Roatan back when she was 3. Since then, she has held and played with animals with no insidence. So, I'm not really sure about her "new" phobia with animals. Never the less, she managed to do a quick run around the back behind daddy, touch the donkeys back and run back again. She was so fast that I didn't even get a chance to get a picture.
At the very end of the animal trail, we seen a HUGE building being built. Now I had read that the jaguar at LFK didn't like the newest member, Lawrence, when he arrived. The cages were a little too close for the jaguar and caused some issues. So, they are building a new cage away from Lawrence so that they can live in peace.
It looks like he should be more than happy once he moves in to his new luxury condo facing the ocean. hehe
Keveh told me how he didn't want a traditional square boxed cage and he decided to go with the rounded look for the new enclosure. I have to admit, it was looking beautiful.
Simba is currently being kept in the small trailor cage that Lawrence occupied all of this life until his new home is completed. While I'm sure he's not too happy about this, it's only for a short period of time and he does get to come out of the cage and play of course. We will see more of him later.
We continued walking over to the beach area. I will call this beach #1. It is the beach that I did not explore when I was here the last time and only noticed it after I had made it over to the lagoon area and seen people on the chairs over there. This time I knew that I didn't want to walk right by it.
They have chairs lined up along this beach area. I think they must have obtained some of these chairs from a cruise line. hehe
Directly in front of this area is a snorkeling spot, but mostly sea grass until you get a little ways out, which is obtainable of course. So, in order to get into the water/beach area, there's a side entrance that enters into the 2nd beach area. There's plenty of room for everyone. For those of you that are not sun worshipers, there's plenty of shade as well.
Little French Key is an eco friendly place. The following is copied from their website that explains what they do:
We are very Eco friendly…we get most of our electricity from a wind turbine with zero carbon footprint… we collect all the rainwater from the roofs for daily usage and irrigation….our sewage system is a Pirhana, bio-digested closed loop system with Zero discharge to the sea or the Island….and we recycle to the fullest extend possible…. to keep the balance of the Ecosystem around us, our Island is only a day activity resort with a very small footprint since no sewage system, desalination system and or lager generators are required.
Beach #2. This beach is one of the beaches that we spent a little time at the last time we were there. It is located directly on the side of the main house and also has a bar directly under the house.
The bar was not open when we were there (or the last time we were there). I imagine it is only opened during the times that they have special events on the island when cruisers aren't in port. I'm always reading about special events they are hosting or diner specials on their fb page.
I had contacted the owners prior to leaving for our cruise to inquire about Internet service. I was informed that they now had Internet on the island (where last time they only had it at Frenchys). So we had brought our small laptop and ipad so that the hubby could catch up on his work and I could post beautiful pictures for the jealous kids back home that were anxiously awaiting to join us on our 2nd week of cruising.
The hubby sat down at the restaurant to get connected to the Internet and I proceeded to put my things down on the weird looking wire chairs before heading out to the water.
These chairs were here last time and while they are very interesting looking chairs, they are not comfortable of course. The last time we were here, they had several of them out in the water. They have now brought them all back in and put them on the beach.
As we were standing there, I spotted the owner, Kevah. He said hello and me, being the person that I am, decided to stop him and tell him what a beautiful place he has and thank him for allowing us to visit. Kevah is a very friendly person and so easy to talk to. I commented on how much things have changed since the last time I was there and the conversation just flowed from there into a pretty long time spent just standing around talking. I loved hearing his story about how he came here, met his wife, moved to the island and started his family. He told me how he decided the name of his son, his sons adventure on obtaining Lawrence the lion and about his family.
Kevah told me about his future plans and the buildings that were going up along with building plans for the future. They have a place over along the side of the island where the jaguar house is that was going to be for the horses and giving horseback rides (which they have been doing for awhile now). They will be building another bar over there and also an ice cream shop. We talked about his rescue animals and his love for them.
We also discussed how we had missed the jaguar last time we were here because they were building his other new cage. I was informed that he had passed away along with the shy pony that was on the island last time as well.
This is the pony that was there roaming free on the island the last time. He would not let you get anywhere near him at the time.
I was sadden to hear this and Kevah told me that they both became ill instantly one day and passed quickly. It was suddenly and unexpected and it troubled him so much that he ended up sending them off to have autopsies down to determine what had happened. It was determined that there was a chemical that was used to spray the grounds for the dreaded no-sea-ums and bugs that they had licked from the grass and killed them. He immediately stopped using that spray and found another type that will not harm them. It was a lesson learned, and a sad one, but at least there were not more animals affected.
Simba the jaguar they have now is still a baby. I wondered how they were able to still allow him to be out with the public and do swims because I know by now the other jaguar should have been pretty old.
I told Kevah I wanted to discuss the "Carnival issue" with him and get the story straight for those on cruise critic. I told him that I was a big reviewer over here and did thorough reviews with tons of pictures. I told him how, after coming to LFK, that I did a huge review on it with pictures and people started coming there (not knowing about it before). He was very gracious and immediately told several workers there that "we were to be taken care of all day." By no means did I expect that. His brother, Joel came by and he told him "anything Kim wants, take care of her and her family today." Joel was such a sweet man as well and we talked with him a lot that day as well.
He ask me what I wanted to do today...horseback riding, snorkeling, whatever I wanted to let him know. I told him thank you but it wasn't necessary. He told Joel to make sure that we had all the drinks we wanted for the rest of the day. It was an extremely nice gesture, but in the end, we did not ask for drinks (other than the 2 we received with our coupons) and paid for our drinks that day. After speaking to him, finding out the "back-stage" details of his life, his family, running the island and taking care of the animals, I was fine with paying just like any other person that visited the island. I was just thankful for being able to come here.
Meanwhile, my hubby is still trying to get on the Internet with no luck. Kevah went inside several times to try to reset the modem for him (talk about a nice thing to do). We tried both the laptop and the ipad with no luck. At one point he told my hubby that if he wanted, he was welcome to go upstairs to the house. As nice of a gesture that was, we did not want to invade their private home and declined saying that it would be ok and we would just wait until we were back on the ship or another port.
Again, Kevah offered to take us snorkeling out to the reef. I explained to him that I had already purchased the snorkeling package for myself, but for some reason I received the same wrist band as the hubby and Sakari. He said they were welcome to go as well. While I knew that the hubby would not be able to get in the water and snorkel, I said that maybe he could just go along for the boat ride out and watch us.
He then mentioned the horseback riding in the ocean. I finally agreed that this would be an experience that I would normally not do, so we would be happy to take a ride some time during our stay there. He told his brother to make sure we got to do it. I was more than thankful.
After awhile, Sakari and I decided to hit the water and do a little snorkeling from the beach area we were in.
We started by just snorkeling around the edge of the water by the rocks and statues.
NOW...WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SHOW AND TELL YOU...KIDS, (AND ADULTS)...DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME, UM, I MEAN WHILE YOU ARE ON VACATION AND SNORKELING. Ok, I "normally" don't do stupid things and I usually don't touch anything I don't know what it is. I don't know what came over me and I guess I was feeling a little too adventurous this day. I was on a beautiful island, had just had a wonderful conversation with the owner and was feeling a little too at ease at the moment. So, forgive me everyone for what I'm about to show you and write about.
Sakari is motioning me over to an area by the rocks where she was at. She starts pointing under the water and showing me something. She states "a fuzzy caterpillar mommy". For some reason, I was thinking maybe some type of baby sea cucumber??? I know that LFK is loaded with sea urchins and we have held them before and I figured maybe this was a baby one.
Of course looking at the picture now instead of threw a pair of goggles, in water distorting your vision, along with moving water, and of course on the computer you can zoom in on the picture and get a really good look...you can tell it's not 1) a baby sea cucumber and 2) definitely not a "fuzzy caterpillar".
In fact it's called a Fire Bristle Worm. Fire as in your skin will be on fire when you are dumb enough to pick it up, hold it for awhile, and allow it to release it's spiky little thorn mechanisms into your skin that will burn like fire and then itch like h3ll making it feel like you have a 1000 splinters in your skin that you can't even see to remove. Yea, just know that I warned you.
Sakari will warn you as well.
At first it felt funny. Then about a good 15 minutes later came the pain. Sakari seems to have "sensitive skin", so any time a bug is on her, I swear she breaks out. After the "incident", she had not only the spiky thorns in her, but she also developed a raised rash along her wrist/forearm area. Yes, I know it hurt, I had the same thorns in me, but I'm pretty sure one of her fingers must have fell off during the process by the way she was crying. (Hanging head in shame and nominating myself as loser mother of the day award). It took awhile before she was able to recooperate and get on with the day as a normal exploring child again.
At one point she managed to see a hummingbird going from flower to flower in a bush by the house...how she seen it I will never understand. I mean spotting a very small and very fast creature such as a hummingbird is sometimes difficult with normal vision...but with blurred vision from all of the tears...she must have 20/10 vision.
Hummingbird in bushes...can you spot it with clear vision? Yea, neither can I, even with trying to zoom in, but it's there somewhere.
Meanwhile Sakari is recuperating and daddy is trying to understand what is going on while I'm shaking my head like I have no clue what just got a hold of us in the water and trying to avoid the subject of what just happened.
Then Kevah came back over, still trying to get the Internet to work for the hubby (which was so nice, but completely unnecessary to take time out of his day to work on it).
Then I struck up the conversation about Little French Key versus the Carnival Cruise Line debate on here.
OK...HERE IS THE FULL STORY...PAY ATTENTION, IT COMES STRAIGHT FROM THE OWNERS MOUTH. I'm here to set the story straight about this issue. There have been so many conflicting reports about the Carnival excursions being offered here, the owner saying the excursion is officially canceled and cruisers continuing to say 1) they are still going there and have been there and 2) they are still offering this excursion on Carnival...as far as into next years bookings.
NO, YOU DID NOT GO THERE AND NO, THEY ARE NOT STILL OFFERING IT...and I'll tell you why.
The owners tried for 2 years to get a contract with Carnival to offer their place as an excursion for the cruisers to generate some income to help with the expenses to take care of the island and the animals. Carnival always denied. Then like I said, LFK opened up for day passes back around 2011 and obviously Carnival seen what a beautiful retreat it could be=$$ generated by Carnival if they accepted. By then, they were no longer interested in doing a contract with them because they were doing just fine on their own. Their beautiful island was starting to get publicity (and we all know the publicity I have given it on here with the pictures). However, they thought about it and decided to give it a try on a temporary basis. They signed an 8 month contract with Carnival to accept the cruisers as a day pass excursion. After the contract was up, they decided to cancel.
When it came time for the cancellation of their contract, Carnival approached them to extend it. They declined, but at the begging of Carnival, they agreed to extend it for another 2 months and that was it. I believe it ended in October.
I had contacted Kevah on his fb page inquiring about this and was told the same thing (because people on here were asking about it and others were saying that they would not go if they were to be bombarded with a bunch of cruisers on an excursion). There were bad reports now flowing in saying that the place was too crowded, there was no place to sit, there were areas that were roped off and the cruisers on the excursion took up the entire area and it no longer made for a relaxing day. He assured me that the contract was canceled.
Of course reports kept flowing in that they were still booking with Carnival to LFK and there are reports that it's still being offered into next year.
HERE'S WHERE THE CARNIVAL CRUISERS ARE GOING....IT'S NOT LITTLE FRENCH KEY!!!
This is your beach Carnival cruisers...
Carnival obviously put plans into motion when they knew that LFK was no longer interested in giving them a slice of $$ for the day passes and was able to get the island across from LFK, in the lagoon area, to create a place for the cruisers to go. The reason that you are seeing the NAME on Carnival is they ever so slyly named this place FRENCH KEY! By dropping the "Little", they still have the same name and still have cruisers thinking they are going to Little French Key. How clever Carnival. However, IMO, you have turned a beautiful little secluded area on LFK into a place that now shares part of it's lagoon with the hoards of cruisers visiting in any given day. It is ashamed that LFK had to put up the big red buoys you see in the pictures and plat forms to "mark their territory" instead of having the beautiful, untouched, natural look it had before this happened. Now this particular area looks like your typical "resort" destination for the cruisers.
He stated that yes, some times the cruisers adventure over and he is polite about it, but that's why his day pass people have the wrist bands and he knows who belongs to his place. He can't do much about them wondering over, but if it gets crowded, it's because they are now trying to invade his space and are not supposed to be there to begin with.
If you look at LFK on Carnivals site, you will find that the $$ for this listing is now N/A and it has been discontinued.
So if you are seeing a beach getaway that goes there now...just know you are going to the island across from LFK that has been name "French Key" to throw you off.
I remember doing some research on this island awhile back and I believe from what I remembered, it is a privately owned island that they made several weekly rental homes on. You can rent one of these villas for $35,000 for the week. Yikes! This island is actually named "Big French Key". The size of it is a lot bigger than LFK as seen in an aerial below.
Some history about Big French Cay:
BIG FRENCH CAY
Big French Cay is approximately 11 1/2 acres in size, located about a quarter of a mile off the main island of Roatan. The island is believed to be originally settled by a Frenchman in the 1760s. By the early part of the last century there were over 20 families, a school and a church on the island. When the present owners purchased the Cay in 1974, there was only one family left -- the Thompsons, Horace and Mary, ages 87 and 86 respectively. Both had been born and raised on Big French Cay. Mr. Thompson was third-generation, and Mrs. Thompson was fourth-generation of original English settlers.
The Big French Cay was utilized for a program for children with learning disorders during the mid-seventies until early eighties. Today, the island has gone through an extensive renovation to cater to a discerning clientèle that require the privacy of their own facilities.
So there you have it. The scoop that everyone has been looking for. I will have additional pictures within my review of that lagoon area when I get to my "3rd beach" review at LFK.
Here are pictures I previously took looking over toward Big French Cay...you can see what a difference a little over a year has made.
Notice all the rocks and just how tall it is over there back then.
Starring over at the undeveloped side back then.
And now we have this to stare at....
Here is a video that LFK posted that tells a little about the place and meet the owners and hear their story.
We decided to move over to the lagoon area, or beach #3...this is the heavenly area of beautiful crystal blue water, just like you see in a postcard...only now with big red buoys splitting the lagoon area in half.
Along the way I'm snapping pictures of the grounds by the house and animal areas. No matter which way you turn, you will find a pretty little treat to look at. They have collected these items from all over the world and brought to display here on their grounds. There are fountains and statues everywhere.
This is the back of the 2 story deck that everyone jumps off into the water from. I didn't realize until this time around that there are also steps leading up to it from the back.
I was taking a picture of this board and Kevah was telling me about the small house structure that was located behind it. He states it is such an eyesore, but has a lot of history and he hated to remove it. It is the original building that was first built on the island many many years ago. He wants to preserve it, but plans on moving it somewhere else.
We have arrived at beach #3-the lagoon area.
We picked a spot under a palapa and in the water goes Sakari while I decided to grab my first monkey lala for the day and take some pictures.
There are plenty of spaces, with shade, tables, and chairs, right by the water that is secluded in it's own little way for a family if you are interested in having your "own" little spot.
This place just screams relaxation in every direction you turn. If you can't find a place to sit or relax here, then you have issues....just saying.
Obviously the hubby has found his spot and enjoying a beer and a cigar. #livinglifetothefullest
Sakari swimming out to the closest palapa in the water. She remembered that this area had tons of itty bitty crabs on the chairs in the water and around the palapa. I'm pretty sure she was determined to find more...and she did.
I just noticed that there are no longer any chairs in the water like they had last time in this area, which is where the little crabs would crawl on.
They have built this new building since I was there last year. It also has a second story, but Kevah assured me that it wasn't one for jumping off of. I remember this area being pretty shallow below and couldn't imagine it being a "jump deck" to begin with.
He stated that it is a bar and has "water seats" and thought it would be a great idea and good addition to relaxing in the ocean while getting a drink.
As you can see, there are chairs located directly in the water.
Also, on the side of the building where the bar is, they have added hanging swings to it (this was posted after our trip there and is brand new and looks fabulous).
Looking at a the beach area #1 & #2.
And down below hundreds of little fishies by the dock.
There are several platforms out in the water now along the perimeter of LFK's water line.
I can never get enough of enjoying this little slice of heaven. Obviously, nethier can Sakari
Joel came over and ask us again if we wanted to take a ride on the horses. We figured we might as well go ahead and do it and see what it was all about. After all, I still had a snorkeling trip to do as well.
So, we headed back over to the other side where they had the horses close to the new jaguar enclosure they were working on.
We arrived to the area (which is an area they are working on so it's kinda muddy over there) and they brought over 2 of the horses. I decided to have Sakari go with daddy and I would get my own horse. I haded him one of the cameras (while telling him to make sure you get pictures of me riding in the water and I'll get pictures of you) and I took the other camera.
They have a platform that you climb up to mount the horse.
Having a saddle big enough for the both daddy and Sakari wasn't working out too great but they managed.
Then it was my turn to mount the horse. Now I've rode horses in my day and grew up with our landlord owning a farm and horses that we would visit on the weekends with my parents. I have rode them with a saddle. I have rode them without a saddle. But I am rusty and I admit I have never rode them in the water or the ocean. So, this would be an experience for me....and a challenge as well.
The platform they have built is like a stair step with 3 levels. For some reason they brought the horse up to the small side instead of pulling the horse around to the taller side so that you could just stand up on the top level and get on. This made for a very big challenge to get up that high. The next thing that I noticed was the saddle didn't have any stirrups attached to it...which made it even harder to get on. Had I had a stirrup to put my foot up and throw over the horse, I would have been fine.
Once we were on the horses, each one of us had a leader that lead the horse by the rains toward the water. Then down into the water we went.
Once you hit a little deeper, there are tons of rocks. I seen Sakari and the hubbys horse kinda bare up a little and the guide grabbed it tighter. I could tell that DH was trying to hold onto Sakari for dear life as well as maintaining his balance on the horse. I knew that this scared her and you could tell by the look on her face and the constant worry the rest of the ride that it did not sit well with her.
As my horse entered the water, it kinda did the same thing and also scared me a little, not because I'm scared of the horse raising up, but because I was afraid of falling off. Since there were no stirrups on the saddle it made it very hard to stay on without sliding back and forth. I have been on horses that have reared up and I have been thrown off horses. I have been drug through a thorn bush by horses. But, I was much younger and I'm known to brake bones these days at my age and the last thing I wanted that day was to be thrown off into the water that was ROCKY because I was sure to break something with my luck. Had it been a smooth beach, it would have been no worries.
Notice how daddy has that camera wrapped around his wrist holding on to the saddle while the other holds on to Sakari? That's where it would remain the entire time...getting no pictures of me in the water on the horse. I knew I could count on him as always. LOL But I guess in his defense, it was a rough trip and he needed 3 hands to hang on.I held on for dear life and tried to take pictures as well. I put a smile on my face and acted as if I was enjoying it, but truth be known all I could think about was when was it ever going to be over? It was a very bumpy ride. I kept going hoping that Sakari was enjoying herself once they got all the way into the water and the horse calm.
They stopped a few times to let us take pictures. I'm of course sighing now because the camera that I had managed to get a water spot on it on the way into the water and trying to center focus a picture of Sakari and daddy on the horse put that water spot dead center on her face. Sigh*
Finally one of the guides stopped and ask if I wanted a picture of me...of course I do. He took my camera and took a picture of me. See, there's proof that I was actually on the horse after all.
Sakari looked really worried the entire time. I'm not sure she was enjoying this. I'm pretty sure daddy wasn't enjoying trying to hold on.
They just walked around in the water in the area that we were in. It never did get smooth along the way and I think this is one of the things that made this ride not so great. Had it been in the water that was sandy, it would have been a much better experience.
It wasn't but about 15 minutes, if that, into the ride when I hear daddy tell them to take us back and I see them turn around and head back the direction I was coming. He said that Sakari was scared and he was done with it. I kind of sighed a breath of relief and was glad to head back myself and hoped for a better experience coming out of the water than going in.
Daddy gave the horse one last "thanks for the thrill" pet on the neck, we gathered our things, thanked them for the ride, and headed back over to beach #3 to hopefully get some lunch.
When I seen everyone else eating, I knew I was ready to eat as well. It had already been a long day and I needed another drink as well.
We put our things down under the big bar/lunch area and I headed over to get a plate. Immediately Joel said that he would have them bring the food over to us and to just relax anywhere we wanted and they would find us. So I went back to the table and sat and just enjoyed the view. I tried to talk to Sakari about the horseback ride and making it sound as positive as possible because the last thing I wanted was for her to walk away being scared of another animal. I kept saying "Wasn't that fun?" "Wasn't that neat?" "You can go back home and tell everyone at school that you got to ride a horse in the ocean" Hopefully the trick worked and we'll see next time she has an encounter with one.
Meanwhile, I'm still waiting on my food. It's not coming. It's been awhile. I did a quick "walk-by" the area where they have the food at and noticed that they still had several plates with food on them sitting on one of the tables by the grill. Hmmm, I wasn't sure what the hold up was. I went back and sat down.
After awhile, Joel walked over and I mentioned to him that we were still waiting on our plates and was it ok to go over and ask for them. He immediately went over and had someone bring the plates over. They explained that they were waiting on more lobster, so the plates didn't have the lobster on them and as soon as they had some, they would bring it over.
I enjoyed everything (except I didn't eat the red meat/steak/or whatever it is because I don't eat stuff like that, which I gave to the hubby). Sakari must have really enjoyed her meal and quickly ate up all of her shrimp and was working on daddys shrimp after that. LOL
While we were eating Joel sat down with the guitar and was getting ready to play and sing. They were playing "regular" songs you hear on the radio prior to that and I made the comment that we can hear that "stuff" any old day and wanted to hear some island music. He sang while we continued with our meal.
At this point, I overheard others talking about the snorkeling boat and how they had just returned and how amazing the reef was. I figured I had better find out where this boat was and get on it to go out. I started asking around about it and one of the workers pointed in the direction I needed to go to find the guy that takes people out to the reef. He was supposed to be over behind the 2 story deck and over where the canoe storage is located. I ask around for him when we got there, but no one could locate him and they said they would find him.
I waited and waited...and then finally said, you know what, I'm wasting a lot of time and no one has come back and I feel like I could just be enjoying my time swimming at the lagoon instead of just sitting there.
We headed back to the lagoon and I decided I was going to just go snorkeling in that area for now and ask again later. (Although in the back of my mind, I knew I probably wasn't going to find the person that I needed to find and I wasn't going to get the snorkeling tour I had paid for). Sigh* Once again, I was not going to get to go out to the reef to come back and report to everyone here what it's like. (Sad).
I entered the water with Sakari and we immediately found a sea cucumber. After the issues with the last thing we held, I figured she would be afraid of the sea cucumber, but she wasn't. I knew it wouldn't hurt you, so I let her hold it. I think I restored my super hero mommy award for the day. I'm in good standing with her once again. Yippee.
(Notice daddy in the background of the picture above? I didn't realize that he decided to get in the water as well...and he ended up getting in the canoe.)
I went about snorkeling...
The following pictures are the few things that I seen when snorkeling in this lagoon area: Several fish, a baby lion fish (it was in the same spot where I found the last one here over a year ago, only it was bigger), several damsel fish, spiky sea urchins, parrot fish, rainbow wrasse, blue stripped grunt, and so on...
I popped up out of water at one point and noticed that DH had put Sakari into the canoe and they were canoing along with me. He said "if I can't snorkel with you, I'll do it this way so we are together." Awww
Before long, "together" turned into him and Sakari heading out away from me. I knew the area that he was in was the grassy area that I never snorkel in because there wasn't much to see.
I thought these shots turned out nicely because you could see them and see the crystal clear water and rocks in the water as well.
I explored a little over toward the jumping dock, there wasn't much to see over there.
Then the hubby came back from where they were at and said "You have got to see this!!! It's amazing out here. You don't need a snorkeling trip. I'll take you!"
I hopped into the canoe and away we went with Sakari leading the way.
We headed out to the area right past the grassy area that I had known about. I had no clue what I was about to see and experience. It was amazing!!!
The coral formations were some of the prettiest I had seen. The water was crystal clear and you could see straight down to the bottom as if you were in the water.
The coral came almost all the way up to the surface and there were huge areas to wind in and out of them.
I took this shot (although not the best since I had just taken my camera up out of the water) just to show how beautiful it was from the top of the water as well and you could see everything right below you.
Had the water spot on my camera not been there, you probably would have thought I was actually in the water snorkeling.
I took several shots from above and even that was amazing.
I looked back and took a picture of LFK from where we were just to show how close it was...thank you Sakari for managing to bring your oar up at that exact same moment the camera went off.
The size of these coral formations were simply stunning and amazing. We would look down and see huge formations of coral surrounding us. The water was so crystal clear that you felt like you could just reach down and touch it.
We made our way over to the area in front of beach #2 and beach #3. There really wasn't much to see over there and it was mostly sea grass.
I zoomed in for a nice blurry shot of the jaguar and horse area from the ocean.
We made our way back to the lagoon area and I was smiling from ear to ear.
For those of you that ask about the quality of snorkeling and the reef....I'm here to tell you it is simply amazing out there. You can't even imagine from just looking at pictures. It was surrounding us. It was the most beautiful thing ever. I would have given anything to be in the water with it and exploring. If the reef was that good right there, not far from the island, I can only imagine what it looks like out at the reef a little further out where they take you to.
Yes, I'm disappointed that I didn't get my snorkeling trip. However, I'm very grateful that I at least got to see with my own eyes the amazing reef (or part of it) that is awaiting out there for my next trip back to Roatan (whenever that may be).
So that was some manual labor canoeing and all...wait, I forgot, I didn't do any of the labor, Sakari and daddy did. Ok, well I think I worked up my thirst because my mouth was watering so much at the reef that I needed a drink. We handed our canoe off to another family and in we came to buy some more drinks.
After that, we (well Sakari) wanted to go over to the deck and do some jumping. I swear when you are down below, it looks simple. But once you get up there and you are looking down, it's like you are about to free fall off the empire state building. No joke.
I guess the jumping deck now has been officially named "Bottoms Up" and that is what I was about to do.
It's a pretty nice area up there and pretty big as well. I know the Ma'ams said on their last trip there they just hung out up there all day in the shade and overlooked the sites.
Looking down...not so scary right? (Well that's because you are looking at a screen and I'm looking at 1000' down into the water...just kidding, it's not that far).
Let me just stand here and admire the view (or at least I was trying to convince Sakari to stop rushing me).