I Belize in MAGIC! MITSUGIRLY revisits the Western Route. My Novel.
Day 6: Roatan
ROATAN day 5 on the ship: 9-6pm
I woke up at 6:30am today and checked the time. What is wrong with me waking up so early and not even needing the alarm. Kendra said she has been up every day at 7am without an alarm. We must be losing our minds or super excited.
I immediately checked the weather and it said sunny, then a shower, then more sun. I was hoping that it would be more sun than rain. But, I guess some is better than none since the entire week called for thunderstorms in each port prior to leaving for the cruise. Even though we have had some rain and cloudy days, I think we have been pretty lucky so far.
I sounded the mommy wake up call and everyone got dressed and we headed for breakfast. To my surprise, Kendra was already there...although she was not staying and just picking up breakfast for her and the kids and taking it back to the room while they all got ready.
Since I didn't feel like runny eggs today, I headed for the omelette line. To my surprise, there wasn't much of a line and it was quick and painless. I passed my plate along to the bacon police and told them "crispy please". They were generous with their 1 1/2 pieces of bacon they slapped on my plate with a smile.
I finished off my breakfast with my favorite "pastries"
It had been a rainy week for the Caribbean I guess. We pulled up and the water looked disgusting. I was really hoping it didn't look like this everywhere and we'd be able to see some beautiful crystal clear water.
I have never seen any water in the Caribbean look this bad.
I was trying to focus on the lift ride taking people over to the beach area.
Here's the building we needed to make it to in order to get out of the cruise compound.
I'm pretty sure the sun was trying to come out for us.
The following video is an overview of the walk from the ship to the port and to the exit of the compound. Then it will show you the street you need to walk (which is uphill) to get to the taxi vendors outside the port. It's a bit of a haul, but I know that a lot of people want to know just how far of a walk it is. So, I figured I'd take a video from the ship to show you.
After breakfast I texted Kendra to devise a plan to meet and get off the ship. We had a little bit of time and she said "meet me in the casino" then she mentioned "deck 6" which was the deck she was staying on, then she said "elevators", then mentioned they were going to the "casino"...which isn't on deck 6 at all, but instead on deck 5. Confusion set in.
We gathered our things and headed to the casino. We found the kids and billy there...playing a game.
There was no Kendra. I waited and waited and I guess she was waiting for us on deck 6 by the elevators. LOL
We never did hear them announce that the ship was cleared and we could get off the ship. I'm not sure why they don't do announcements like NCL does when you can get off. Maybe they don't want a mob of people running for the exit? I'm not sure. I have just always been used to hearing them say we are cleared and can leave.
It was 9:20am and I said "Let's just go, it can't be taking this long". Then off we went.
We stopped for our port pictures.
Obviously Kendra was special today and they took a bunch of black and white photos of her family.
We would head out for the long haul to the taxi stand outside of the port. I knew the last time I had to do this it was a bit on the tiring side, but well worth it to get away and go do something outside of the port.
So what were we doing today? SCUBA DIVING! We have been trying to scuba dive at least one port per cruise since Sakari took an interest to this hobby a little over a year ago.
A little history: We went to St Lucia on a cruise and to the Pitons. It was absolutely AMAZING! The snorkeling was just out of this world. While we were there, Sakari watched several divers go in the water and they were below her. At that time, she instantly started begging to scuba dive. I told her she was too young, but she was very persistent.
After coming back home, I found that she could, in fact, learn to dive. I signed her up with the local dive shop and she started taking classes. She got certified as a PADI seal team member and she dives monthly doing various skills you have to complete. She loves it! Actually TONIGHT (Dec 1) is her very last class to complete her aquamissions. After this, she will do a check off and become a MASTER PADI SEAL! How exciting.
She will then be able to get her open water certificate, if she decides to do this, in 5 months. I'm still not sure what her plans are (or ours) as far as diving. It still makes me very nervous, but it's getting better I believe. I just don't know if I actually want to become certified (or her for that matter) because it scares me. I'm just being honest. Everyone keeps telling me to get certified and I'll do better and over come some of my fears/anxiety about diving. But to be perfectly honest, I just don't feel like I will ever want to do anything other than what I'm doing now...which is the limitations of the Discover Scuba Dive (down to 40') <---and I really don't care to go that far. I have 0% desire to do a night dive, or dive from a boat out in the ocean where it's deep, or cave dive or anything like that. The DSD is more my speed and desire. So, we will see.
So, back to the day. We were scuba diving. One thing I want to mention is that Sakari has been stung by fire coral on a beach day in Cozumel. She was also stung by fire coral scuba diving in Curacao. Since this last time, she has gotten a little nervous about diving. She's associating the fire coral stings with scuba diving and when we were in Aruba on a land vacation in August, she begged not to go diving. I was shocked. Then I learned that she was afraid of being stung. Well...don't get close to the fire coral and be more aware of your surroundings and going down too far and that won't happen.
This time around, once again, she said "I don't wanna scuba dive in the ocean" with the same excuse. Well, we were diving anyhow because it was already booked and paid for.
Originally I had plans to go see the sloths and then on to a beach for the day. I wanted to scuba dive in Costa Maya because that was the only port day that we didn't have any plans. Then Kendra booked and decided that she wanted to dive in Roatan.
After checking all the places in Costa Maya, we discovered that you had to dive BY BOAT there. That was an instant NO for both me and Kendra. Absolutely not! She has the same anxiety I have when diving and it takes us both awhile to get used to breathing under water like that. We need our feet firmly planted on the ground until the calmness sets in. This would only be her second dive, with the first being at Coki Beach and it took her forever to get used to it. I would see her constantly pop back up over and over at the beach and it wasn't looking good for a long time. But she accomplished it and managed to dive at Coki.
So it looked like Roatan would be the place we would dive. I contacted a lot of different places and our problem is...the kids. It's very hard to find a company that can accommodate both the adults AND the kids with a dive.
I found the perfect place: Bananarama. They gave us the option of a DSD right there at West Bay, which I had been wanting to return to since we were there last in 2011 and kind of didn't get to see much of the reef that time because they had had a lot of rain prior and everything was stirred up. They would take us right out off the beach and to the kidney area and around the outside and back. We would be going to Eel Garden and that sounded pretty darn awesome! They would also take the kids out so far with us and knew they were both PADI seals and felt comfortable with this.
We booked the DSD for $120pp (adult) which included the dive/equipment, round trip transportation, use of beach and chair after dive. The dive was $100 and the transportation was $20.
For the kids, it was $80 per kid plus $20pp transportation.
Then the non-diver (Billy) was a $30 package ($20 for transportation and $10 for...I thought they said a drink or two, I can't remember). Kam was free. So $617.50 later and we were booked and I was excited to be diving West Bay!
We made it up and over the hill at the taxi stand and found our driver holding the Bananarama sign. We were in the van and pulling out at 9:48am. Docking in Mahogany Bay makes us the furthest port from West Bay.
I would snap pics along the way of course.
I always try to sit in a seat by the window so that I can take pictures. If it's a window that will open, even better.
I picked a spot by the window and directly behind the driver. It was super hot in the van and it got so bad I started complaining (which I usually never do). The driver adjusted the a/c and it got worse. I was trying to mess with the controls to the a/c on the ceiling for the back but nothing was working. My legs were ON FIRE! I reached down and there was heat coming from down there. Oh my gosh...like seriously bad. I put my bag down on the floor and put my feet up on the bag. While it gave some relief, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I finally got up and said I was moving back a seat and then I seen the culprit...the heater.
I said out loud that if we had to take this van with the heat turned on full blast, I would protest for another van/driver. But at least I wasn't having it thrown directly on my feet now and I opened up the windows for some fresh air.
We passed by the airport...
Rent a car for those of you that would dare take on driving on these roads.
Where we ever going to get there? This driver was Slow with a Capital S. Like we were creeping with traffic behind us and passing us. What was the deal? Did this van not go any faster? I don't get it. I have taken a lot of taxi's in my day and they drive like they are trying out for a NASCAR position. This one was in a snail race.
I need one of those hammocks!
I remember a story about this airplane the last time we went out this way to West Bay and I believe the driver was telling us that someone bought this plane and was going to do something to it to make it into a restaurant. Then it never happened. It looks like it has deteriorated since then.
Then our driver pulls up here...did we need a car wash or what? This thing might fall apart.
I was secretly hoping they were going to find a way to turn this heat off. But no, instead, we had a flat tire. Ahhh, that's why we were going so slow. I told the hubby that it's diet time for him since it was on his side of the van.
I guess this is the way they work on vehicles...Make a ramp with a hole under it.
Then we were off again...only just as slow as it was before. Obviously a low tire was not the issue.
We hit the area that I remember being really nice. Before, the driver was telling us about the "rich" people living there and what they did for a living. I remember houses being built. This driver said NOTHING.
This picture I was attempting to get a picture of the truck that was a few cars ahead of us. If you look closely, there are 2 people in the bed of the truck and they both have machine guns.
Passing the school.
This hotel had huge sea shells on the balconies as decorations.
A speed bump. Like these are needed on these streets. The streets had pot holes everywhere and our driver went even slower and was not good at dodging them. I noticed a lot of streets that had pot holes and had mud packed in them. However, they were being washed out by the rain...so what good does that do?
We had finally arrived. It was over an hour drive there. I do NOT remember it being that long. I'm pretty sure it wasn't. After that ride, I swore I would never come back here again...at least not when docked at Mahogany Bay.
Hey at least it was nice and sunny out!
We immediately checked in with the staff and I was so excited but yet nervous as well.
They put a wristband on Billy and showed him and Kam to the bar. We sat down and started filling out paperwork.
The instructor for the kids started going over everything with them and answering questions and asking questions.
We met the girl that was going to be our instructor. Man did she look young. The owners (I think) are from Utah maybe? They came here and then later bought this place. I believe our instructor was also from Utah and came over to do her certification and stayed or something like that. There was another instructor or helper that would be with us that day and she was an exchange dive student, I believe also from Utah, and she came down to be certified and was also supposed to be here for a few weeks and loved it so much that she's dragging out her stay and has been here for months now. She doesn't want to return.
At one point I went out and checked on Billy and Kam and I wanted to see the beach.
Scubagirl needed a pic...once again...something is wrong with her. (If you haven't figured it out yet, her goggles are on upside down). LOL I imagine her seal isn't going to be too great. Hopefully she knows how to clear her mask.
So then a very nice gentleman came over to talk to us about the dive. He informed us that we would not be diving West Bay. Say what???? Why??? That's the only reason I came here. He said the water was too choppy and unsafe and we would be going over to the other side of the island and diving where the water is calm. Ok, I'm all for calm but I had my heart sat on West Bay and the Eel Garden. I'm also all for safety, so I guess I was ok with it...until he dropped a bomb on us. "You'll be going out by boat and diving". UM NO!! NO WE WILL NOT! NO DEFINITELY WE WILL NOT! I explained to him our anxiety with diving, how it takes a long time to get used to the water, we need to be standing on our feet until then and we only picked their place because it was a shore dive. I explained how we had originally planned on diving in Costa Maya but then found out that you could only do boat dives. Absolutely not!
He talked to me about it for a really long time. He was very calming and informative. He also said that "if" we decided we didn't want to then we did have the option of doing a shore dive from the site we get on the boat to go out to dive, but they had a lot of rain lately and it's going to be murky/muddy looking. It's going to be hard to see. We would have to do our skills there and then swim out past the buoys to scuba and it wasn't going to be the greatest scuba diving experience. He also explained that if we did it that way, we would not be diving with the kids. If we dove by boat then the kids would be with us.
He wants us to go by boat to a place called the "Cave". Wait...no caves for me. That would freak me out. He said it was just called that. The boat dive would be a great place, not too deep, and there's a ......WALL! Wait, stop again. If you are trying to comfort me and talk me into this, telling me about a wall is not going to do it. I'm petrified of walls.
He told us to get ready and it was a 5 minute drive over to the area and then we would discuss it more after I seen it.
Then we discovered Sakari had no mermaid tail. They had us put all of our things behind their counter in their storage area and no bright yellow and orange bag to be found. When Sakari was questioned, she didn't remember grabbing it out of the cab van. Oh no!!!! He said he would call the driver and have him look for it. Sakari was heartbroken and (so was I) I reminded her that she needed to be more responsible.
I then told Kendra what was going on. She instantly went into panic mode as well.
They did not go over anything with us as far as our skills or a class. We were fitted for wet suits and then we piled in 2 vehicles. We were in a truck with the guy who had been talking to me and the instructors were in the bed of the truck. Kendra and the kids were in a car.
It was actually a 12 minute drive to were we were going and it was called Flowers Bay. All of a sudden it started raining. The girls in the back were screaming and laughing. I ask if they wanted to squeeze inside with us and they said no.
We pulled up along the side of the road and we all piled out. The girls were carrying the tanks and equipment (these girls looked like they were about 100# and not sure how they manhandled all this equipment). The guy told me to "come" and he would show me around and explain everything and let me decide what we would do.
He was seriously the nicest guy ever and so calming. He told me that the boat ride was about 5 minutes away and just down a ways from there. They are real close to the land. There would be a wall, but we didn't have to go out there. When we got in the water, we could use the ladder. When we did our skills check off we could either hold on to the ladder and do them, hold onto a rope and do them, or even have the instructor hold us up and do them. He explained after that, we would use the rope to slowly go down to the ocean floor. He told me how simple it was and how patient our instructor was. I begged for him to take us. (lol) but he couldn't that day.
I threw caution to the wind and said "oh what the hell, let's do this...boat and all".
We waited on the dock while the girls got our things together and lined up. It has stopped raining.
We each had our spot with everything set up from fins to tanks to bsd...everything. All we had to do was get on and sit in our assigned spot.
We piled in the boat and instantly Kendra and I went into an entirely different state of mind. Not a good one either. Off we went for our dive.
I don't remember what they were talking about here, but obviously everyone had forgotten their troubles and was laughing.
It was really a short boat ride to where we were going and really close to the land.
This is where we docked.
Now I really don't understand this. The above picture is where we docked. You see how close the land is right? Well they pointed toward the land and said "right there is the wall". Um, how can a wall be right there? Right by the land? They were right but still it's weird. You couldn't see the land that close from under water, but the wall was right there.
Once we stopped the boat and "parked", Andrea started going over our skills we would do with her and explaining the area. It took a little while. Kendra started talking about getting sick from all the rocking of the boat. I suspect that she was just making excuses and was scared. This is what she did in St Thomas. Complained about her mask leaking and having issues when really it was her nerves. Now...she was getting sea sick. Kendra and Billy own boats, we go boating in the summer, riding jet skis, and tubing. Stop trying to convince me that you are sick from being on the boat. Seriously?
After going over the details, Andrea (our instructor) geared up and did a back flip off the boat as we watched.... and shouted "no way we are doing that".
Kendra was still complaining about getting sick with the boat rocking and they told her to hurry and get in the water. She did...followed by me, the kids, then the hubby. The hubby kept looking at me and saying "are you ok?" "are you sure?". I was fine...so far.
I took this time to just put my head under the water and get use to my breathing while everyone else got in. I looked around. I could see tons of coral and fish way down there. It was too far to really see clearly or get pictures, but I could see it! I concentrated on what was to come. I came up a few times and then back down. I held on to the rope for dear life and the few times I let go, the instructor pushed it toward me.
The kids went toward the front of the boat with their instructor and did their skills. We were in the back of the boat. It was time to do our skills and I was the first to go...oh dear.
I held on to the rope and let the air out of my bsd. I was struggling to stay down. When I would let go of the rope, I would float back up. I was a little frustrated. I took the regulator out of my mouth and put it back in and purged it. I got the ok sign and high five. I took the regular out and threw it over my shoulder, swoop and retrieved it and put it back in my mouth and purged. High five. Now it was time t