Mitsugirly BREAKAWAYs for a summer cruise: Review/Pictorial
Day 4: Roatan Honduras
We would be in port with Vista today and here from 10-6pm
The last time we were here we went scuba diving. However, the weather did not cooperate with us and we were unable to dive at West Bay like we had hoped. I had really wanted to go out to Mandy's Eel Garden, but with the weather, we had to go over to the other side, where it was calm, and dive at Flowers Bay (which was fabulous!).
Once again, I contacted the dive company in hopes that we would finally get to dive West Bay and Mandy's Eel Garden. I knew out of all the ports we would be going to, Roatan was the place to dive. Then I got bad news...the dive shop we used last time was booked with a bunch of people that were staying at a hotel on the island that day. I started searching for someone else and although the dive company I decided to go with was more expensive (both for the dive and the transportation), their communication and all the time they took to answer my hundreds to questions was just great customer service and I felt so comfortable with them. They did say they don't normally cater to cruise ship people, but obviously was not going to turn anyone down either. They normally didn't include any transportation to and from the ships, but would arrange it for me because that was just something that was very important to me to have included. They ended up charging us $25 pp for round trip (which was more than any other place quoted us) but I guess it was worth it to know that we had someone waiting for us. The cost of the dive was $125 pp PLUS tax, which I didn't realize until after the dive. Some of the other companies quoted a price and said that it included taxes. So, I was caught off guard when we went to pay for the dive and it was more than what I had brought.
So we woke up and headed for breakfast. I opted for the already made omelette (this time it was spinach and cheese) and I really didn't eat too much for breakfast that morning. I'm not sure what is going on with me this cruise. I just really didn't feel hungry most of the time.
We managed to get a window seat, which Sakari always loves.
Pulling into the port. I knew it was going to be a good day and the weather was perfect. Look at that crystal clear water!!
I'm not sure what they are building at the port. It looks like they are putting in another dock?
We got off the ship as soon as they allowed us and stopped for pics at the pier.
We exited out of the port and asked some of the vendors in the area where is "West Bay Divers" and they pointed in the direction we needed to go. We met up with our driver and walked down the street to get to his van. He was parked a little far away and I guess I wasn't expecting to walk that far in the heat. Whew! I thought maybe they were having us walk to West Bay at one point. But the a/c in the van never felt so good and then we were off.
We passed by Flowers Bay, where we dove last time.
We arrived at the dive station, I'm guessing, within about 20 minutes or so and checked in with our instructor. The thing I like about NCL is that their dock (Coxenhole) is closer to West Bay than Carnival's Mahogany Bay and therefore, you get there quicker.
She knew our history of diving and said she would make it a "quick" class. She legally had to go over everything of course, but she did it quickly as a review and we took our test. I was getting a good vibe from her, which I feel is important when diving and feeling confident.
We geared up with our equipment and was ready to roll....or dive...or sink....or something entertaining.
Ok, I gave in...sticking out the tongue is the "in" thing to do I guess. I wasn't fighting her anymore about it so I joined in.
Mandy's Eel Garden on West Bay would be our dive destination. It was located right in front of the dive site.
"A great site for photography"
"Swim thru channels"
"Garden Eels retreat into their holes in unison as you approach"
"When snorkeling or surfacing from a dive always remember to be aware of the glass bottom boat that often passes directly overhead"
Now one thing I did want to mention is that during my conversation with the dive site, prior to coming here, I was told "We are a 5 star PADI dive center that specializes in small group, concierge diving (meaning we carry, set up, wash and store your gear for you) all you have to do is dive." However, we ended up having to carry our own gear. I'm not sure if the other instructors were out on a dive with regular scuba divers, but our instructor seemed to be the only one around other than someone working at the front desk. I honestly didn't mind that we had to do this...as long as there are no steps involved because I simply can not get up and down steps with the added weight on my back. I've tried before. It's brutal for me. They had a ramp to use and we walked right down to the beach and into the water where we started our skills. I will say that she did offer to do it if we felt that we couldn't or didn't want to do it, but we said we were good. So, at least she offered. It would have just taken up a lot of our time.
Since we were the only 3 in our group, our skills check off went fast and it was time to head out. I was super excited and once again NOT NERVOUS OR ANXIOUS! I'm finally getting the hang of this and enjoying diving so much now. I think this will make 3 or 4 dives for me that I didn't have any anxiety at all and it went so smoothly.
Now I handed Sakari one of the camera's and I took the other. She started taking pictures immediately.
Then all of a sudden....nothing! Absolutely nothing! The camera stopped working. We have no idea why. The battery was good and we hadn't had problems out of this "older model" camera that we've had for several years until now.
I told her to turn it off and back on.
So she got this...
Then off we went again
She said she was playing in my bubbles...
A couple more times she gave me that "look" and pointed at the camera. I turned it off and back on and she continued.
Then that was the end of it. It wouldn't turn back on anymore. Darnit. I just shrugged my shoulders and she would just have to go without unless she was able to get it to work again later. I felt so bad because she likes to take pictures when we are diving.
So now comes the abundance amount of pictures I took. Mind you, this is just a fraction of what I got that day, but it's still a lot. I'm just a picture freak...especially when it comes to being in the ocean.
When we first started, I completely forgot to put my camera on the under water mode and ended up with the green pictures...so forgive me. The setting I "usually" use is the underwater motion setting. That way if something is moving, it won't blur on me.
I also decided to take my fisheye lens with me on this dive. Although I forgot to put the camera on the underwater mode, I did remember that when the fisheye is on, I needed to adjust my settings in the camera to lighten the pictures because it makes them darker and the blues brighter as well. I love the way the pictures usually turn out with the color and feel that when I don't have the lens on, the colors aren't as "bright".
But, I have found that when you go underwater, you always get this bubble in the lens where the lens meets the camera and you have to shake the camera around to get it out. Otherwise you end up with pictures like this...
Now the reefs at West Bay are pretty shallow in areas when you start out so we were told to "snorkel" on the top but yet under water with our regulator.
It didn't take long before I discovered I was on the wrong setting and corrected it.
Sakari was trying to equalize her ears.
While she was getting the hang of that, I was taking pictures of the cute little puffer fish you see all the time.
Sakari is pretty good and knowing how far to go down and when trying to equalize her ears when to come back up and try again slowly. It takes her awhile in the beginning, but she will finally get it. We hung out on the bottom while our instructor stayed with her until she was able to finally equalize before going on.
Then we were able to go on...
We could see the snorkelers above us.
The coral was just so beautiful.
There were a lot of channels in the area. It was just so full of color and life down there. Simply amazing.
Then we heard this very loud noise. We looked up and seen a boat coming toward us...oh my. The instructor went over to grab Sakari and make sure she was out of the way. At this point she had managed to equalize her ears, but had came up some during the swim and needed to get back down out of the way. It was somewhat scary for me to watch that. I know we were down far enough, but it seemed like the boat was right on top of us and it was a little crazy looking and sounding.
Hubby was doing good and I'm so grateful we have found the perfect pair of goggles that allows him to dive with us without having ear issues since he don't have ear drums. He has absolutely no problems with these goggles with the ear covers and he enjoys himself so much now with no worries of water getting into his ears or ear infections.
We had made it down 20 feet so far and all was good.
Then I noticed a sandy bed...and in that sandy bed was garden eels.....eeek! However, we didn't stop and our instructor didn't stop to point anything out so I assumed that since we were moving on that this wasn't exactly the eel garden, but merely just some garden eels in this area.
We had made it down to 35 feet now.
I absolutely love the purple sponges. They are some of my favorite...along with the blue and red. They are just so pretty.
Then we made it to the actual eel garden and wow there were a lot! It was so fun to watch them come out of the hole and slowly go down as we crossed over them. I think garden eels are just so cute. We had one in our tank for a short period of time....until it decided to jump in the back of the tank and got caught up in the motor.
Just look at all of them!
If any of you read my last review from a couple of months ago, we did a scuba in Barbados and the hubby and Sakari came across some garden eels and I totally missed it (even though I managed to capture some pictures of them, I had no idea they were in the pictures). I have been on a mission since then to see them for myself.
Now while I was taking pictures of them, my camera started acting funny. It started flashing that it was "too deep" and I was like what the heck! It had never done that before. So, I looked at my pressure gauge and noticed this...
I was down 50 feet!!! Oops!!! Yikes!! So it was time to come up some since we are only supposed to go down 40 feet when you are a DSD.
Sakari and Sam were even further down than I was. She was trying like crazy to get her camera to work.
Our instructor wrote something on her writing board saying that there were more on up that wasn't as deep as this area.
So we kept going up...and they were just everywhere.
A video of them...they are just so cute. You can also hear the boat going by us overhead as well. It was just back and forth all day.
I had managed to complete my mission of seeing the garden eels! I was so happy!
We were finally holding steady at 40 feet now and my camera was back to normal. I guess I now know that it will not want to function properly after 50 feet. It does say good to 50' on the camera and I guess it means exactly 50'.
Now I will say that I felt like there really weren't a lot of fish during our dive. I'm not sure why. I mean if I was a fish, this would be my paradise to live in. There were a lot of damsels and little fish and every once in awhile you'd see a parrot fish or something, but not many bigger fish like I expected.
Then I ran across a trumpet fish and got overly excited to see something different than just the coral and damsels.
I did spot a huge fish off in the distance...
Sakari was still desperately trying to get her camera to work.
Then we heard the boat passing over us again.
Finally a school of fish!!!!
This fish was so pretty.
A school of yellow tail snappers
There we go...now we're talking. That's what I like to see. Now I feel like I'm swimming in an aquarium!!!
Look at that big fish with Sakari
This area has a lot of neat channels in it and they look so cool.
Then all of a sudden I noticed our instructor went in one and out of site. I look down and see the hubby down there about to follow her and do the same. Sakari and I were several feet above that (as you can tell from the next photo) and knew if we wanted to follow, we would need to go down deeper to go in.
I wasn't sure what Sakari wanted to do. So I waited. As much as I wanted to go into the channel, I wasn't about to leave her or if she decided she wasn't going to do it then I would go over the channel at the top with her so that she wouldn't feel bad for not being able to do it. But, I seen her equalizing her ears over and over as she dropped down. I knew she was going for it. (After the dive she said there was no way she wasn't going to do that and was so excited about it).
As we made it down, I caught the end of the hubby...
In went Sakari
It was pretty cool and we both high fived each other when we made it out. I wanted to turn around and do it again but the hubby and the instructor had moved on. LOL
Here's a short video...sorry about the way it turned out. I was so excited about this that I wasn't paying attention to the direction I had the camera.
So on we went...
Then we found the cutest little pipe fish
And then a school of squid
Then the hubby spotted a sideways flounder. They are always so cool to look at.
We were heading back and only at around 15 feet now.
Some more cute puffer fish
Huge fish alert...Bermuda Chub
We were following a lot of channels at this point, just none that were enclosed like a tunnel
We had to come up to the top to go over some of the shallow coral reefs...
Sakari spotted something that she liked and waited for me to catch up and show me. Then we would go back down some.
At first I thought they were some Christmas tree worms (the bright neon orange things under the rock). But then as I got closer, I noticed they weren't.
Then we spotted another trumpet fish
And a huge Lobster
And then our dive was over. We came up and swam back to our dive site at the beach. It was a great dive. According to my watch and pictures, we were diving for 1 hour and 10 minutes from the first picture I took when we headed out after skills to to last before I came up and inflated my bcd before the swim back to shore. That was a great and long dive and I was so happy about it!
So during my conversation with the dive company (via email prior to arrival), the dive shop is located on West Bay at the Grand Roatan Resort. We were told that after the dive, they would take us to a place on down the beach called Beachers, which provides chairs and umbrellas free of charge, but there wasn't a reef directly in front of it. Being the water/snorkel freak I am, I decided that I just wanted to return to the Grand Roatan/dive shop site and spend the rest of the day. Now even though the dive shop is located at Grand Roatan, the resort will NOT allow you to use any of the facilities, pool, loungers or private beach area in front of the resort. 😕 But, of course, you can go to their outdoor restaurant and spend more of your money with them. 😉
It was ok though...so we headed over to the restaurant after our dive.
And this was our view:
I ordered the Grand Club Sandwich and fries and it was ok and filling.
Sakari ordered the kids chicken tender meal. The hubby ordered a bacon cheeseburger and fries and said it was really good.
After lunch, we headed out to the beach.
This is known as the "Iguana Wall" at the end of the beach. However, I didn't see any iguana's there that day.
Of course there are always an abundance amount of sergeant majors and surgeon fish in the area.
I finally achieved my over under photo
I spotted a mermaid
Everyone on here always talks about what a nice beach West Bay is. For me personally, I don't find it anything fantastic myself. The beach itself is very narrow and not much room between the water and the beach clubs. It gives you very little room to put out a towel or whatever. The beach clubs have things roped off and to me, that makes the place not so appealing. I always like the wide stretch of beaches with natural shade like palm trees you can sit under and this place is taken up by beach clubs. Vendors will hassle you over and over all day and even come back to ask you again to purchase their products, go on a tour, or braid your hair. It's never ending. I have also seen (in the past) the vendors come out into the water while you are swimming to try to get you to buy items. It's just ridiculous. Also, it's a very popular beach, which means it's very crowded. So, unless you are coming here for the snorkeling or diving, I personally would never come here for a beach day myself.
Biggest fish I seen here today...
I see they have water toys on the water now
We had picked 3pm as our pick up time with our driver. They did inform us that they would also be picking up another couple at a different location as well, which we really didn't have a problem with.
However, it was 3:15 and the driver had not shown up. The dive shop called them and they said they were on their way. At 3:30pm still nothing so they called again and said they were almost there. We still had plenty of time to get back to the ship, so we weren't worried about that but when I have to pack up my things and cut my swimming time down, I kinda expect to be picked up when told. We sat around at the dive shop talking to our instructor...getting her history and how she came to Roatan, how long she had lived here and so on. It was a great conversation and we enjoyed our time with her.
When the driver arrived, it wasn't even our driver nor did they have another couple with them...thank goodness because the driver drove a small like compact car that wouldn't have fit another person in it. He also didn't speak much English so it made for an interesting trip on the way back.
These signs are becoming very popular in each port. I missed this one as we drove by...
Back to port and shopping for my favorite thing... Of course I told Sakari I wanted to take her picture and I will always get a tongue stuck out.
So I did what I could to make her smile/laugh...tickle her, make fart noises...you get the idea. So my final straw was to tell her we were not going back to the ship for her to swim in the pool until I get an actual smile...
And back to the ship we went.
We all know what happened as soon as we returned...
Sakari hung out with a group of kids...one, named Hector, that resembled my grandson Brayden.
Is was so hot and humid out that we decided to retreat to the adult area and check out the waterfall. Sakari was in good hands with all her friends and the dad of one of them that was always there.
Of course we found that the water that streams along the back wall was no longer working and was somewhat disappointed that yet another thing didn't work properly on the cruise. There were a LOT of tiles missing in these areas as well. You could see some places where the tiles had come off and they decided to just fill the holes with grout instead of replacing the tiles.
It was time for some adulting...
We watched a diver out at the port for a long time. I wondered what he was doing and figured it had something to do with whatever work they are doing at the port.
Then we pulled out...
Once we sailed away, we went back to get Sakari from the pool and go down to get human clothes on and do something that didn't involve more water.
Then we headed to the buffet to see that tonight's theme was Italian.
I will say that what I had that night was pretty good. The mushroom meatloaf was awesome, you can't go wrong with the yummy pretzel bread, the mash potatoes were so yummy, and you can't go wrong with bread. The rice, that wasn't the greatest...even with tons of soy sauce on it to add flavor. Once again, I didn't have too much of an appetite and didn't eat much.
I did locate some cheesecake though...I don't care for chocolate so I ate around it and it was good.
After dinner we went to the theater for the show. Thank goodness they finally had a night that didn't involve song and dance routines. It was comedian night with magic tricks and we had seen this guy before. He was pretty good and Sakari enjoyed it.
We knew for sure that we had to be up early the next day since we would be arriving in port at 8am. So after the show, we headed back to the room to pack our beach bags for the next day and we headed to bed.