Rainy Roatan: Diving in Honduras

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While the island was a foot under water both times we ventured into the Caribbean to go diving in Honduras, we made the most of it and decided to spend our days, well, underwater. Because, I mean, we’re already getting wet, you know?

Due to the heavy rains, the surface was churning, which doesn’t translate to great clarity underwater. Thus, much of what we saw is how you’re seeing it, cloudy and as if scrutinized under an unfocused microscope lens.

That doesn’t make it any less beautiful in my mind. I’ve gone diving all around the world at this point and am continuously impressed by the marine landscape of this Caribbean isle and specifically the high volume of schools of fish you find hanging out by every reef.

The majority of accommodations on Roatan have their own dive operation, which makes things very simple. At Barefoot Cay, for example, you just sign up on the wipe board daily for the next day’s dives, and when you arrive, all of your gear will be loaded onto your dive boat and ready for you to submerge. It’s all about spoiling convenience for the diver here on Roatan.

One thing to consider if planning on diving frequently as we do—or participating in any activity of such a physical nature—is investing in annual travel insurance. I hope I don’t ever end up in a compression chamber, but if I do, my insurance plan will be footing the bill for the tens of thousands of dollars that would cost out of pocket!

The first site we tackled during our brief day of diving was a coral garden and very leisurely wall dive at about 50 feet. Then, we went back to shore for our surface interval and picked up Layne, who joined us for Mary’s Place, arguably the island’s most famed site. Aren’t we some Neoprene-clad beauties?

Mary’s Place was phenomenal, as we swam through three very narrow cavernous cracks caused by volcanic activity at 95 feet under the surface. Looking up toward the light, you could see a number of black coral overhangs and a rainbow of fish.

Alas, we didn’t have our proper underwater camera and housing and only the GoPro—which is only functional under perfect natural light…I would recommend this agile little model if you’re doing outdoor sports like skiing or surfing that let in a lot of sun, but not for diving—so we have no great snaps from Mary’s. But for all the divers out there, it is a site worth checking out as it’s unlike any other I’ve experienced in my five years diving.

(And, as always, a lack of suitable equipment didn’t stop us from hamming it up on camera.)

COMMENTS
  • February 10, 2012

    What kind of underwater camera did you use to take those shots– they came out so colorful and bright. We r going to Hawaii and I need to get a good underwater camera. Although my husband and I scuba dive- we thought the kids might want to try snuba.

    • February 10, 2012
      Kristin

      Typically, I use either my Canon PowerShot or my Canon G12 (we have the underwater housing for both). You can see some of the shots we’ve taken with those here:

      https://www.camelsandchocolate.com/2010/08/a-whole-new-world/

      For this trip, we didn’t have either on hand, just our GoPro as we weren’t sure if we’d be diving at all during our four months with Semester at Sea. As I mentioned, the GoPro is not the best camera for diving, as a) it’s a fish eye so you can’t zoom and b) it shoots really blurry when the lighting’s not great. I would recommend a little Canon P&S (if you have one already, great) and then buying the underwater housing for that.

      Getting the colors to turn out is more a matter of having natural sunlight when you’re diving/snorkeling, which unfortunately isn’t always the case depending on the weather and how deep down you go.

  • February 10, 2012

    You two are such a kick.

    I sure am glad you like to dive, not my thing, because then I get so see it through your lousy lens. 😉

    • February 10, 2012
      Kristin

      I bet you would love it–you’re so outdoorsy and love nature!

      • February 10, 2012

        I have no gills in this life and am really a terrestrial person. Snorkeling off the Yucatan was OK.

  • February 10, 2012

    I don’t dive either but I love to see underwater pics. Good point about the insurance. I wonder how many people on vacation participate in activities that have some inherent risk without having travel insurance to cover them if something goes wrong?

    • February 10, 2012
      Kristin

      Uh, that was me until about two years ago–young and worry-free (and stupid)!

  • February 10, 2012

    That sounds like so much fun. I’ve always wanted to go scuba diving.

    • February 11, 2012
      Kristin

      Most resorts in popular dive destinations have what’s called a Discover SCUBA dive so you can do a brief intro course in the pool and then an actual dive before you fork over the money to get your actual certification (which is around $300 for the whole basic open water course). You should look into it on your next vacation!

  • February 10, 2012

    It’s been way too long since I have been diving. I hope I haven’t forgotten how, my boys are almost old enough to join us!

    • February 11, 2012
      Kristin

      You can always do a quick refresher course before taking them in. They’re usually quick, cheap and painless. How cool that you can dive with your kids soon!

  • February 10, 2012

    I’m only just dealing with snorkeling as it is, so diving is out of the question for right now, but I love seeing pictures from people crazy enough to do it. That tombstone picture is eerie.

  • February 10, 2012

    I know this is not the point of the post at all, but I wanted to quickly point out that most insurance/travel insurance does NOT cover a lovely ride in the deco chamber! Sadly the vast majority exempt that, as people tend to find when they are sent a 10K bill. Ya’ll have to get DAN diving insurance to cover that sort of fiasco. Fairly reasonable rates for recreational divers, considering the alternative.

    • February 11, 2012
      Kristin

      True, but I actually switched from DAN after having it for three years because it seemed to only cover catastrophic incidents and not the stuff I might actually need insurance for. So maybe it’s a good idea to have a general policy as well as a DAN family plan IF you plan on doing a ton of diving.

      Side note: have you ever been in a deco chamber? Just touring one in Bonaire seriously creeped me out (I am SO claustrophobic).

      • February 11, 2012

        Yeah, I don’t know if I would use it as primary travel insurance (my regular health insurance covers me abroad so I don’t have to worry about it), though I think I’ve heard people in Thailand saying it covered them for motorcycle accidents, which is the number one cause of death for tourists here! And I know on the professional level it covers you for some hilarious things like 3 million dollars in liability, and BAIL MONEY, ha! But I’m not sure about illness and all that. I would just use it at least as a supplement.

        And no, never in the chamber, thank God! Ironically its usually those diving for a living that end up there. And scarily, considering Koh Tao is the number 2 location in the world for dive certs, we don’t even have one on this island! Closest one is Koh Samui. Eeeek.

  • February 11, 2012

    Such vibrant colors! Is that real, or did they have a little…erm…help? (Please say real!)

    • February 11, 2012
      Kristin

      No the coral did not have an, erm “lift” (or boob job) if you will–that’s how it really looked! It was very colorful under there, which sadly did not show in most of our photos as we didn’t take our good underwater equipment on SAS. The coral around Roatan is just so alive and vibrant (versus, say, Dominican Republic where it’s all bleached and dead).

    • February 16, 2012
      SVV

      Btw, that hollow blue tower of beautiful is a sea sponge. You might find them in your local natural product store. On land they look like dried-out brown husks of donkey [redacted].

  • February 12, 2012

    Although I love snorkeling, I have some kind of phobia of diving. It’s fear of panic down there or something. And I think an underwater grave would be just the thing to set it off. **shivering**

    • February 12, 2012
      Kristin

      No, I know exactly what you mean. I have extreme anxiety (frequent panic attacks) and really bad claustrophobia, and even after hundreds of dives, there are times right before I go in the water when I think my panic is going to go off. It’s usually fine so long as I can see the surface (and in recreational diving, you rarely go deep enough to where you wouldn’t be able to see it). I think that’s a very common fear, but I always talk myself down by remembering that I can surface at any time (after the proper three-minute safety stop, of course!).

  • February 12, 2012

    nice blog what a nice pics they shear with us.

  • February 13, 2012

    I’m not a diver, but my 8 year old and my husband love anything that has to do with water! But we didn’t get to dive while we were in Roatan. I hope we can go back soon!

  • February 14, 2012

    Your pictures turned out great and was a good reference point for my hubby who just bought a Go Pro he plans to use when snorkeling. Thanks for sharing these. We were just in Roatan last month but weren’t lucky enough to enjoy the beach since it was raining hard. Growing up an island girl, I love underwater photos but never got into diving.

  • February 16, 2012

    As always, I love your underwater shots! Dying to dive there!!!

  • February 26, 2012

    These photos are so beautiful!!! They look like some mysterious film photos!

    Gosh, the coral reefs are like a totally different world!

    -Molly

  • September 17, 2013

    Beautiful photography. I agree the reef has a spectacular view. The dive in Roatan was great. It was my first time and I got to see all sorts of tropical fish.

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