10.05.2009 32 °C
Roatán is a funny place. When we sit down and pick it apart it's easy to dismiss. The place is brutally hot in the middle of the day, compounded by the almost total lack of any breeze and the fact that there's a good few hours of power (and water) cuts every few days. The lack of breeze also means that it's crawling with mosquitos and sandflies; but as it's a protected marine park you're not supposed to use DEET. The cash machines run out of money every other day, and credit cards are useless. On top of all this the food (in restaurants and supermarkets) is almost London prices, due to the direct flights from the USA and the high prevalence of cruise ships visiting the island. But sitting here in our hammock on our veranda, listening to the gentle rain through the trees, sipping rum and watching geckos doing their bit to keep down the bug population I feel a bit kinder towards it. We've been here well over a week but are finding it very difficult to recall exactly how long it is; or come to it, to make any firm plans to leave to go to Ecuador. And we didn't even intend to come to this country (Honduras) originally!
We are staying in West End, which (to be fair) is the most heavily touristed place on the island. It's swarming with dive shops of every stripe, and at times it seems that pretty much everyone who isn't over 40 and here on a package holiday is here to do their DiveMaster training. Several of the shops have people running all the courses together, from Open Water (i.e. never dived before) to DM (i.e. you're leading people to dive). All in 2 months. Needless to say this seems a little bit of an accelerated schedule to us, to say the least.
We spent our first four days here doing a Rescue Diver course, which is a basically what is sounds like, sort of like lifeguard training but with what to do if people get in trouble underwater. Very good training as our instructor delighted in making it as realistic as possible and as stressful as possible also. We are very very glad we did it but very very VERY glad it's over! We've done a couple of fun dives (i.e. not doing any courses or anything 'serious') over the last couple of days and have been pleasantly surprised with the state of the corals and the fish populations – the first drift dive I did every fish I saw was an absolute monster.
This is Team Rescue immediately after - including Chucky the ginger rasta doll who we spent ages trying to find
UPDATE: we spent today lazing around the pool at one of the 'exclusive' resorts as an unexpected bonus of bumping into Steve who we met in Belize, who had blagged some entry wristbands off one of the owners in a bar. Result! A nice change to be spending time in an infinity pool rather than a communal bathroom. We've also booked our flights out to Ecuador, leaving a couple of days early. Annoyingly the FCO advice regarding Mexico has just changed to allow UK nationals to go there... oh well, another time.
Next: South America!