Roatan Trip Report
We have just returned from a week at the Bay Islands Beach Resort in the Bay Islands of Honduras. We had to endure some unusual circumstances in that Roxanne paid us a visit for the beginning of the trip. This trip report is broken down into 3 parts - the diving, Roatan in general, and The Accomodations.
Early in the trip, Roxanne precluded us from diving by the resort which is located on the Northside of the Island. We had squeezed off a night dive (saw an octopus and several large lobster) when we arrived, and the dive staff arranged for a 10 ft checkout dive on Sunday afternoon( We had waited on the boat in the morning but the dive was called due to weather). The barrier reef structure reduced the 8-10 ft seas to a manageable 1.5 -2 ft inside the reef. 4 Divers that went out to the reef from shore had to be picked up by boat.
On Monday, with the pending hurricane, we decided to do an island tour. On a visit to the west end we were told there was diving on the south shore. We found out the same thing from the manager of Inn of Last Resort (a beautiful place). With a little bit of prodding, the manager of Bay Islands was able to arrange for diving at Fantasy Island on the south shore. We managed to do 1 dive on a nice wall (by CocoView) that eventually led to a great wreck and airplane wreck. We saw a large moray and a small stingray, with a few jacks. Great life along the wall but not much in the way of large marine life.
Roxanne was still threatening to hit the island on Tuesday but we were ready. Joel, the manager of Bay Islands had made arrangements with CocoView to take us out. We completed a dive in the morning and a dive in the afternoon. CocoView allowed us to hang out in their cafeteria/game room between dives. The dives were pleasent but generally uneventful.
Roxanne decided to go to Cancun on Wednesday so we were diving on the north shore, doing 2 morning dives, an afternoon dive, and a night dive. Visibility on these dives was anywhere from 40 - 100 ft. Itís amazing how a half dozen or so large grouper followed everyone around during the dive. If you werenít interested in the little stuff, however, the dives could seem a bit long. If you like overhangs, however you would be extremely happy.
THursday was more of the same. We saw octopi, a turtle, squid, lots of wrasses and there were plenty of small fishes, not to mention the grouper. Night found large crabs and basket stars hanging out. Vis may have reached 200 feet at times.
Friday morning we did a great dive called Hole in the Wall. Itís a swim through that starts at 40 ft and continues down to about 130, with lots of exit points along the way. Vis remained >100 ft even down at 130. some persons actually went to 150 ft and claimed the vis was still great.
Roatan was a great place to be. It is a pretty tropical island with gorgeous scenes (especially when looking from a boat). There is a small community called West End with some Dive operators and even a resort. There was a washout so we could not make it to see Seagrape. A couple I met in the airport said Seagrapeís dive operation was excellent. They were not as happy with the resort itself.
Roxanne helped us in a way by forcing us out of the water and to see the remainder of the island. Truth be told, we only made it to other resorts and they were all fabulous! Anthonyís Key, Fantasy Island, CocoView, and Inn of the Last Resort were all great. If I were to return I would probably go to the newest which is Inn of the Last Resort. One of my dealers was there and they said the food was wonderful (the chef used to work for the cruise lines) and the place is fantastic, Airconditioned rooms (designed for divers) and 2 sheltered lagoons. One thing to note about booking on the north shore of the island in the fall - Anthonyís key resort closes for maintenance during parts of Sept and October and the Dolphin Swims are not available.
One of the great things about Roatan was how the resorts on the south side of the island assisted our resort by allowing us to dive with them. This spirit of cooperation, so important and rare in the dive tourist industry, saved our dive trip.
The Bay Island Beach Resort where we stayed was pleasant and the staff tried to accomodate our every wish. Even when the rains blew out the water supply, the staff was able to get the water back on line in about 5 hours on a Sunday. Quite a feat! In some instances (such as diving on the south shore) the staff could have made the arrangements before we pressed for them, but once the idea was planted, they went all out to see that we got all of the diving that we could. Room s were all airconditioned and nice sized and comfortable. It is the tropics and there were some bugs in the room. A little BAYGON and the bugs were gone. On the beach there were some sand fleas and some deep woods off or muskegon did a pretty good job of keeping them away. I stll came out with about 50 bites but that is better than any other dive trip I have ever made. Food was a mixture of Island and highschool cafeteria. THe best description is that it was edible but not remarkable (for the most part). some meals were actually really good (garlic crab legs, Friday Night Lobster). BIBR is a work in progress and they can still use a classroom setting and a relaxation / game type room for the non-diving times.
The Botom Line with Bay Islands is that it cost less and if you have managed expectations it is a good place to go for a week.
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