Day 3 - West End, Roatan, Honduras
Today is HOT. Not just hot, but HOT. As in, sweat buckets standing in the shade with as few clothes as you can get away with kind of HOT. And sunny. We've been enjoying the cooler cloudy air, but none of that today.
It took us awhile to get ourselves together this morning. The goal was to work on Noah's check out dives for his certification. We gathered our gear and determined what we needed to rent, then loaded up the dinghy with all the gear and all of us and took off for town. My legs were still not looking good (remember the pedicure? I still had a rash from the massage oil - bummer), so I declined to get in the salt water. The lady at the dive shop gave me a special bar of soap that she said works wonders for rashes and itches.
I stayed in town with Zach while the rest went out for a dive. Zach and I spent the hottest part of the day in an air conditioned internet café and drank iced drinks, while they took forever to get geared up and do their dive. Their first mooring was in about 7 feet of water, so they couldn't even do a weight check (you can't get neutral buoyancy very easily in that shallow of water), so they had to take the gear off and move to a different spot. They dove for a little over an hour and saw an eel, hermit crab, and a ray. Not bad for a first open water dive. Jim and I dove in 50 degree water with 5 feet visibility while it was snowing for our first open water dives. Meanwhile, Zach and I walked the town and played some cards while having another icy drink (Squirt for Zach and iced tea for me). Five hours after we arrived in town, we saw the dinghy coming back. They stopped along the way to snorkel down a mooring line where a resident octopus lived - a bonus. Nobody had eaten since breakfast, but it was happy hour at a local spot, so we walked over to have some beer and island drinks. We met up with another sailboat neighbor that didn't make it to breakfast the other day. They were from Virginia and had been sailing for 9 years. Zach found some kids jumping off the pier (a local boy his age was doing back flips off the tower), so he decided to try jumping. We watched him jump for awhile off both the dock and the tower, then Noah jumped a few times, and even Lee did a back dive off the dock (not the tower). The sun set while we were watching. We loaded our gear back in the dinghy and motored back to the boat in the dark.
Day 4 - West End, Roatan, Honduras
Still. Glassy sea this morning. No breeze. I got up earlier than usual and took a hand shower off the back of the boat with my new anti-itch soap while watching a cruise ship motor by and some locals chase it in motor boats. The lady at the dive shop was telling us about the cruise ship economy yesterday. Princess Cruises has decided to make this "their" island. They used to dock at the main harbor and a whole town of shops sprung up to service the 12,000 tourists per week that disembarked. Then Princess decided they wanted a bigger cut of the pie, so they built their own dock, bought their own beach, and put in a ski lift to take people from the dock to their private beach, bypassing the local town altogether. The town withered. Princess even goes so far as to shoo away any taxi drivers and corral people intentionally away from walking the now 1.25 miles to town. The island is about 30 miles long and 2-3 mlles wide with about 40,000 year-round residents. The economy is very dependent on tourism, mostly the dive industry, but as with the cruise ship chasers, and taxi drivers, they go where the money is. There is a new world-class golf course being developed at one of the resorts which will change the mixture of tourists and bring in some more people willing to spend money, they hope. I was wrong about the street being paved over sand yesterday, it is just packed (very potholed) sand. They plan to pave it in August. The island seems to be in a state of flux.
Zach has a heat rash all over his body, and Noah woke up with stomach issues. Though it's a wonderful life, it takes awhile for bodies to adjust.
The boat we are on is a Catana 471 - a 47 foot catamaran with 3 bedrooms (one is a double sized master suite) and a good sized common area. So far, it has only been our floating hotel. We hope to do some sailing soon, but we need to wait for more wind.