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Roatan, Honduras : Fantasy Island Trip Report
Roatan Dive Log
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Roatan

Roatan is a rugged little island that's green and hilly. There are a couple small towns, none of which I would consider vital to visit. We came here for the diving and that's mostly what we did.

We were warned that the bugs were bad in Roatan. We brought both Off and Jungle Juice which we used most of the time. We all got bit a little, but it wasn't any worse than a picnic in Chicago in July. Lily on the other hand was Bug Chow, for some reason she got bit a lot more than Mark and I combined. Mark thinks it's because she ate bananas and he read somewhere that insects are attracted to bananas for some reason.

I was told by a couple people that one of the nice things about Roatan is that large cruise ships don't go to Roatan. Well, that doesn't seem to be the case any more. There was a large Norwegian Cruise Lines ship docked near Coxen Hole.

I recently added some pictures taken by Mark so make sure you check those out if you haven't been back to this site in a while.

Getting to/from Roatan

Pain to get there. It took us four planes, two of which were small, to get to Roatan. We took Continental from Chicago to Houston, then from Houston to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. From there we took a small TACA plane to La Ceiba. From the plane I could actually see Roatan as we landed! We had to wait there a while before we took the 15 seat plane to Coxen Hole in Roatan. We took only three planes back because we had a flight from Roatan directly to San Pedro Sula.

Fantasy Island

The Fantasy Island Beach Resort is probably the closest thing to a "Resort" by US standards. Both Coco View and Anthony's Key Resort have rooms that are wood structures on stilts over the water. Anthony's Key does have some rooms with windows and air conditioning, but Coco View has only rooms with screens to keep the bugs out and wood louvers to keep out the sun and breeze.

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The entrance to the resort grounds.
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Mark and Lily hanging out near the beach.
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Nice shot of the beach.
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Lily walking along the beach..
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Mark taking pictures of the little animals I called the Roatan Rats.
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Mark finally gets one to pose for him.
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One of the Parrots behind the resort.
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You get a lot of drumsticks from a Roatan chicken. 8^).
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Another perfect sunset.
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The Fantasy Island resort is mostly two story frame buildings. The main building has the lobby and the main restaurant on the second floor. The rooms are on either side of the main building. Our first room was a little worn looking and our phone didn't work most of the time. We asked to change and the second room was much nicer with a working phone, TV, ceiling fan and small fridge. The AC worked well but wasn't needed. By the time we got used to the warm weather, we turned off the AC and left the screened windows open and the cool evening breeze was actually nicer.

The food consists of 3 meals/day. We found the food to range from good to excellent. Breakfast was usually a buffet of hot and cold cereals, sausage/bacon/ham, pancakes or waffles, some local foods, and an omlett bar. Lunch was usually ordered from a menu and was either sandwiches and burgers as well as chicken, beef and seafood dishes. Dinner was similar to lunch but a bit bigger and a little fancier. The food choices were mostly different every day but sometimes only slightly so. One dinner was pretty fancy with some great choices included an excellent Lobster tail dinner. Yummy.

The dive shop was on the premesis and was very easy to deal with. Boats left daily at 9am, 11am and 2:30pm. When we were there, the schedule called for a trip to Mary's Place on Mon, Wed and Fri, plus night dives on Tue and Thu, if conditions allow. Unfortunately, we arrived on a Friday and left on a Friday so we only qualified for one night dive on Tuesday. We didn't get that due to it being cancelled due to rough conditions. They rescheduled for Wednesday night but that was cancelled due to rough conditions as well. They also advertise dives on the north side of the island but we were told they usually don't do them during the winter due to rough conditions.

When we were there they only ran one dive boat with 6-10 divers at any time. The sites were all close so the boat returned to the dock after each dive. The shop also had showers and tubs with fresh water for rinsing gear as well as a "locker room" for hanging wetsuits and storing equipment that's locked at night so we didn't have to schlep our gear to our room every night.

Shore dives were also pretty simple. We did 4 night shore dives from the gazebo. They left us tanks, including one extra, at the gazebo then picked up the used tanks in the morning.

The Diving

The diving around Roatan is excellent! Most of the diving we did was on the south shore of the island. Fantasy Island normally offers dives on the north shore but we were told conditions there didn't allow it. Please consult my dive log for dives 49 thru 66 for details of each dive in Roatan. I have all 17 of my dives in Roatan logged, all with at least some pictures and several will eventually contain some streaming video of the dive! There are nearly 150 underwater pictures on-line now from this Roatan trip!

Almost all the dives were boat dives to one of the reefs in the area. Most of the reefs are rather shallow, usually 15' to 40' deep before the wall dropoff. The wall then drops down to 100'+. Many of the sites had crevasses and swimthroughs that made the dives more interesting.

We also did some night dives on our own. We did four of these to the DC-3 plane sunk in about 40' of water and the Prince Albert island freighter in around 60' of water. This made for a pretty good night dive as there are lots of critters around that normally hide in either the wrecks or the reefs nearby. Visibility usually was rather poor especially near the gazebo.

The animal life in Roatan is very similar to other places in the Carribean. The only other Carribean island I dove was Cozumel so that's all I can compare it to. There seemed to be less fish in general in Roatan than Cozumel. Although some sites did have an abundance, others seemed pretty sparse. The coral is quite a bit better than Cozumel, especially soft corals. I've never seen such large colonies before.

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A Hawksbill Turtle swims right past our group.
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More: Dive 58

The variety and density of both hard and soft corals was amazing.
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More: Dive 50

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More: Dive 52

Our divemaster swims past yet another huge Vase Sponge.
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More: Dive 56

A Green Moray Eel peers out from its hiding place.
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More: Dive 59

This large Black Grouper was also looking for a free meal.
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More: Dive 60

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More: Dive 62

I was really happy to have some underwater video made of our group on several dives. The video is available in QuickTime and Real Video formats on dives 56, 58, 59, 63 and 64.

Driving Around Roatan

Our last day before flying back we rented a car to drive around the island. We checked out the other major resorts on the island, visited the West End and checked out downtown Coxen Hole.

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This party bus was parked on the side of the road.
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Party Bus
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Picture of the Dolphins in their pen at Anthony's Key
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Lily posing on the dock by the dive shop.
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That's good to know!
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These are some of the nicer rooms on their own Key.
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Two very good reasons to try Anthonys Key next time!
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We also drove quite a way to the east side of the island. The scenery was stunning but there wasn't much to do there. Mark took a lot of pictures here so I'll put some of those on-line as soon as he gets me copies. We tried to drive to Coco View to check it out but we found there is no way to get there by car. We went back to Fantasy Island and used kayaks to get there!

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One of the rooms at Coco View.
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Shot of Coco View from Fantasy Island.
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Evening shot of Coco View.
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View of lush green Roatan.
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Palm trees, blue skies and blue waters.
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A rainbow on the way to a dive site.
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What are these critters?

The underwater animal life was so diverse that I found several critters I couldn't identify. I do have the Paul Humann series of books on Caribbean fish, coral and creatures. I couldn't positively identify these. Please E-mail me at greg@gagme.com if you know what these are. Thanks.

The first one is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. At first I thought this was an Eel, but once I got close I realized it was no Eel! First of all, instead of a mouth with sharp teeth it had curled tentacles at the end of the body in a circle surrounding a mouth. Ok, so I thought it might be a sea cucumber but I've never seen one move this fast! It seemed to move pretty quickly and was following my dive light. I only saw these at night on 3 out of 4 of my night dives to the Prince Albert wreck. These were always on the wreck but in different places each night. It looked to be about 2'-3' long.

Answer: Thanks to everyone who responded! The consensus appears to be that this is a type of Holothuroidea commonly called a Beaded Sea Cucumber. The picture in Humann's book doesn't look that much like what I saw, but the description seems to be accurate.

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More: Dive 52

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More: Dive 55

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More: Dive 62

The second one should be easier. Also on our night dives we saw an animal that looks like a Caribbean Reef Squid. Mark is convinced it's a Cuttlefish. I didn't know Cuttlefish were found in the Caribbean which is why I think it might be the Caribbean Reef Squid.

Answer: Thanks to everyone who responded! I have little doubt now that this is a Caribbean Reef Squid as I confirmed that Cuttlefish are only found in the Pacific.

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More: Dive 52

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More: Dive 52

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More: Dive 55


Comments From People Like You!
Roatan, Honduras 2000
Add a Comment add a comment
Pat
24-Jan-2011 09:24
Hi!! They are called 'Agouties'
We 've been there a yr ago & it was wonderful!!  : )
Thomas Seitz
02-Jun-2006 12:34
I truly enjoyed your commments and pictures of Roatan, Honduras. My wife and I are planning a 7 day dive trip this July.  Like yourself, I have been to Cozumel (twice) but due to the recent hurricane, I understand that a lot of the corral formations are closed for clean-up.   We are staying at the Bay Island Resort on the North end.  I want to ask---how many days did it rain in Roatan when you were there?  The most recent weather shows rain each day for a week!!!!  Take care and maybe we will see each other in Cozumel or Honduras.         Tom and Greta Seitz, Palestine, TX

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