Monday, January 15, 2018

El Paraiso

Roatan is a paradise (el paraiso) where the lush jungle meets the turquoise sea.  The flora and fauna are a large part of the charm that drew us back to the island again after our first trip in December 2015. 


The view from the patio. 


You could fill your morning breakfast bowl with fruit found on Roatan.   We walked past this papaya tree everyday on our way to West Bay.


Speaking of breakfast, we enjoyed the bounty from the local fruit stands during our month on Roatan.  Watermelon, papaya, bananas, and pineapples were a daily treat. 


This banana tree was very tempting, especially during the period when shipments from mainland Honduras were being slowed by blockades in December. 
 

This coconut stand, located on the main roundabout in West End, had a ready supply since there are plenty of coconut palms on Roatan!
 

These two guys utilize the local bounty to sell coco frios on West Bay Beach everyday.


The local neighborhoods around West Bay are lined with beautiful gardens.  Love these peach colored hibiscus!


  I'm not sure what this pink and white spotted plant is, but it looks like a variety of elephant ears. 
 

A beautiful tropical garden in West Bay behind a picket fence.
 

The path to Kismet is lined with banana trees and palms.


Beautiful Heliconia in the community where we stayed in West Bay.


The island's fauna are as exotic as the flora.  A lot of locals have parrots as pets. The parrots at Celeste's in West Bay wolf whistle and call out to pedestrians passing by. When we stayed at a rental adjacent to Gumbalimba Park in 2015, scarlet macaws would fly over from the park in the mornings and early evenings.


The local iguanas usually blend into their locations.  I've read the black iguanas that lurk on the ironshore cliffs are an endangered species on the island, primarily because they've been a food source for locals.  This one was perched on the wall at the end of West Bay Beach.  There are various animals farms and preserves on the island for tourists to visit, including the Iguana Farm and another preserve with sloths and monkeys.
 

I see these signs on a lot of Caribbean Islands urging drivers to watch out for iguanas in the road.
 
 

 
A ride in a water taxi is a great way to view Roatan, that paradise where the jungle topples down the hillside to meet the blue Caribbean Sea.  I wish I was back in the boat!
 
We're off for a week to visit family in the Pacific Northwest.  I'll be back.  Stay tuned!
 
 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Sunset Walk

One of the joys of the tropics is watching the sun go down at the beach.  The sun sets early on Roatan, so we'd often take a late afternoon walk down the road to West Bay.


A little boy runs down the beach while the big yellow glass bottom boat makes its last run over the reef headed back to the dock.


The sun sinking behind the Infinity Bay dock on West Bay Beach.
 

Sunset marks the end of the workday for the vendors on West Bay.  Many jump in for a swim before they head home.


A tiny water taxi with a big captain unloads a lot of passengers right before sunset at the end of the work day.  Most water taxis don't run between West Bay and West End after dark since they don't have running lights. 
 

One of the vendors enjoys a quick run on a paddleboard as the sun sinks.
 
 
Love the sunset Zumba class at the Henry Morgan Resort.  I especially love the nun on the left side.

 
Cheers to more beach sunsets in all our lives!

 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Ocean Therapy

As Wyland says, The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination, and brings eternal joy to the soul.


I know nothing inspires me like the ocean.   


Most mornings in December, we walked down the hill and from one end of West Bay Beach to the other.  If you wade in the shallows at the end of the beach in front of the Grand Roatan, colorful fish will swarm your feet.  It's a wonderful feeling and a free fish pedicure!

                   
Later in the day, we'd often return to the same place to swim and snorkel.  The yellow boat in the distance is a glass-bottom boat for those who don't want to strap on a snorkel and mask.


I love to experiment with my underwater camera.  The afternoon light glimmers and reflects over the waves.


When it's flat and calm, the water takes on a milky glacial appearance.


Schools of Sergeant Majors surround snorkelers in the shallow sandy bottom areas by the cliffs.
 

This Big Kahuna's easy to photograph.


He blends right in with this huge school of funny-faced Blue Tangs!




Parrotfish are the beauties of the sea.

 
 In deeper water, the corals and fans are magnificent.
 
 
This Needlenose is true to his name.
 
 
 Barracuda are hard to spot because they're camouflaged  to blend with the turtle grass below them.
 
 
Life in the big aquarium is so peaceful.  I'm missing my daily therapy. 
 
 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Roatan: The Sequel

I thought I was finally done blogging after my sporadic nine year term, but I've found additional inspiration after a month in Paradise at the end of 2017.


After a two year absence, the lush island of Roatan with all its rustic funky tropical splendor was calling our names again.
 
We left Phoenix in the dark at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morn in early December.  Right after the doors closed on the plane, we received a text from American Airlines informing us that due to civil unrest related to the recent election in Honduras and a travel advisory issued by the State Department, we could reschedule our flights for no fee.  Talk about timing!  LOL

Fortunately, we're not trepidatious travelers, and we already knew about the problems on the mainland.  Our decision had been made.  Let the adventure begin!

After a brief layover in Dallas with just enough time for the bano and a coffee stop, we boarded the plane for the final leg of our trip to RTB, Roatan's airport located in Coxen Hole.  After a short two hours, the plane descended and the lush hillsides and turquoise sea came into view.  Soon, we were de-planing down the stairs, dragging carryon's onto the tarmac and into the immigration and customs area. 

We waited about a half hour in line to show passports and be fingerprinted.  A few minutes later, we were met by our friendly van driver who took us to Eldon's, a grocery store in Coxen Hole.  He urged us to stock up and warned food shortages might be a problem if the unrest and blockades in Honduras continued.  After loading our groceries into the van, Frankie navigated around the island's many rainy season mudslides and potholes to drop us at our home for the next month, a condo at Keyhole Bay Resort just up the hill from West Bay.

After a flurry of unpacking and loading the fridge (and a little fright after a gecko jumped out of the dishwasher), we headed down the hill on foot to West Bay to our favorite beach club for an early dinner.
 
Dinner was early because we'd been informed by the rental agent that the island was possibly under a 6 p.m. curfew issued for the entire country of Honduras due to protests on the mainland.  I use the word possibly because a few days later, we were never able to confirm with locals that the curfew had ever been enforced on the island.  If you've ever been on an island for long you know about jungle drums.  Words pass round the circle like a childhood game of Telephone and truth and rumors merge!

 
We picked a table at the Grand Roatan Ironshore Grill, one of our favorite hangouts in West Bay.


We both were craving Mr. Red Snapper.  Salt, the bounty of the sea, and those glorious sunsets would not be denied.


After a glorious early Saturday evening sunset (5:30ish), we hurried back up the hill on foot for a good night's sleep.


To be continued.  I promise!