After a relaxing beach day in the Cayman Islands, we set sail towards a mysterious island paradise known as Isla Roatan. (Cue the dramatic jungle drums music). Located 40 miles off the northern coast of Honduras, Isla Roatan used to be a pirate’s playground; however, the days of walking the plank and pirate’s plunder are long gone. Nowadays, Isla Roatan is more famously known as a beautiful island paradise and scuba diving mecca.
We dove the third largest barrier reef while visiting Turks & Caicos last June, so it only made sense to dive the second largest reef while visiting Honduras. And if you’ve heard that Belize is home to the second largest reef in the world, well, you’re right! The Mesoamerican reef system extends from Mexico all the way down to Panama.
Although we booked our day of diving well in advance (and by well in advance, I mean last summer), the original dive shop cancelled on us only a couple of weeks before our trip… Not cool! So with only two weeks to go, I began another online search to find a dive shop with availability, and soon discovered Black Pearl Divers. Luckily for us, they still had space for two additional divers. Yeahhhh buoy! 😉
On the morning of our arrival, we cruised along Isla Roatan and dark storm clouds clung to the island peaks. The dense fog created a shroud of mystery and the rusted shipwrecks scattered along the coast added to the intrigue.
The owner of Black Pearl Divers picked us up near the port and after checking-in and signing the standard waivers, we bid a pirate’s farewell to all of the landlubbers. It was time to set sail on a swashbuckling-adventure beneath the high seas.
And what an adventure it would turn out to be.
As the rained poured down we cruised towards our first dive site of the day: Mary’s Place. Recently ranked one of the top ten dive sites in the Caribbean, Mary’s Place is an underwater playground for all. During our dive we saw giant schools of fish swaying in the current, interesting coral formations in every color, one lonely lobster, and even a lion-fish. I’ve been told that you can also see seahorses here (if you’re lucky), and the highlight of this dive site (and what Mary’s Place is famous for) are the multiple swim-through’s found in the area.
For my non-diving friends who are reading this post, you may be wondering about those “swim-through’s” I just mentioned. Swim-through’s are essentially “canyons” within the coral system. Remember in Finding Nemo when Marlin and Dory are supposed to swim through the trench, not over it; and after seeing the trench Marlin exclaims, “Have you even seen this thing? It has Death written all over it.” 🙂
Yes. That is the kind of swim-through I’m talking about.
As we swam towards the dark, somewhat-confined space, close to 100 feet underwater, my stomach was doing somersaults and my knees were weak (thankfully I was swimming and not standing). 😉 I was determined not to let my claustrophobia stop me from trying something new, so with all the courage I could muster I swam towards the underwater coral crevasse and focused my gaze in front of me.
And after exiting the dark, deep, “death-defying” canyon, I was HOOKED. I found the swim-through’s completely fascinating and as the dive continued I became slightly more comfortable with the somewhat-tight spaces. After successfully navigating six different swim-through’s, I realized that cave diving may eventually be in my future. I’m not one to succumb to my fears, so why start now?!
There were only five pirates, ahem, I mean divers, on board that day (including our Dive Master, Aaron — who looked EXACTLY like Daniel Tosh from Tosh.0.) 🙂 I’ve mentioned it before, but my favorite dive shops are the ones that cater to a small number of divers. We’ve sought out the smaller, local dive shops around the world and our experiences have always been better than we could have imagined. The service and attention to detail are top-notch and we always leave the shop feeling like friends rather than simply another customer.
With beautiful beaches, incredible dive sites around the island, and frequent whale shark sightings (depending on the season), there are a lot of adventures waiting for us on this island. And we can’t wait to go back.
Thanks for a great day Black Pearl Divers!