Roatan, Honduras, December 2007

Like a wagon wheel caught in a sandy rut my journey has stalled for this past week on a small island in the Caribbean off Honduras.  A little travel-weary perhaps, I was easily entranced by the turquoise waters and “no shirt, no shoes, no problem” attitude of the locals – a perfect place to drop my pack for a while.  In its past, Roatan island used to be a common stronghold for pirates feeding off the spoils of the Spanish conquest of the New World, but these days its treasure is of the underwater variety – scuba diving on tropical reef in the clear, bath-like waters of the Caribbean.  With the steep walls of reef dropping away within 100m of the palm-lined shores, access to dive sites is a dream and at $20 a dive, probably one of the cheapest places in the world to blow bubbles.  So indulge my dive passion I did with daily sorties plunging into an underwater landscape of coral ramparts, giant Gorgonian coral fans and iridescent sponges.  The water clarity was superb and the enveloping blue like a peaceful cocoon.

After getting my dive ticket 17 years ago I have only found the time to dive sporadically in the last 10 years, but I have been reinspired.  There is a transient feeling of belonging in this underwater world as you fin along next to turtles, curious reef sharks, giant moray eels, gaping-mouthed groupers, prowling barracudas and an abundance of colourful tropical fish.

And so it is that I have squandered the last days of my trip in Central America, leading my marooned -on- a- desert- island lifestyle where mornings are for diving, afternoons are for sunsets and evenings are for grilling lobsters and swilling rum like a pirate. Vaya con dios!

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