Diving in Roatan for the first time
It’s been a week since I stepped off the plane at Roatan airport and made my way to the place I’ll be calling home for the next 3 months: Coconut Tree Divers in the West End of the island.
James and I had barely had time to dump our stuff and introduce ourselves before we were met with a proposition: “there’s a boat going out in 20 minutes, would you like to go?” Errr, I believe the only appropriate response to that sort of question is ‘hell yes!’, so we happily unpacked our kit and got ourselves prepped for the first ever dive in Roatan.
Not knowing what to expect from the world’s second largest reef, I was delighted to find that it was vibrant, colourful and teeming with life. After seeing turtles, groupers, lobsters, drumfish and – best of all – trunkfish, I arrived the next morning armed with my camera.
3 dives later and I was in diver’s heaven. I’d seen (to name but a few) more turtles, moray eels, electric coloured wrasse, a stately filefish and a chubby porcupine fish all in the space of 24 hours. But there was one special sighting that topped all else.
If there’s one thing I love more than the mighty mighty trunkfish, it’s its offspring – the tiny and elusive pea. That’s right, you’ve read that correctly, a juvenile trunkfish is called a pea. An actual pea! How can you not love a fish that’s named after the most adorable of vegetables? Peas are, as the name suggest, tiny little mites and are therefore pretty hard to find, but they’ve been on my wish-list forever. I couldn’t believe my luck when on only our third dive, our divemaster pointed to a small crevice and there, bobbing around an urchin like a perfectly formed bubble of cuteness, was not one but two little peas. If you want to know what it looks like when someone explodes with happiness underwater, you should have been on that dive. With bubbles streaming out my mouth like lava, I emitted a high-pitched “eeeee!!!” of delight which I’m sure was shrill enough for all the marine life in the Caribbean to hear.
After such an excellent start, I felt completely blessed to be cruising through the ocean and witnessing the very best marine life that Roatan has to offer.
After coming eye-to-eye with a beautiful hawksbill turtle for the third time in one day, I made a promise to myself: no matter how many turtles you see, no matter how often you get to experience the world underwater, never ever take it for granted. Because, really, could I ever get sick of this?