So after Utila we’re headed to Roatan.
Roatan is very laid-back place: it’s warm, everything is close to you (in touristic zone), even your lunch is coming directly to your hands, you just need to stop a guy with the snacks and pay for it.
Diving is Roatan was also very relaxing. However it’s worth mentioning that in Roatan, just like in every place where the cruise ships harbour, you can make it into crowd.
Roatan is famous for its beautiful coral formations and also for the huge (I mean it) giant barrel sponges. Beautiful coral walls coated with fans and barrels, coral gardens with barrels, caves with barrels… just like that.
Giant barrel sponge ©Marina Kudrya
Giant barrels sponges are often hold different fish and animals, like this tiger grouper. Groupers are one of my favourite models – they are quite easy to photograph and always happen to be in a nice exterior.
Tiger grouper ©Marina Kudrya
Unlike Utila, Roatan is not only about small things. It has lots of big corals and animals, like sea turtles, crabs and lobsters, big groupers and sharks.
If you happen to be diving in Roatan, ship wrecks are a must! Usually done together, El Aguila and Odyssey are ones of my favourites.
El Aguila (“eagle” in Spanish) is a 70 meters shipwreck that was intentionally sunk in 1997. She lies under 30 meters of water. Originally upright and intact, the wreck was badly damaged in October of 1998, when Hurricane Mitch tore it in 3 separate pieces. Today, it is an underwater playground full of swimthroughs that are wide open, as well as some dark, mysterious nooks and crannies where lobsters and other recalcitrant creatures hide. Three big groupers reside around El Aguila and follow the divers with interest.
El Aquila wreck ©Marina Kudrya
Odyssey is 92 meters long freighter which was rebuilt after a fire, and ultimately deployed as an artificial reef on November 15, 2002. The ship lies on a sandy patch at 33 meters, adjacent to a fantastic wall. The ship’s bow is upright, although she was also damaged by the hurricanes and has collapsed over time. The stern is still intact and lists on a 30 degree angle. There are many areas which offer excellent penetration opportunities, and the ship is home to an impressive array of fish and other creatures. It is not uncommon to see schooling jacks, barracuda, and sharks making their way around the massive wreck.
Odyssey wreck ©Marina Kudrya
All in all, Roatan was a fun dive spot with very warm water, white sand – excellent ratio between sunbathing and activity. And there were no sandflies, which after Utila seemed like heaven alone (but lots of usual flies:)).