ISLA ROATAN, HONDURAS
I will write a comprehensive review of our first trip on board the Magic soon… but I can’t deprive those of you who got wind of this little story any longer.
Roatan was our first port. The night before we were set to arrive in Honduras we all piled on the bed in our balcony cabin and were scrolling through shore excursions via the TV channel to see what caught our eye. We decided on Maya Key Private Island Snorkeling with Lunch. 2 adults and 1 child cost us $230.
Maya Key Private Island Snorkeling with Lunch
Escape to an 11 ½ acre private island with white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and much more. Just a 15 minute boat ride away. Lounge by the poolside or under the swaying coconut palm trees on the beach, or enjoy the opportunity to snorkel in Roatan’s sparkling waters and explore the 2nd largest barrier reef. You can visit the Mayan interpretation Center and Honduran Art Exhibition Center to learn about the rich culture and heritage of Honduras. Explore life size replicas of the Copan Mayan Ruins and see native Honduran wildlife, such as Jaguars, Margays, Monkeys and reptiles at the Animal Sanctuary and Rescue Center. Enjoy a delicious island style lunch buffet and shop for local Honduran handicrafts in our gift shop.
(I refuse to take any excursion that costs $100 per person and does not provide me with either free lunch or free alcohol… in most cases it better be both!) We tried to book the time for 11am but it was full so we got 11:45 am.
Trenton came into our room through the adjoining balcony and woke me up early (6:30ish or so) whispering “Mom, Mom, it’s beautiful! You have to come see!” So pajamas and bare feet I stumbled out on to the balcony… no contacts and all I see is the form of this abandoned, probably wrecked and certainly burned frame of a ship. “What exactly out here is it that you thought was beautiful again?”
Trenton assured me he watched as we pulled into port and Roatan really was a beautiful place. He said he saw the prettiest island with a little yellow house. It looked like paradise! I took his word for it and consented to get into the shower and then head upstairs for breakfast. Once I had my eyes in (contacts) and could really take in our surroundings, Trenton was right. The view was beautiful. And the old burned ship actually looked pretty cool. (Mark grumpily said “Sad thing is someone was too lazy to clean it up and it sat there so long that now it actually looks cool”) LOL
Mark soon got up and we left the boat about 10 am. The weather was rainy but nice. The temperature was probably in the 80’s. Not too hot and with the rain, still not too cold. It wasn’t a downpour or even a drizzle. It was just a nice, soft constant sprinkle. The first thing we noticed about Roatan was the lush vegetation. It was so green and beautiful with flowers and trees and colors everywhere!
We had time to kill, souvenirs to buy and more than enough shops to walk through. We stopped at the information center and were able to get our passports stamped … which was exciting. Cruising to all these places there isn’t really an opportunity to have your passport stamped with the places you have been. We noticed a gathering for the tour we had booked a few minutes before 11am. Mark asked the tour director if they had extra room could we go with the 11:00 group? As it turned out, they were missing 10 people so we were able to catch the earlier boat. We got the 11am time we originally wanted! This day is turning out great!
We walked a little way down a nature path and ended up on a short wooden dock where our boat came to pick us up. It was a double decker boat. We climbed up to the top and settled in for our 15 minute scenic boat ride. Turns out, the little island with a yellow house on it that Trenton saw when we pulled into port that morning and thought was so beautiful was Maya Key Private Island. He was thrilled! “This was it Mom!”
Immediately upon setting foot on the island Trenton spots a little crab crawling along. We decided to go see the animals first as we were excited to walk around the island and take it all in.
This is where the uneventful day turned … well, eventful. We loved seeing all the animals and I was snapping away with the pictures. Trenton was oohing and aahing and running on to the next.
When we came upon the Jaguar cage he was clearly irritated. (The cat … not Trenton) He was pacing pack and forth along the side of the enclosure and staring down the beach. I even commented… “Wow, he really doesn’t seem happy at all.” The boys agreed and walked away, heading on down the path to see what was next when I heard the Jaguar make a noise. It seemed kind of like a purr. I thought “Oh how cute!” So I yelled back at Mark and Trenton... “Hey, come back, I think he is actually purring.”
Thinking back… Seriously, I thought the Jaguar was purring? What an idiot. (My poor husband… I don’t know why he ever listens to me!)
So they return to the cage just as he makes the sound again … only louder and longer this time staring right at Mark. I said “Oh My… he’s not purring, he’s growling!” Now… this is where Mark is on his own. He for some reason thought he could communicate? With the angry Jaguar? Male bonding? He growls back at the Jaguar…. And then there was silence. The Jaguar promptly turned his backside towards Mark … and as I am thinking … that is really strange. Why would a wild cat turn his backsi…. “Ooooh Nooooo!”
And it was done.
Like a slow motion action movie. The plume of spray shoots out of the rear end of this huge cat and expands in the humid air…. The cloud moving faster and growing wider and wider as it reaches its target and envelopes him.
Mark did attempt to cover his face and jump backwards, but his cat like reflexes paled in comparison to the … well, real cat.
Yep … My germ-a-phobe husband is now standing on a beach in Honduras … covered in Jaguar piss. Trenton and I are in hysterics! H-Y-S-T-E-R-I-C-S ‘Cause that’s what I do when bad things happen to good people. Laugh uncontrollably. I can’t help it or stop it.
I can’t make this shit up. I was standing in front of the Jaguar cage attempting to catch my breath thinking how am I ever going to control myself enough to blog about this? And when I do … who is going to believe me?
If only I had a picture to go here with the utter look of astonishment and disgust on Mark’s face at that moment. I have failed you all. I am truly sorry.
Well, moving on. We swam a little (obviously) there was no shower. Ate a little. The free buffet was nice. Salad, BBQ Chicken, Grilled Red Fish (outstanding!), beans and rice, and fried banana chips. Trenton jumped in the swimming pool (as if the large body of water surrounding us wasn’t enough). I collected our snorkeling gear and we headed off for the next adventure.
This was Trenton’s first time snorkeling. My first experience of drowning off the boat in Belize escaped my mind until I was climbing down the stairs into the water in Honduras. Panic washed over me. I was able to touch the bottom, but it was all rocks… or as Mark blatantly pointed out “They’re not rocks! It’s coral reef!” “What is wrong with you?!”
Whatever… I could not get my footing. I couldn't stand and couldn't get my bearings. I started to panic being in the water and it was crowded with people around. I kept bumping into rocks and people and the introvert in me was completely overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was just get away. So we swam out through the marked path farther into the ocean. It didn’t get any better for me. I was struggling internally not to panic because Trenton was there and I desperately wanted him to experience the world below him… but now you know my kryptonite…. Water. I am fine in it… but I don’t want to be under it. Mark… now free of Jaguar piss is in his element and swimming away like a fish.
Once we were able to put our heads under water I have to tell you…. That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. It topped all other snorkeling experiences. The colors and dynamics and beauty of it all cannot be described in words. It was the largest drop off I had ever seen and the deepest, prettiest color of blue imaginable. Heaven. The only thing that stopped my panic was the prayers and awe of the world that lay below me.
The water was getting choppy and Trenton’s mask kept leaking and therefore he kept pulling it off. In my attempt to help him we drifted from the path. As we attempted to swim back to Mark, I realized we were surrounded in coral reef again…. Right then my ankle smacked into it and for a brief moment the pain shot up my leg and I thought … holy crap! I have just amputated my foot in the ocean. I kept trying to pull my leg up to see it, but the current and that stupid flipper would not allow it. I could tell the flipper was still there, so I was somewhat relieved to realize my foot, in fact, was still attached. I knew I was bleeding though. Trenton made it back over to Mark as the thought crept into my mind…. Sharks! Oh geez… I am bleeding in the ocean. What if I get eaten by a shark? Mark again is looking at me saying “What is wrong with you?!”
“I cut my foot off, I am bleeding, and I am going to be eaten by a shark! We have to get out of here!”
Mark calmly replies … “So what you are saying is you are ready to go?” Totally dismissing the seriousness of this whole situation.
So we made our way back to the pier and climbed up the ladder. As we sit on the bench to dry off Mark looks down and my now blood covered foot as says “Holy crap Babe. You are bleeding.”
“Of course, I am bleeding! I told you I cut my foot off. Quit asking what is wrong with me! What is wrong with you?” He inspects my ankle closer. It’s just scratches, you’ll be fine.
“Hmph” So in fact, it was just scratches… lot’s of them, and I am fine. Don’t tell him that though :)
Trenton and I, both injured in our battle with the coral reef, flopped down on the beach chairs to lick our wounds while Mark returned the snorkel gear. We then made our way back to the pier to wait for the boat to take us back. It was now 3:30 and we were all pooped. We sat on the pier for a while with a large group of people all remarking… where in the world the boat was. It should have been back way before now.
Once the boat arrived, as we drove around to the front of the island we figured out why the boat was so late. The ocean was crazy! We own a boat. We are used to water and waves and such. Not this. It just kept getting worse and worse. The sea was swelling and rolling like an episode off one of those deadliest catch fishing shows. The waves were so large it was spraying the captain who was on the top deck with us! We finally caught on … when he ducks, we duck too! The whole top deck of the boat was drenched! It got so bad the boat had to come to a complete stop and the wave would hit and then he would accelerate to get us back up to the top. The swells had to be a good 10 feet. Without notice the boat thrust nose first down into the ocean. Trenton who was sitting at the end of the bench seat all the way to the front goes flying forward…. Head first. Mark flies off the bench and grabs Trenton just before he goes face first into the floor. I instinctively reached out for Mark as he is now completely off the bench seat too! The boat pitches back and Mark comes hoisting Trenton back up and slams my hand into the railing. I had already made such a fuss about amputating my foot in the ocean I didn’t want to say a word, but I seriously believed I had just broken my hand. We finally arrived back in the little cove, where the water was calmer to get off at the pier. Trenton was ecstatic…completely missing the seriousness of that situation. The adults were scrambling to get off the boat and congratulating the driver on getting us back. While it was fun… for a bit… It was pretty scary in the end.
My hand of course wasn’t broken, but it was swollen and black and blue for the rest of the cruise!
We finished off the evening with dinner at the Chef’s Table (I’ll cover in my main review). As we crawled into bed that night… over stuffed and exhausted… I told Mark … “Man, I feel like I’ve been in a fight and lost! But it was a great day!”