What the hell! It was 7am and the divers were already getting the tanks out of storage to prepare for the day’s dive. We would not be able to sleep in the following days because of the diving preparations each morning. Roatan is a diving community, but because we don’t dive–the Dr. became a certified diver a long time ago but has lost interest–we were more interested in snorkeling and just taking it easy. Bananarama Dive Resort is frequented by those who travel far to learn how to dive. We were just there because they had the nicest cabins for rent on West Bay, the more quiet side of Roatan island.
After some anemic eggs and sausage and tortilla garnished with a hibiscus flower for breakfast, we took a water taxi from the dock several yards away to go to the West End, the opposite side of West Bay. The entire island of Roatan is only 34 miles long and West Bay has the best beach, but West End is where the stores, restaurants and bars are so it’s teeming with life during the day.
We walked around to get a feel of the island. We bought some fruits from the guy with the pickup truck, canvassed prices for snorkeling trips and visited some gift shops. We were pretty disappointed that condos were being built all over the beach, some priced at $300,000. It’s inevitable, right? But when we were in Panama, the settlers were mindful not to build tall concrete buildings in the mountains or the beach. Roatan looked like it was just waiting to be the next Florida.
It wasn’t even noon yet and the sun was already out in full force. We settled for Creolan food at Bertie’s because the Honduran restaurant the water taxi driver recommended was still closed. The only problem was that the fried chicken we ordered for $8 did not taste Creolan at all. In fact, there was nothing Creolan in the menu. We would find out through our stay that food prices on the island range from $5 to $18 and those just include a small bowl of soup and a plate of fried fish with a sorry piece of iceberg lettuce they called salad. Alas, we’re tourists just like everyone else so we just had to suck it up.
Late in the afternoon, we hired this guy Luna to take us fishing for two hours. If we can’t get a decent meal on the island, well, we’re just going to have to catch it, right? We got in his boat and we asked where the bait was. We’re going to get it!, he exclaimed. We docked back at West End and we watched him wade in the water with his big kitchen knife, stabbing all the crabs he saw. With the crabs, we caught three small yellowtail snappers to use as bait.
We trawled in his boat for two hours, but the fish weren’t biting. We had to revert to the old-fashioned way and anchored the boat, waited for the smaller fish to bite and hoped for the best. Luna entertained us. His stories all started with My-uncle-this and My-uncle-that. He laughed like a maniac. We found ourselves laughing at him rather than with him. Later, when we told other locals that we had hired Luna during our first day, their reaction was always, You hired Luna?! Apparently, he’s notorious on the island as the town lunatic.
The Dr. got lucky and caught two yellowtail snappers right away. Soon after, we had a grouper. (Endangered, we know, but Darwin made a good point!) The sun came down fast after that. When we caught a slimy, we knew it was time to go back to the beach.
Back at West Bay after cleaning up for the night, we bought a Cuban sandwich, a plate of pasta and fish ceviche for dinner from the restaurant in the Mayan Princess Resort. No fish that night because we had three waiting in the fridge for the next day.