Roatan Journal: Day 7

Day 7. We rise to smells of Elmer’s coffee and a light salted breeze from the ocean. Our team is playful, having grown easy with one another over the course of seven days. Today we won’t be going to la Colonia. Our work, for this trip at least, is complete. Instead we’ll spend the day enjoying the island before we have to board our plane for home tomorrow.

Our first destination is called The Wall, and Elmer drives us there in his water taxi. We’ve brought our snorkels and fins with us, as the reef that makes up The Wall promises to delight. It does not disappoint. We fall backward out of the boat into the water and fix our masks to our faces. The water is cooler here. Deep ravines in the reef zigzag along the ocean floor, and we can see the faded, blue-hued wetsuits of divers at the bottom, air bubbles crowding into floating paths behind them. We’re happy with our snorkels and the freedom they afford to stay at the top of the water to explore the higher peaks of reef or to free-dive down to lower spectacles. Though I have to say I’m not a good free-diver; I have buoyancy problems. I can’t kick my way down very far. Trying to is kind of like trying to push a fully inflated raft down into the water. I just keep popping back up, like a buoy.

Mike free-diving “The Wall”

I don’t mind staying on the surface, and it gives me a chance to swim with Bailey who is braving her first snorkeling trek over water this deep. We swim and point to fish and urchins and to Mike who is, perhaps, the most fun to watch for me. Unlike me, he is a very good free diver and can easily dive as deep as the divers below us. He’s attracted to caves and skinny passages, and I always find myself holding my breath when he disappears from sight. But so far he’s always re-emerged with tales to tell. His brother is with us, and they share a passion for the water that dates back to their childhoods spear fishing in Miami. They are like encyclopedias of sea life, naming this and that, marveling at the size or striping of this or that. They surface excitedly to share their finds with each other, and I can easily imagine them at seven and thirteen, towheaded and brown from the Florida sun, fins splashing in the water as they go down for another look.

When we’ve had our fill, we make our way back to Casa Isabella, dripping Caribbean waters into the bottom of Elmer’s boat where they make little rivers flowing towards the stern. Maybe they’re eager to get back to The Wall, but we have our sights on a zip line. This zip line, we’re told, is not the kiddie ride version, but the king-of-all-rides version. It’s got breathtaking height, speed and just enough thrill to give us a good dose of butterflies.

Our team just before zip lining

At day’s end on Roatan

The zip line tales turn out to be true. It is high. The guys that work the carabineers and line are encouraging, and once they realize some of our team has experience, let us take some risks, like riding tandem in superman poses. They are great with Bailey who does a brave job of something that I’m pretty sure scares the pants off her. And on the last run, a magnificent run that flanks the mountainside, skims treetops and hurtles towards a breathtaking ocean that sparkles like jewels in the sunlight, they make sure Bailey rides with one of them. It is brilliantly fast; and they are wise to warn us to shut our mouths so we don’t swallow bugs.

We giggle and tease as we climb into the back of a pick up, off to West End for shopping and dinner. We finish the day stuffed full with a good adventure, good food and a few bags of loot to carry home to family and friends.

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