I am blessed that our Children enjoy our company enough to invite us to go on some trips with them and this was the case for our trip to Roatan. This trip was my son, John’s 40th birthday celebration. His wife, Nancy, who has a real talent for finding amazingly beautiful, interesting and safe places to go, made all the arrangements.
John, Nancy, their two boys and Nancy’s mom, Jackie would fly out of Charlotte. My hubby, Charlie, my daughter, Mische (pronounced meesh) and I were to leave from Raleigh-Durham Airport. We would rendezvous in Miami and fly together to Roatan. Our trip was scheduled for January 23-30. We were so excited but Mother Nature loves to play. She blessed us with a show-stopping ice storm on Friday, the day before our trip started. UGH! We got word from the airlines that all flights out of RDU and Charlotte had been canceled for Saturday. We tried to reschedule our flight to Roatan for later in the week but as luck would have it, although advertised differently, there was only one flight available to Roatan weekly. It was catch that flight or forfeit the trip. WE WERE NOT HAVING THAT!
We put our heads together and finally decided that we would drive to Miami (no ice storm down there) and catch the second leg of our flight. Problem was our flight to Roatan was supposed to leave early afternoon so we would have to leave at “dark-thirty” to make it to the airport on time unless we left Friday during the actual storm.
I had a scary experience traveling in an ice storm once and wasn’t anxious to repeat it so I was dragging my feet but Mische finally talked me into leaving immediately (by now it was 1:30 pm, Friday). We threw our bags in the car and headed south taking our time on the road. The ride really was not bad and by central South Carolina there was no ice on the highway. We made it to Boca Rotan, Fl at 1:30 am where we (John’s crowd and the 3 of us) spent the night. We caught a couple hours rest and continued on to Miami airport. It was very early: it was Saturday; there was little traffic, thank goodness.
We parked the cars and checked in, and eventually boarded on time. But guess what? There is more to this story. We sat in the plane for 3 hours waiting for the mechanics to correct a control panel lighting issue being told a number of times that it would be another 30 minutes before we could take off. After repeated promises 0f “it will be about 30 minutes”, the crew allowed us to leave the plane if we wished but to stay close. Luckily for us, there was a nice bar just outside the gate. We got adult beverages for everyone (except the grandbabies, of course) and brought them back on the plane (teeheehee…we are so naughty – you’re not supposed to do that, you know.) which made the wait a little more pleasant and some of our fellow passengers a little jealous. I am not sure exactly what time we actually took off (imagine that!) but we arrived safe and sound in Roatan and luckily for all of us, so did our luggage.
The bus ride from the airport to the West Bay area took about 45 minutes. Roatan is a very poor place. We passed many areas where the people lived in true poverty but there were some nice places, too and the flora was beautiful. Our resort, Infinity Bay, was beautiful, guarded and our accommodations were lovely. In fact, they were much nicer than my own home.
We spent most of our time on the beach which was alive with beautiful, hard working Hondurans. They walked the beach daily, selling their wares and working hard to support their families. They were not pushy but they did avail me with every opportunity to buy whatever I wanted and quite a few things I didn’t. They were lovely people with great diversity in appearance. I found them intriguing and great fodder for my art.
The coral reef was only about 75’ from shore so we rented snorkel gear for the duration of our visit. We spent almost every day swimming in and around the reefs. The reef was beautiful, colorful and absolutely teaming with life but you didn’t have to swim to the reef to see fish. You started seeing colorful fish as soon as you hit the water. And most of the time the water was perfect for snorkeling, calm, clear and virtual no currents to fight.
Roatan is mountainous and I think it was created by volcanic action but that is merely a guess on my part. I base that on the appearance of the cliffs of Roatan which look to be made of lava. When the water was calm, which was most of the time the cliffs were stately but when it was stormy, the waves were crashing on the craggy sides of the cliff creating crazy waterworks and sprays that went 20-30’ in the air. Amazing! I got some videos and I still find it difficult to believe how much that sea changes.
John, Nancy, Mische and the grandsons went zip lining trough the jungle. They not only got thrills from flying through the treetops but they got many photos of parrots and monkeys which were very people friendly and quick to climb on your shoulder in designated areas. There was no story of any monkeys or birds joining them during their rapid descents. My youngest grandson was fearless and was in the air immediately. The older one is a little more deliberate and took his time with his leap of faith but all came back with tons of stories and many wonderful memories.
We ate lots of seafood while there. Lobster was among my favorite but the fish we had was fabulous, too. My favorite restaurant was Celest’s; great food and a block away from our resort. Celest is a parrot rescuer so she has a number of rescued birds at the restaurant. These will gladly sit on your shoulder and share a French fry with you, if invited.
Roatan is a warm, interesting tropical island filled with much beauty. I would love to go back one day. In the mean time, I will just have to put my memories on canvas.