Posted January 30th, 2018, 11:43 AM
Roatan. No doubt about it. The second largest barrier reef in the world, second to Australia. Look up Roatan Ocean Adventures, Herbert at ROA is a treat of a young man. He took us out to snorkel and it was the highlight of our cruise. You can follow them on FB.
This is what I wrote in my journal about Roatan:
Roatan is a “walk off” port so once we were done eating wegrabbed our stuff and headed off the ship. We independently booked Sightseeingand Snorkel the Barrier Reef with Roatan Ocean Adventures (ROA) which we readabout on Cruise Critic. Reviews there and on Trip Advisor were all positive andafter a few e-mails with Herbert, the owner, we booked. We received a detailede-mail with exact walking directions to meet the tour. We followed, and walkedup one area, down another, across even another, and finally up a small hillroad, at the top, when we looked down the other side, there was a line ofpeople along the right side of the road, with signs announcing who they wereand what tour they were picking up for! Apparently Carnival will only allow“their” excursions to pick up at the actual pier. It was no big deal - the walktook all of maybe 10 minutes. As soon as we got to the checkpoint, 2 guys witha different tour group asked us who we were looking for, and called out forthem. With more than 50 people picking up for as many tours, ROA wasn’t there.We were assured they would be there shortly. We sat and watched this physicalsymphony. It was a lot of fun watching locals picking up their visitors for theday. A few minutes later a young man came over and said my name. He was holdinga cell phone. He had Herbert on the phone. He was minutes away and heapologized several times in the 1 minute call we had. The young man was hiscousin.
Herbert arrived and had parked and walked over to collectus. His car was clean and air conditioned and as he drove he shared with us allsorts of interesting things about his life, and life on the island. At 27Herbert is a devout ecologist. He is very concerned about the reef system andhas taken matters into his own hands…literally. He has taken 86 species ofcoral that he has seen being damaged by storms, pollution and humans andcreated a coral garden. He is re-growing the coral and when it is mature enoughhe will take each piece and reintroduce it to the reef with the expectation ofre-growing endangered reef coral. In addition he is preparing to add solarpanels to the house he lives in with his dad in French Harbor. Herbert has aton of business ideas and shared many of them with us, asking what we thought.To me, I felt like I was visiting with a relative I don’t see frequently ratherthan a stranger. He is smart and very personable. As we drove he pointed outvarious things to us, and we 3 chatted as friends. We were fortunate in that wehad a private tour with Herbert.
Along the sightseeing way we stopped at various beachvistas (beautiful) and at one we were among mangroves and Herbert taught us theright way to replant the pods that we found on the ground (he said “come backnext year and I’ll show you your trees!”). We also stopped at the iguana parkand we both bought a few trinkets in the shop there. Many items werelocally made and prices reasonable. Then we made a stop at his cousin’s animalsanctuary where we played with little monkeys, saw beautiful scarlet macaws,some local tapirs and I got to hold a very friendly sloth. Those are words Inever thought I’d say in my life….I held a sloth.
And then the time had come…itwas time to snorkel the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world! We had broughtour own mask and snorkel and Herbert had fins and vests for us. He also has masksand snorkels to use. I’m not a very good swimmer and Herbert suggested I simplyhold the vest against myself and basically use it as a floating device. Itworked brilliantly! Herbert also keeps a stash of “reef safe” sunscreen. Webrought our own, and lathered up! We met Justin, our entrepreneurial and lovely16-year old pontoon boat driver (he works during the week and goes to school onweekends and will be graduating in a month and then going to university) – heis also very concerned for the reef and will do whatever he can to preserveand/or make it better. The sounds from the “party” on Little French Cay wasloud enough for us to hear and Herbert wanted to take us away from it. Heguided Justin and before long we were in an isolated area of the reef. Theylowered a sloping ladder and in we went. The water was warm, calm and the mostexquisite color of green and blue I’d ever seen. One thing to note with ROA isthat Herbert carries an underwater camera (so you don’t have to) and takespictures while you snorkel (he was in the water with us, while Justin quietlyfollowed along). Within a few days Herbert e-mails hi-resolution pictures toyou at no extra charge. We got about 20 and each one is more beautiful than thenext! We snorkeled a very long section of the reef (maybe a mile) all the whileseeing every variation of fish, sea life and so much coral that was so colorfuland unusual it almost looked like an underwater movie set! At one area wesnorkeled over a submerged 185’ ship, something that scuba divers enjoyexploring. I would say we snorkeled about an hour or so. We could have donemore, but we knew we were on limited time. We boated around a bit more beforeheading back to shore. After drying off we got back in the car and Herbert tookus down the highway and drove us through Coxen Hole before taking us back tothe ship pier. We sadly said good -bye to our new friend and told him we wouldsee him again.
Away we went!
April 22, 2017 - Magic Cloud 9 Spa balcony
Away we went!
Oct. 25, 2015 - Magic Cloud 9 Spa balcony
We've sailed with Carnival, Royal, Norwegian, Celebrity, Holland and P&O and have sailed to Fiji & Australia, the Caribbean (east & west), Bermuda, Hawaii, Mexico and Alaska.