I have never watched an episode of Sponge Bob Squarepants, the children’s cartoon TV show, but my significant other tells me ol’ Sponge lives in the town of Bikini Bottom.
That’s where we are headed today on this gorgeous sunny day – not to the fictitious cartoon town, but a dive site of that name just a brief boat ride from Scuba Roatan’s headquarters. Our dive master Suzanne tells us that as part of a charity fundraiser, the top donor was allowed to name the dive site whatever he or she wished. The winner obviously is a big fan of Sponge Bob.
Every dive is getting easier and in short order, we are leisurely exploring the sandy ocean floor (not evidence of a single bikini bottom to be found) and winding through the reef’s coral canals. There is quite a bit of sea life to take in, including a ruffled edge sea slug that is far more beautiful than his land-living cousins, blue chromis, feeding parrotfish and the highlight – a green turtle lounging on a coral shelf. He is totally unperturbed by the divers who circle him taking photos and videos and doesn’t budge. It’s a thrill to get up close with the sea creatures in their natural environment.
No sightings of Sponge Bob, Patrick Starfish or Squidward today. But Suzanne points out a large crab claw resting on the sandy floor and we suspect that Mr. Crabs may have ended up as an octopus’s dinner.
As tonight is $1 taco night at Monkey Island, we decide a light lunch is best so pull up stools at Sundowner’s, a popular bar with ex-pats. Hockey fever is alive and well here as the owner is a Canadian and ardent Leafs fan (poor deluded guy). You may be in the tropics, but no need to miss a game thanks to Sundowner’s big screen TV.
Turns out a shared plate of nachos didn’t fully satisfy the appetite we worked up on our dive, so we head to the ice cream shop for a couple of cones, and pick up some bananas and mandarin oranges from the corner fruit stand for good measure.
Now we are revved up on chocolate espresso ice cream and there is still some daylight to burn, so back at Casa Canuck, we grab the kayaks. You can take the Canadians out of Canada, but you can’t take the Canada out of Canadians. If you weren’t born with a hockey stick in your hand, a paddle likely served as your baby rattle.
We take a tour around Mangrove Bight. What’s a bight you ask? It’s a wide bay formed by a bend in the shoreline and Mangrove Bight, as you might surmise, is ringed by mangroves as well as a mix of ex-pat homes, a small condo complex and homes owned by Hondurans.
At 6:15 p.m. we meet our hosts Stan and Joan on the deck and with new Casa Canuck guest Kay, we journey down to Monkey Island, indulge in a refreshing pina colada, tasty $1 tacos and a complimentary fruity shot of some sort. Now that’s how to live when you hear 20 centimetres of snow has fallen in your backyard back in Ontario.