Seeing as we are out of cereal, we treat ourselves to breakfast this morning at The Landing, a lovely intimate little cafe on top of The Beach House hotel with a gorgeous view of Half Moon Bay.
We decide to join the 11 a.m. dive with the Scuba Roatan crew and learn we are heading to a dive site called The Wife, apparently named by one of the guys from Creedence Clearwater Revival who is not John Fogerty.
Today we are guided by the master of all dive masters, Rino Jackson, owner of Scuba Roatan and a native Honduran who has logged more than 7,000 dives on the reef. He has a vast knowledge of all the creatures that live there and today tells us we are going in search of a frogfish that hangs out there.
Down we go and spend some time swimming along the ‘wall’ and enjoying the fish swimming by. Rino is a Zen-like dive master, able to cruise along with only the slightest of movements. Our group of five is leisurely following along when Rino commands our attention with a tap of a carabiner on his tank and points to something tucked into a coral. It’s a bright yellow lump that on closer inspection has eyes and a mouth. It’s him! The elusive frogfish!
Frogfishes are intriguing critters. They sit camouflaged on sponges or hide between corals and wait for their prey. When one approaches, its dorsal spine does a transformer-type thing so it resembles a lure and bait such as a worm or shrimp. When a small fish goes after this dangling treat, the frogfish expands its oral cavity and creates suction pressure inside the mouth and sucks in the unsuspecting prey.
We continue with our leisurely exploration until Rino stops to show us some kind of tiny crab. As we are peering down at it, I suddenly start floating upwards and can’t stop, even though I am firmly pressing on the button that deflates my BCD. Soon I’m at the surface and watching my fellow divers 50 feet down looking for me. Hey guys, I’m up here!
Finally Rino spots me and meets me at the mooring line where he drops one of his weights in my pocket and I’m able to descend again. We swim for a few minutes then Rolland realizes his tank is almost empty and has to head for the boat. Between the two of us, we’ve given Rino quite the workout today.
We spend late afternoon strolling up and down West End. It’s always a fun place to hang out and we discover C Level, a bar and restaurant associated with a dive shop (as several of them are). We order up a couple of chocolate banana smoothies and enjoy chatting with Mike, a Torontonian who spends five months a year here.
We stock up on Raisin Bran at Super Mini Golden Star – kind of a Mac’s Milk with liquor – then continue our walk, stopping to soak up the vibrant atmosphere and take pictures along the way.
Tomorrow we have no plans – maybe some snorkeling at Half Moon Bay, maybe a trek to the east end of the island with our Casa Canuck hosts. We are fully into vacation mode and already disliking that we have just a few more days here.