Last night over dollar tacos and, if you can stomach it, $2 orange Fanta at Sundowner, my faith was restored in people! My first night in El Salvador my Go Pro was stolen for the second time by, I believe, the cab driver, Pedro, who I wrongly thought was a good man. This was my second Go Pro to be stolen in a matter of months and this time Pedro got my irreplaceable Cuba footage so I was heart broken. However, last night, I stupidly left my Nikon camera on the bar at Sundowner and not only found it there but it was being watched over by two incredible new Honduran friends – Chato aka Roberto and Neto aka Carlos Ernesto. I’m not sure what was better getting my camera back or meeting these incredible locals.
(No worries Papa – it is still the camera but a close second were my new friends!)
We mixed laughter and stories in with a fire dance and a true blue Honduran thunderstorm that turned the streets of West End into a shallow river. But, most importantly, I was invited to join them today bright and early to go on the boat to monitor and learn a bit about scuba (baby steps) and to snorkel the second largest barrier reef in the world and I’m here to tell you there is a very good reason why Roatan is considered one of the best scuba spots on earth. Where we were, there was a drift current that made me feel like I was actually one with the ocean and the shallow reef allowed me to see every color and type of fish you can imagine and UP CLOSE! Between the current and the shallow reef, I was actually worried I might damage the reef with my fins or the coral might injure me so I was very cautious while floating in none other than Heaven. There was also this incredible few minutes when God’s morning sun rays permeated the water and I felt like I was swimming in the center of a kaleidoscope. The divers even saw a 7 foot eel. And guess what? Dolphins are everywhere and particularly Anthony’s Point so make sure to head out there. Seagrape will take you and seem to have some of the most knowledgeable captains and divers I met (most especially Roberto who knows the name of every under water creature there is so be sure and ask for him when you get there). Moreover, Seagrape seems to have some serious luck finding the marine life! Unfortunately, as I said my Go Pro was stolen so Roberto loaned me his and I’m waiting on the footage but will upload upon receipt so you can see with your own eyes what I’m talking about.
Afterwards on the boat trip back to the dock, I asked Scott, one of the other snorkelers who went with me and Neto, why he wasn’t diving. I’m so glad I did. He said he used to but he had a leak in his BCD vest at 30 feet deep once and was unable to obtain positive buoyancy and had to drop his weights and do an exhausting swim ascent. He said it scared him and since then he found that he can see just as much snorkeling and can do it in a much more relaxed setting and not worry so much about his dive computer, the amount of air he has left in his tank to get back to the boat, not getting lost in the deep blue and all the other potential dangers below. I told him my story and thanked him for sharing his as it made me feel better that a strong, capable man was scared once too and yet found peace and beauty in his acceptance of his desire to snorkel rather than scuba. When we parted, he also thanked me for sharing my story with him as he said it made him feel better that a brave girl like me had fears too.
The day didn’t end there. I went to lunch with Neto and hiked into the jungle to Chato’s house to try Neto’s coffee which is grown on the land his family has owned for generations in the southern part of Honduras in Marcala close to Esperanza where Sinda is living. It was the first coffee I have ever drunk without milk, cream or sugar. The flavor and aroma far exceeded anything I tasted in Columbia and if you are tea drinker like my friend, Rooms aka Amira, you will love his coffee too. Then he played his electric guitar for me and since we had no electricity due to last night’s storms, Neto placed the headstock and the neck of the guitar on the wooden balcony and had me place my ear on the wooden beam to listen. I didn’t even know you could do that! The acoustics through the wood were sensational. He also showed me some artwork painted by our very own Chato and we sat and discussed the spirits that haunt the house I’m staying in. Oh yes Honduras is full of spirits. I experienced them more here than in any other country so far except perhaps India and Indonesia. I heard them in the walls knocking around to the beat of what sounded like a muffled Mayan chant of some sort and the second night I was there, they were scurrying about in the living room. Their favorite thing seemed to be moving my things around just to let me know they were there. When this happens (don’t laugh) but I was told to politely introduce myself and tell them to leave me alone and invite them to seek rest. I did this and they actually went away. Despite the bit of alarm they caused, I was a bit disappointed that they were gone in all actuality as it was quite something to be exposed to this and they were certainly much more interesting than your typical nuisance.
On another note, some weeks ago, Chato found an old Mayan corn God shaped out of a rock in the jungle which Neto showed me and then gently admonished me for photographing. When I complained I wasn’t feeling well later, he said it was because I had taken the photo and shouldn’t have. Since I did, I’m sharing it with you. Interestingly, the pupil of the eyes, particularly the right eye, is only seen through the photograph. You cannot see it with the naked eye so feel free to zoom in on that photo and take a peek into the eery eyes of history.
That’s all for now from a bit of the underwater world and perhaps a bit of the underworld too all the way from Roatan Honduras.