Hello again, we hope you are all enjoying the festive period and that you all have a nice christmas and new year. I have just embarrassed myself by grabbing a young Chinese girls shoulder thinking that she was Angie. I think it may be time to pay another visit to the lovely folks at Specsavers.
Anyway, enough of the present as I plan to take you on a journey back in time. After leaving Antigua we made our way to a beautiful place called Semuc Champey, via a hostel called El Retero.
We got a lovely cabin in the hostel which overlooked a river. When we were shown to our room, the American owners forgot to tell us that the power in the room was solar powered meaning that, as there was no sun when we arrived back at the cabin after some food, we had no lights. This was all good until I later walked down the steps of our cabin using my arse instead of my feet on each step due to not being able see them. I know what you are thinking…"Where there's blame, there's a claim." (Claims Direct). Thankfully I only suffered bruising both to my body and my ego!
Semuc Champey has two main parts. The first part involved us swimming through a pitch black cave, full of big bats and icy water. This was actually quite fun as we had to hold candles in our mouths while we swam so that we would know where we going.
Angie was extremely brave in the caves, even when the person in front of her left her at the bottom of a ladder in the pitch black with know visible ground below her. I often ask myself "What happened to the girl I used to know who was scared of the water that comes out of showers??" After leaving the caves we crossed a high bridge, which we were allowed to jump off into the river below. I was assured that the crocodile that had been sighted in the river the day before had left the area, so I gave it a go. However, on resurfacing from the water I could make out the beasts eyes staring at me from near the shore. This made me frantically swim to the shore and away from the water. Looking back at the water I realised that I had actually been scared by a stone sticking out of the water. The main feature of Semuc Champey is a beautiful set of clear pools each connected to the next by little waterfalls and eventually joining the river by a massive waterfall. This was great fun and we both swam through the all the pools, diving from one to another.
The water was so clean and clear and there were plenty of little fish enjoying it with us.
Steve, Jim and Instructor Ryan
We spent the next two days travelling to the Northern Carribean coast of Honduras, specifically a town called Tela. We stayed hear a couple of days, drinking Rum and eating shrimps, but the weather wasn't great so after I had tried to join in a school football tournament on the beach, we packed our stuff to catch the midday ferry to an island called Roatan. On arrival at the ferry we were informed that the midday ferry actually left at four meaning we spent five hours at a dock with nothing to do.
Four and half hours of this time we spent trying to teach some local kids the classic card game Snap. The kids loved it but refused to play for money so after the first few hours we began to get a little tired. Finally we arrived in Roatan after a horrendously wobbly and nauseating ferry journey.
John Rolland, Angie and Jim (we were a little bit drunk)
In Roatan we shared a fantastic wooden cabin with two big rooms, a kitchen, and hot water (luxury) bathroom with two Canadian girls (Emily and Dionne) who we had met a couple of times before on our travels. We also met a couple called Steve and Gemma who run a caravan park in sunny Scarborough. After putting our bags down we headed to the local chicken restaurant, which we later visited most nights, and met three local guys called Alison AKA Black Boy, John Roland AKA Roller and Hazel AKA Azel. In eight days on the island I don't think I saw these guys sober once. And they were later joined by Lindy and Artley, who would sip on ice cold beer while steering his boat called Cool Runnings through the crystal clear waters in search of Tuna.
Gemma and Angie spent the week hanging around the beach or in hammocks reading (always with a rum and coke in hand), whilst Steve and I did our Open Water scuba diving course with a really good company called Native Sons. After a couple of days of theory waiting for the weather to improve, we were finally set loose on the ocean, although only a very shallow bit of the ocean at first so that we could practice skills. We even got to enter the water James Bond style, falling backwards off the side of the boat. I'm going to find it hard to describe the things I saw on any of my four proper open water dives as it is impossible to compare it to the world above the waves. The reef surrounding Roatan is the second biggest in the world after the Great Barrier Reef and is truly spectacular, with a wonderful blend of bright colours and shapes forming vast underwater playgrounds for the thousands of species that dwell there. On my first trip down, I saw lobsters and worms and so many amazing fish, including Trumpet fish, Puffer fish and a Grouper fish which stopped a couple of metres from us, changed colour and then opened its mouth to allow tiny shrimps to enter to clean its teeth, ironically, the next day we were cleaning our teeth of shrimps. My third open water dive, was my favourite although my excitement, combined with me carrying to much weight led to me using my air up to fast and it was therefore also my shortest dive. On this dive, along with all of the above, I saw a stingray, which are unbelievably elegant and graceful and two turtles together, doing what seemed to be some kind of ritualistic dance around each other. I guess that later, they either fought or mated, but who knows. My instructor who has done hundreds of dives over three years has only ever seen two turtles together once before, so we count ourselves very very fortunate. Steve and I are both now certified scuba divers and I can't wait for my next opportunity, I've been to 60 ft but want to go deeper. Myself, Angie, Gemma and Steve later visited a restaurant where we ate, fish, shrimps, lobster and king crab, which was amazing although we were given the king crab in its shell with a hammer, which was not only loud but messy, with the majority of the crab ending up on my clothes.
Before we left the island we went to a incredible beach with white sand, perfect water and palm trees. A cruise ship had arrived for the day, so it also had about a hundred drunk, rude, American rich kids. Luckily, with the sun still high in the sky, a whistle was blown and they were all rounded up and taken back to their luxury cruise ship, which with any luck is now stranded somewhere in the Arctic. This left the beach almost deserted and completely spectacular. Angie went snorkelling amongst some big groups of fish, some of which nibble at your skin, which was great and it is fantastic to see Angie enjoying things like that.
We left Steve, Gemma, Emily and Dionne, who was suffering from a suspected worm infestation (If you read this, we hope you are OK), and headed to Granada in Nicaragua, which is where we are now. Yesterday, we visited a local lake called Laguna de Apoyo, where we relaxed and swam in the warmest fresh water, we have ever been in. It was a really tranquil place and we are now contemplating returning on Christmas day, which'll be nice but we are both sad to be missing the traditional Christmas celebrations in our respective homes. To the Sinclairs and the Masters and everyone else, have a great Christmas and save us some Turkey and some Crackers.