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Roatan 2009

Our vacation info

Our winter vacation this year is Roatan Island, Honduras. After spending weeks looking for the perfect winter vacation spot, we heard about Roatan on HDTV and thought it looked like a little piece of paradise. Roatan is located near the second largest barrier reef in the world and we’re really excited to discover the incredible sea life right outside our resort called the Henry Morgan. We totally fell in love with the exotic, colorful, cottage feel to it and decided to ditch the 5 star resort experience to try something a little more rustic. We’ll be here for 2 weeks. I thought I’d blog away every few days to keep friends and family informed but above all to keep the memories of our trip new and shiny for the years to come. Sorry fellow French frogs, the blog will be in English only ;)

Posted by Rattrays 01:30 Comments (1)

First couple of days...

...in paradise!

We had to get up at 2:45 on Friday to catch our flight to Roatan from Toronto. We spent the night at the double tree close to the airport. Needless to say we barely caught any Z's as we were like 2 kids waiting for Santa to arrive... We woke up to the news of the deadly plane crash originated from Newark. Our hearts went to all the people who lost loved ones and reminded us to always make the best out this (sometimes to short) journey called life. The flight was 5 hours. 5 LONG hours. Ever notice how time seems to play tricks on you when you're waiting for something? tic, tic... tic....... tic................tic. ;)
We arrived at the resort before noon and the weather was 27 degree celcius (84 F) and sunny. The rooms are exactly what we expected. Very cottage like but eat on the floor kind of clean. We put on our bathing suits and were on the beach in a flash. The beach is Breathtaking!!! Beautiful fine white sand and turquoise water and almost nobody around. Roatan really is a hidden jewel! We spent the afternoon playing in the water like kids not realizing how much sea life was swimming around us. P1040498.jpg
The resort is pretty small and only has 1 restaurant - buffet style. This is very different from what we are used to in the 4-5 star resorts but the food is tasty and we are not here for the food anyways.. And the night life is.... well there is NONE. This will get boring after a few days here but with only 3 hours of sleep, we weren't too bummed about it on our first day.
Our second day started at about 8:30. We grabbed our snorkling gear and headed to the beach. We saw sea snakes, sting rays, all kinds of little fish and what we assumed were squids - God they are freaky looking!!! All this was right in front of our resort. After lunch while David had a nap under a palm tree, I went back for more snorkling and the beach get so quiet at times that I was by myself in the water for a good 45 minutes swimming along with couple dozens of fish in very shallow water. So amazing!! We then walked about 15 minutes down the beach to a coral wall where over 10 iguanas hang out at all time. The coral comes almost to the shore and the sea life is out of this world!! We went just knee deep in the water and were surrounded by about 75 fish - big flat grey ones and yellow stripped ones. FH000014.jpg
This was one of those "so happy and amazed, my heart will burst out of my chest" moment!! We're going back there today with fish food and our snorkling gear.
We then got cleaned up and went back to the beach in time for the sunset. Sunsets are incredible here.. You can see the sun go down in the water inch by inch. Add a champagne bottle to this and you have the perfect romantic Valentine's day moment. David also surprised me with a romantic dinner right on the beach. We had a beautiful table setting that was surrounded by a heart shape in the sand. It was amazing!! :) Roatan really is a little piece of paradise!!

Posted by Rattrays 06:21 Comments (0)

More great days

in Roatan..

Sunday was a fabulous day!! After I finished my blog, down the beach we went to the coral wall with snorkling gear and breakfast for the fish. Same school of fish was hanging out in shallow water waiting for us to give them food. They were taking the bread right out of our hands - there was no finger casualities but the buggers do bite quite hard!!! We put on masks, snorkle and fins and started swimming through the reef. It was unbelievable!! Fish, big and small, the color - you name it, we saw it!!! This was beyond anything beautiful I've ever seen. We had such an amazing time, we called it quit for lunch than got right back with more food for the fishies around 1:30. Because it was Sunday, there was a lot of locals at the beach with their family. Most of them around the resort 3 doors down from ours. The only ones at the coral wall were 3 boys - between 6-9 years old. They came in the water to watch the fish while we were feeding them so we shared our bread with them and they were really excited. When we were all out of food, one of the boys went to his mom and brought back a banana and shared with us so we could keep feeding them all together. So Sweet! :) We went snorkling afterwards for a while and sat on the beach for a bit, than back to our balcony to chill out in our hammocs. This vacation is exactly what the doctor ordered: Re-la-xa-tion and nature's beauty all in one ;)

The weater was kind of crappy on Monday so we walked to "west end", a cute town on the water with tons of little shops and restaurants. It's about a 45 minutes walk on the beach from the resort. On our way there, we saw a 6 foot long moray eel swimming by the shore. Can't say I would have been a happy snorkler coming face to face with that monster!! Jeez.. he was creepy looking!!
Other then seeing a multicolored lizard and David getting pinched by a crab, the trip to West End was pretty uneventful. We ended up at the "sundowner" a little bar right on the water owned by Tracey, a Canadian girl from Windsor. We had a couple of Margaritas and a monkey lala - delicious but the Canadian girl ain't shy on the booze!! ;) We decided this was the perfect place to come celebrate my b-day next week. :) We got back to the hotel by water taxi and swam until sunset. Watching the sun set right from the water was absolutely magical!!

Tuesday was another beautiful sunny day which meant our seaplane excursion was on!! Okay.. so if you know me well, you know I'm absolutely terrified of heights but as I said earlier, life is too short of a journey to pass on exciting adventures like this!! So after a little liquid courage in the form of a pina colada - oh yeah, liquid courage here is VERY tasty!! We headed to Las Rocas, the next resort to our meeting point. Now let me describe this plane to you. Imagine a 3 seater canoe with wings and pontoons. Yes - no roof and our knees were higher than the sides of the plane.
Take off was pretty bumpy. We levelled off at 500 ft where it was clear sailing. The view from up there was undescribable. We flew about half way down the coast line and ascended to 800 ft to cross the Island and made it back to the resort. We took countless pictures and videos. We can't wait to share them with you!!

Posted by Rattrays 06:02 Comments (2)

Only one week left

Wednesday can be summarized in one word: snorkling... We swam with a few beautiful and colorful schools of fish and also saw the most gorgeous fish of all. It was blue with small polk-a-dot that were literally glowing in the water. We get more and more amazed by the beauty of this place as the days go by. A few people saw big sea turtles but we weren't that lucky - Yet. We will be on Mission: Turtle on our next snorkling day!

Life is a journey and Roatan is our playground! That's why I challenged my fear of height for another once in a lifetime adventure on Thursday. First, let me say that if I would have known that a woman plunged to her death last year doing exactly the same thing in Roatan, I might have back-out.. but we learned about it after we got back. We spent about an hour ziplining through the tree tops of the island. All geared up with a harness, a helmet as thick as a paper bag and work gloves with leather inlays; we were hooked to a cable from our belly buttons as we flew threw the air down the mountain. There was 13 platforms, one as long (if not longer) than 2 football fields and had an amazing view of both the mountain and the ocean. Yes, I felt like my stomach stayed at the top of the hill and I might have disturbed some wild animals with the "holy craaaaaaap!!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs, but the view from up there was worth it all :)
And for the first time that night, the resort's entertainment was fun! They had a "fireshow" which ironically, was performed by a Canadian guy from Vancouver.

Friday was supposed to be another snorkling day but it was really cloudy so mission turtle had to be delayed. We had about 30 minutes of sun in the morning which is when we met Carolina, a photographer from Argentina who took a few pictures of us and put them on a CD for us to take home. My next big splurge will definitely be a good camera. It makes a world of a difference to have memories as close to the real thing as possible.
After a few hours of just chillin' on the beach, we took a water taxi to West end to walk around the village and have a few Monkey La-Las at the Sundowner.

I'm really excited about today!! We are planning to get ta scooter and drive around the island. Fingers crossed the weather will stay this nice!!

Posted by Rattrays 05:59 Comments (2)

Scooter and rain

around the island

Saturday was scooter day!! $25 for 24 hours. No security deposit, no credid card needed, just a name. This really is a trusting island! Roatan is really small and narrow. It's about 4 miles by 37. We tried to cover as much of it as we possibly could. We soon realized there was only one paved road which covered about 2/3 of the island. At certain elevated points of the Island, you can see the ocean on both sides. The landscape we've seen while driving around was out of this world!! But it also is a 3rd world country, as you would expect we saw the irony of the absolute perfect location in a paradise island with a house we couldn't possibly imagine ourselves living in for one day! We drove for several hours, stopping to take in the beauty of the place many times. One place had a restaurant overlooking both sides of the ocean. Again, the beauty of the view is impossible to describe.. Which is probably the reason why the owners named the restaurant "the view". We decided to have a bite for lunch while admiring the brand new resort down by the water.
Coincidentally, we ended up chatting with the father of the 2 men developping this very upscale Nikki resort and spa. They are going after the big Hollywood stars and professional athletes as their exclusive guests. From what we could see from the restaurant, the view, and the details he was giving us, there is no doubt in our minds this place will be an unbelievable and successful resort. Ahh to have that kind of $$$... We would be first on the guests list!!
We continued our island tour and stopped at Turquoise Bay - no need to explain this one; the name says it all. Another gorgeous spot!!
We stopped on the side of the street in the middle of no where for some roasted corn.. Just 2 men roasting corn on the cob on a half barrell selling them for 10 Lempiras (.50) Not very good I have to say but many locals were stopping for it so we had to see what that fuss was all about :)
We made our way down to Oak Ridge, a little village where most houses were built over the water on stilts. They were hit by a big hurricane a couple years ago so you could see a lot of stilts with no more house attached to them. Pretty sad.. our last stop was French Harbour where we once again stopped to take a picture and a little girl ran from accross the street and asked me to take a picture of her. I did and showed her how pretty she looked on the camera and she was just thrilled! Then she skipped along after the scooter waiving at us. So cute!! It was the absolute perfect sunny day spent in the absolute perfect way! :)

Sunday started very cloudy in the morning and went from bad to worse. Our snorkling mission to find a turtle was again delayed. We still stayed on the beach in spite of the rain showers and moved under a palapa. I can officially say we are the biggest beach bums on this island. We stayed hoping for the sun to break until there was only the 2 of us left on the beach and the rain turned to a torrential downpour. We finally sprinted to our room when we accepted the sun simply took a day off. I had no choice but chuckle at myself when we got back to the room and my first instinct was to turn on the tv for entertainment even if I knew there is no cable in our room and the only English channel is so fuzzy we can't see or hear clearly. We spent the rest of the day in the lobby chatting with people, playing cards and ping pong. It ended up being a fun day even if the rain never stopped. Plus, if we would never get rainy days, we wouldn't appreciate the sunny ones quite as much ;)

Monday was another rainy day. Our plans for a perfect sunny b-day got rainned out but Rainny Roatan beats Chilly Canton everyday! :) it finally stopped raining around dinner time so we cabbed it to West End and tried "Tongs" a Thai restaurant right on the water. The food was pretty good and the location was great. We then ended up at the Sundowner for a few drinks, met a nice couple from Dallas and came back to the resort for a night cap.

Posted by Rattrays 06:10 Comments (0)

Last days in Roatan

midnight parrotfish and baracuda

We opened our eyes to the sun peeking through the curtains on Tuesday. No more rain! YAY!! We went for breakfast as usual and saw Jorge, he is the restaurant supervisor at the resort. Such a nice man! First thing he said that morning was: Annik, I was waiting for you all night yesterday, you didn't come for dinner! So I told him we decided to go in West End for a change. Next thing I know, we're sitting down having breakfast and the whole restaurant staff was singing "happy birthday" (none of them at the same time - that was so precious!) and gave me a big chocolate cake that said happy birthday Anik with one candle on it. Then both Jorge and Lenny - who as been our waiter almost every day - gave me kisses on the cheeks a la French Canadian :) That was all so very nice of them! After both having a big piece of cake for breakfast, we went to soak up the sun for a couple hours then decided to give Archery a try. David had tried it before and was pretty good at it. I, on the other hand, right down sucked at it! Mind you the bow didn't have enough tension in the string and the arrows were all bent and old. So we laughed (at me) a lot and we both had a blast. We'll definitely have to try that again!
Then later as we were swimming around enjoying the first big waves of our trip, the sky got really grey and it started pourring again - and it never stopped until Wednesday morning.

It was still raining when we went for breakfast Wed. But we weren't losing hope. By the time we came back to the room, the sun was shinning!! So we grabbed our snorkling gear and went to the coral reef. While snorkling around we saw something big swimming in front of us. It happened to be 3 midnight parrotfish of about 2 1/2 feet long. They were big and chunky, dark blue (almost purple-ish) with wavy dorsal fins. Absolutely breathtaking!! I have to say that I find it quite startling to come face to face with big fish like that. My first reaction was to back up. Then David said "ake a ictu'e" through his snorkle. First response:"humm-mmm, you go take a picture!!" But then I thought off how ridiculous I was being and started swimming after them to take a picture. As I was ready to tell them to "say cheese" 2 of them... well... for lack of better explanation: pooped right in front of me??? So I decided to take the picture from a distance. I'm really hoping it will come out in the picture. They are beautiful! The next encounter was not as pleasant. Sitting there in the middle of the coral just waiting for someone to make a wrong move was Mr. Baracuda. I know some people say they are like dogs. But I don't see no wagging tails on those buggers!! At night, kids from the French Arbour school came to do a Folklore Honduro. They were really talented, me and David were just awed by them all!!

Today is our last day :( We're so bummed! It's mind boggling to us when people say 2 weeks on a the beach is too long. We could have stayed for another 2 - Although we might have had to get both our furry kids shipped down here because we really miss them! We woke up to the rain again this morning. Ick. We were pretty discouraged about that but again tried to keep our hopes up for the sun to show and it did late morning. So we got nicely red and crispy for our last day here then went back snorkling for the last time this winter. We saw a school of over 100 blue tangs.
They stopped for a bite to eat then were all swimming right in front of us single file. Again, the beauty was just mind blowing. We also saw what we guessed was a big black sea urchin, about the size of a softball with 4-6 inch spikes. Guess what he did? Yep - he pooped right at us!! Other than that, we saw the usual squirrelfish, needlefish, goatfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, royal gramma (hehe!), sergeant major along with the 100 more we couldn't find in the book a couple from Ontario loaned us. We can't wait to buy a more complete book to find more information about all the fish we discovered during this trip. Once we get home, I'll blog on some running gags and inside jokes from our trip (me and david have a big list of those) but for now, we will just go enjoy our last night here under the tropical stars.
Although it's sad to leave, we find comfort knowing that we will be back in Roatan someday (soon!!!) :)

Posted by Rattrays 20:01 Comments (0)

Little funnies and running gags from our trip

You know during a trip, there are always funny things that happen that is not really relevant to anyone but you and your travel partner(s). We decided to post them to remember the funny (or strange) memories we have of this trip.. We made this list throughout the trip so I'm just typing them up as we wrote them ealier this week.
- The guy at the front desk is a shorter version of Dr. Eric Foreman in the show "House"
- Italian men and their brigh orange, lime green or blood red slacks. Need I mention the speedos?
-Stumpy the cameleon has been our "pet" since the first day we arrived. The poor little guy is missing his tail and hangs out with a few friends just above our door every night.
- Pet number 2 is Scoobycat - The resork is also home to about a dozen cats (I know it sounds weird but it adds to the charm of the place. Scooby is a tiny grey cat with a fun personality who can eat the equivalent of his weight in chicken and ask for more.
-On valentine's day, we got 2 heart shapped cookies in our room. That night for our fancy (and pricey) V-day dinner on the beach our dessert was... (insert drum rolls here)... the exact same cookies with a little icing on them. That was so pathetic we laughed our butts off for 10 minutes and now we keep saying: "Mmmm, cookies" everytime we have dessert.
- David was half asleep one night while I was reading a book and out of nowhere, he looked at me and said: "Must brring brread to thee fish" with a spanish accent. Once I stopped laughing hysterically, I asked him if he was sleeping (he often talks in his sleep and most of it is pretty weird stuff). He looked at me very seriously and said: " I think I've just been possessed by the spirit of the fish from the reef" That became our tag line for the rest of our stay.
- There was an Italian couple in their 50's who came to sit at our table for dinner. TWICE in a week. It would have been fine if we could actually speak to them but they didn't speak a word of English.. And other then the name of a few pastas, we know absolutely no Italian... It was so uncomfortable and we just couldn't understand why they would decide to sit with us when there was at least 50 empty tables through the restaurant.
- The sun litteraly bleaches my eyebrows very blond and halfway through the week David started looking at me pretending to be seriously concerned and ask: "where are your eyebrows????" a few times a day to make fun of me. (And yes, you can see my lack of eyebrows in many pictures unless I'd decide to "paint them on")
- After getting bored of the rain, we invented a new game. All Canadians wear a red resort bracelet while Italian guests have blue ones.. but another easy way to tell them appart is by smilling at them. Canadians smile back every time while most Italian don't. That's how the smile competition started.. The person who gets the most smiles from the blue bracelets wins. I had to get smiles from the men and David from the women. Final score was 6-0. For me. The funniest part was seeing the confusion in their eyes while they looked at us grinning at them, keeping eye contact sometimes for as long as 5-6 seconds in hope of a point. :)
- The first time I saw squids while snorkling I screamed like a little girl. Those things are so creapy looking, they look like aliens to me and you just don't know if they're coming or going. David kept making a muffled sound of me screaming through my snorkle everytime we taked about squids after. Did I mention I'll never be able to eat squids ever again??
- The night of the fireshow, they had a big screen on the beach showing pictures. The first one we saw when we arrived on the beach is a Huge close up of my face. We have no idea when they took that picture of me but it was really strange to realize there was someone walking around with a camera secretly taking your picture while your on a beach vacation..
- It takes 1 Monkey La-la to get me.. humm.. lets call it extremely happy... I don't know if it's the 6 oz of booze in each glass, or the mix of sun and alcohol, or the fact that I HAVE to guzzle them down in less than 3 minutes (can't help myself, too yummy and refreshing) but I sure am a cheap date when it comes to those frozen little sips of heaven ;)
- We had many showers with NO hot water or no water pressure at all but even if it was frustrating to barely able to clean the sand between our toes every night, we couldn't even get ourselves to complain about it because we loved it so much..
- I will have total fried bananas withdrawals when we'll be back to the USA. I have a couple pieces at every meal. On the other hand, I don't think I'll ever be able to feed chicken and rice to David for at least a few months: He's been eating this for both lunch and dinner with a mini piece of pizza at every meal. Yeah.. We learned the hard way a 3 star resort means food quality of a high school cafeteria.

Posted by Rattrays 16:51 Comments (0)

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