2013 Dive Trip to Roatan Honduras

CoCoView Resort, June 22-29th, 2013

Saturday morning at 6am, our plane left Albuquerque. We arrive at the Roatan airport right on schedule at 2:30pm, grabbed our luggage, and the CCV representative got us on the bus to the resort. After a boat ride over to the island and filling out the paperwork, we were given the key to our room, #20, an upstairs oceanfront room. Our luggage had just arrived at our door so we quickly unpacked our dive gear and headed to the dock. Boat assignments were already posted. We were to be on the Blue Boat, CoCo II, for the week so we headed into that gear room and placed our BCs, fins, and masks in a locker. The next step was to get weights and turn in our C-card and Nitrox cards to the Dive shop. Our DM, Marcos, met us there and grabbed 2 nitrox tanks each for us. We quickly analyzed the tanks and put them in our locker for the following days morning dives.

We then walked around the resort, taking topside photos. Dinner was served at 6:30pm in the Clubhouse.

Dinner the first night was fantastic: roasted garlic chicken, grilled shrimp, Potatoes, Carrots, cauliflower, salad, fresh bread, and rum cake for dessert. After dinner we returned to our room to set up camera gear for the following day.


Sunday, June 23rd

Breakfast was served, as it would be every day, promptly at 7am. Eggs, bacon or ham, breads, pancakes, waffles, omelets made to order, all types of cereals and fruits... all provided every day buffet style. Juices and coffee are also free for self-service. At 9am, a mandatory "CCV Orientation" is held upstairs at the Clubhouse. This meeting was a chance for the Manager of CCV to greet everyone, introduce the Dive Shop and Photo shop managers, the nurse, and then show a video explaining how the resort operates. After the video, all NEW guests to CCV are required to do an "orientation dive" with the DMs down at the shore area. This gives the new guests a tour of the "front yard" so when returning from Drop-off dives, they know where they are in relation to the dive resort. All returning guests, like us, were sent to the dock to board a boat for morning dives. Only one boat was going out, so for just this morning we boarded the Yellow boat, Coco I.

Dive 1: Mr Bud wreck

Windy conditions meant that the boat would not go far from the resort. The Mr. Bud wreck was perfect. Once in the water the rough conditions topside were gone. We all circled the wreck for several minutes then over to the outer wall reef, following it around until it lead us right back to the wreck. It was a perfect check-out dive for us.

Ron and I decided to skip the drop-off dive and head back in to the resort before lunch. I needed to add 2 lbs of weight and we both wanted to change batteries in our cameras.

Dive 2: Valley of the Kings

This is a beautiful dive for those who appreciate reef non-swimming animals, like coral and sponges. The outer wall is covered with gorgeous sponges of all types and colors. During the dive we were greeted with a free-swimming green moray that popped up out of the reef right under a diver. The eel came right up to him, then swam away, only to reappear a few minutes later swimming directly under me. By the time I got the camcorder on and signaled the other divers he was headed towards our DM Marcos. (see my video) He swam around for a few minutes then disappeared again. Great dive!

Dive 3: Drop-off, CoCoView wall

Our first drop-off dive of the trip we asked for CCV wall. The wall runs directly in front of and parallel to the resort. It is vertical, with lots of cutouts and overhangs, and lush growth from top to bottom. We were dropped in and descended to 40-50' depth, however the wall actually goes to +100' at that end. It was a nice easy dive back into the resort.


Monday, June 24th

The seas were calm, no wind today! Breakfast began as it would every day: eggs, bacon, pancakes, etc. Nitrox tanks were sitting at our locker ready for us to analyze. Marcos always had tanks ready for us each day. As we analyzed them, and wrote them in the log, he would take them directly onto the boat along with our BCs and regulators. By the time the first horn had sounded 3 times (15 minute warning for boat departure), all the divers on our boat were present with all gear onboard. Our boat was the first one out of the dock EVERY day. Today we had two student divers with the CCV instructor. Also diving with us would be the DiveMaster-in-training.

Dive 4: Pirate's Point

Marcos had hoped to find our first seahorse of the trip at this site, but after looking for it for a few minutes we moved on. The instructor with her students did find it, along with another one, and their tails were intertwined. DANG! Wish we had seen that. We did find two spotted morays in the same hole, along with a cluster of lobsters, and another green moray.

Dive 5: Drop-off, Prince Albert wreck

We requested a drop on the wreck for our second dive. Wow, vis was excellent! The wreck could be seen from the surface. With the sunlight and clarity of the water, the colors of all the sponges and growth on the wreck were bright and vivid, like a technicolor movie! Ron had his macro lens on his camera, so he couldn't get any wide-angle shots. Luckily, my GoPro got it for us.

Dive 6: Iron Shore

Seahorses, Seahorses, Seahorses, Seahorses! This dive site had FOUR seahorses along the wall, all within sight of one another. It was really nice to be able to see so many, all of different color patterns. This dive site was to be my favorite of the trip, because of the seahorses and also because I hit Dive #500.

We skipped the afternoon drop-off dive and headed back into the resort on the boat. I had discovered that my GoPro was shutting off part way through the second dive and so I thought maybe I needed to change batteries. On closer inspection of my housing, I noticed some condensation on the inside. This told me that the camcorder was shutting off due to over-heating. I needed to get back to the resort and open the housing in the room and let it dry out. Hopefully there would be no damage.

Dinner tonight was once again fantastic.. steak, shrimp, scalloped potatoes, steamed veggies, salad, and double chocolate pie for dessert. Yum. We checked my camcorder footage and all seemed to be fine. Lesson learned: do not leave the monitor back turned on, or even the camcorder turned on in standby underwater for long periods as it will overheat! I missed some good footage on the Iron Shore dive, of a free-swimming green moray again.


Tuesday, June 25th

Dive 7: Shore dive - Cocoview Front Yard

The Blue Boat was going out but we decided to skip the morning boat dives and shore dive alone. As the boat pulled out, we were at the platform putting on our fins. We headed for the DC3 wreck and Prince Albert first. Vis was low, very sandy and milky. We toured around the plane wreck for a few minutes then headed to the ship following the chain. As we ascended to the top deck, we discovered that vis at that level was not as bad. In fact, it seemed to be clearing up in the channel. Inside a doorway on the deck, I found a large grouper getting cleaned. I signaled Ron to come over and he was able to get some outstanding shots before the grouper darted off. After circling the wreck we headed back over to the CCV front yard safety stop area. Ron stopped in the sand channel to get photos of the garden eels that live there. Two baby flounder, about the size of quarters were fighting. Wish I could have gotten that on video, but with the sand and their light color it was impossible. It was very cute though! Great dive.

Dive 8: Ron solo - shore dive - Cocoview Front Yard

Dive 9: Anka's Reef

This dive site is where the earthquake broke off a huge section leaving a large white patch. A huge school of sargeant majors circled the bare area which was interesting. An overhang had 4 very large lionfish which all flared out as we peered in at them. Nearby, we found two more seahorses, a white one and a brown one. The top of the reef had some large clusters of elkhorn coral which was nice to see. Another great dive!

Dive 10: Drop-off, CCV wall

Dinner tonight was a picnic out on the Cay.

Dive 11: Ron solo - shore night dive

Ron wanted to do a shore dive and some others were heading in right after dinner so he joined them. The blood worms were fierce, attacking his camera lights and backlit screen. He was annoyed but was able to get a few photos of a baby southern stingray, a burrfish, and lobster.


Wednesday, June 26th

Dive 12: Mary's Place

Mary's Place is a site with a crack in the reef creating a coral-lined swim-through that is open all the way to the top. Divers go in single file, and exit the reef at the wall. Some find the dive scary, some find it creepy, and others find it the coolest dive in Roatan.

Dive 13: Drop-off, Newman's wall

Newman's wall is a low profile wall. Though it is vertical, there are not the huge fans or sponges, or any overhangs. We found a nice green moray sticking out of a small hole. The somewhat parallel to CCV wall, with the Prince Albert and DC3 wrecks in the middle on the sandy bottom. A chain leads from the wall over to the shipwreck, and another chain leads from there to the CCV resort. Vis was okay on the wreck, not clear but not too milky either. On the Prince Albert, I found a huge queen angel eating a sponge and it let me hang out for several minutes filming. A large scrawled cowfish was hiding in the growth and I was able to get a little footage of this elusive fish. Ron headed over the the safety stop area to look for a Banded Jawfish hole. Last trip we found several and Ron was able to get photos. This trip they had been difficult to locate. These fish are quite interesting to watch as the live in a hole and pile coral pebbles up at the entrance, constantly emerging from the hole to move and restack the rubble. NO luck, the holes we had seen on previous dives were nowhere to be found. Poo.

Dive 14: Shore dive - Cocoview Front Yard

After lunch, Ron and I decided to skip the afternoon boat dives and head back out to shore dive again. The Front Yard has so much to offer and too many divers pass by hurrying back into the resort from a drop-off dive. Not us! We love the shore dive and couldn't wait to get back out there to look in every coral head and under every ledge again.

Ron found a tiny fringed filefish hiding in the grass! He also found a lettuce sea slug there.

A Yellowheaded Jawfish popped out of its hole and did a little dance for us.

What a great dive! We had a fantastic time out in the shallows, looking for critters. We returned to the resort, showered and changed for dinner. It was Italian night, several types of pastas, shrimp, steamed veggies, and salad, plus tiramisu for dessert. Once again... yum!


Thursday, June 27rd

Dive 15: Calvin's Crack

Calvin's Crack is similar to Mary's Place, having a deep crevace to enter and swim through. The big difference is that at Calvin's, the diver enters a hole head first, and swims down into the narrow channel. The diver exits at the wall, loops back over top, then enters another crack and swims through it exiting near the first exit. After looping through these channels, Marcos took us to a shallow area near the boat where we found the UGLY fish, the large-eyed toadfish.

Dive 16: Drop-off, Prince Albert wreck

We were dropped off at the PA wreck again, yes, we really love that dive. Ron had heard rumors of some blennies on the wreck (his favorite macro subject) so we went off in search of them. He found several and snapped away. We suddenly noticed a large fish swimming towards us. The fish turned out to be a Cubera Snapper and he was not happy. He had a couple of passengers on his underside and he wiggled and squirmed as he swam. He circled Ron twice then came over to me. Our guess is that he wanted us to help get those shark suckers off him. Either way, he looked very menacing with that mouth full of jagged teeth! Since Ron had his macro lens on his camera he was only able to get shots of the eye of the snapper. I was able to get some screen grabs, and the full clip of this guy can be seen on my Prince Albert video.

Dive 17: Gold Chain Reef

Dive 18: Ron solo - Drop-off CCV wall

I decided to skip the drop-off but Ron wanted to go back to CCV wall and look for a seahorse that another diver had seen earlier in the week. He had no luck finding the seahorse, but when he went over to the Prince Albert for a quick look he noticed something swimming towards him. A small turtle! Unfortunately, other divers who were also doing a drop-off dive spotted the turtle and swam straight towards it. The turtle turned and zoomed off, with the divers in pursuit. ~sigh~ Just another example of why you do not chase fish or underwater creatures. Ron was unable to get a photo, of course.

Dinner buffet tonight was American night, so turkey and fixins, apple pie ala mode for dessert.


Friday, June 28th

Last Day of Diving!

Dive 19: Tulio's reef

What a great reef! The entire area under the boat was a carpet of lettuce leaf coral. A large school of jacks and chubs, hundreds of fish, circled just to the deep side. Tons of baby fish of all types darted in and out of the coral. I could have spent the entire dive there watching them. Marcos led us off onto the wall for a few minutes to show us a gorgeous orange seahorse. What a beauty!


Dive 20: Drop-off, CCV wall

Our last dive of the trip was on the wall and the Front Yard at CCV.

Snorkel the Front yard

After a great lunch, we headed in to snorkel the front yard for the first time.

All snorkeling photos are screen captures from my video!

After snorkeling, we washed then set out all the dive gear to dry in the sun on our patio. We showered, then headed to the clubhouse for the Friday Rum Punch party. A few people had pulled out the kayaks and were paddling around the front yard. Free rum punch was available after dinner, and a live band played music in the Clubhouse. Most people, like us, were pooped from such an active week. We sat up for awhile reviewing photos and videos on our laptop, then went to bed.


Saturday, June 29th

Checkout day

After the usual breakfast buffet we headed back to our room to relax in the air conditioning for awhile. Our plane was not until the afternoon, so we had plenty of time to pack up our bags. Our gear was all dry, so we packed and weighed each bag with our portable scale. At our appointed time, we took our bags down to the covered baggage station next to our building for pickup. A boat transported us and our bags to the bus on the mainland, and the bus took us to the airport arriving in plenty of time for checkin. We purchased another hand-carved Honduran/Mayan mask for our collection (we had already bought 3 at the CCV Gift Shop - 2 for us, 1 for our daughter) plus a bag of Honduran coffee for our daughter. Our flight was on time leaving Roatan but when we arrive in Houston, our connecting flight was delayed.... hours. We did not arrive home in Albuquerque until 2:30am. A lousy way to end such a great vacation!

Highlights of the trip!

Weather was perfect! Except for wind the first day, the rest of week was sunny with only 2 passing short showers. Water temp was 82-84 degrees at depth, 86+ in the front yard at the surface.

Diving was easy and stress free. This was important for our trip as I had just had surgery 4 months before and was not sure if I was up to difficult dives. The CCV Dive OP is the best in the world, bar none. The boats, the DMs, the dive lockers, rinse tanks, drying racks for clothes... all gave us a completely stress free vacation.

Fishlife -- seahorses! We had seven during the week. Definitely a highlight for me. Also finding the baby trumpetfish, the leaf filefish, two free-swimming green morays, and the cubera snapper were all special treats.

Reefs - I can't emphasize enough how healthy the coral and reef systems are in Roatan. Sponges and sea fans of every color and size and species are everywhere. The elkhorn coral is there in shallows which is a great sign as it is such a delicate and sensitive species of coral.

And once again, CocoView Resort was fantastic. It is not fancy, it is what it is, a DIVER Resort. Not meant for luxury, it is made for diver convenience and comfort. It suits me perfectly! I can't think of a thing I would change about it...

ALL PHOTOS can be found here: 2013 CoCoViewResort PHOTOS

The Trip VIDEOS can be found here: 2013 Roatan Video Album


Our dive profile for the week

Dive Day Type Site Max Depth Time
1 Sunday boat Mr Bud wreck 57' 50min
2 boat Valley of the Kings 53' 50 min
3 boat Drop-off dive, CCV wall 42' 50 min
4 Monday boat Pirate's Point 50' 57 min
5 boat Drop-off, PA wreck 50' 41 min
6 boat Iron Shore 67' 53 min
7 Tuesday shore CCV house reef 51' 61 min
8 Ron solo - shore CCV house reef 50' 30 min
9 boat Anka's Place 52' 58 min
10 boat Drop-off CCV wall 44' 47 min
11 Ron solo - night CCV house reef 42' 47 min
12 Wednesday boat Mary's Place 77' 47 min
13 boat Drop-off, Newman's wall 55' 44 min
14 shore CCV house reef 37' 65min
15 Thursday boat Calvin's Crack 57' 53 min
16 boat Drop-off, PA wreck 48' 43 min
17 boat Gold Chain reef 73' 53min
18 Ron solo -boat Drop-off, CCV wall 63' 50 min
19 Friday boat Tulio's reef 57' 58 min
20 boat Drop-off, CCV wall 49' 53 min