Roatán, Honduras - Into the Blue
I have been struggling to write this post. Ten days is a relatively short trip in my experience. So much of it was spent below the surface of the water, completing an advanced course in scuba diving that I have found it difficult to come up with an interesting story from my time on Roatán. But I knew that our time underwater was punctuated with some really good land dwelling.
Then it hit me. Three weeks later.
I was practicing yoga, the one hour per day that I reserve for myself to think about absolutely nothing except that moment. I found my thoughts consistently coming back to that little island off the Caribbean coast of Central America. I have not been able to stop thinking about Roatán. It is not the most beautiful place I have been, but my preoccupation comes from the fact that in just ten days, I felt really connected to our little west-end corner of the island. You might say that I fell in love with the personality of the island; it’s hard not to.
It started on New Year’s eve. By this time, I had long forgotten that Continental (temporarily) lost our baggage and I was ready to say goodbye to 2011. It all started at a sprawling beach party in front of a live reggae band. The Salva Vida flowed. Hips swung. Everyone was beaming. As the spectacular midnight fireworks went off, I realized I wasn’t just happy to be ‘elsewhere’ … I was happy to be in Roatán. The four of us made our way down the beach, only to fall further in to the thick of things. Our travels took us to a local’s dive bar on the beach that seemed to literally be shaking along with the bass line and the bodies. In we went, swept up into a never-ending congo line and swallowed up into the rhythm and the dancing, only to be spat out an hour later, gasping for air. This pattern continued all the way down the shoreline. As our attempt to dance in the sand after a few Salvas grew tougher and tougher, we slowly …. very slowly, made our way back to our beach house.
When I woke up in 2012, I was thirsty. Yes, I was in dire need of water…. but I knew my time on the island was limited and wanted to soak up more of what the previous night had offered me. In between the fabulous snorkeling and diving, we spent our days exploring our side of the island. Our place was sandwiched between West Bay; think hundreds of beach chairs and oiled up Europeans, and West End; a rustic, bohemian little town occupied mainly by the locals. We frequently made the walk to West End to take it all in.
The understated charm of West End was endless. Though it’s nothing but one strip of beach road, it was packed with those island vibes that I can’t get enough of; hand-painted wooden signs, lazy smiles, reggae flowing though every. single. establishment. We tapped into the hybrid of Afro-Caribbean-Latin roots by consuming everything from delicious beachside cart tacos to spicysweet jerk chicken. We enjoyed sundowner beers with that beautiful ocean background noise. We walked aimlessly down the beach, greeted by the locals. I could spend so many days reliving that…
One night, the four of us lounged on our rooftop patio, watching the cans of Salva Vida accumulate and gazing at the incredible display of stars. You could hear the ocean, we were that close. I thought about ‘Salva Vida’… the name of the national beer, which means ‘Life Saver’ in Spanish. Of course a beer can’t save your life, neither can traveling, really. But it can do a lot of good; refocus, reconnect, rebuild. I didn’t know how badly I needed to do these things until I was introduced to the island of Roatán.
They say how you ring in the new year is how you’ll spend the next 365 days… and I’ll happily spend it thinking about those nights.
Roatán, you really got to me.