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Trip Report

Co Co View Resort - Roatan, Honduras

Finally, it was time! Our group was comprised of five divers, Perry, Al, Gary, Ed and myself (the names have NOT been changed, as there’s no innocence left to protect). Perry is a PADI IDC staff instructor, I hold a PADI AOW cert, and the rest of the group completed their PADI OW dives a week prior to the trip. Perry had agreed to take Al, Gary and Ed to AOW on this trip, and to do some specialty certs as well, so this was going to be a pleasure/training/working trip for all of us.

We have been planning and organizing this trip for a little over a month, and had to beat up some of our schedules to make it happen, but we pulled it off. We booked through Roatan Charter, and ran in to a snag when we found that there were no air-conditioned rooms available. Pat at RC turned us on to an air-conditioned beach house for the same rate.

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Perry, Gary Al, Texas Tim and Ed Perry Gary Carla Jimmy, the DM from Hell...

Saturday morning, we all met in the Presidents Club at IAH, had a few drinks, hit the duty free stores, and discussed the trip. Blew a couple of hours on that, then we flew down on TACA Airlines at around 3:00 PM CST from Houston, arriving at CoCo View about 4:30-5:00 PM.

I really would have liked to have dove the first day, and Perry had been to CCV seven times previously (he kinda’ likes the place), and was familiar with all of the dive sites, but the rest of us would have to wait for an orientation dive the next morning, so off to the bar we went…

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Jimmy, Carla, Al and Gary Al bein' just too darn happy! Jimmy chillin' Perry, Texas Tim, Jimmy, Carla and Gary

The bar was pretty busy, and we met some really nice folks there; Rick, Charlie and Carla, from Tri-states SCUBA, along with the other fifteen folks that came with them; Paul and his friend from Austin; Jeff and Steve from Sacramento (see…ya’ thought you wouldn’t get mentioned); as well as some of the CCV staff. Made a point of not getting too plowed, as there was some serious diving to be had the next day, so I’ll start with Sunday as day one…

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Michelle at the bar... Al and Gary Perry and Texas Tim Texas Tim and Gary

Day one: Sunday, October 3rd:

So…the first dive was an orientation dive. The reason CCV has you take this dive is that there are two walls, Neumanns’ and CoCo View, that converge towards a cut that takes you to the resort. Jimmy, one of the CCV dive-masters, had us perform a couple of skills, (buoyancy and mask clearing) and then escorted us on this dive. Basically, we swam out from the shore, saw the cut that leads back in, toured towards the point of ‘Neumanns’ wall’, swam over the wreck of ‘Prince Albert’, a 142’ tanker, to the point of CoCo View wall, then back to the buoy at the top of the cut. Max depth 60’, visibility went from 50-60’ at the point to 30-40’ at the wreck, largely due to the cut being the passage point for the incoming and outgoing tides. After reaching the buoy, Jimmy waved us off to tour on our own. The whole idea for the orientation dive is so that CCV has an idea of your abilities, and so that if you take one of the drop-off dives when returning from a boat dive, you can find your way back in to the shore entry by the resort. I could appreciate the need for this dive, as they were attempting to establish which divers would require handholding later.

So, ala Doc Vikingo, here we go with the ‘Dive Circus’…

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Roomy dive lockers TACA....Eek!!! (Take A Chance Airlines) There's a signpost up ahead...

After the orientation dive and some lunch, we set out for our first ‘official’ dive. We were assigned to the ‘Red Boat’, with Mel as the DM, and Gringo as the captain. Mel is Canadian, has been a DM for four years and an instructor for three. She’s worked in Australia, Egypt, the Caymans, as well as Roatan. A lot of fun, and a great DM. Gringo’s a local Honduran, extremely friendly and helpful.

The site was ‘Inside-Outside’, so named for the large number of cracks and swim-throughs. Nice hard and soft corals, sponges, small crabs, and a fair number of fish, mostly small tropicals and parrot fish.

Depth: 35-45’ on the upper part of the reef, 120’ at the outside. Visibility: 80-100’.

Return drop-off dive was on the CCV wall (short drop). Checked out some of the ledges and deeper cracks, then went on an outside tour of the ‘Prince Albert’..

Depth: 15-30’ on the coral heads, 135’+ in the lower part of the cut. Visibility: 65-75’

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Co Co View Landing Co Co View from the back Fishing boats

 

Day two: Monday, October 4th:

First site was ‘Calvins’ Crack’, a plateau atop a shallow reef facing a wall, ‘Calvin's Crack’ runs through the reef along narrows, widening to an exit along the outer wall. Excellent corals and fans, as well as lots of small tropicals. We had a pair of French Angelfish stay with us for most of the dive, apparently looking for hand-outs.

Depth: 20-40’ on the top of the coral, 130’coming out of the lower chutes. Visibility: 80-100’.

Return drop-off dive was ‘Neumanns’ wall’. Some nice corals, crevices and ledges. A fair amount of small tropicals.

Depth: 15-25’ at the top of the wall, 99’ at the lowest point. Visibility: 50-60’.

Second site de jour was a drift starting at ‘Menagerie’ and winding up at ‘Valley of the Kings’. ‘Menagerie’ is a mostly level coral structure with lots of sand chutes crossing the top. ‘Valley of the Kings’ is a sweeping wall that drops down in to well…a valley. Lots of crevices, small caves, and structure. Saw some big Grouper (30-40#?)

Depth: 35-40’ at the top, 100’+ in the lower swim throughs and chutes. Visibility: 80-100’.

Return drop-off dive was ‘Neumanns’ wall’. Some nice corals, crevices and ledges. A fair amount of small tropicals. (sound repetitive? I liked CCV wall better)

Depth: 15-25’ at the top of the wall, 99’ at the lowest point. Visibility: 40-50’.

Night dive off the CCV shore to the ‘Prince Albert’. Saw octopus and reef squid. The outgoing tide made it very tough to get back in through the cut.

Depth: 5’ at the shore diving platform, to 65’ at the stern of the wreck. Visibility: 15-30’.

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The Dive Boats Nice Sunset!!! The Gazebo from the bar...

Day three: Tuesday, October 5th:

Dive site was ‘Caribe Point’. A nice seamount with lots of parrot fish, small tropicals, hard coral, sand chutes, and steep slopes dropping down below 160’.

Depth: 35-40 at the mooring, 160’+ at the lower chutes. Visibility: 90-100’.

Return drop-off dive was on the CCV wall (long drop). Just a cruise in. Saw some nice cave-like crevices. Too small to fit in, but looked like they went in quite a ways.

Depth: 15-30’ on the coral heads, 135’+ in the lower part of the cut. Visibility: 40-50’.

The afternoon dive site was ‘Two Tall-Two Small’. This site is named for four distinct sea-mounts. There are two tall mounts that go to about 50-60’ from the surface, and two smaller mounts that peak at around 80-100’ from the surface. When the visibility is good, it appears as if you are looking at a small mountain range underwater. The surge on the top of the formation was terrible. As I swam up to the mooring line, I saw a load of laundry hanging on the line that looked as though it were going to blow away. Mel was grabbing divers from the center entry as they blew by and pulling them up to the boat. Al and Gary were pushed over 100 yards away from the boat and had to beat feet on the surface to get back. If the tide is moving, watch the surge on this dive at any depth less than 40-50’.

Depth: 25-45’ on the coral heads, dropping off to much deeper than I can go. (I couldn’t see the bottom and heard it was 350’+) Visibility: 80-100’.

Return drop-off dive was on the CCV wall (long drop). Perry and I sent Al, Gary and Ed out on various bearings to perform their nav skill. Then did a bit of penetration on the ‘Prince Albert’ while we waiting for them to return. I was swimming through the wheelhouse and Ed grabbed my fin as I exited. Scared the crap out of me! I wasn’t expecting him to return so soon. They got a good laugh out of it.

Depth: 15-30’ on the coral heads, 135’+ in the lower part of the cut. Visibility: 40-50’.

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French Angelfish Christmas Tree Worms on Brain Coral Blue Tang Nice Featherduster

Day four: Wednesday, October 6th:

Dive site was ‘Church’s Wall’. Absolutely incredible sand chutes. The water was as clear as gin, and the chute we took dropped at a swerving 45 degree angle. Paul and his friend from Austin wanted to go with us on a deep dive, so away we went. Going down, it felt like we were sky diving in slow motion. All of us were spread-eagled and gliding gently down the slope. The chute went down to approximately 200’ plus, then disappeared into the abyss. A truly wonderful site.

Depth: 15-40’ at the top of the coral heads, chutes go in different directions, some of them into the abyss. Max depth? There ain’t one! Visibility: 120’+++.

Return drop-off dive was on top of the ‘Prince Albert’. Perry set out slates at various points and we were to find each one in order, ending up at the point where Perry was to be waiting for us. We worked in buddy pairs, had to back track twice, but found all of them. The last bearing directed us to the CCV bar…go figure!

Depth: 40’ at the top of the bow, to 80’ just past the bottom of the stern. Visibility: 25-35’.

Night dive to ‘Menagerie’. Jimmy was the DM on this trip, and there were 10-12 divers. Saw lots of octopus, lobster, BIG crabs, and the like. Stayed on top of the coral heads and worked the sand chutes.

Depth: 46’ on the coral heads and chutes, to 150’+ on the edges. Visibility: 60-80’.

Night dive to ‘Menagerie’. After a brief surface interval, we cruised to the edges of the mount. Al and Perry came upon a huge lobster that would’ve fed a family of ten or so people. Must have been a 10-12 pounder. One of the guys diving with us tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a slipper lobster. I had never seen one before and it took me a few minutes to figure out what the heck it was! About the time I turned it over in my hands to get a look at its undersides, it squirted off, heading for a crack. The guys got a good laugh out of that one.

Depth: 46’ on the coral heads and chutes, to 150’+ on the edges. Visibility: 60-70’

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Arrow Crab Peek-a-boo... Colorful swim-through

Day five: Thursday, October 7th:

Dive site was ‘Mary’s Place’. This site was closed for 6 years as the result of damage done by over diving. Today, there are only a few ops allowed to dive the site, and all divers must undergo an eco presentation and demonstrate buoyancy skills before they are allowed to dive the site. We hired a videographer to tape our dive on this site as cameras, flashes and videotape devices are strictly prohibited without specific permission. Undoubtedly one of the most popular dive sites off Roatan, the dive starts at a permanent mooring buoy on the reef shelf, along a vertical crevice that drops from 40', with a huge section of the wall broken away from the main section to form a wide slit. Many smaller crevices invite exploration among bouquets of Rope and Tube Sponges, deepwater seafans and Black Coral. A sand shelf drops from 140' to 200', offering a magnificent underwater view.

Depth: 20-35’ on top of the cracks, 125’ coming out of the second swim-through, dropping off to 250’+++ Visibility: 80-100’

The afternoon dive site was ‘Anka’s Place’. This site has not been visited much in the last few months, as the only mooring base had broken apart. Apparently, the mooring was restored a couple of weeks prior to our trip. I tried my hand at a Sea and Sea MK10 camera that I rented from the dive shop. Managed to get some good soft coral shots as well as some Christmas tree worms and feather dusters.

Depth: 35’ on the coral heads, 150’+ on the chutes. Visibility: 70-90’

Return drop-off dive was on the CCV wall (long drop). More attempts with the camera. Saw a string of Reef Squid near the ‘Prince Albert’, and got a few shots. Interestingly, the squid don’t school. However, they do follow each other, and there were about 15 of them in the string I saw. Got a couple of shots of the squid as well as a few shots of arrow crabs that had taken up residence in some light blue to violet tube/trumpet coral.

Depth: 15-30’ on the coral heads, 135’+ in the lower part of the cut. Visibility: 30-40’

That evening Perry, Al, Gary, Ed, Carla, and I went in to Roatan to Gio’s, an Italian/seafood restaurant. Most of us ordered a steak and lobster tail special of some sort; try the jalapeno sauce! If you like hot stuff, it’s excellent! (240-280 Limperas; approx. 20.00-22.00 USD), but Carla ordered their king crab and lobster platter (280 Limperas; approx. 22.00 USD). They brought out this HUGE platter with a whole king crab, as well as two good sized lobster tails. Breaking up the king crab with a meat tenderizer was the entertainment de jour. We all ended up with some portion of the king crab stuck to us. Service was great, food was excellent, drinks were mediocre. Stick with the beer.

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What's in here? Christmas Tree Worms Anemone Spotted Eagle Ray

Day six: Friday, October 8th:

Dive site was non-existent. Ah… I see I still have your attention. Since we had done such a large volume of dives, with a number of them being deep dives, we decided to not push our luck. Took the day off from diving to catch up on logs, sleep, drinking, etc. CCV has a party on Hawksbill Key on Friday nights, with a limbo contest, free rum punch, and some give-aways. Al and I stayed with it until 9:30, then went to Fosters on West End to party. Lots of the locals as well as a number of folks from various resorts end up here. This is a beach house on stilts that has a deck built on the back of it. The deck is the dance floor, about 30’x50’ and has no rail around it. When we were there, there were about 200 folks crammed together on this deck, and when everyone was dancing to the same rhythm, the deck would move up and down 4 or 5 inches. I asked Jimmy about the construction quality, and he said; " Don’t worry, Mon, this deck is made out of tempered 2x6’s and was designed to be a ‘trampoline’ dance floor". Nonetheless, I kept my moves close to a support post the whole time I was there. Jimmy poured us in to our return cab about 1:30 AM, and took us back to CCV.

Day seven: Saturday, October 9th:

What the…are you still here? It’s over…go home…(ala Ferris Beuller)…Okay, so not really. We got up at 5:15 AM and dragged our luggage on to the golf cart and pulled it up to the dock to be loaded on one of the boats for transport to the airport. We then made our way to the dining room and tried unsuccessfully to make something resembling breakfast out of what was available at that time (breakfast is not ‘officially’ served until 7:00AM). I had some ham on toast, and talked with some of the folks we had been diving with for the week. We exchanged E-mail addresses, phone numbers and the like, and headed for the boat at about 7:30 AM. The trip to the airport was pretty uneventful, with most of the folks in attendance nursing varying levels of hangovers, and we made it to the airport without incident. The folks at CCV had already cleared us through customs and departure, so all we had to do was show up and check our luggage.

My deepest thanks go out to the wonderful folks at CoCo View and Playa Miguel, who made every effort to ensure that we had a great time; (in alphabetical order, so’s not to piss anyone off) Aaron, Bill, Billy, Blenny, Captain Kirk, Carol, Chau, Gringo, Iver, Janeth, Jimmy, Killer, Maggie, Mel, Michelle, Nayda, Nora, and Tim…as well as anyone else I my have missed.

Did we have a good time?

Must have, we’re already booking another trip in February…

DSAO

TexasTim

 

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This page was last updated on: 08/27/10

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