At 330 this morning, the chipper alarm on my phone sounded its festive song and I roused myself from the warm cozy bed in Mom’s house in Grand Rapids. I had showered and shaved a few hours prior, and so had only to dress and replace the few items I had removed from my poorly-packed bags before darting out into the frozen Michigan morning.
I have to be honest – I don’t think I packed very well for this trip. I’m usually efficient and compact in my packing, and over the years have refined the process of determining what really needs to go, but this time I struggled. Entering the second year of a new habit, I’m off to the Caribbean for another dive trip – this time to the island of Roatan, off the coast of Honduras, so my luggage contains a complex brew of scuba gear, summer clothes, protective clothing, sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and school supplies.
I feel as though I could have done better. I initially gave myself a D, but after a few last-minute edits have up-graded myself to a C.
The flight from Grand Rapids to Atlanta was pleasant, but numbingly cold. It has been a frigid winter, with temperatures frequently near or below 0°F, and the water lines on the plane were frozen solid. Still, that didn’t keep us on the ground, and throughout the flight hot air blew on our heads from the vents above, while chill air bit at our feet below, all while the deicing fluid froze on the window outside.
We connected in Atlanta, where it was still only 21°, and my toes slowly began to thaw. After boarding the next plane, our departure was only briefly delayed while we awaited a large group of passengers from another flight. But in due time we again took to the skies, where we passed over the Florida panhandle, leaving the polar winter far behind en route to respite.
We landed where the seashore meets the rainforest, and deplaned under grey drizzly skies. None of that mattered, really, because the warmth of the air was just lovely on my battered skin and soul.
Inside, representatives of the dive resort met us and collected our suitcases while we waited for all the passengers to join the group. I soon started meeting the others, and it turns out the late flight was from Detroit. A group from one of the local dive shops is here this week, and there is a couple from Flint as well. Yes – there are at least 14 other people here from Michigan.
We boarded a bus and braved the pockmarked streets of Honduras and after a half hour or so pulled up next to a boat. We all climbed aboard and the boat ferried us across a small inlet to where our destination sat on its own cay. CoCoView is a scuba resort. There really is no other reason to come here, other than scuba diving, and this is why I am here today.
They say it is the best diving in the Caribbean, whoever “they” are. They also call it scuba camp.
Welcome to Roatan, my friends. This is my overwater cabana for the next week, and it’s going to be a blast.