Saturday, June 6, 2009

Boating to Barbareta

Today is Dave and Tracy's 11th anniversary...I took this sweet photo of them at one of the scenic lookout points on the West Bay road.

We all agreed that our very best adventure was the day we drove back out to Paya Bay at the east end of the island and took a boat to Barbareta. Along the way, we boated around several other smaller islands and stopped to snorkel on one of the Pigeon Cays (above). Absolutely fantastic!! Beautiful sea colors from green to turquoise to the deepest blue I've ever seen. Tiny little uninhabited island right on the reef. Nothing compares to snorkeling on top of the reef! We found sand dollars, starfish, beautiful shells, lots of fish. We started out at the far end of the little cay, swimming along through the reef, and the current washed us down to the opposite end where the boat was waiting for us. Great fun.

We had lunch on the boat anchored off the beach at Barbareta. This is a privately owned island - owned by Richard Warren, a Texas billionaire who bought the power company on Roatan and has poured millions of dollars into overhauling and updating RECO. This particular beach on Barbareta is called Jade Beach, and for good reason - the bluffs are streaked with jade, the beach is littered with small pieces of jade, and we've heard that the island roads are paved with jade. We all found lots of jade on the sandy bottom of the water as we swam to shore....after we laughed at Dave, who swam to shore carrying his camera, wrapped in a plastic bag, above his head to keep it dry. Dave doesn't like swimming in salt water and preferred to go ashore and take photos. The boat anchored not far from the wall of the reef. We swam over and snorkeled all along the wall and up on top of the reef. Beautiful coral here - green, purple and yellow sea fans, massive brain coral, elkhorn coral, corky sea fingers, pillars, whips and rods. Lots of yellow and blue fish. Juvenile damsel fish with irridescent blue dots on a dark blue body, some with yellow tails. Reminded me a great deal of snorkeling in Belize.

Deep blue sea.

Going around the tip of Santa Helena. We went between and around Morat, Santa Helena, Rose Cay, and made our way back to Roatan.

A section of the reef with the deeper blue water beyond.

The eastern most tip of Roatan is thick with mangroves. We traveled through a channel in the mangroves from the south side of the island back to the north side.

The coastline is rugged and wild looking on the northeastern end of the island. We passed Camp Bay and returned to Paya Beach. Great trip.

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