Applying for another three-year visa to visit friends in Vladivostok and perhaps Moscow.
My final day on the island before moving back to California (what a wonderful year in Honduras) was not without special visitors. José spotted whales and we took Kiko to investigate. I can't remember if we saw multiple whales or one whale multiple times, but I spotted multiple flukes, which is when a whale's tail breaches the surface before diving deep. Not sure what type of whale it was, but it was bigger than a pilot whale. My best guess is sperm whale. Thanks, as always, go to the captain.
José is now the proud owner of HH's sombrero from when she was a lifeguard 15 years ago.
My final island selfie. Time for home.
My final dive on the island was actually an El Aquario drift to Lighthouse, Moonlight, and Half Moon Bay Wall, not Bikini Bottom. I'm thankful Andy encouraged me to get back into the water one more time, despite my mangled leg. I'm going to miss the island and my friends at West End Divers.
For the past two or three weeks, I've had a marine injury that got worse before it got better. It didn't respond to antibiotics, and despite looking pretty gruesome at its worst, it didn't have many of the telltale signs of an infection (e.g. pain). It has been a full three weeks now, and after consulting with doctors in Honduras and the United States, the best guess is that it was a piece of foreign matter (most likely coral) lodged in my skin that my immune system simply did not like. It kept me out of the water for most of my final week on the island, and it kept me from doing a blackwater midnight dive, but I didn't manage one final dive before I left, with both Andy and José.
One of my yard hens had some baby chicks. I love babies.
Normally the reefs and beaches of Roatán are relatively clean except for discarded fishing line choking the reef, but the world's oceans are always dirty and getting worse. Sometimes it's just out of sight, out of mind, until currents bring trash home and remind us how much waste we produce.
At about eight in the morning, José spotted tuna boiling about three or four hundred meters offshore. As a lifelong fisherman, it's easy for him to spot with the naked eye. As a relative layman by comparison, it was difficult for me to spot even with binoculars. You can see shimmery, white flashes as the light reflects off the tuna jumping out of the water. Tuna boiling oftentimes means whale sharks, pilot whales, dolphins, or something large that disrupts the calm of schooling tuna. I gave everyone on the morning boat notice that we'd seen tuna, and to perhaps bring a snorkel. When José spots something, listen.
I was first off the boat, to check for sharks, specifically oceanic whitetips, which have a reputation for being aggressive, unafraid, and unlike most sharks willing to put up with a fight to get their meal. Oftentimes oceanic whitetips follow pilot whales, presumably to pick up scraps when the whales feed but who really knows. Nobody who knows sharks is afraid of hammerheads, but oceanic whitetips make you think twice. I'm sure the sharks were there, somewhere deep, but it was reassuring to not see them at the surface. Still, visibility wasn't great (which is also why the pics aren't so great) so we played it relatively safe. We stayed as a group and didn't stray too far from the boat. We learned from our past adventure.
It was my second time swimming with pilot whales in Honduras, each thanks to José and each on Delfín. The first encounter was a bit more harrowing. Oceanic whitetips circled between us and the boat, and my dive buddy got not only circled but also bumped. He didn't exactly remain calm, but live and learn fortunately that day no harm done. Something I'll never forget.
My first earthquake in Honduras! Two rumbles maybe two seconds apart.