Diving Roatan – the view from the other side…

I’ve done a fair amount of diving in Roatan, all of it pretty good diving.  I took a group of divers back there in February this year.  There were two things I did different this time.  First was the time of year, February instead of November or May as my previous trips and second I went to the opposite side of the island.  Both of my first two dive trips, I was on the south side of the island at Cocoview and Fantasy Island.  They both offer fantastic diving but also offer the exact same dive sites.  If I was going back, I wanted to try something new.

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We stayed at Turquoise Bay Resort and went diving with Subway Water Sports, directly across the island from where I had  been before.  The resort is lovely and situated on a beautiful beach.  The food was varied and very good and the rooms were really nice.  Above was the view from my balcony!!  The diving is definitely different on this side but it is still very good.  The first thing I noticed was the topography is totally different.  Not the shallow reef to the edge of a sheer or sloping wall like the south side.  This side had a lot of structure to swim through – everywhere!

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It was really beautiful to swim into a canyon and look up.  The next thing I really noticed is -no crowds!!  That is my main gripe with the south side.  It has become so overcrowded sometimes you can’t even get close to the iconic dive sites like Mary’s Place.  We were the only divers here!!

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Next thing I really loved was the free-swimming eels.  I have never seen so many as on the north side of Roatan.  Above are just a sample of two we dove with.  The last photo is of a green moray that’s blind in one eye and very friendly with divers.  He swam between me and the videographer for the resort and just posed!!  I had a lot of fun with him!!

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Beyond the usual cast of characters, there were tons of lobster like the one above.  The other photo above was my first toad fish!   What a face!!  There were a lot of the same critters too.  Always happy to see a turtle and love fairy basslets!

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We actually did go diving on the South side for two days when the weather got too windy on our side.  That gave us a chance for the divers that had never been to Roatan to see what the difference was.  We were finally able to get into Mary’s Place, the second day, with only a couple of other boats already there.  The first day we tried, there were 5 boats there!!

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Both days, there was an abundance of critters.  I love to see them and especially to show them to new divers.  If you’ve ever been to Roatan, you know that finding a juvenile spotted drum, like the one above, is a quest.  Along with the banded coral shrimp above and the beautiful squid and seahorse below, you can see why the south is popular for diving!  To me, you really should try to dive both sides of the island if you get the chance.  There aren’t any seahorses on the north side that the dive guides knew about so by diving both sides, you get all of the best Roatan has to offer!!

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Not to say that the diving on the North side isn’t fantastic, it is!!  The weather can and does affect whether you can do all of your dives there.  I just think it’s a nice change of pace to visit both sides.  Just the structural differences, alone, make it worth diving both!!  As you can see below, there is no shortage of strange little creatures on the north side too!!

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For me it was a great trip.  I wanted to try a different area and see if I still liked the diving.  I definitely did!!  The resort, Turquoise Bay, is just beautiful and in such a peaceful setting, I would definitely go back!!