. . . though perhaps not quite ready to resume the hustle and bustle of normal life tomorrow morning.
Somehow, Steve and I survived February, March, and April. Those hectic months brought us doubled-up deadlines, a scary-ass exam and a number of work-related all-nighters (for Steve), an enormous and complex brief on a terrifyingly short turnaround (for me), and plenty of minor complications.
Our reward: Roatan. Eight days of pure, unadulterated relaxation in a Caribbean paradise. We snorkeled, often multiple times a day, through the extensive reef system that lay just a few flipper kicks off our beach. Among our marine life discoveries were a five-foot nurse shark, lazing in the sandy reef-bed maybe 20 feet offshore, a sea turtle winging gracefully through the deeper water, a shy eel poking its blue head out from the coral, several yellow stingrays, and countless varieties of fish. A huge school of stripey Sergeant Majors hung out in one particular spot, swarming around us each time we passed through, swimming within a hair's breadth of our masks before darting around us. On each excursion, we saw something new, and each time, we ventured further into the Blue. Alas, we never did manage to buy an underwater camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
When we weren't snorkeling, we were sipping frosty beverages (non-alcoholic, in my case) in one of the many open-air bars lining West Bay Beach, as the near-constant breeze took the edge off the Caribbean sun. The rest of the time, we lazed about, reading and dozing and wandering. Our single sea kayaking expedition ended badly, as Steve's boat sprung holes and sank. Fortunately, we were not far off shore at the time. Unfortunately, we were right over the reef.
We left our little West Bay paradise a few times, trying our dining luck in the more bustling town of West End and succumbing to the touristy offerings of Anthony's Key, with its dolphin encounters, zip-line, and wildlife park. But mostly, we stayed put, preferring to stroll down the beach just after sunset, freshly showered but still barefoot, to one of West Bay's shoreside dining establishments. The food, alas, was nothing to write home about (and was frustratingly expensive, particularly by Central American standards), with the exception of a couple of grilled seafood meals and some delicious homemade tortillas.
We returned home late last night, to freezing rain and lost suitcases. The baggage showed up this morning, though the sun did not. Long pants, outerwear, and shoes returned to our lives today, bringing reality into sharp focus.
Here are our photos, taken on the few occasions when we bothered to take the camera out of the room. Ah, Paradise.