Roatan may actually be the piratey-est place on Earth! It was the base of the famous Henry (Captain) Morgan, more than five thousand pirates lived here at it's height in the eighteenth century, and Port Royal of Pirates of the Caribbean fame is on the North end of the island.
While there are far fewer pirates here now-a-days(though some of the retired expats fancy themselves as such), the beaches, bars, and local folks more than make up for it. The barrier reef is twenty meters from the coast so we rented snorkles right on the beach and swam to our hearts content. There were absolutely tons of brightly coloured fish, squids and coral...AMAZING! The beaches are all fine white sand and there are travelling bartenders and masousses who to tend to beach-bums (30 minute massage with sunscreen for $10US anyone?).
We frequented the Barefoot Bar (no shirt, no shoes, no worries!) on the beach fifty meters from our hotel for their delightful island fare, but the best meal we ate on Roatan was at a local Garifuna family's house. Garifuna are origionally west African and make up about half of the population of the island, they have their own distinct culture, musical styles and dances etc.
The meal consisted of conch soup (unbelievably delicious), fried grouper (caught 2 hours before the meal), stewed iguana (kind of like pork but bonier), and fried plantain (sort of like a cross between a banana and a potato). After the meal, we did an island equivalent of a dance around a maypole and all the neighbours came over for a limbo competition and dance party. Thom won the limbo (to everyone's surprise and delight) even beating the limber island ten year olds- check out the video we'll post tomorrow of his winning limbo! The dance party consisted of a combination of traditional Garifuna dance (where you keep your upper body still and move your bum around as if it isn't attached to your body while doing super fast, complicated dance steps) and nightclub style dancing! It was an amazing evening!!
Having so much fun and thinking of you all! Will post pics and limbo video tomorrow afternoon when we have free time!!
Thom and Meg