Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 5 - Isla de Roatan, Honduras

Sailing into Mahogany Bay is beautiful. 

Beach to the right of port

Somber reminder
We docked this morning next to the Carnival Dream. That is one BIG ship. We planned for this to be an easy day as we were sure how Michael would be feeling after two full days of rather active exploring. It was a good call. We didn't rush to be ready to leave the ship at 0800.
Carnival Dream 
We enjoyed breakfast in the Posh restaurant. We'd not realize it was open for breakfast. We  sat at a table with two other couples and enjoyed exchanging stories and observations. The previous two mornings we'd ordered breakfast from room service so we could more easily make the 0800 excursion calls.

We had been told that "Carnival owned the island of Roatan."  We had also been told until three years ago it was an "untouched gem" in the Caribbean.  Research showed there was a beach near the port. We planned to go ashore, explore the area, find some gifts for kids and if we wanted to go to the beach.

It was HOT - and it became quickly apparent that Mahogany Bay is a well-planned and executed tour trap. We were handed vouchers for free charms and such as we left the ship. The beach is to the right. There were carnival cruises to be booked everywhere. And there were shops. Shops obviously maintained by bigger businesses until we had meandered through the square to the Craft Fair. This is where we spent the bulk of our time and money.
Carnival Land....

We spent the bulk of our time at the local Craft Market and found all the take home gifts we'd hoped for. This was a relief as the stores pictured above were disappointing in local flair and prices. Remember, the Mayans discovered or created chocolate.....One vendor makes organic local chocolate. They had a kakaw plant - a big fruit with seeds/beans inside. It did not taste at all like chocolate or like I expected.  We asked who in the world got the idea to ferment the beans, add sugar etc....but hey - it was a good idea. 

We talked to locals and discovered, contrary to rumor, Carnival does not OWN Roatan. They are in a cooperative agreement with the government of Honduras to develop and maintain Mahogany Bay - a small part of the island. It works well for all - cruise ships have created an outlet for the local economy. The Isla de Roatan is the largest of the bay islands off the coast of Honduras. It is the former home for 5000 pirates. The island is ringed by the world's second largest coral reef, the Mesoamerican Reef. The US State Department has a travel advisory for the island - we were warned  crime rate is high once one leaves Mahogany Bay. For this reason we were discouraged from the idea of setting off on foot to explore the island. We didn't feel like baking in the sun. We headed back to the ship in time for our free lunch.  The ship is a great place to relax when the bars and casino are empty and everyone is baking at the beach. ::snort::

We found some comfy deck chairs and settled in to read a couple of books from the Ship's library. It WAS relaxing - and it kept Michael out of our stateroom for the afternoon. We headed back to the room to "discover" it had been festively decorated a day early for Michael's birthday. The gifts and cake were set in our room.

During dinner with Sheldon and Melinda a storm picked up. It wasn't terrible - high winds, a bit of rain - but my stomach didn't want to eat breaded jalapenos or even the famous chocolate melting cake. I was pretty miserable - and hearing of worse storms on the seas did little to settle my stomach. Michael was able to enjoy his nightly melted cake with no hesitation at all. 

We left dinner and decided to come back to the room where I added a double dose of Dramamine to my oil and sea bands.  We watched stars and meteors, wind and waves....and I finally was so drowsy from the meds that I fell asleep.  We have two more days at sea before we arrive back at Galveston. 

Click for  a video of various sights from the day. 

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