Saturday, February 25, 2012


Andy and I took our first ever vacation together out of the country and headed to Roatán, an island in the west Carribean Sea. We spent the week splitting our time between relaxing on the beach and snorkeling on the coral reefs, with a few jaunts around the local diving towns for some shopping.

We could not have been more fortunate with our location and the weather. We stayed right on the beach, and we could wade right out into the water with our snorkeling gear. While the reef right in front of the hotel wasn't as diverse and healthy as the less-trafficked reefs further off the beaten path, it was more than enough for us.

All of these pictures were taken with a bottom-of-the-line Sony point-and-shoot we bought a few days before we left. I had an Aquapac dry bag, and it took me most of the week to get the hang of tricking it into focusing properly underwater. I had to adjust the white balance dramatically in post-processing, but the results are pretty faithful to what it really looked like under the water.

I really, really don't know my fish, so I can't effectively ID any of these species, but I certainly enjoyed swimming in schools of brightly colored fish. Parrotfish (not pictured) is about the extent of my ichthyological prowess.

We also saw a barracuda at one point, but I wasn't about to swim close enough to snap pictures of it.

We also found some interesting birds, and I'm on firmer footing there. However, I'm thrown for a bit of a loop by this egret that was fishing while we ate lunch one day. I had assumed he was a Snowy Egret, but when I was reviewing the photos, I learned that the Little Egret, an Old World variety, had established a breeding colony in the Caribbean, and I think this guy might be one of them. Check out David Sibley's page on distinguishing Snowy and Little Egrets.

At the same lunch, this Brown Pelican made a wonderfully cooperative approach to our lunch pier. I didn't even have to get out of my chair to take this one.

By the time we left, I was ready to book next year's February vacation at exactly the same spot. Maybe next time we'll pay somebody to take us to a more pristine snorkel spot, or maybe we'll get SCUBA certified and dive with the whale sharks.

Or maybe we'll sit on the beach again and soak up the sun and have people bring us banana donuts and drinks with umbrellas in them.

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