Honduras: Roatán

Queen angelfish, Roatán, Honduras. Photo by Brandi Mueller.

It is 7:30 in the morning and I’m on my personal veranda on a small hill looking out over green trees and beyond them to blue water and a bright orange sun emerging from it. My feet are up on the rail and there’s a cup of coffee in my hand. I snap a photo for Instagram—#itdoesntgetany­­better­than­this. And the day’s diving hasn’t even started yet.


First off, a confession. I love diving in Roatan. Why? For a couple of reasons. Number one—the reefs around the island are still in superb shape. Not a lot of ocean-going pelagics, it’s true. But I’ve been diving the reefs of the Caribbean for more than ten years, and I would rank Roatan in the top two. (Bonaire would be my other choice.)

Utila: Jewel of Honduras

“If you’ve been to South East Asia, don’t bother with the Caribbean” is a phrase I’ve encountered many times over the last decade. Having done virtually all of my diving in Asia-Pacific, the region’s legendary diversity tends to leave one a tad spoilt. When you’ve dived exclusively in the world’s biodiversity hotspot, it’s all-too-easy to assume that other areas will suffer by comparison.

Sharks of Honduras

The attorney strokes the white belly of an eight-foot-long reef shark. This is not a lawyer joke. I’m 70 feet (23 m) deep in the clear blue Caribbean water off Roatan Island with a half dozen scuba divers from Anthony’s Key Resort. We’re at a dive site called “Cara a cara,” which in Spanish means “face-to-face.”

Tagging Whale Sharks

A member of the tag team holds up one of the number ID tags to be attached to a whaleshark in order to identify it and track its movements for scientific research

Utila is the smallest of the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras, where divers go in search of whalesharks, but find much more. Being the Executive Director of The Manta Network, a global conservation organization, I was very interested in the local efforts to protect whalesharks. Patric Douglas, Director of SharkDiver.com, invited us to stay in Utila and write about his dive group’s whaleshark experiences.