The next day, I was all fired up for my first snorkel and Sean’s first dive off of the boat. I rose first and raced down to breakfast, only to be met by somber faces at the dock and restaurant. Katy was there and broke the news to me. There was a storm coming and the boats were not leaving the channel. Fuck! So today again, we would be in Spooky Channel. Katy was going to skip snorkeling as she felt that the current was too strong yesterday and the dive group was going to dive in the channel later this morning. Double fuck! I looked out at the coral surrounding the channel and the waves were breaking harder on the reef. I sighed deeply and resigned myself to staying in the channel. It would be fun.
We fed the stray cats at the table and some of them climbed up and let us pet them. Tonight, we were going to see Finding Nemo. I had never seen it before.
Later that morning, I donned my snorkel gear and headed into the water. I had no buddy, but one of the dive personnel was going to keep an eye on me. The visibility was not as good as the day before because the wave action was greater and the bottom was stirred up more. But still I managed to be mesmerized by all of the living things as I drifted and swam along, looking at the unusual coral formations of the reef. Eventually I came over very deep water and sandy bottom and I wondered just where I was. So I poked my head up and I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had been sucked almost entirely into the channel. I could literally feel the sucking. If I had stayed still, I would have certainly been sucked right out into the ocean in no time. But I swam away seriously for a good while. I did not have to use my arms or anything like that; just a good solid steady kick did the trick. I was close to needing my arms though. The current was definitely getting worse. When I neared the dock a few hundred yards away, it was worse still, and I was tempted to use my arms but determined not to. I am a stubborn old fool. Who was I trying to impress?
I missed seeing the dive group go in. They came back without incident. Three men swam in channel in the afternoon and I watched them come back. They had the same experience that I did and came back breathless and had to use their arms since the current had gotten worse in the intervening time.
Far later in the afternoon, there was some excitement when one person who was a guest at the hotel decided to go out with a kayak. He thought he would be safe, because the kayak would float and he could hang onto it. So, he tied himself to it and brought his snorkel fins. Little did he know that the kayak leaked and soon it filled with water and became unmanageable. Fortunately it never outright sank. But, he couldn’t untie himself from it and the kayak was heading for the channel opening and dragging him with it. Waves were pounding him and the kayak. He took off his fins and put them on the kayak, but he could not untie the rope and swim away from the boat. He had not brought his scuba knife. Meanwhile, the kayak was lodged across the channel opening and both of them were brutally being beaten by the waves.
The dive personnel took action. They manned a boat and drove it out to the troubled man, dropped off the dive master and the motored further west to a safe passage out of the channel. The dive master swam to the man and cut him free of the boat with his dive knife. Then he pushed the boat out into the open water beyond the channel. The two men followed the boat out into the open water, where the water was calmer. There they treaded water while the motor boat arrived.
The guy in the green shirt is the hero dive master.
Once safely back at the dock, the man was tired and though once he had been a lifesaver himself, he admitted that he would have been done for with out the assistance of the dive master. He felt pretty stupid not to have brought a knife with him. So he tipped the dive master one hundred dollars and bought him a drink and we all celebrated the life saved that night.
Then as the storm blew and howled, we watched Finding Nemo. The tarps around the outdoor restaurant had to be unrolled and tied down to protect us from the wind, rain and sand blowing sideways. I had a great time.
Here is a video of whale sharks, which hang out around Roatan and I would love to see: