06 February 2014 | Cayos Cochinos, Honduras
Beth / bathing suits and sunscreen
After a perfectly wonderful “the way it’s meant to be” kind of a sail south from Roatan, we came upon this most beautiful little cluster of Cayos Cochinos.
Cochino Grande and Cochino Pequeno (big and little) are tall and forested, while the smaller ones scattered about are of the low-lying, palm tree waving, sandy variety – the cays of the picture books. We are tied to one of 5 moorings in tucked just inside the reef on the Southwest side of Cochino Grande where we look directly up the slopes of Grande, across at Pequeno, farther south at the tiny mounds of Chachahuate and Redondo, and beyond them to the distant mountains of mainland Honduras. It is a 360-degree idyllic Northwest Caribbean vista.
And the water? Yes – it fits the picture-book description too: varying shades of turquoise and so clear that when the sun is overhead, I can look down 35 ft and see bottom. We have snorkeled along the edges of reefs in 3 different places where there is a good variety of coral, and colourful fish. Many brilliantly coloured mature and juvenile Stoplight Parrotfish, Midnight Parrotfish, Bluehead and Yellowhead Wrasses, Squirrelfish, French Grunts, White Grunts, and Bluestriped Grunts, Porkfish and Filefish and Angelfish (and a dozen other fish) nibble at the coral while schools of Blue Tangs and Bar Jacks and Sergeant Majors swarm past us.
We have swum above golden Elkhorn and Finger and Lettuce and Brain Coral, and the multicoloured soft corals like Sea Fingers and Fans, Sea Whips and Rods, and Christmas Tree Worms and Social Feather Dusters – that are worms that don’t look like worms, and Tube and Vase Sponges.
While we are not allowed to fish in this protected area, local fishermen in tiny dugout boats drift by us as they dangle lines and hooks overboard, pulling up silvery fish one at a time. Many of these boats have triangular black sails that the men hoist when it’s time to go farther out on the fishing grounds or back home for the night.
I cannot adequately describe the delight we take in being able to see and experience first hand these National Geographic-worthy places. The land, the sea, the fish and vegetation, the people – and the way they all interact together are the most wonderful and fascinating thing. We are grateful every single day for the opportunity to fully experience this part of our amazing world.