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  • Writer's pictureSteven Hopkinson

Family Time

So City Dogs have been busy spending the past week with our amazing, fun family from the United States. First thing we did was take them up to Port Royal, because, why not? It's got some of the best snorkeling on the island and it's a usually deserted pristine reef teeming with marine life including sharks, rays, all kinds of fish, coral, sponges, etc.

Then we sailed down to the West End and dropped them off at the Beach House. Along the way, we put the line out and had one of the most jaw-dropping experiences we've ever had on the island ... hooking a sailfish. It was epic, a struggle worthy of a whole post, but we didn't end up with any video of it. Andrea was shouting instructions, Steve was reeling the sailfish in, Grammy, Pappy and the Twins were running around following the Captain's orders. Seeing this amazing creature arcing up out of the water was just awesome! Letting the sailfish go once the struggle was over felt right. After posting about it on Facebook, we learned sailfish are catch and release pretty much worldwide so good thing we let it go!

We ended up having a wild two fish day, nailing a big old barracuda that almost broke the rod in half it was so strong. but we let that one go as well. We could probably have sold it or gifted it to some locals but letting it go felt right too. So we ended up catching and releasing two. Not a bad day for a couple of amateur anglers from the City.

After a day taking it easy snorkeling the always reliable (although often crowded) Blue Channel and cleaning the bottom of the boat in West End, we sailed over to Cayos Cochinos, taking advantage of some light wind to do a little motor sailing. Dolphins greeted us as we crossed the shelf over near the sea mounds approaching Cayo Major from the north. It was a big pack of dolphins who stayed with us for quite a bit. It's always an indescribable treat to play with these gorgeous animals in their natural environment. Their intelligence and curiosity just can't be denied once you've seen them up close.

It was a pretty special time on the water.

In Cayos, Steve needed to dive down and pick up a mooring that was sunk (despite us re-floating it less than a month ago with two bleach bottle floats) rather than tie up to a mooring with a questionable chafed bridle with the wind backing us into the reef. Thankfully the Honduran Marines helped us out with a nice big float which we attached (again) to the mooring above the wreck outside the Dive Resort. Once we were securely moored, the Twins, Steve the Shark, Captain Andrea and Pappy all went for some gorgeous snorkeling around Pelican Point.

Grammy relaxed onboard with the doggies.

After feasting on the Captain's delicious meal of hot Italian sausage sauce and pasta, we watched the stars come out in force and eventually tucked in for the night, enjoying a light breeze that kept us all cool in our cabins. In the morning, we huddled out of the rain, had a nice breakfast, then Mischa went for an impromtu swim off the Turtle Bay Eco Resort dock when we took her in for a walk. She misjudged the distance from the dinghy to the dock and ended up going in. Steve rescued her, jumping in and lifting her up out of the water and up to Andrea on the dock.

We went for another amazing snorkel in the Cayos Cochinos Marine Park, then dropped the mooring ball, sailed through thirteen pristine Cayes and back on over to Roatan at a nice leisurely pace. Sailing back wasn't the easiest motion, the wind was a bit confused, coming from the north eastish and shifting around so none of us were feeling great until we got greeted by another huge pod of dolphins a couple miles off the tip of Roatan. There were more than thirty of them and they stayed with us for some time, playing on the bow of the boat, riding in the wake, doing tail flips and showing their bellies -- in general, having a good time. They were more playful and numerous than the pod we saw going out, with at least one baby or small dolphin in the group.

The next day we went to the Mayan Jungle animal sanctuary in Sandy Bay and had a ton of fun!

We had a great time interacting responsibly with monkeys, parrots, and sloths, as well as seeing an assortment of other animals endemic to the region like Guatusas, Iguanas, and more.

We all took turns posing with the wildlife, even Pappy.

After the tour, Steve and the Twins went zip lining. For the kids, zip lining was old hat, something they'd done before -- but it was Steve's first time and he had an absolute blast. It was an unforgettable experience for Steve and the Twins zooming through the jungle canopy upside down without hands squealing our heads off! The guides were hilarious, keeping things interesting, offering a variety of moves as we made our way through the different zip line stations.

Favorite part had to be going down one of the longest lines upside down with no hands, held only by the harness to the line going over a valley filled with free ranging cattle.

Then we went back to the boat, had a nice lunch, grilling up some all American Hebrew National hotdogs and some good old Cape Cod Potato Chips, then went for a little swim, then had another nice snorkel in West End cruising the inside reef with the Twins. By the end of it they were duck diving like pros and practicing environmentally conscious behavior like removing soda cans and plastic from the sea. We had a blast showing them the wonders of the MesoAmerican barrier reef up close and personal and know they'll be great ambassadors for the reef one day.

After a last utterly delicious dinner at the always fine Luna Munna and a great breakfast at our favorite early morning/early afternoon spot Cafe Escondido, we bid a fond farewell to the Twins, Grammy and Pappy. It was sad to see them go, we had a great time, the week went by in a flash, but we know they'll be back for more fun in the future! Now we're heading back to the marina to resupply and get cracking on some much needed little fixes that have been piling up on the ever expanding City Dogs Boat Log To-Do List.

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