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Five days in Roatan flew by. And while compiling my notes and photos for a post about my time there, I had to admit that quite frankly, I didn’t squeeze much into them. I could blame the weather, or my partner-in-crime (with whom I was too busy gossiping and giggling to be bothered to leave a beach chair), or the gorgeous hotels we stayed in that I had zero desire to leave. But really, I don’t think there’s a need for excuses. Because we did do one thing, and on Roatan, it’s the most important one.

We went diving.

Diving in Roatan

On a previous trip to Roatan five years ago, I’d done two dives on the West coast of the island — a post from that day reveals that my underwater photography has certainly improved over the years! This time, I was pretty pumped to go diving on the islands less visited yet more spectacular East coast. We were bunking down at the beautiful , which has an onsite dive shop that we could report to moments after stepping out of our own bungalow — my favorite kind of morning commute.

We hopped onto one of the Barefoot boats, and off we went to Mary’s Place, often regaled as the top dive site in all of in Roatan.

Diving East Side Roatan

Diving East Side Roatan

Diving with Barefoot Cay Roatan

I could see why. We weren’t blowing bubbles long before we stumbled upon our first seahorse, hiding out amongst a forest of healthy corals and schools of busy fish. Unfortunately this was when I started to realize that my was acting erratically — this and my dives in Bermuda were the last I’d ever take with it before it went to camera heaven. While it served me loyally for years, the focus and color balance of the camera were definitely a bit wonky on these dives, though I did my best to set things straight through post-processing.

Speaking of post-processing, I get emails and comments asking for editing tips on a pretty regular basis these days. While I’d love to whip up a post about it, it’s the kind of thing that would be so much better taught in person. I’m currently mulling over the idea of trying to put together an underwater photography and editing workshop this year in Thailand. I’d love to gauge interest in something like that, so raise your virtual hand if it’s something you’d consider attending if you were near!

Seahorse in Roatan

But back to Roatan. We didn’t linger long with that seahorse — there were squid to catch! are some of my favorite underwater creatures to meet underwater. Don’t even get me started on cuttlefish.

Diving with Barefoot Cay Roatan

Diving in Roatan

Squid in Roatan

Diving East Side Roatan

But, never a species to be upstaged, another seahorse emerged, just daring us to try to give anything else our attention. As our divemaster signaled it was time to head back to the boat, I gave a satisfied okay sign in return. Despite my technical camera difficulties, it had been a gorgeous dive.

But the surface interval was about to be even better.

Seahorse in Roatan

Climbing onto the boat and shimmying out of my gear, I looked over Rika’s shoulder as a flash of silver caught my eye. “SHA….rrrrrkkk?” I gurgled, and started reaching for my mask and fins before my brain had fully processed what my eyes had — it wasn’t a shark, it was a pod of dolphins.

Or, as one of the Spanish speaking divers who had just surfaced cried, “Delfín! Delfín!” I’ve been blessed to see dolphins many times from the surface of the water, most memorably in Hawaii, but this was the first time I’d seen them on their own turf, in the blue. They clicked and sang at each other, and moved with such grace. It was a tear-up-in-the-mask kind of moment.

Dolphins in Roatan

Dolphins in Roatan

Dolphins in Roatan

It’s pretty hard to top that, right? Well, we had one more dive in which to try. This time we were headed to a site called Parrot Tree Point, which I was disappointed to learn was not named for a band of underwater parrots.

But hey! There was a pretty cool scary-looking eel and barracuda right off the bat as a consolation prize.

Diving East Side Roatan

Barracuda in Roatan

And some gorgeous swim-throughs guarded by — you guessed it — yet another camera-loving seahorse.

Diving in Roatan

Roatan East Coast Diving

Roatan East Coast Diving

Emerging from the swim-through, we followed along a coral wall pulsing with life. I spotted several of my fish favorites including a skittish filefish, an aggressive lobster, a shy banded cleaner shrimp, and — oh hey! — a very rare indeed Rika fish.

Diving with Barefoot Cay Roatan

Diving on Roatan

Diving in Roatan

Diving on Roatan

Yup, diving in Roatan was pretty alright.

Scuba Diving on Roatan

Scuba Diving on Roatan

Diving with Barefoot Cay Roatan

When it was once again time to surface, we still had one more surprise in store. After all, ow could we possibly leave the ocean without a swim-by from an ever-so-special eagle ray? At this point, we were getting downright spoiled — dolphins, seahorses, and an eagle ray, all in one day of diving? I didn’t know what we’d done to deserve it.

Scuba Diving on Roatan

Ready to book your ticket to go diving in Roatan? Head to , where you’ll be treated like underwater royalty. I loved being the only boat out on the dive site, and being whisked from pier to dive point in so little time! And major props as well to for just being an absolute gem. Don’t even think about heading to Roatan without checking out her hilarious blog.

Diving with Barefoot Cay Roatan

I can’t think of a more lovely sign off to my time in Central America! Next post, we’ll be hopping right on over to the Caribbean, where I broke up my journey back to the US with a sweet little stopover in the Cayman Islands…

What sea creature is still on your underwater bucket list? Have you been diving in Roatan? And hey, let me know what you think about that workshop!

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Many thanks to Barefoot Divers for hosting me. All underwater photos in this post were taken with and its . See a full list of my photography gear here.

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73 Comments...
  • Justine
    August 21 2015

    The mind always boggles when I see your photos of all these beautiful and bizarre underwater creatures. I’m seriously endlessly fascinated! It seems like you scored in Roatan in terms of everything that you saw 🙂 I remember the first (and only) time I saw a pod of dolphins under water while snorkeling in Maui. My friend and I swam way away from our tour group and were suddenly surrounded by dozens upon dozens of dolphins. Ah, it was honestly one of the most magical moments of my travel life!!
    Justine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      That does sound unreal. Hawaii is just a playground for nature lovers! That’s going to be a tough one to beat…

  • Susan
    August 21 2015

    Wow! Such beautiful creatures, all of them – what a great opportunity to see so many all at once. Sad to hear about the passing of your camera, but it had a good long life of capturing more moments around the world than most S100s get to do!

    Sea creature on my bucket list: whale shark. The girl who was afraid of the ocean a few years ago is off to Mexico next summer to try to swim with one! I loved your whale shark video!
    Susan recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      That is high on my own bucket list too! I mean I’ve obviously seen them before — you’ve seen the video! — but Mexico and their abundance of them are calling 🙂

  • this looks like such a fun adventure!! DREAM COME TRUE!
    haley @Cupcakes and Sunshine recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      It will be really hard to top those dolphins. It was magical!

  • Erin
    August 21 2015

    Beautiful pics!

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      Thank you Erin! It was a beautiful day!

  • Jessica
    August 21 2015

    Wow, that moment with the dolphins in the water must be so magical, lucky bastard! I understand why you wouldn’t want to leave this amazing place!

  • Shaun's Cracked Compass
    August 21 2015

    EPIC! Your pics are the best Meihoukai. I think the workshop is a great idea and I would sign up in a heart beat.

    That was a pretty spoiled dive. The seahorses are amazing. So gentle and shy (except for your camera) they’d fill my memory card up quick.
    Shaun’s Cracked Compass recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      Thanks Shaun! I’d love to make it happen but my only concern is how many people would actually be in that area at the time 🙂

  • Mel
    August 21 2015

    You take really great underwater photos, diving in Roatan looks stunning.

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      Thanks Mel! It really is — I can see why it’s such a popular dive destination!

  • Marni
    August 21 2015

    Wow, who knew seahorses were such camera lovers? I guess it helps that they are crazy photogenic, too! Your pictures are amazing! The workshop sounds like a great idea. Would you consider hosting one in the US somewhere, if the Thailand one works out?

    • Meihoukai
      August 22 2015

      Hm, I actually haven’t been diving many places in the US! So I’d have a hard time imagining where to do it… though it is an intriguing idea! Love that there is interest!

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    August 21 2015

    Ugh. I can’t even control my jealousy! Not only does the diving in Roatan look gorgeous (and you got to see a bunch of creatures that are on my wishlist, but that I’ve yet to spot in the wild), but you got to experience it with Rika! Looks like you ladies had a blast, but I am a big ball of envy over here… Maybe you should plan a trip to southern Mexico at some point and we could go dive Cozumel together???
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      We really did! It was so wonderful to click so well after years of online friendship. I’d LOVE to do a big dive trip all together someday! I’m sure y’all would fall right into the fold 😉

  • Caity
    August 21 2015

    Oh gosh, those dolphin pictures are wonderful. When I was a kid I was into whales and dolphins in a big way and would insist everyone I know either sponsor or participate in the annual Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society walk! Fingers crossed I see them in the wild one day!

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      That’s what I did with manatees 🙂 So cute!

  • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
    August 21 2015

    Yesssssss this is the best!! Nice work on the photos buddy. Good lookin’ Rika-fish 🙂

    I still have a manta ray on the bucket list, thanks to your Kona manta ray night dive! But I’ve been blessed to have checked off a LOT of stuff here on Roatan already.

    I’m gonna also put in a vote for an Meihoukai/Rika/Steph + Tony dive trip to Cozumel!
    Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      I’m in! …as long as we see whale sharks 😉

  • Lindsay
    August 21 2015

    I would 100% be interested in an underwater photography post processing workshop! In fact, that is the thing about your photos that I’m most curious about – how you process them in Lightroom & Photoshop. I love the tones and color balance in your photos. I have the same camera as you do, but I don’t have the lightroom skills yet to give them that special oomph in post that yours have.

    Anyways, what an amazing dive!
    Lindsay recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      Awesome, thanks Lindsay! Great to know there is some interest!

  • Sarah
    August 21 2015

    Gah. I want to dive again! What a wonderful drug diving is.

    What an experience to technically swim with dolphins in their natural habitat!
    Sarah recently posted..

  • Britt
    August 21 2015

    Amazing photos! If I wasn’t heading off in a different direction than Thailand I would be super interested in that course. Especially given Thailand is still my favourite country in the whole world!

    The dolphin moment must have been amazing- they are definitely one of my favourite animals. I’d much rather these wild experiences with them than the crap that goes on at sea world 🙁

    This post has just confirmed that I really need to start doing some diving!
    Britt recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      Yeah, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy those “swim with dolphin” things now that I know more about them :-/ So grateful to have experienced them in the wild!

  • Joella
    August 21 2015

    Absolutely gorgeous photos! I’d love to say I’d be interested in your course but I won’t be in the area, unfortunately. What camera will you use underwater now this one has died?
    Joella recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      I upgraded to the Canon G7X… post definitely forthcoming about it soon!

  • Camels & Chocolate
    August 21 2015

    STOP IT. Not only am I having a hard time containing my jealousy over all the things you saw (while I’ve spotted a cuttlefish in the Celebes, I’ve never seen squid! and so many seahorses, whaaaaaat), I am also angry you have yet to tell me about the dolphins until now!!!!
    Camels & Chocolate recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      I don’t know how it slipped my mind! Maybe I just didn’t want to make you jealous 😛

  • Mary
    August 22 2015

    alex! This is awesome! You were definitely spoiled! Even though your camera was wonky, it still produced some great shots. I once called,ex face to face with a barracuda and I was scared for my life! Do you ever get nervous while diving? I know it’s one of your passions, but I’m curious if anything has startled you under water?
    Mary recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      I did get a little flustered the first time I saw a whale shark… I was the first one in the water and it was just SO BIG! But I knew it wouldn’t hurt me and I quickly felt at ease 🙂 I was also definitely shot with adrenaline when I saw a hammerhead. Lots to get riled up about beneath the sea!

  • Janice Stringer
    August 22 2015

    Looks an amazing dive Meihoukai. Those Seahorses are divine 🙂 What fun. I am soooo jealous (again!)
    Janice Stringer recently posted..

  • Peter Parker
    August 22 2015

    Can any one tell me about Dolphin, are they harmful when not tamed?
    Peter Parker recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      I’ve never heard of a dolphin being aggressive to a human — I think they are very docile and peaceful creatures. And I believe they belong in the wild. We felt so lucky to see them!

  • Jason
    August 22 2015

    Seahorse <3

  • Michelle
    August 22 2015

    The dolphins – wow!! It must’ve been amazing to be able to swim with them! Were they friendly?

    I think cuttlefish are awesome in a very alien way. They look so out of this world, especially when they’re in motion.

    Also putting my virtual hand up for a workshop in Thailand if I can get the time off!
    Michelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 23 2015

      They were curious — I saw them eyeing us — and swam slowly for a bit before jetting off into deeper waters. It was a magical moment!

  • Huong Do
    August 23 2015

    Can I ask you what camera did you use underwater? Beautiful photos, wish I were there <3

  • Michael
    August 23 2015

    WOW! I went diving on Roatan one week ago, it was stunningly beautiful, although I didn’t manage to see a dolphin or a seahorse. My possible next try would be in Belize, any recommendations?
    Besides I’m loving your style of photography and post-processing and I’m in Thailand this Winter, so I’m gladly raising my hand 🙂
    Michael recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 26 2015

      Hey Michael! I’ve never been diving in Belize but the snorkeling was fantastic in Hopkins, Placencia and around Caye Caulker. I’d try any of those! Enjoy!

  • ‘Love it! You’ve got some really fabulous shots there. It must have been so much fun!
    [email protected] The British Berliner recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 26 2015

      We had a pretty darn good time 🙂 Thanks Victoria!

  • Michelle
    August 24 2015

    This looks AMAZING!! I am headed to Barcelona and Mallorca next week, we’re hoping to do some snorkeling (never tried diving… so we’re taking the easy route). I love following your adventures!
    Michelle recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 26 2015

      Thanks so much Michelle! I loved diving in Ibiza — I’m sure you’ll have a great time 🙂

  • Sara
    August 24 2015

    Dove Mary’s Place too and it was amazing! Love the whole atmosphere and beauty of Roatan!

    • Meihoukai
      August 26 2015

      It is indeed gorgeous. Glad you loved Roatan too!

  • I’m heading to Honduras in February to do my PADI Open Water Certification! Any recommendations?
    Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 26 2015

      My recommendation is to check out Rika’s blog 🙂 She’s a Roatan expert and knows way more than I could ever dream to about that island!

  • Amy M
    August 25 2015

    I didn’t think it was possible to love your diving adventures anymore but those dolphins are just incredible! What an experience! co
    Amy M recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 26 2015

      Thanks Amy 🙂 Man, I love my diving adventures too!

  • Sonja Riemenschneider
    August 27 2015

    You got some great shots for having a misbehaving camera! I just got the housing for my S110 this year and I’m eager to try it out when I go diving on Maui. Getting my open water certification this weekend actually, and it is totally thanks to your blog! I should be getting my graduate degree sometime next year so there’s a chance I could make it to an underwater photography workshop in Thailand next Fall, especially since Thailand has been on my list of places to go once I’m out of school (and have free time, lol). Definitely interested. Hope it would include some post processing as well!
    Sonja Riemenschneider recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 30 2015

      That makes me so happy to hear, Sonja! Congrats on that Open Water! Hope you’ll love to s100 as much as I did. A workshop would DEFINITELY include tons of post-processing — such an important part of underwater photography.

  • Abi
    August 28 2015

    Wow, these are so achingly beautiful. I know that’s not what you’re “supposed” to say in blog comments but just one look at this screen leaves me feeling soothed!

    I’ve never stayed in one place long enough (with enough spare time) to finish my qualifications. This has just reminded me that I really ought to find a way! Lovely stuff.
    Abi recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 30 2015

      You should indeed! It’s such a fun course I think it’s worth building a trip around 🙂 Thanks Abi!

  • Diana Edelman
    August 29 2015

    THAT EEL. Otherwise, Roatan looks incredible. I would love to see dolphins like that. What an incredible experience!
    Diana Edelman recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      August 30 2015

      It was amazing! It’s always a cool feeling to be surrounded by locals who are losing their shit too, ha. (Like Rika!) Then you know you’ve seen something special!

  • Ligeia and Mindy
    September 1 2015

    Wow! Fantastic post!!!! And such amazing pictures!!! I LOVE scuba diving and you captured why so well in this post: It feels like you are a guest into a completely different world and I just love looking around a seeing its residents. I hope people realize that sometimes when diving you are lucky to see anything at all – this was an AMAZING trip! Gotta get to Roatan! And may I recommend the Galapagos! 🙂
    Ligeia and Mindy recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      September 9 2015

      Please do recommend it — I’m dying to get there! One of these days 🙂

  • Evelina
    September 23 2015

    Beautiful! Can’t wait to go there.
    Love how you just happen to visit a lot of places I am going to as well. Caye Caulker on christmas and Roatan in middle of January.
    Your pictures are making me long for it even more!
    Evelina recently posted..

    • Meihoukai
      September 24 2015

      That is fun! I always love reading others’ takes on places I’ve been/am going.

  • Dov Kohn
    September 29 2015

    I think I’ve checked off everything in your pictures above, mostly in Utila (including dolphins); I have yet to see the Blue hole in Belize (Dahab’s was great, but low viz); I have swam with whale sharks (Cancun) and a hammerhead (Utila), and been around other sharks, but the shark cage diving in Roatan is on my list, and I might get to go this Christmas!

    • Meihoukai
      October 2 2015

      I didn’t know they had shark cage diving in Roatan. I remember that they have a shark dive in a remote part of the island, but I thought it was sans cages. Maybe things have changed!

      • Rika | Cubicle Throwdown
        December 25 2015

        Just confirming that we definitely do NOT have shark cage diving on Roatan. The shark dive is done through Waihuka Adventure Company and is a chummed dive where they feed the sharks in front of you. They are very passive Caribbean grey reef sharks. You get to swim around with them after the feeding. No cages necessary 🙂
        Rika | Cubicle Throwdown recently posted..

        • Meihoukai
          December 26 2015

          Thanks for the clarification, Rika 🙂

  • Jessica
    May 31 2016

    Hi, is there any budget accommodation on that side of the island? I seems to be all expensive resorts..

    • Meihoukai
      June 2 2016

      Hey Jessica! I know there is at least one hostel owned by the same owner of this resort. I don’t recall the name but you can find it online 🙂 Good luck!

      • Jessica
        June 7 2016

        Thanks for the info bit in the meanwhile I found a sollution. I will share just in case other ones are searching for it and come to your page. The people from barefoort divers pick up crew from west end each day and offered us a ride. Perfect way to go scuba diving on the other side while staying at West End. Really worth it too, Mary’s place was spectacular!

        • Meihoukai
          June 10 2016

          That’s awesome, best of both worlds 🙂