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November 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 48, No. 11   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Roatan Aggressor, Bay Islands, Honduras

good diving, decent boat, great crew; however...

from the November, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Dear Fellow Diver,

In late July, I traveled to Roatan for back-to-back one-week trips on the Roatan Aggressor. While I had planned to stay two weeks, it wasn't long before I asked whether a cabin was available for a third week. There was, and I stayed.

The Roatan AggressorYou see, many of the dive sites around Honduras' Bay Islands had something unique to offer. Off Roatan, I'll never forget diving close to shore at Black Rock in beautiful sunlit conditions among tiny juvenile butterflyfish and juvenile blue tangs. Off the island of Utila, I saw unique southern stargazers and sizeable scaly-tail mantis shrimp emerging from their hidey holes to claim fresh lionfish. The Grand Cocos seamount was loaded with gorgeous soft coral, schools of blue tangs, and mixed schools of mahogany and yellowtail snappers. A small school of Margate snappers swam among blackbar soldierfish. A trip to Toon Town at Cayos Cochinos offered plentiful blueberry tunicates and Indo-Pacific-quality crinoids. And none of these destinations required much travel, with no overnight crossings.

Sharks congregated for baited dives. While I am not a fan of orchestrating wildlife, I wasn't stubborn enough to sit out. So, I was amazed to see a Caribbean nurse shark seemingly leap straight up in front of me, like an Olympian, to snatch a piece of lionfish! Several swam directly at me to retrieve a piece of lionfish that had dropped in front of my camera dome, sometimes bumping or nudging me upward so they could get beneath me. Later, three nurse sharks buddied up with me, occasionally photobombing my shots.

To attract reef sharks, the guides kept the bait in a sealed bucket, enticing the sharks (which ranged up to seven feet), along with Nassau, tiger, and black groupers. When they released the bait, it was hit and run. Once, a bearded toadfish emerged from its hole for a chunk of lionfish. Large scaly-tail mantis shrimps seemed to enjoy the thrill of the chase! When the food was gone, the sharks moseyed on, leaving us divers to search for any teeth they left behind....

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