Roatan

Roatan lies about 40 miles (65 km) north of Honduras in the Caribbean. Roatan, Guanaja, and Utila make up the Bay Islands, with Roatan being the largest. It is 48 miles (77 km) long and less than 5 miles (8 km) wide at its widest point. The island is an exposed ancient coral reef rising 890 feet (270 meters) above sea level. It is located on the southern edge of the Meso-American Barrier Reef, the largest barrier reef in the Caribbean Sea and in the northern hemisphere, and the second largest in the world after Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Roatan hosts 65 species of stony coral, 350 species of molluscs, and more than 500 species of fish.

We dove the Bay Islands in 1995 aboard a liveaboard dive boat.

split-crown feather duster, Anamobaea orstedii

fan worm tube worm

Solitary gorgonian hydroid, Ralpharia gorgoniae

Giant basket star, Astrophyton muricatum

basket star

Common octopus, Octopus vulgaris

octopus

Sponge brittle star, Ophiothrix suensonii

brittle stars brittle stars on sponge brittle star on sponge

Cryptic teardrop crab, Pelia mutica

teardrop crab

Yellowline arrow crab, Stenorhynchus seticornis

arrow crab

Caribbean spiny lobster, Penulirus argus

lobsters

Pederson cleaner shrimp, Periclemenes pedersoni

Pederson cleaning shrimp

Hidden cleaner shrimp, Lysmata rathbunae

shrimp

Banded coral shrimp, Stenopus hispidus

banded coral shrimps

Stove-pipe sponge, Aplysina archeri

sponges

Branching vase sponge, Callyspongia vaginalis

sponge

Orange icing sponge, Mycale laevis

sponge on coral

Variable boring sponge, Siphonodictyon coralliphagum

sponges on coral sponges on coral

Staghorn coral

staghorn coral

sea fans

sea fan

fire coral

fire coral coral and tangs

coral

globular encrusting tunichate, Diplosoma glandulosum

tunichate

Painted tunichate, Clavelina picta

tunichates

Bulb tunichate, Clavelina sp.

tunichates

Bluebell tunichate, Clavelina puerto-secensis

tunichates tunichates

Lettuce sea slug, Elysia crispata

lettuce sea slug

Tasseled nudibranch, Bornella calcarata

nudibranch

Crisscross tritonia, Tritonia bayeri

nudibranch

Flabellina sp.

nudibranch

nudibranch

Common (Atlantic) bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus

dolphin

Creole wrasse, Clepticus parrae

creole wrasses

Silversides (ten species)

shiners

Yellow goatfish, Mulloidichthys martinicus

goatfish

Spotted goatfish (night colors), Pseudupeneus maculatus

goatfish

Large-eye toadfish, Batrachoides gilberti

toadfish

Balloonfish, Diodon holocanthus

porcupinefish

Yellowhead wrasse (terminal phase), Halichoeres garnoti

wrasse

Indigo hamlet, Hypoplectrus indigo

Stoplight parrotfish (terminal phase), Sparisoma viride

parrotfish

Porkfish, Anisotremus virginicus

Red hind, Epinephelus guttatus

hind

Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus

Nassau grouper

Blue tang, Acanthurus coeruleus

blue tang

Spanish hogfish, Bodianus rufus

hogfish

Hogfish (intermediate phase), Lachnolaimus maximus

fish

Spotfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon ocellatus

Banded butterflyfish, Chaetodon striatus

banded butterflyfish

Smooth trunkfish, Lactophrys triqueter

trunkfish

Scrawled cowfish, Acanthostrocion quadricornis

cowfish

Sand diver, Synodus intermedius

Slender filefish, Monacanthus tuckeri

tilefish

Neon goby, Elacatinus oceanops

goby

shark-nose goby, Elacatinus evelynae

goby

Glass goby, Coryphopterus cf hyalinus

goby

Peppermint goby, Coryphopterus lipernes

Rock beauty, Holacanthus tricolor

rock beauty

French angelfish, Pomacanthus paru

Gray angelfish, Pomacanthus arcuatus

grey angel

Queen angelfish, Holacanthus ciliaris

queen angel

Yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus

yellowtail snapper

We returned in 2017 to set up the HQ9X amateur radio station at Chillax Roatan, in Sandy Bay near Anthony's Key, for the CQ WW CW contest, which we operated as HQ9X. The aluminum tower arrived damaged. Getting someone locally to straighten the bent cross-bracing and reweld the broken welds took most of the time we were there. We also needed to get the base hole dug. So the tower and beam will go up next time, and we operated the contest entirely on wire antennas.

QTH QTH Paul on roof QTH: Paul on roof Paul and Dennis kitchen humingbird hummingbird hummingbird parrot Charlotte and parrot Paul and parrot iguana broken weld welding base hole digging base hole tower base Paul and Dennis Charlotte and Dennis Paul with wire antenna Paul soldering Paul with string amp Charlotte and amp Paul and Dennis operating Paul operating Paul operating

We returned with Rudy, N2WQ, to put up the repaired tower and antennas for the WPX CW contest in May 2018, again operating as HQ9X. The first order of business was to assemble the elements of the DXE (Bencher) Skyhawk antenna:

assembling the antenna noalox riveting boom-to-element clamps Dennis with elements attaching elements elements on the boom compensator

Assembling and walking up the repaired aluminum tower (a tough job with the rotor, mast, thrust bearing, and cables already in place):

tower sections tower assembly angtenna and tower on the ground thrust bearing walking up the tower the tower bolting the tower base coax conduit coax conduit and entry

We trammed the antenna up to Paul on the top of the tower:

Paul climbing tower Paul on tower bolting on antenna view to the north tower climber

Verticals for 40m and 80m, with radials:

40m vertical pinning radials checking resonance 80m loading coil

Dennis built the board and wiring for the VA6AM filters, the triplexer, and the switching network, and made the coax jumpers:

Dennis buildiing filters filters and switching network Dennis making jumpers

CQ WPX CW (19.1M points), operating a K3 and an ICOM 7610 with Alpha 99 amps:

Rudy operating Dennis operating Paul operating final score screen

Relaxing (cooling off) and victory lunch:

Dennis in the pool lunch

After the contest we spent a few days at CoCoView Resort for scuba diving.

CoCoView sign dive dock bungalows walking to clubhouse dock dock clubhouse clubhouse dive shop nitrox dive boat dive boat heading outsunset

The Prince Albert wreck, the DC-3 wreck, and two near-vertical walls are a shore dive away with well-marked chains and buoys.

Wreck of the Prince Albert:

wreck wreck wreck wreck wreck wreck rudder of wreck wreck queen angel on wreck interior of wreck wreck wreck wreck wreck on sand, fish wreck detail wreck wreck wreck wreck wreck gray angelfish on wreck gray angelfish on wreck wreck wreck

DC-3 wreck:

queen angel and DC-3 wreck sergeant major on DC-3 wreck wing of DC-3 wreck

Walls and reefs:

wall wall wall with red rope sponges wall reef Paul in cut sponges sponges reef wall wall sponge sponge

Critter portraits:

Fish:

Snappers:

Mutton snapper, Lutjanus analis

mutton snapper

Schoolmaster, Lutjanus apodus

schoolmasters

Yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus

yellowtail snapper

Grunts:

French grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum

French grunt

Angelfish:

Gray angelfish, Pomacanthus arcuatus

gray angelfish

Rock beauty, Holacanthus tricolor

rock beauty

Queen angelfish, Holacanthus ciliaris

Queen angelfish

French angelfish, Pomacanthus paru

French angelfish

Butterflyfish:

Foureye butterflyfish, Chaetodon capistratus

foureye butterflyfish

Spotfin butterflyfish, Chaetodon ocellatus

spotfin butterflyfish

Surgeonfish:

Blue tang, Acanthurus coeruleus

blue tang

Ocean surgeonfish, Acanthurus bahianus

surgeonfish ocean surgeonfish

Trumpetfish:

Trumpetfish, Aulostomus maculatus

trumpetfish

Sea basses (groupers):

Black grouper, Mycteroperca bonaci

black gouper

Rock hind, Epinephelus adscensionis

rock hind

Graysby, Cephalopholis cruentatus

graysby

Harlequin bass, Serranus tigrinus

harlequin bass

Tobaccofish, Serranus tabacarius

tobaccofish

Basslets:

Fairy basslet, Gramma loreto

fairy basslet

Eels:

Green moray, Gymnothorax funebris

green moray eel

Puffers:

Sharpnose puffer; Canthigasgter rostrata

sharpnose puffer

Spotted burrfish, Chilomycterus atringa

burrfish

Porcupinefish, Diodon hystrix

porcupinefish

Gobies:

Neon goby, Elacatinus oceanops

neon goby

Barsnout goby, Gobiosoma illecebrosum

goby

Masked or glass goby, Coryphopterus personatus/hyalinus (impossible to determine which)

goby

Blennies:

Arrow blenny, Lucayablennius zingaro

arrow blenny

Spinyhead blenny, Acanthemblemaria spinosa

spnyhead blenny

Damselfish:

Threespot damselfish, Stegastes planifrons(juvenile, right)

threespot damselfish threespot damselfish threespot damselfish

Bicolor damselfish, Stegastes partitus

bicolor damselfish

Sergeant major, Abudefduf saxatilis

sergeant major

Parrotfish:

Stoplight parrotfish, Sparisoma viride (left: initial phase; right: terminal phase)

stoplight parrotfish stoplight parrotfish stoplight parrotfish stoplight parrotfish

Redband parrotfish, Sparisoma aurofrenatum (terminal phase)

redband parrotfish

Wrasses:

Pearly razorfish, Xyrichtys novacula

razorfish

Spanish hogfish, Bodianus rufus

Spanish hogfish

Yellowhead wrasse, Halicoeres garnoti (left: juvenile, right: intermediate)

wrasse yellowhead wrasse yellowhead wrasse

Slippery dick, Halichoeres bivittatus (intermediate phase)

slippery dick

Creole wrasse, Clepticus parrae (initial phase)

creole wrasse

Squirrelfish:

Longspine squirrelfish, Holocentrus rufus

squirrelfish

Flounders:

Peacock flounder, Bothus lunatus

flounder

Lizardfish:

Inshore lizardfish, Synodus foetens

lizardfish

Chubs:

Chub, Kyphosus spp. (may be Bermuda chub, Kyphosus specatrix, or Yellow chub, Kyphosus incisor)

chub

Mojarras:

Silver jenny, Eucinostomus gula

mojarra

Porgies:

Saucereye porgy, Calamus calamus

porgy

Jacks:

Bar jack, Caranx ruber

bar jacks

Horse-eye jack, Caranx latus

horse-eye jacks

Drums:

Spotted drum, Equetus punctatus (juvenile)

juvenile spotted drum

Goatfish:

Yellow goatfish, Mulloidichthys martinicus

yellow goatfish

Spotted goatfish, Pseudupeneus maculatus

goatfish

Hamlets:

Barred hamlet, Hypoplectrus puella

barred hamlet

Indigo hamlet, Hypoplectrus indigo

indigo hamlet

Jawfish:

Yellowhead jawfish, Opistognathus aurifrons

yellowhead jawfish jawfish

Spadefish:

Atlantic spadefish, Chaetodipterus faber

spadefish

Lionfish:

An Indo-Pacific invasive species, now found all over the Caribbean.

Red lionfish, Pterois volitans

lionfish

Scorpionfish:

Spotted scorpionfish, Scorpaena plumieri

scorpionfish

Filefish:

Slender filefish, Monacanthus tuckeri

slender filefish

Boxfishes:

Smooth trunkfish, Lactophrys triqueter

trunkfish

Toadfish:

Large eye toadfish, Batrachoides gilberti

toadfish

Seahorses:

Longsnout seahorse, Hippocampus reidi

seahorse seahorse seahorse

Shrimps:

Banded coral shrimp, Stenopus hispidus

banded coral shrimp

Pederson cleaner shrimp, Periclimenes pedersoni

Mantis shrimps:

Scaly-tailed mantis, Lysiosquilla scabricauda

mantis shrimp

Worms:

Christmas tree worm, Spirobranchus giganteus

Christmas tree worm Christmas tree worms

Magnificent feather duster, Sabellastarte magnifica

fan worm

Spaghetti worm, Eupolymnia crassicornis

spaghetti worm

Gastropods:

Flamingo tongue cowrie, Cyphoma gibbosum

flamingo tongue

Queen conch, Strombus gigas

conch

Sand dollars:

Sand dollar, Clypeaster subdepressus

sand dollar

Sea Stars:

Sponge brittle star, Ophiothrix suensonii

brittle star

Sea Cucumbers:

Tiger tail sea cucumber, Holothuria thomasi

sea cucumber

Crabs:

Yellowline arrow crab, Stenorhynchus seticornis

arrow crab

Neck crab, Podochela spp.

neck crab

Hairy clinging crab, Mithrax pilosus

crab

white speckled hermit, Paguristes punticeps

hermit crab

crab

Lobsters:

Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus

lobster

Turtles:

Hawksbill turtle, Eretmochelys imbriocota

turtle

Nudibranchs:

Lettuce sea slug, Elysia crispata

lettuce sea slug

Evening entertainment:

Folk dancers performing dances from diverse parts of Honduras:

folk dancers folk dancers

Fire dancers:

fire dancer fire dancer fire dancer fire dancer fire dancer fire dancer fire dancer

©2018 Mermaid Underwater Photographic. All Rights Reserved.

Contact us at mermaid@underwater.org.

Last modified 24 June 2018