Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Western Caribbean Carnival Cruise out of Tampa, FL 11/3/13 - 11/10/13

Our home went into storage in Orlando on 11/3/13, Tiger went to the Kitty Condo and we headed from Orlando to catch the Carnival Legend out of Tampa, FL for a week.  It had been almost a year since we had been scuba diving and this cruise was planned to give us the opportunity to dive 4 countries, 3 of which we had not dived in prior.

Day one was a fun day at sea. There is always something fun to do on a cruise ship with entertainment, trivia competitions and the opportunity to slow down and read by the pool.  The night before we were upgraded to a balcony which besides the view and another great place to chill, turned out to be a wonderful place for placing our dive gear to dry out each day.

This is the first time that we have done 'your time dining' and for us, it is what we will continue to choose in the future.  The Legend is a smaller ship and was not at full capacity.  This gave us the opportunity to see people we had met on excursions and at dinner throughout the cruise.  While we choose your time dining, we chose to share a table each night as meeting interesting people is an important part of the whole cruise thing for us.

Our first port was Cozumel, Mexico, an island off of the Eastern coast of the Mexican Yucatan Peninsula.  We have dove Cozumel before and it ranks at the top as one of our favorite places to dive.  While it was raining when we got on the dive boat, once to the dive spots, this Cozumel dive trip once again did not disappoint.  The port time with the diving was tight, however, with us returning to ship immediately after diving.  But the diving was great and the water was warm.  So nice to dive in dive skins instead of 7 mil suits in November.

Our next port was Belize.  Belize, a country on the northeastern coast of Central America is the only country in the area with English as their official language.  A small bit of Trivia....Belize is the birthplace of chewing gum, originally made from Chicle, derived from the juice of the sapodilla tree.  But of more interest to us, Belize is the home to the second largest barrier reef in the world.  The reef was so full of color, variety and fish.  Wow! This was some really nice diving and Hugh Parkey dive shop is the best shop we have ever gone diving with.  They came to our ship and took us to their private island.  From there we headed out to do two wonderful dives. Both were almost an hour in length and on return to the boat they rinsed us off with fresh water (never had that happen before, and nice), provided watermelon, chips, salsa and homemade cookies.  They even rinsed and cleaned all our gear for us (another first and nice!).  Back at their island we had Lion fish ceviche (a first for us and quite tasty).   We were returned directly to the our ship and never got into Belize city but were able to get a couple of tee shirts on their private island.

On to Roatan, Honduras the next day.  Roatan at approx. 37 miles by 5 miles in size, is the largest of the Honduras Bay Islands.  As the cruise ship approaches the Dixon Cove (re-named by Carnival Cruise lines as Mahogany Bay, after a huge monetary investment) one sees the lush tropical mangroves of the island and also the shipwreck of the Tulum and the Alexander.  These ships sank approximately 40 years ago.   In attempt to haul them back out to sea, they broke apart and remain in the cove attracting fish for snorkelers.

There had been a storm the day before we arrived in Roatan which created poor water visibility.  While we still enjoyed the diving, it was at the bottom for quality in regards to the four countries that we dove on this trip. The island of Roatan is quite poor, but this is not seen by most that ride an aerial tram from the port to a 10 acre private island developed by the cruise lines.  This private island is only open to cruise passengers and workers.  While we are sure that this private island is probably quite beautiful, we felt fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel across a good portion of the island where the locals reside on our way to the dive shop.  This gave us the opportunity to see the 'real' Roatan and not some cruise line creation.

Last country.....Grand Cayman.  Grand Cayman was incredibly hot but the diving was spectacular.  The diving was up there on par with Belize and the dive shop was great as well.  We saw lots of Snapper and even a few bikes on the ocean floor next to a shipwreck.  We were told that some of the dive masters have a tradition, at the end of their stay at Grand Cayman, of riding their bikes off the deck near one of the wrecks (instead of shipping their bike home).

Our last day, was a day at sea. The four days in row of diving, in four different countries was very full and action packed.  We were ready for some quiet time at sea once again as well as having time to enjoy some of the ship's entertainment.

We really enjoyed this trip, so much so that we are talking about possibly doing a 4 day to the Bahamas in February, making that trip not a dive trip but just a relaxing kick back getaway.  We are kicking it around at this point.  We got back to Orlando and picked up our kitty.  He was not very happy, but within a day, he is pretty much back to normal.  We are in Orlando for 2 weeks now where we plan to enjoy the weather, the pool, the bike trails and maybe get in some golf.

Scorpion Fish - Cozumel, Mexico (yes they are always this ugly)
Spotted Eel - Cozumel, Mexico
File Fish Cozumel, Mexico
Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Shipwrecks Tulum and Alexander -
Dixon Cove in Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Private Island -  Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Turtle - Isle of Roatan, Honduras
Grouper - Isle of Roatan, Honduras (these guys were about 4 feet long)

The colors of Belize
The colors of Belize
The colors of Belize
Teri holds a starfish in Belize
Snapper in Belize
Grand Cayman Island
Snapper in Grand Cayman
Bob just has to ride that bike, even in the Grand Caymans
Looks like dinner to us -  Grand Caymans
Angel fish -  Grand Caymans
Passing by Cuba in the distance at daybreak


No comments:

Post a Comment