Labor Day weekend, celebrated in the US on the first Monday of September, heralds the traditional start of the school year, and the beginning of the slow season for the diving business on Roatan. With the kids back to school and the weather so warm, the cruise ship traffic drops off for a few months and the island takes on more of the lazy tropical feel we all love so much.
Typically here at West End Divers we take advantage of the lack of business and close for a couple of weeks. This allows the salaried staff their government mandated two week paid vacation, and the dive staff heads out for a break from all the paradise that abounds here.
It is a great time to take care of maintenance and building projects that have been waiting for a lack of guests. This year we have replaced the floor of the dive shop! Gone are those ever widening gaps in the boards capable of swallowing pens, c-cards, money, cigarettes, lighters, guitar picks, eating utensils, choice luncheon morsels, and any one of a plethora of spangles and bangles seen attached to your normal well-dressed scuba diver. Gone too, are the two gaps that could actually swallow a chair leg, and where the little land crabs would occasionally pop their extended eyeballs up to make observations, but rarely comments.
There had been a little settling of the deck over the years, but when you use it every day you don't really notice it. The new deck however is level and flat. In order to accomplish this feat of craftsmanship the front edge of the deck is about an inch higher than it was before. Not much, and certainly not high enough to cause any difficulty in ascending, but everyone returning from vacation fell into work, tripping over that inch that wasn't there before.
Now our toes have healed and we are back to work with some other changes to announce as well. Andy Dixon, our manager and activities coordinator, has decided to move on and seek other opportunities elsewhere. Exactly what he is up to is all very hush hush at the moment, but we wish him well and hope him nothing but success in the future.
Stepping up to the exalted position of permanent Shop Princess/Activities Coordinator/She who must be obeyed, is our very own Manon "Manoo" Aimard. A permanent resident of Honduras, and longtime instructor around the shop, we expect this to be an easy transition for all of us.
Courtney is back from an extended hot-dish sampling tour of her native Minnesota to add her own perspective to our Blackwater Diving. Possible position title "Blackwater Diva". Courtney is seen here after losing a bet with her guy Tom, pictured on the right dressed in normal tropical outerwear. Her penance was to set up the dive, and work until the first dive dressed as some sort of blue animal, with teeth and a red nose.
Maike "Mica" ter Elst is back from a break in her native country of the Netherlands, which is Holland, where Dutch people come from. Seen here celebrating a personal diving milestone! We think she is starting to get the hang of this! Wait, isn't there supposed to be some sorta breathing thing there?
Peter "Petey" Coyne is well, not really back, he never went anywhere, but he is hanging out at the shop as part of the team now. Lately Petey is riding high on the accolades of going out in the ocean and finding a fin that Bugs had dropped, and lost. Assisted by Eagle Eye Nelson, and Jose, the three of them have been pretty impressed with themselves. Yes, sometimes it just doesn't take much here.
We are all back, the weather is warm, seas are calm, there is the most pristine barrier reef system in the world right there (I am actually pointing at the reef now), and the vis is great. Where are you?