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Exploring under the sea...

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Joey and I are about to head back to Roatan for a week after a couple of busy months here in Charlotte. It’s the busy season at our business in NoDa, we took our annual 4th of July company trip to Holden Beach, North Carolina, and my real estate business is booming.

Late Spring / early Summer in Charlotte brings warm, breezy weather with low to no humidity. Temps in the 80s and cool winds call for outdoor time, which is what both of our businesses are made for. The NoDa Company Store is practically all patio and our pop-up for Friday Nights at Camp North End serves an outdoor weekly music festival.

The NoDa Company Canteen in Charlotte - a seasonal outdoor bar we run from May until October / November

Beyond that we’ve been taking scuba classes. Yep, that’s right, last year we bought a home in a place that is consistently rated one of the top 10 places to dive in the world and we haven’t ever gone below the surface of the water.

In the classroom - Open Water Adventures scuba class

We’ve snorkeled in quite a few places over the years, loving every minute of it, but we never took the….ummm…plunge to go further. And we didn’t buy Fort Linwell with any real thoughts about scuba. Culture, beauty, food, people, serenity, and water - those were our reasons. Roatan fit everything we’d been looking for. And then came that huge bonus we’ve discovered since being there.

The island is literally surrounded by reef. It’s part of the world’s 2nd largest coral reef, the Mesoamerican Reef, ranking right behind the Great Barrier Reef. Divers from all over the world come to Roatan to dive. A map of dive sites around the island is almost pointless since sites ring the entire island. Additionally, Roatan has deep water just past the reef. There are drops of hundreds of feet within view from the beach. There is a 400-foot drop just a few hundred yards from our home.

Part of the reef abuts this Cay and extends across Port Royal
View of Port Royal and Fort Linwell from Lime Cay - Part of the reef abuts this Cay and extends across Port Royal

So after almost a year of exploring the top of the island and the top of the ocean we are ready to head down and see what all the excitement is about. We’ve taken our classroom and pool part of certification here in Charlotte, learning the essentials and basics, and now we are ready to get to the bottom of things.

I’ve been on a short “discover scuba” dive once - 40 feet down for a few minutes with a dive master essentially pulling me around. Just that little taste was incredible and addicting. I saw a 6-foot eel, lobster, all sorts of starfish, schools of shimmering, brightly colored tropical fish, a huge grouper, sea fans, sponges…I could go on and on, and that was just a glimpse.

IN many places on Roatan the reef is just feet offshore like here
View from The Reef House - where we'll complete our scuba certification - In many places on Roatan the reef is just feet offshore like here

Once we finish getting certified and feel comfortable with our gear and our experience level we’ll be able to dive right out in front of our home. Fort Linwell is in Port Royal on the largely undeveloped East End, with Cow and Calf islands just two football fields away and the reef just a little further than that. We watch the waves break on it from our deck. And the port is packed with history - British forts and pirate towns. We can’t wait to explore the entire mile-long harbor, the reefs, the footings of the pirate wharf, the deeps and the shallows.

View from our dock - the reef is just across where you can see Cow & Calf island

Last year a new world opened itself up to us when we made Roatan partly our home. Just under a year later another world will open up as well. I know this past year has changed me, and I’m very happy with those changes. Conquering fears and taking challenges was something we wanted and we certainly got, and this is just one more step in that direction.

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