The Bay Islands of Honduras

Dear Friends and Family,

I thought you might enjoy another episode of Flat Stanley.  I will probably catch you up on other things soon but for now, remember that you have only a few days left to vote on Rob’s shorts.  In my next log, I will announce the winner.  Also, only just over a week to go on my cast!!!!  I have found an American Dr. who is cruising and he will help guide me in this.  We are planning to remove the cast ourselves.  I am sure I will be sending pictures!

Fair Winds,

Sue and Rob

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

March 11, 2012

Flat Stanley Reporting

Dear Amigos,

Do I have an adventure to share with you!  You remember that Sue broke her arm and because of that, she has too much trouble climbing ladders with just one hand.  Getting in and out of a dinghy or dive boat with the water making the boat bounce is dangerous for her arm so even with a water proof cast, she is not going diving or snorkeling.

The Bay Islands of Honduras have some of the best places in the Caribbean to snorkel and dive.  Rob and Sue have been diving a lot so don’t feel as bad about missing out but they wanted me to have a chance to experience the under water life.  They asked friends of theirs if they would take me diving and they said yes!  If you want to see a satellite map of where our boat is and look at the reefs that enclose the anchorage you can go to:

http://www.winlink.org/dotnet/maps/PositionReportsDetail.aspx?callsign=KG4QFO.

Fred and Kathy live full time on their boat Makai which is also a catamaran but a bit different than Catalyst.  They go diving almost every day.  I stayed with them for almost a week.  The reef is right in front of the boat and we can easily go there by dinghy!  One reason boaters like to be here is easy access to see fish.

Fred made me a mask and regulator so that I could breathe under the water.  I had a problem in not having a water proof body so they made me a dry suit out of a zip lock bag.  Unfortunately, I still got a little damp so for several days, I just relaxed to dry out.  When people stay under water too long and come to the surface too fast, they can get very sick and get something called the BENDS.  They have to spend several hours or even days in a hyperbaric chamber which is like a small room.  This can make them feel better.  I didn’t worry about getting the bends but but I did worry about getting the wrinkles.  It looks like I will be fine.

You saw me in my scuba equipment but humans do it a little differently.  Here is Fred in his scuba equipment.  You need a mask which covers your eyes and your nose.  This makes sure you breathe through your mouth instead of your nose and makes things under water clear.  This water here is very clear and you can see things for a long way.

When you dive, you stay under for a long time so you need air to breathe.  The air is carried on a tank on your back and a hose brings it around to a piece that fits in your mouth.  It is called a regulator.  That is because it controls the flow of air.  Let’s try something to explain why you need the air regulated.  Take a deep breath.  Why did you stop taking the breath?  Your lungs could not hold more air so you had to breathe out the air before taking any more in.  The regulator allows you to take a breath in but it stops letting air in when you breathe out.  The breath that you let out goes in to the water and makes bubbles.  Sometimes that scares the fish away.

Fred is wearing a vest which is called a BCD or buoyancy control device.  Do you know what buoyancy means?  That is how much you can float.  In your vest, you add weight to help you go down.  At the surface, your body really wants to float.  Once you get deeper, it can start to sink.  With the BCD, you can add or get rid if air in the vest to help you be the correct boiency.  The tank of air is also attached to the vest.

One more important thing you need is fins.  These are like putting on big duck feet and they help you swim easily through the water.  Most of the time you are not swimming very fast because you want to see what is swimming around you, but they do help you go fast when you want to.

You can see that Fred is wearing a skin tight black suit.  You can dive without it but most people have them because they help keep you warm and protected from bumping in to coral and getting scratched.  Some people even wear gloves and a hat to help stay warm.

Fred and Kathy have an under water camera and they took pictures of some of the things we saw.  I was not in pictures with fish because they wouldn’t hold still long enough to let me pose with them but a sea horse let me take a picture with him.  This is a  daddy sea horse.  Fred and Kathy have seen him several times.  In this picture he is not  pregnant but on other dives he had a big belly.  Yes!  In this case the daddy seahorse gives birth to the young.    Do you see him?  He is yellow and has his tale wrapped around a blue sponge.  Check  out seahorses on the internet and learn how the babies are born.

Here is a closer look of the seahorse and some other fish.

This is a grouper.

This is a fairy basslet.  Aren’t the colors beautiful?  The shapes and colors are amazing!

This scrawled file fish was so interesting in shape and markings.

This is a close up.  The white worm like things are arms of a sea anemone.  The blue and white is a cleaner shrimp.  They will eat the bacteria that gets on other sea life so that helps the creature and the shrimp.  Isn’t he pretty!  Sometimes, they are red and white.

Here is an arrow crab.  They are fun to look at and hold.  It is hard to see what it looks like here but you can look it up on line.

In addition to colorful fish, you also see sponges and coral in many shapes and colors.  See the blue and orange sponges next to me?  In the other picture are tube sponges in orange.  Sponges don’t look like what you clean the dishes with.  There is nothing like Sponge Bob!  They come in many shapes and sizes.  Some can be as small as your finger and some can be bigger than a person!  I saw some that were green, brown. dark blue, lavender, yellow, orange, red and black so you can see there are many kinds of sponges.

If you want to learn more about under sea life go to the internet.  Paul Humann is a famous under water photographer and has some interesting pictures and video to see.

I found out that when I am above the water, I have no idea of the life that is beneath the sea.  When I am diving in the sea, I don’t see the life above the water.  It is like discovering a beautiful new world.  The creatures deserve to enjoy their world and we humans must not destroy it.  What do you think can be done to protect this beautiful world that is so different than ours but so important to all of us?

Flat Stanley Reporting

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