Still haven’t quite nailed the time difference yet (+7 hrs) but getting there. I managed to sleep until 6 am this morning which was good. We made the fatal mistake of going for a ‘nap’ on our first day at around 4pm and turning of the alarm! That was probably the first time that I have slept 13 hours in YEARS!
Sooo 2 full days down – What have we been doing?
Diving, Diving, Diving!
Seri0usly, the diving is epic here! The reef is minutes from the shore and the dive sites are 1-10 minutes away! We are really spoilt. Mrs Scot and I have learned to expect a 2 hour boat trip to dive sites as in Thailand, but we could get used to this!
Mrs Scot is doing her Advanced Open Water (I am already AOW qualified) before we both do our PADI Rescue Diver course together next week. I am joining the group for fun dives in the mean time; tagging along and taking some pictures! My wedding present from Mrs Scot was a dive computer which I am putting to great use! We have done 4 dives in the last couple of days varying from 50 – 110 ft (15 – 35m). The visibility remains fantastic at 30m + (100 ft +). I will let the pictures explain for themselves:
These are the raw images – I still need to do some work on them to bring the colours out properly.
After diving yesterday, we went on a mini-tour of the island all the way over to the ‘mega-mall’. This consisted of a few outdoor shops, including the fast food store Wendys!! We managed to find Mrs Scot a new belly bar after she lost the top diving and had a nice iced coffee. While Roatan is clearly an underdeveloped third-world country, there is a very distinct divide between Rich and Poor. The taxi driver shared the same tricks as those in Thailand with the ‘referral scheme’
The Referral Scheme
This is quite a neat trick where the Taxi driver will mine you for information in a friendly way. They will try and find out how long you are there for and what you want to buy, what you want to do and what you want to eat. They will likely stop at their ‘friends’ gift shops or restaurant where they will promise you that they can get you a great discount – on items which have no prices marked. The same goes for restaurants which have more than one priced version of the menu – the walk in price and the referral price! They will of course offer to take you on any tour and drive you around forever!
Our Taxi driver was actually really nice even though he tried to pull a fast one. I understand that these people have families to feed, so I entertained him and had a quick look around the gift shop before getting back in the cab. After speaking to him about his family and friends I probed a bit on the potential earnings on the island:
How Locals Make Money on Roatan
Commission is the big one – commission through room sales and through referrals to gift shops. Our driver, Charlie, said that he can make anywhere between 10-25% commission for room sales. If you consier that these drivers are hired at around $10 (USD) per hour and the average room is $60 per night, there is some serious money to be made. Furthermore, on the days that cruiseships arrive on the island, the prices of taxi quadruple! Our driver told us that he made $250 last week Wednesday in a few short hours!
If they are really lucky, they will get real-estate commission. This is where they can make it rich! Charlie told us that he can make $5000 through a real-estate purchase referral. This is good money by anyone’s standards, but makes a huge difference in a country where is it enough to feed a family for a year.
With all the diving and touring, we were exhausted! A quick trip to get some chicken and seafood for dinner, with a couple of local beers and we were done!