Sexy roapan

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The remarkably lean abs of two of the female divemasters supported the contemporary observation that "strong is the new sexy." Sara, an Italian, and German-born Anje were the "abswomen," as a female in my group referred to them.

Anje was co-owner of Mayan Divers and married to the other co-owner, Lieber Barrido Barnet, a tall, lanky and friendly Cuban transplant.

The bathroom offered a walk-in shower screened by glass blocks.

The large living room led to a balcony, washed by breezes from its own ceiling fan, that held a gas barbeque grill, table and chairs.

My buffet plate was soon covered with a medley of carrots, onions and green beans, potatoes provencal, beef tips and pepper slices, and pork with rich pancetta gravy.

For dessert, a small slice of cinnamon swirl cake, topped with a creamy coffee-laced icing, filled the bill. In addition to familiar species, I spotted a less common saucereye porgy, and sadly, more lionfish.

After sampling some rum drink not worth finishing, I settled on the fruity, whiskey-based "Mayan Princess." Local lagers like Salva Vida were on the all-inclusive bar menu, but not wine.

That was a source of minor irritation for my spouse, who reconnoitered the area and came up with a reasonably-priced red wine from the shopping district a block off the beach.

The marine park offers a great environment for staghorn rejuvenation.

With no balcony pegs outside for hanging dive gear, wetsuits soon festooned railings; probably a trashy sight to some tourists, but not to us serious divers.

That night, my spouse and I enjoyed complementary sundowners while people- watching on the beach as the sun set.

The next day offered variations on the Caribbean reef tableau I had seen the day before: trumpetfish, hawkfish, chromis, a spotted moray, goldentail moray and tiger tail sea cucumber.

Most meaningful was sprouting staghorn coral, one displaying opened polyps.

Spotting a rare solitary gorgonian hydroid -- resembling a tiny, white, carnivorous sundew plant -- satisfied my "when in Roatan, look for macro" quest within the first 30 minutes.

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