Cayman Islands: Lion Hunting

“WE WATCHED them coming through the Bahamas, which they just devastated,” she says. “They lay 25,000 eggs every four days and have no predators here. They will literally eat everything on the reef.”

I am sitting on a shady terrace in the Cayman Islands, watching the sun ripple off the Caribbean and sipping a fruit punch, while Nancy Easterbrook tells me about the threat to local coral reefs from the invasive lionfish. She is a dynamic bundle of energy who, with her husband, runs local diving company Divetech and their livelihood depends on preserving some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Continue reading “Cayman Islands: Lion Hunting”

Panama: Canal Zone

THE TRUCK, belching black diesel smoke, slithers and slides as it struggles up the steep incline of the wet road. It is not much of a road, although it used to be once, sure. Then the weather and the jungle got at it, patiently aiming to outlast it. Now this stretch is a collection of potholes stitched together with some tar, tiptoeing past dramatic gullies washed away by landslips.

Continue reading “Panama: Canal Zone”

Dominican Republic: Friendly faces

WAS it only last month I was saying the Caribbean has little to offer once you get past the rum bar and white sand beaches; that it’s hard to distinguish one island from the next?

The Dominican Republic has gone straight into my list of favourite places – and that’s without going anywhere near its famous beaches. Whitewater rafting in the mountains, horse-riding to a waterfall, dancing merengue until late at a carwash (!), visiting historic colonial buildings or a fascinating tour of the world’s largest cigar factory – it’s been an interesting week.
Continue reading “Dominican Republic: Friendly faces”

Honduras: Treasures Island

MOST VISITORS to Roatan arrive in the cruise port of Coxen Hole, a rather unfortunate name for a fairly unprepossessing dock, dominated by chain-link fences and swarms of tour buses.

Things improve the further you get from the harbour, and that’s something (with no disrespect to the quirky Afro-antillean charms of Coxen Hole) that’s true of the whole island. Continue reading “Honduras: Treasures Island”