Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom

Island Volleyball Tournament

A volleyball player dives for the ball during a match.

Island Volleyball Tournament Helps

For the fourth time Roatan was hosting the ‘Roatan Beach Volleyball Open 2019’. With two sand courts at Sol Y Mar Beach Club, the fourth national tournament, took place on September 8th and 9th. The previous tournaments were held in Parrot Tree (2015), San Simon Beach Club (2016) and Tabyana beach (2017). Thirty teams competed from Puerto Cortes, La Ceiba and Roatan.

Roatan has a lot of young talented volleyball players and not surprisingly the island has been on top of the Honduran Beach Volleyball Tour since 2015. Shanna Rivera (aka Madonna) and Cecille Johnson, are Roatan’s best representation in the female category. They won 2nd place at the U21 Central American Beach Volleyball Tournament in 2018 and placed 4th at the Women’s Central American Beach Volleyball Tournament 2019. “They have made history, the Honduran female teams have never done so well,” said Dennis Hill, defender and the new coach of the BIBVA (Bay Islands Beach Volleyball Association). Alejandra Cruz and Soniva (aka Chubby) also performed very well and competed at U21 Central American Tournament in 2019.

Volleyball offers Roatan youth a way to stay away from drugs and crime and develops ability for them to stay focused. “Playing sports, in general, can rescue a lot of kids from staying out of trouble. It is a great opportunity for the kids to travel, to see more of Central America while playing leagues,” says Giselle Brady, BICA’s program director became part of the Bay Islands Volleyball League (BIVL) in 2011.

A freediver surfaces after a record attempt. (Photo by Alex St. Jean)

The Blue Abyss

Freediving Competition Brings 11 World Records

Freedivers push their bodies and mind to the ultimate limit. Every time they dive it is like a little rediscovery of themselves. Over the last several years Roatan had become the go-to-place to break freediving records. In 2019, 11 records were made in the waters of West Bay.

In August 2019 Roatan hosted the 7th International Annual Caribbean Cup Freediving competition, immediately followed by the CMAS World Cup Freediving Competition. “The conditions are perfect here.The abyssal, dramatic steep walls were an important part of the decision taken by the federations to hold the competitions here,” said Esteban Darhanpé, owner of the Roatan Freediving School.

For the Caribbean Cup there were 68 athletes from 26 countries, and for the CMAS World Championship, 60 athletes from 24 countries. In the Caribbean Cup four new freediving world records were set and in the CMAS World Championship 7 new world records.

Italian Alessia Zecchini and Alenka Artnik from Slovenia shined setting a joint world record of 113 meters in the CWF- constant weight with fins category. “The new Queens of freediving”, says Alex St. Jean freediver and underwater photographer of this event.

Alexey Molchanov from Russia broke a free Immersion descending to 118 meters and staying submerged for 4 minutes 26 seconds.