The small fishing village of Mangrove Bight on the northeast corner of Guanaja , formerly perched over the shallow waters of a small bay, had the dubious distinction of being the first inhabited place to come in contact with Hurricane Mitch, at 10 a.m. on October 26, 1998. Luckily, the storm hit in the morning, so the entire town had time to flee their houses and head up into the surrounding hills, watching as 10-meter waves swept their town away entirely. By 2000, the town had been rebuilt, now located a safe distance away from the shoreline.
Mangrove Bight is populated by a mix of ladino and islander families, all dependent on the modest local fishing fleet. Mangrove Bight is usually stroked by a steady breeze, which keeps the sand flies and mosquitoes to a minimum. A couple of comedores in town serve up inexpensive eggs, burgers, and other basic meals.
A few points of rock sticking up out in the bay in front of Mangrove Bight indicate the location of the reef. It’s a fair swim out but doable for strong snorkelers who keep their eyes peeled for boat traffic. Once to the reef, poke around to find a sufficiently deep opening to pass through, and get ready for a heart-stopping drop-off into the blue depths below on the far side. Visibility is not fantastic and the water is a bit choppy, but the drop-off is a pretty dramatic sight.