For most people, the ideal beach is crystal clear water, and a soft white sand bottom. There are a few beaches like this in Roatan (West Bay and Camp Bay, for example), but the majority of beaches here have turtle grass in the shallows. Wading through turtle grass is something that you might not like,and maybe you've thought that the turtle grass should just be removed. Sometimes people do remove it, but it's not legal to do so. It actually has many important roles and should always be kept in place. Some marine life, such as seahorses and lizardfish, live in the turtle grass, and many juvenile fish use it as a temporary home to keep them safe from predators. Removing it destroys their habitat. Many herbivorous fish feed on turtle grass (and so do some turtles), and decomposing dead seagrass plants provides food for sea cucumbers, crabs and other filter feeders. Seagrasses help trap sediments and particles in the water to improve clarity, and filter nutrients from stormwater runoff before they go out to sea and cause damage to coral reefs. Even though you might not like the look or feel of turtle grass, it's important to the beautiful reef system that Roatan is known for. Instead of rushing past over it, next time you head out for a snorkel, spend some time checking out the turtle grass and seeing what creatures you can spot in this marine life rich area.
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Mel is a Canadian who's been living in Roatan for 2 decades. Before being a single mom of 2, she used to travel around the world as a dive instructor. She looks forward to the opportunity to meet many other travelers in her hostel.