"Say Goodbye, Mr. Bill"
After more than 22 years of hands-on management, the couple who founded one the Caribbean's most beloved scuba diving resorts has sold their Honduras Bay Islands property and retired to Fort Myers, Florida.
Bill and Evelyn Evans first showed up in Roatan aboard their 33-foot sloop, Karma, in 1980, and after getting their feet wet operating a sailboat charter and a brief live-aboard dive boat venture, Bill announced that he was going to build the "best damn dive resort in the Caribbean." The result, CoCo View Resort, opened in October 1982 and has been operating with a loyal following, and a nearly full house, ever since.
Besides locating the resort perfectly for 24-hour-a-day shore diving -- inside a protected natural channel between two 100-foot barrier-reef walls -- Bill's genius at work-flow engineering created a dive operation that is a much imitated model of ease and efficiency. His dive boats incorporate the industry's only "moon hatch," a midship entry that allows divers to board straight up through the keel, thereby avoiding banging platforms and ladders regardless of sea conditions.
CoCo View pioneered the dive-site mooring system that now protects Roatan's reefs from anchor damage, and the no-gloves policy that has been helping to protect underwater flora and fauna from accidental damage for nearly two decades is now being implemented in dive destinations worldwide.
While Bill's vision, foresight and no-nonsense approach was able to carve a vacation paradise out of a Central American jungle, no one doubts that at least half of CoCo View's success was due to the steady and reliable "Miss Evelyn," who not only worked side by side with her husband, but often worked behind him managing the pieces that made CoCo View work. Several generations of staff consider Miss Evelyn a second mother and will sorely miss her help in educating their children and grandchildren. Shopkeepers, businessmen, politicians, other resort owners and perhaps most dearly to Evelyn herself, the island orphanage, are going to miss this very great lady.
CoCo View Resort's new owners, Carl and Elizabeth Midkiff from Huntington, West Virginia, are veterans in the hotel and hospitality business and admit that the decision to buy was instantaneous.
"CoCo View is perfect," Carl says. "The setting is perfect; the reefs and snorkeling are the best anywhere. The whole atmosphere says 'CoCo View.' There is nothing to change." So while no major staff, operational or construction changes are in the works, Carl will make some upgrades in the area of his expertise: guest services. For example, he'd like to make it effortless for guests to cross the lagoon for day trips and sightseeing or have nights out without worrying about missing the last boat home. A small beach and swimming area on Hawksbill Cay is being considered. By adding air conditioners to the four over-water bungalows, guests will have one more room option. He'd also like to let a few folks know that you don't have to be a hard-core five-tank-a-day diver to enjoy a CoCo View vacation. "I'm astonished that snorkelers have not discovered CoCo View," he says. The most extensive and magnificent aquarium I've ever seen is right out the front door." If you are interested in experiencing what Mr. Bill and Ms.Evelyn have spent so many years perfecting as the ultimate dedicated dive resort, below are a few options from which to choose:
Seven-night dive package: $750/diver, plus taxes
Complimentary airport transfers
Three full meals daily -- includes breakfasts to order, full lunches, dinner buffets with salad bar and choice of entrée
One barbecue on a private cay (weather permitting)
One picnic on a private cay (weather permitting)
Unlimited beach diving includes barrier-reef wall diving, the wreck of the Prince Albert[ital] and night diving
Two boat-dive trips daily including one tank at a selected site and an optional drop-off wall dive (up to four boat tanks daily)
Tanks, belts and weights
Free use of ocean kayaks and nonmotorized beach equipment, a hot tub, exercise equipment and ample opportunities for sight-seeing, picnicking and daytime or nighttime excursions
Optional Internet access, spa service, tours and day trips.
Seven-night dive package: $699 per diver
Double occupancy, includes meals and unlimited scuba diving, instant purchase, no refunds; "Run of House" special; no room substitutions
12 percent tax not included
These dates only: July 17,and July 24, 2004
Seven-night dive package Includes round-trip TACA airfare from Houston: $1,190 per diver
Save $200; seven-night dive package includes meals and unlimited diving
12 percent tax is not included
These dates only: July 10, and July 31, 2004
2Good 2B True: $995 per week ($1,990/diver total)
Two Islands, two Weeks
CoCo View Resort and Utila Lodge
Includes international and interisland airfares and transfers
14 nights' accommodations, all meals and diving
12 percent tax is not included
These dates only: July 17-31 and Aug. 21-Sept. 4, 2004
For reservations, call 800-282-8932 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org