utila

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rough-toothed dolphins by Dan Clem

Bay islands, Honduras. They dont speak english nor spanish. But something in between… Also the cheapest place in the world to learn how to scuba dive, which is why we went. Judging by this photo there might not be much live coral to see in 10 years time. Humans doing what they do best, Destroying! 

Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras, 08

To get from Belize to Utila an island on the coast of Honduras, you can either spend 36 hours on; 1 boat, 2 buses, 1 overnight stay in a crap town, 1 more boat

Or…..we found a boat that would take us direct from Belize to Utila, in only 3 hours….Note to self: If something is to good to be true, it usually is….

What followed was, 7 hours wating around next to a petrol station for our boat, before being told we couldn’t depart due to bad weather (We had also just missed the only boat of the week from Belize to Honduras mainland…)…an extra night in expensive Belize, being illegally in the country as we had already been stamped out but had not actually left.  The next day our boat was another hour late, took 2 hours to actually get out of Belize, and then 7 hours in rough seas being bounced around in a tiny 25ft tin boat in 10ft waves (not a smart idea in highsight), driving wind, rain and a storm….We actually arrived later than we would have done if we had taken the original “longer” option…

Still, at least we have this story….and our captain even bought us a few beers in Belize….apparently we made him laugh with the terror in our faces during the entire trip…awesome…

(The above is a photo of his “advert” for the return trip, a thoroughly professional outfit)

Diving in Utila

Hard to believe that my time in paradise is already over and I’m back in Granada! Christine and I made it after a full 2 days of travel, and started up with our dive course on Monday. We dove with Parrot’s Dive Center, the only locally owned and operated Dive shop left on the island! Maybe it’s our “volunteery” spirit, but it just feels so much better for our money to be going into local businesses than big foreign companies or expats who set up shop to take advantage of this beautiful area! But off the shoebox…

We had an amazing instructor, Alan, who was a local guy and has been diving since he was a kid! The 5-day course definitely kept us busy, between class sessions, confined dives, open water skill practice, homework, and fun dives, but we managed to get some party time in as well naturally. Our room was literally right next to the bar, and since it was Semana Santa, they had an extended permit to 4 am… which meant regardless if we went out or not, we were up until 4 am. And as they say, if you can’t beat ‘em… 

Diving was an incredible experience. Our first confined water dives, I thought I would hate it! I had trouble clearing my mask (contacts and salt water, not fun), and breathing underwater is a strange sensation to say the least. I felt really anxious and uncomfortable and was certain that I would be the only person to drown in 2 feet of water, kneeling at the shore. Shockingly, I survived the first day and improved with my skills! Our 4th day of the course were our first open water dives. Again, I struggled from some ear problems (big thanks to the horrible sinus genes!) and my instructors were really cool and patient as it took me foreeeeeever to descend. The atmospheric pressure doubles from surface to 10 meters deep, so that’s always the biggest change and causes the most issues. But once I got down (finally), it was amazing.

It really is like another world! The coral reef was beautiful, colorful, and mesmerizing. There were awesome fish and we even stopped to watch a school of silvery Angelfish swim by… incredible. Sometimes you just stop kicking and stay in one position, floating mid-water between the surface and sand, and it feels like you don’t even exist. Now, I’m a certified open water diver, which means I can go anywhere in the world and dive 18 meters (about 54 feet) deep! 71% of the world’s surface is made up of water… I think my travel options just got substantially extended! 

Our dive class (minus Andy!) - Nils, Katherina, me, and Christine

Sunset from our hostel/dive shop/Tranquila Bar

Getting ready to for my dive (aka, falling backwards off the boat)

Enjoying my last day of sunshine! Goodbye Utila!