4th September 2009 - 10th September 2009
Utila forms part of the Bay Islands and we headed there after an uneventful Friday night in La Ceiba, We were so keen to do our advanced open water diving course we were surprised by how hounded we got as we stepped off the ferry. About ten different scouts from the dive shops on the island approached us handing out flyers, keen to get our business. It was all a bit overwhelming and after a short walk to discuss our options we decided on Altons Dive Resort which turned out to be an excellent decision.
They were located right on the water so we didn't have to walk very far to get on the boats and everybody was really nice. We committed to start our advanced course ($285US for 5 nights' accommodation, 3 breakfasts, the NAUI course and a fun dive) on the Monday and headed out that night to watch the soccer. Honduras won the game and the streets erupted in honking horns and fire crackers and the bar staff got up and shook their bon bons. It was pretty cool to see. They really lover their soccer!
On Sunday it was so hot we were stoked when we were introduced to Lauren, our Dive Instructor, and asked if we wanted to go on a night dive. We were really keen so we headed out with the boat that night. Neither one of us had done a night dive before so we weren't sure what to expect. It was pretty interesting except that there were hundreds of bloodworms that were attracted to the lights of our torches and we both felt like they had crawled into our ears. Besides that it was a pretty cool and interesting experience and we got to see a crawling fluro star, prawns, lobsters, moray eels as well as some sleeping (and swimming) fish.
Our next two dives the following day were our deep dive and a fun dive. There wasn't really anything too spectacular to report except one of the boats had broken down and we had to tow it. On our way back one of the fun divers on the boat wasn't looking too well. He had his head in his hands then when he looked up his eyes were darting back and forth. I asked him if he was okay and he said he was feeling dizzy so Sammy called over Lauren and after a bit of examination he was taken off the boat and sent to the emergency doctor. We think he actually ended up in the decompression chamber because he was so dehydrated from drinking too much alcohol and not enough water. Plus it's so hot over there so you have to be really careful.
The wreck dive we did on the Tuesday was Sammy's favourite. It was a 30m cargo ship, purposely sunk with a cargo hold that had reverse puddles you could look up too and see your reflection. We also got to swim through the steering hold which people had attached tubes of vegemite and other things too. On this day we also did our navigation dive which was my (Nikkis) favourite as we got to swim through lots of caverns.
Our last day of diving included a naturalist dive where we identified different types of coral and fish. On this dive I saw a Moray Eel swimming through the water from one spot to another which you don't get to see very often so that was pretty cool. When we surfaced and got back to on the boat we noticed a guy on shore trying to wave the boat over. It was really rocky where he was and we weren't sure why he was there so we got as close to him on the boat as we could. He didn't speak any English and was acting a little out of it. We threw him some water and called the police as the night before a drug plane had landed on the island and the captain was missing so we suspected it was him. Not long after a police chopper flew overhead. Pretty cool and a bit scarface like.
Our last dive was buoyancy and it was really special when we jumped in the water and Lauren noticed a sea horse clinging to a piece of plant floating in the water. We'd never seen one in the wild before and I really wanted to see one so that made the trip! We also swam through hoops and touched our mouthpieces to weights in the sand to practice our skills which was a lot of fun.
The advanced open water course was a lot of fun and not too much theory which is always good. We enjoyed our time on Utila even though it was too hot to do much else other than dive.