Utila, HondurasAfter spending Thanksgiving on the beach in Placencia I decided I wanted my holiday season filled with as much beach and water time as possible. Within two minutes of laying on the beach I developed a general travel plan that has me going to the Bay Islands in Hondruas to do some diving and [...]
After spending Thanksgiving on the beach in Placencia I decided I wanted my holiday season filled with as much beach and water time as possible. Within two minutes of laying on the beach I developed a general travel plan that has me going to the Bay Islands in Hondruas to do some diving and then making my down to El Salvador to surf during the week of Christmas and New Years. It was at exactly this moment on the beach that I felt Central America had just become one large playground. Jungle treks, diving, white water rafting, rock climbing, volcano hikes, surfing, caving, or any other outdoor activity that suits my mood can be done at any particular time.
On Friday morning following Thanksgiving I was on a boat out of Belize heading for Honduras. I was anxious to make my way to the Bay Islands and spend some time beneath the water. I was ready to get my PADI Open Water Diver certification and the Island of Utila is one of the cheapest places in the world to do it with some great diving and snorkeling just off shore.
I was fresh off the boat in Utila on Saturday morning looking for a dive shop. They’re not too difficult to find. Instead of being swarmed by sweaty men trying to push me into a taxi for an outrageous price I had seven dive shops thrusting pamphlets into my face all saying how great they were. I went with a dive shop that wasn’t trying to push themselves on me: Captain Morgan’s. Besides the interesting name their class sizes are only 1 – 5 people and the actual diving class is run on a small Cay off of Utila. Both of these things appealed to me. My dive buddy, Holly, is also the only other person in the class. I traveled to the Bay Islands with Holly and her two friends Alecia and Jenna from Placencia.
|From Utila 2010-11
View on Jewel Cay from Hotel Kayla
My first open water dive was nothing short of spectacular. Life beneath the ocean truly is another world. I’ve seen video but it doesn’t compare to being there and experiencing the reef and life for myself. I feel like an outsider that has been invited as a guest to experience life in a whole new way. As I submerged for the first time a small sense of panic set in that I’m going to run out of air and need to return to the surface. I breathed in through my regulator and fresh air filled my lungs. The panic fled and never returned.
I was now free to swim with the fishes. The only sound heard was of my own breathing. My movements are slow and deliberate but feel clumsy while the schools of fish and spotted eagle rays moves are graceful. With each breath I move up. With each exhale I move down. The pressure builds in my ears until I find equilibrium and then returns again every few feet further down I go.
There are no other words to describe the walls of coral other than amazing or spectacular. I dive down to my limit of 60 feet and they are still stretching down to the ocean floor and I’m surrounded by a massive wall of coral. The numerous colors and wide spectrum of species borders on absurdity. The ocean is completely alive with life and I can only imagine how much more life was in it sixty years ago. After several dives, and probably four more before I leave, I now hold a true appreciation for the world’s oceans and what they have to offer. Each dive has me wishing I still had my waterproof camera. All well.