Utila Travel Blog› entry 12 of 14 › view all entries
Holy mackerel! Literally. I havenāt added a blog since june 18th. The night before I met my cuz, sarah on roatan. Getting there was a projectā¦shuttle to a ferry, on which I threw my guts up after having scarfed down a burrito in the ferry waiting area that took 45 minutes and that wound up containing chicken and ketchup. KETCHUP. Really? In Honduras?
Arrived at Chillies āHostelā, where Sarah was waiting with, to my delight, a small , private cottage with a hot shower. Sarah and I havenāt spent any significant time together as adults, and Sarah is a little green to āroughing itā travel ļæ½ļæ½" but within minutes of being in each otherās company, we both knew that traveling together was gonna be a no brainer.
On our first little jaunt into town to score some food, we met and were adopted by John, a Canadian who owns a glass bottom boat and snorkeling gear on the island. We spent our two days hanging with him, and graciously accepting his above and beyond generosity and protection from the local āpredatorsā (an unfortunate product of the brand of āholidayā tourism that dominates roatan). Though our one full day in roatan was AMAZING due to the gorgeous day, the rad snorkeling right off the beach (trumpetfish, scorpionfish, a sting ray and very friendly schools of sergeant majors and grunts), johns private beach-front house and a thai meal that cost more than it would in new york city (thanks john : ) ļæ½ļæ½" it was definitely not the ārightā travel energy OR within our budget.
Our options for getting from roatan to utila were A) to take a $24 public ferry to la ceiba, wait five hours and then take another $24 public ferry to utila or B) to spend an extra $7 per person to charter a 4 hour private catamaran ride straight to the dock of our dive shopā¦guess which one we opted for??? So we rocked up to the altons dock in style, which went something like thisā¦
Captain vern: ok gals, weāre about 5 minutes from the dock. Grab your packs and shoes and get ready to jump!!
Sarah and Jen: errrā¦ok.
Option 1: Naui certification, which required a mandatory night dive and a written test.
Option 2: PADI certification, 5 adventure dives of our choosing plus 2 free fun dives. No night dive required, no tests.
Being that I was vehemently against diving at night (as I am scared of the dark in my own bedroom), we went with PADI, and a fun loving English lad called Sam was selected to teach us.
After being moved into our AWESOME cabana-esque oceanfront room the next day, utila swept us off our feet with its chilled out ambiance, good, affordable food and our front yard: a dock full of warm, intelligent traveling divers, from novices to masters. This week has been dive, dive, diveā¦our 5 electives consisted of a navigation dive, then sarah did her peak performance buoyancy (which I already did in gili trewangan ļæ½ļæ½" see thailand-bali-oz blog entitled āthe beauty of breathingā from November 2007) while I did my fish identification dive. the next day, a deep dive on a wreck (SOOOO COOL) during which our friend Ryan found a ken doll, which we photographed and then left on the wheelhouse.
We surfaced to discover a flyer on the table in altonās snack shack (which boasts a chef from texas ļæ½ļæ½" how appropriate)ā¦the flyer offered a 500 lempira reward for aforementioned ken doll, whose name is popster paul , a prop a father/son duo from NYC brought with them traveling and accidentally dropped while diving the wreck. Benās dad (whose name I cant remember) was happy to know that popster paul is alive and well, and he will most likely be rescued during the wreck dive going out tomorrow.
Sarah and I decided that, with the permission of shawn and Christine (the snack shacks owners), we would host a dinner party at the dive shopā¦first come, first serve, tips accepted for the pasta in dank pink sauce and garlic rolls that we whipped up in the wooden box of a kitchen with a two windows looking out onto the deep blue sea.
Yesterday, Friday - two fun dives on the morning boat, both long, mellow dives. Then seven hours of kicking around, beach bum style... and then ļæ½ļæ½" the moment of truth had arrived. Through the course of my diving, I had actually gotten quite amped up for the night dive. As the sun went down and we set up our equipment, the reality of plopping into dark water with a but small flashlights to lead the way through a dark coral reef, knowing that the large predatory fish come out at night, hit me ļæ½ļæ½" hard.
The second we began our descent, all panic instantly subsided. Being down there, while eerie, was so peaceful, comforting, exciting. As my eyes adjusted, I took note of the thousand little red shrimp eyes peeking out from every crevasse in the coral, which upon illumination, appeared more vibrant than any flower or butterfly I have ever seen above surface. Sam waved his flashlight around to indicate a spotting, and the four of us (sarah, victor, rocia ļæ½ļæ½" samās awesome girlfriend- and i) to witness an iridescent blue octopus about the size of a dinner plate suctioned to the coral.
We were met back at the dock with cocktails and otis redding, which turned into a drinky stony, encephalopod inspired dance party in our bikinis and birds-nest hair doās.
The night continued at treetanic, a hotel bar that is VERY reminiscent of antoni gaudiās park guell. Cant wait to take photos there in the daylight. The hotel grounds is like a giant work of trippy art.
I googled āutila tropical stormā and the search instantly produced articles as new as 10 minutes old from literally every news outlet in the world about the first atlantic tropical storm of the season, Alex, was brewing in the gulf of mexico and that the Honduran government has issued severe storm warnings for roatan and utila.
We woke up today to rough waters and moderate rain. All dives were cancelled, so we threw down some lempiras for a poker tournament (which sarah won) while chef hugh whipped up a tandoori pork and coconut stew and hot chocolates with rum. Its mellow here now, because everyone is watching the usa-ghana world cup matchā¦which I am about to go catch the overtime of. Iām assuming that when the game is over, everyone will gravitate back over to the covered area of the dock for a hangout because, well, thereās nowhere else to go.
About 5 more dives ahead and then off to the next destination ļæ½ļæ½" which weāre still trying to pin downā¦perhaps nicaraguaās corn islands for yet more dives??? Copanās Mayan ruins??? Ometepe Island??? Maybe all three???? Who knows ļæ½ļæ½" itās like having a lot of cool slides, monkey bars, swings and pools to choose from in a giant tropical playground.