Scuba Duba Dooo!

Trip Start May 07, 2003
Trip End Sep 05, 2005

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Friday, July 18, 2003

Flew into Utila on Saturday in a tiny dual prop bi-plane. It's a tiny island, with only one town, just north of the Honduran coast in da Carribean. An interesting mix of locals, from the Garifunas dumped here by us lovely Brits after we'd finished with them as slaves to the 5 or 6th generation ancestors of British pirates, there's never a dull moment. Some of them look like they've just stepped off the galleon from Scotland or Ireland, until they open their mouths and out blurts an incomprehensible carrib-english-garifuna dialect.

Not much to do here except dive, party and lie on the beach (what more could ye want!) It is one of the best places in the world for seeing it's biggest fish, the Whale shark So I finished my PADI Open Water Scuba diving certification yesterday. Now I'm hooked and want to go for the advanced cert which will allow me to go deeper, do night diving and even underwater photography. I'm sure not going to get it cheaper anywhere else in the world, both certs are only $150 dollars each, would cost over $800 in the UK. There ain't nothin' quite like being right down under the waves amongst all that marine life and colourful coral. You're basically effortlessly 'flying' about, it must be the closest thing to being weightless in space without actually going orbital, it's so cool. I'd highly recommed taking off the flippers, you can do underwater summersaults on the seabed and Matrix style kung fu!

I can't believe my luck on this trip, not only did we land on the same night as the full moon beach party but also the first day of carnival week, the biggest party week on the Utilan calendar. Every night a different bar (or the guy with the biggest sound system, which is driven about on a tractor) has a party. Beer, rum and craziness spills out onto the street all hours. Then there's the beach parties, the last one finished at 9am... the bars and ... Coco Loco - this must actually be the coolest bar I've ever been to. With bangin' tunes blaring, it's situated right out into the carrib on this rickety old pier, with illuminated diving holes in the middle of the bar, hammocks over the bar and the dancefloor, and drunken firedancers burning everyone - it looks amazing! Needless to say I have already fallen off it fully clothed as does some poor soul every night!

Last night we did our first turtle beach patrol. We left just before dusk, then got completely lost in the dark forest finally making the 40min walk, 2 hours later. It was all worth it when we got there though, a beautiful, totally deserted, palm fringed coral beach, crashing waves lit up by the moon light, shooting stars by the bucket-load and spectacular lightning storms flickering on the far horizon.

What luck indeed - we even found this huge Hawkbill turtle making a nest.

Had to wait 4 hours, half asleep lying on the beach before it emerged from the undergrowth. Feckin' hell, the thing came careering down the beach like a freight train, we only just managed to grab it. It was measured and tagged, with it nearly dragging all three of us down the sand into the sea! The strength of it was incredible. Job well done though, the wifie at the conservation center was well chuffed, alot of the time volunteers either haven't found the nesting sites or the turtle has actually dragged the volunteers into the sea - I'd love to see that happening! Just a shame it laid no eggs, only made 6 or 7 false nests, we're told it'll be back though and now we can trace it through the tag we planted.

Before I got here, spent a week in Tegucigalpa, or Tegus as it's known locally, it's the capital of Honduras and I'd never even heard of the place b4! It must be the most random capital in the world! So I had another weeks intensive Spanish (6 bloody hours a day this time - a head burster) and induction for all the projects I'll be on. Somehow I made it into the advanced Spanish class, mi Espanol is by no means advanced but nice to see it seems to be coming along ok. Tegus was a super Americanised, dirty and slightly dangerous city. It was nearly destroyed by the floods and landslides during Hurricane mitch. One landslide killed over 2000 people, we seen the aftermath from a viewpoint above the city, it looks like a whole mountain came down straight thru this really poor residential zone. The people there more than made up for it though, they were really friendly. Especialmente mis padres Honduranos - Anne y Guiellermo - muchos gracias para un gran quedarse en tus casa bonita. These guys had the nicest house in the poshest area, surrounded by high walls and razor wire! They drove us about everywhere in their big blacked-out 4X4, we ate like kings and they really made us a part of their family - it was like being in the Sopranos! Their sons and daughters were all our age, we became friends and they showed us round the best nightspots in town.
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