SCUBA fun!!

Trip Start Sep 10, 2006
Trip End ??? ??, 2007

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Flag of Honduras  ,
Sunday, January 21, 2007

After our wonderful day yesterday (not really) we decided to get out of La Ceiba and go to Utila in the Bay Islands. We got an early taxi to the ferry with a French Canadian (FC from now on) for the hour long ride across the water. We didnīt like the FC from the beginning and steered clear of him when we got to the island. The ride was a bit bumpy but not bad. Stepped of the boat to a hoard of people trying to get us to go to their dive shop. "Come with us weīre the best" "We have the best rooms" and so on. We stashed our bags and went exploring on our own for a dive shop right for us. We actually only checked out 2 of the 15 or so on the island. We ended up at the Bay Island College of Diving, this was recommended to us from some friends. (Thanks Dan and Kim). We settled into a great room in a 3 bedroom apartment with a kitchen and set out for lunch, beach time and groceries. The beach was great, very calm and warm clear water. Back at the room we found that we had new roommates, a different french Canadian and 2 others, but also hanging out with them was the annoying FC! They were so loud and drunk already that I didnīt think I could last a week with them as roommates. Of all the  places to stay on the island, how did they end up in our apartment? it was uncanny and very bad luck. Anyway we decided to move down the road to a different apartment also with a kitchen and a nicer balcony. Now we were set, no annoying FC.
 The next day we set out to do some snorkeling before our first scuba class started. We walked down the length of the island to where we heard there was a good reef. We got to where we though it was but it didnīt seem right and the entry looked unfriendly, so discouraged we gave up and headed back with our heads low, it was another botched attempt at free fun. Not to mention that was the last time we saw Casey's nalgene water bottle. The morning being a wash, we went back to the apt for lunch and did some reading for our class. We took a class to get certified with a Open Water Certification. The first class was 3 hours of watching a super cheesy video of the material we just read. For those of you that are red cross certified you know the type of cheese I am talking about. Topher, our instructor, was a real great guy, laid back, and a good teacher.
 This morning I made some really bad pancakes, yes its true, I ruined just add water pancakes. But I blame it on the pan and the lack of butter. Then it was back to the videos for the morning, wahoo! After our lunch break the fun began, we learned how to set up and take apart our scuba gear and then got into our wet suits. This part of our confined water skills took place in a pool, this was a nice way to ease into breathing underwater. We practiced alot of skills like removing our mask and putting it back on, purging our regulator and floating under water. So much fun, but we couldnīt wait to get out into the ocean. After the pool we took our final written exam up on the roof deck. There are only 2 others in our class with us, a couple from Sweden, and the woman seemed a bit nervous today.
 Today we got to sleep in a bit and have a relaxed morning, Casey made up for my failed pancakes yesterday by making some great french toast this morning.(she had butter). Before lunch we did some more skills with Topher but this time in the ocean right of the shore. It was a bit different than in the pool, the buoyancy was different. But it was way cooler even though we were just on a sandy bottom with nothing to look at. The experience of being under the water and breathing is so cool, and weird at first with the noise of the bubbles and the feel of all the gear. After a quick break we loaded the dive boat for the first time, very exciting. The first part of this dive was all skills, during which the other girl in our class had to surface a few times because she was either sick or nervous. But we did get to follow Topher around the reef for a short swim. Our depth on this dive was 35 ft. Topher likes to be the first in the water at a dive site so we were suited up and ready to jump in as soon as we got there, we were also the last ones back on the boat. The water was a bit choppy today but once we were under the water I barely noticed. During our required surface interval time to allow for some nitrogen to leave our bodies we moved to our second dive site of the afternoon. This time the Swede's did not join us in the water since they were not feeling well, this just left Topher and us. Again we did some skills at the bottom also at 35ft. and then had lots of time to explore the reef. We saw loads of cool fish and beautiful coral and a ray swam right past us. Topher led us through a narrow passage in the reef called a swim through, very cool. It really is an amazing feeling being suspended in the water and floating effortlessly along the coral. The reef here is a wall so we swam along the wall getting real close but not touching the coral. Climbing back on to the boat is a shock after a half hour or so of being weightless, the shock of gravity was overwhelming. It was an awesome day! I think I'm getting addicted!
 Another relaxing morning before getting on the boat for the last 2 dives of our course. But before we could go we had to take a swim test to make sure we knew how to swim. Never mind that we already went out with him on 2 dives. We swam while Topher sat on the dock and watched. Our first dive of the day was to 60ft. Very cool, we did a few more skills and then got to explore to reef. This is the max depth we are certified for. It is a very cool feeling being so deep and looking up at the reef wall climbing towards the surface. Our second dive of the day was to about 50ft. and this was pretty much all exploration. We saw a baby trunk fish which is apparently a big deal and a ton of other super neat fish. When we got back on the boat we were certified divers!! Go us! We went out to dinner to celebrate, we ate at a Italian restaurant that specializes in home made pasta. I know what your thinking why eat pasta out when that is all we make at home, well there were not too many choices this night. For some reason most places were closed.
Today is our fun dive day! We went on the morning boat with hopes of going to the North side of the island for a chance to see a whale shark, but the windy weather kept us on the south side. But we had to great dives. On the fist dive we saw a hawksbill sea turtle eating on the bottom of the reef. We were about 20ft above it but saw it clearly. This made Caseyīs day. On our second dive we saw a 5ft barracuda swimming around, also a spiny lobster. Diving is so great! We spent the afternoon on the beach.
Today we rented a kayak and paddled through a mangrove channel to the other side of the island. The northside finally! Along the way we saw a ton of crabs and some blue herons. Once one the other side we were in a calm cove and parked our kayak on an island out in the middle of the cove. From here we did some great snorkeling all around this shallow reef. Casey found and accidentally scared a nurse shark, no worries, it swam off pretty quick and they are not dangerous anyway. Had some lunch on the island and took in the amazing views. Casey got back in to snorkel while I got in the kayak and followed her around chillin in the boat. The paddle home was easy enough. On the way back we saw an eagle ray swim below us. While paddling home we decided we liked life to much here on the island that we decided to stay one more day. We were back on our game and things were going great. Its always a good feeling to get out and do some exciting exploring on our own.
 Our last day on the island we woke to a rain storm. Of course. We had a relaxing morning with some American TV and french toast. By the late morning the rain had stopped so we headed to the beach for some more snorkeling. Today we saw a group of 5 squid swimming along. They are so crazy looking, like a space ship from some sci-fi movie. Casey also spotted a cow fish which is real cool because it changes color to blend in with the surroundings. We swam around for over an hour or so before chilling on the beach until the sun went down. Said our goodbyes to Topher and got ready to get the early morning boat back to the main land.
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