Sitting on the dock of the bay islands
Trip Start Nov 27, 2009
30Trip End Apr 16, 2010
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We had to overnight half way through in the capital of Honduras called Tegulcigalpa (try saying that after a few pints)
Anyway, next morning we got out of Tegus as quickly as possible and found ourselves on Utila before it got dark. We met a girl on the ferry over, who was married to the owner of a dive shop and who said she could help us find accommodation; we went with her and found ourselves a room for the night, booked ourselves on some diving for the next day and went out for dinner – food was great, the best we had eaten for at least a couple of weeks. This would prove to the be case for the whole stay in Utila – good food and relatively cheap.
After a restful sleep, we got some breakfast and then went diving. Utila has the second largest reef in the world after the great barrier reef and diving here was an amazing experience. Although we didn't really see anything we hadn't seen before, the water was really warm, the reefs really beautiful with some amazing swim-throughs and the visibility was over 25m
After diving, we went for a walk and found a really beautiful place to stay, with a balcony overlooking the bay (and without screaming kids running around at 6am, as we unfortunately had at the last place). So we shifted our gear, even though the owner was telling us we would only be able to stay there for a couple of nights, figuring something would crop up afterwards. It always does.
Utila is a long narrow island, with only 2 or 3 paved roads, but with every type of vehicle moving up and down it including golf carts, quads, scooters, bikes, cycles, tuk-tuks, cars and the occasional truck; I never did quite get used to seeing an elderly lady roaring past on a quad, but it was par for the course here
We did a couple more dives with the same dive company the next day, but started to get fed up with the very young and inexperienced dive crew, so decided we would look for another place. Though a small island, Utila must have about 30-odd dive companies of varying size and competencies, so finding another one would not be difficult. By now, we were also being kicked out of our beautiful balcony room, as the whole place was booked up for semana santa – the week before Easter. This is the busiest week in central and south america and Utila sees twice the normal number of visitors during this week. This basically gives them an excuse to raise the price of just about everything and stretches the place so that it can just about cope
We stumbled across a dive centre just up the road, which also had some space for us to stay and seemed like it had a really groovy atmosphere, so we moved in the next day. This would prove to be a great decision as we met some really cool people here, drunk a lot at the bar in the evenings, dived some more, played volleyball and footie-volley, lounged in hammocks and swum and snorkelled in the marina.
We ate well in the evenings, with delicious fresh seafood and great meat too. Although we had planned to, we never made it to the beach, though we did catch a couple of footie games, including the arsenal barcelona game at a local bar, which was a bonus too. We also found a crazy bar called Tree-tanic in a hotel called the Jade seahorse. The creator of this place must have won a ton of marbles, taken a lot of acid and gone wild with a glue gun, as the buildings and gardens were covered in the things, as well as having sculptures, gazebos and other things all in bright colours. Both beautiful and wacky at the same time – also tarantulas scattered around the place and it seemed that they were encouraged to be there. Kate didn't like that, but after we ran across the wooden rope bridge and into the hollowed out tree where the bar was, we were fine
We tried to charter a plane to fly us over to Belize, as we were starting to doubt our ability to endure another long overland slog to Guatemala, but in the end we couldn't arrange it in time and we wanted to get off the island before good Friday as everything shuts down at this time, making traveling that much more difficult. After a week of chilling, diving and eating and drinking well, we said goodbye to Utila and jumped on the ferry. One thing we will certainly not miss is the number of sandflies on the island, which mercilessly bite you 24hours a day and which you are helpless to prevent. I literally had about 100 bites on each foot, by the time we left and both Kate and I had hardly a square inch of skin, which went unbitten by these cursed creatures.