Into the Deep

Trip Start Mar 01, 2008
Trip End Feb 28, 2009

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Flag of Honduras  , Bay Islands,
Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Somewhere en route through Guatemala on a flash of chrome and colour the saltwater seed took to sprouting in the collective minds of two travellers. Before the sun had set on that day the roots of a mission were firmly entrenched, the Honduran coast beckoned, the island of Utila a siren. Their odyssey would find them in the Caribbean Caye of Pigeon southwest off the island renowned for Captain Henry Morgan and his pirate hoard. Azure waters teeming with the life aquatic, dark-skinned inhabitants of Caymanian tongue zipping to and fro on golf cart and motorcycle, grilled snapper and other delectables washed down with cool brew as one watched the sun lose itself to the sea. Not a time to relax unreservedly however for just below the surface of the warm tropical waters the denizens were feeding.
La Ceiba, launching point for the Bay Islands and overnight stop only. Bundled onto the ferry and set off in the late afternoon bound for Utila. Arrived and found a tidy place to stay for a couple of nights whilst we sought out a good dive operator between sessions by the pool. Who else but Captain Morgan's to chaperone us through four days of PADI orientated submarine experience. Found ourselves on an island off an island, peaceful, relaxed atmosphere of fishermen and the like. Circa 800 inhabitants amongst the cayes, three churches, and a couple of general stores, our accommodation rested on the eastern edge of the small landmass. A good place to reflect upon the waters and study the finer points of the physiology of underwater activities. Spectacular diving ensued, with amazing corals and exotic fishes, but the ovation goes to three dives in particular. Whilst not exactly dives, more manic water entry en masse with snorkel and fin only, the chance to swim alongside the whaleshark is secure as a topshelf experience. Our pilot carefully pulled alongside and gave the word for us to enter. Peering into the blue, it was hard to comprehend its magnificence. Gigantic, 8 or so metres long gliding effortlessly passed us about 4 metres away to disappear silently into the depths. Stunning. Not one of us returned without a humbled smirk.
Not having the underwater camera with at the time, the pictures of the whaleshark with this tale have been sourced from our instructors collection, but they capture what was seen nonetheless. Same fish? Who knows? There were plenty out there.
The remaining dives gave us a chance to sample more of the aquatic world on the north side of the island. Eels, rays, angelfish and even the elusive frogfish were ogled and appreciated. Fantastic!
Back on the main island we capped the week off with a spell at the Treetanic bar. An extraordinary scene of Gaudi-inspired outdoor decoration. Grottos, treetop bar and walkways, gazebos and swingsets all adorned with a multitude of shells, tiles, glass marbles an all manner of coloured knickknacks giving the place an underwater bent of its own. Truly a special place in a special place of its own.
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