Fire and Water
Trip Start Feb 25, 2010
17Trip End Jan 01, 2011
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Where I stayed
What I did
Instructor Development Course
Master Scuba Diver Trainer Course
Rotational Scuba Instructor
The moment I arrived on Utila, I knew this was an island where I could settle down for a bit. I needed to live somewhere for a while. The backpacker's lifestyle, fluttering between one place to another, existing and disappearing within a blink of an eye, was no longer satisfying. I needed to be a part of a community, I needed to build a more stable life. The first thing I did, like I have always done in places I knew I would spend some time, was to find a job. Within 24 hours, I created my firedancing business. I printed fliers all over town and started up my website www.utilafireacademy.com. I got my first gig that night and within two weeks, my business was flourishing. I was giving firedancing classes every few days, the biggest bar in town hired me for their 2 biggest nights a week. I charge the bar a certain amount to cover costs and to give me some extra pocket cash as well as free drinks, but in tips alone I normally make anywhere between $25-$100 for a 10 minute fireshow. Over here, $25 is a lot of money and I can survive an entire week on that alone. I began to grow a small celebrity status on the island. I could not go anywhere without people saying in thick accents, "Hey look! It's the Fireman!" This was my job at night, during the day I was focused on my Scuba Instructor training, it took me one month to completely finish the course, along with the internship
A Scuba Instructor by day and a Firedancer by night, I had found a perfect niche for myself on this island. The life of a Scuba Instructor isn't easy. I commonly hear my colleagues say, "I came here to retire but I have never worked harder in my life." I find that saying very accurately describes the job of a Diving Instructor. There is no such thing as a day off, a holiday, or a weekend. The only holiday anyone gets is a visa run every 3 months. Sick days involve being out of the water but constantly in the office selling courses. Every morning I am up at 6:00am and I am usually done with the day at around 5:00-7:00 pm every single day. But, could I really call it work? I am being paid to go Scuba Diving, and teaching students is something that I would happily do for free. When I received my first paycheck as an Instructor, it came to me as a surprise. The joy of the job alone is enough to keep me doing it. Bringing students into the water for the very first time, watching the learning curve as they go from being extremely nervous and scared to excellent and skilled divers is so rewarding
The Diving here is incredible, but only on the North Side of the island. Unlike other diving destinations I have visited, there are not thick clouds of fish in every direction, however the geographical features are incredible. The North Side of Utila is lined with steep cliffs that span down for hundreds of metres. When I dive underneath them and look up, it looks exactly like El Potrero Chico. Everytime I dive, I get a burning desire to climb the mountains that I am diving under. I see perfect climbing routes everywhere, minus the masses of coral. Utila lacks rockclimbing because all of its mountains are underwater.
Unfortunately, every good thing must come to an end. My time in Utila was incredible, and I am sure I will miss this place. I have lived here now for over 3 months and I am ready for a change of pace. I came to Utila to settle down; to make a home for myself after so many months of being on the road. I rented an apartment with a living room and a kitchen to help to simulate the experience of a home. Clearly, I had already forgotten what I had previously learned