Utila – The Travelling Diver’s Black Hole
Following the Nicaragua drone debacle I was looking forward to kicking back on a beautiful island, getting some sun and squeezing in a few dives. As Honduras was the next country on my itinerary, the Bay Islands were the perfect location! The tiny island of Utila is the most popular of the Bay Islands, catering to divers and party-goers from every corner of the globe.
Flying into San Juan del Sur (2014’s Murder Capital of the World), we got on a Hedmans Alas bus to La Ceiba. Having heard many stories of these coaches being stopped by local ‘entrepreneurs’ i.e armed robbers, Penelope (my personal body guard) and I decided to do some strategic packing – just in case we had the pleasure of meeting aforementioned thieves. The drone, good phone, cash and passport were packed deep within my ruck, sack; while my crappy backup phone and $30 were all readily available to hand over if the need arose. As it turned out we had zero troubles and arrived in La Ceiba around 8:30PM with all of our possessions still with us!
Catching the ferry to Utila was a breeze, athough I did get flashbacks of being sea sick on the ferry to Koh Tao. I think this time I was slightly smarter, having not eaten two packets of Starburst Juicy Fruits right before disembarking. Similarly to Koh Tao we were swamped with people waiting at the dock advertising their dive shops and the rest of the day was spent walking to every single one, trying to find the shop with the perfect mix of professionalism, fun and price. Parrots Dive Center was our choice, where I got a block of 12 dives plus 5 nights accommodation for the measly price of $270! Utila is easily the cheapest place I have ever dived, including Thailand and Indonesia.
But what good is cheap diving if it’s not any good? Well I woke up at 5:30AM the next morning to find out if Utila really was the diver’s paradise it was made out to be! Armed with my GoPro and my brand new Olympus TG4 with the PT-056 dive housing I was in for an absolute treat. I had the most amazing encounter with a large spotted eagle ray as it fed, slamming its snout into the sand bank over and over just a few metres away from me! The next week was filled with more spotted eagle rays, sting rays, lionfish, shrimp, hogfish, barracuda, morays, lobsters and king crabs. I even spotted my very first seahorse, then found another three the following day! Unfortunately the elusive whale shark didn’t make the list – it looks like that bucket list item will have to wait until Mexico to be ticked off!
Here’s a few of my favourite shots from the week – all shot with either my GoPro Hero4 or TG4. If you like these, I post more up on my Instagram – hit me up for a follow for more!
Utila is also known to be a party island (It’s basically Koh Tao of Central America) and its reputation was bang on. With most bars having a shot challenge, there’s plenty of ways to get your buzz on (and a free singlet!). Tequila Tuesday was easily the best night with a full hour of limitless tequila, all for the price of ‘on the house’! Utila is definitly one of those places where you can be sucked in and not leave for months and months on end!
And don’t forget the Three Lies of Utila, chances are you’ll say at least 2 of these during your stay!!
- I love you.
- I’m not drinking tonight.
- I’m leaving tomorrow.