I knew as soon as we arrived on the small island of Utila that I was going to like it. There are only 2 intersections on the island and you mainly follow the one road that runs along the south coast. Many of the houses are built on stilts and painted brightly with lovely wrap around porches. This island seems to cater to all people-there are many expats lounging on their porches each morning-young and old. Divers from around the world have become dive masters or instructors here and have been living and working on the island for a few months or many years. Many dive masters we met had planned to continue travelling but never left after finishing their dive courses here.
As usual, when we walked off the ferry, there were tuk tuks lined up and ready to give us a ride. Being such a small island we were just going to walk but sometimes this is also a good chance to ask about accommodations and find a good deal without having to go ask everyone separately. We ended up agreeing to visit Altons Dive Center and just stayed there. It was certainly not much compared to our 5 star lodge but it was only $11 each a night and free on days we dove. We didn’t have AC however, so we both struggled to get enough sleep.
We spent much of our days laying out in hammocks by the ocean, walking around, kayaking and people watching from the restaurants. My favourite restaurant was in this beautiful yellow beach house right on the ocean. We watched the sun go down while eating pasta they make in house. We decided to spend our last dinner there and even splurged on wine instead of beer.
We also did 4 dives total. It’s mostly reef walls here where the reef drops off and you spend most of the dive swimming beside a wall of coral reef. We saw many stingrays, pufferfish, green and moray eels, barracuda, parrot fish, squid, lobster, crab, groupers, lion fish (which are not native to Honduras and have become a huge problem for the reef-divers are encouraged to spear and eat them!) and lots more. On our first dive I kept hearing a high pitch squeaking noise. I was worried it was my air, slowing draining out of my tank… but I found out as I boarded the boat that it was dolphins! Our captain then attempted to follow them so we could snorkel with them but they had disappeared before we got there. On our final dive I got so excited when the dive master showed me the sign for ‘shark’-and this wasn’t even a site where they expect shark. I swam a bit further and sure enough, a nurse shark! She made her way to a patch of sand and relaxed on the bottom of the ocean floor for awhile. It was the end of our dive so we took our 3 minute safety stop right above her. We didn’t see any whale sharks unfortunately but it seems like your average person needs to stay longer than 5 days for this special privilege.
We have now arrived back in Roatan because we were unable to find a boat to bring us back tomorrow. However, I can’t complain when you leave one paradise for another. Two days here and we will begin the journey back to Winnipeg!