Shark Dives & Natural Disasters

We left Utila on Monday on the ‘Lady Julia’, a private boat owned by Captain Willard. After waking up at 6am to catch our boat and realising we hadn’t gotten our passports back from our hostel the night night before, there was slight panic, as we were supposed to be at the meeting place for the boat at 7am. Kelsey decided to head to the boat while I waited for the first worker to arrive to the hostel, grabbed our passports from her, and headed to the boat. The eventful morning got even more eventful once on the boat… First, we spotted some dolphins swimming along side our boat. Unfortunately it was a ‘blink and you miss it’ type of event but a cool experience nonetheless. Shortly after, we were continuing motoring along with Roatan visible in the distance when suddenly, the boat just stopped. The captain and his assistant pulled open the door to the motor room, did some fiddling around, and then we were off again (I think it was a leak in the fuel line or something like that). Anyway, we were only running for another 2 minutes or so before the motor stopped again. This time, there was a lot more  swearing by both the crew members and a longer repair time as the boat swayed powerlessly in the open water. After about Good thing it was was  calm day at sea or the whole event would have been a lot more scary.

Finally arriving safely back in Roatan, we checked back into our old stomping grounds, Splash Inn, and signed up to do an afternoon dive for later in the day. Unfortunately, we were both ‘underweighted’ for this dive (despite having told the shop how much weight we dive with) which meant that we had to spend almost the whole dive blowing out to empty our lungs and then were floating up to the surface as our O2 tanks emptied and we became more boyant towards the end of the dive. Needless to say, it was not an enjoyable dive and we both came out of it feeling confident about the weight we need and knowing not to let people talk us into lower weight in the future.

Kelsey had signed up for a “shark dive” the following morning. I was conflicted over whether to participate or not, not because I was afraid of the sharks but moreso because of potential ethical dilemmas and the cost. I ended up feeling comfortable enough to do it, knowing that I’d be annoyed if Kelsey came back with raving reviews and I had missed out. We were transported to another part of the island, provided with a briefing of how the dive would go and then headed down 21 metres deep to meet the sharks. The sharks have become habituated to know that when the boats come, they are going to be getting a little treat so when you go down there are already some sharks swimming about. We sat on a sandy patch at the bottom of the ocean and watched the sharks swim around, we were then invited to swim with them for a while, and then returned to the sandy patch before watching the sharks feed. After which most of them disappear and we are invited to search for shark teeth that may have fallen out during the feeding. I actually found one! (well one of the staff members found it and pointed it out to me). Unfortunately, I put it in my mask to disassemble my dive equipment and then someone else handed me my mask from the boat and the tooth was lost in the kerfuffle.

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Diving with the reef sharks

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We spent the rest of the day taking it easy, buying some souvenirs and duty-free alcohol, and preparing to leave the next day however, it wasn’t long before a storm starting approaching. The locals all seemed to think that we might not be able to leave as scheduled the following day and sure enough, that evening Kelsey got an alert from the airline that Tropical Storm Earl may be causing flight delays and cancellations. We woke up the next day to a confirmation that our flight was indeed cancelled so we headed to airport to try to reschedule something, made new arrangements and spent the rest of the day reading, napping, drinking, eating, and watching TLC (one of the only channels airing TV shows in English).

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Tropical Storm Earl

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Waiting out the storm in our room

The next morning we woke up with fingers crossed that we’d be able to leave as scheduled, negotiated an affordable cab ride to the airport and our journey home finally began.

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Beginning the journey home 😦

 

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