After a day of snorkeling and beach hopping we were ready to spend the day on a boat, jump in the water and maybe get lucky and see a whale shark. The girls came along to snorkel and get a feel for the diving to see if they were going to “take the plunge” and give it a try. See what I just did there? Pun fun.
Now, Utila is a dive island and therefore every other building is dive shop. In our current traveling state, Mark and I use a very advanced formula to decide which one to patronize, and that is to calculate which will lighten us of the smallest number of lempiras, factoring in 0% for comfort, safety or anything else. E=MCwearesocheap2, if you will.
So what if the boat looked like it has seen better days, and they laughed in my face when I asked if they had an extra small BCD? The dive sites are all the same, right? That is the attitude that lead us to be bobbing around on top of our first dive site, waiting while each of the 8 divers exchanged a piece of their leaky or broken equipment. I’m pretty sure this is where I should be writing that we called the dive and sat it out of the boat, but I kind of love wreck diving so we descended anyway. Sorry mom.
Lucky for us we not only survived but got to see a pretty cool wreck! The visibility was pretty poor, and so we didn’t get to see the whale skeleton I was pretty excited about, but visibility is one of those things you can’t control. You can let it ruin your dive or you can try to make the best of it.
During the surface interval we laid out on deck, showed the girls the pictures of the dive and tried not to get to excited about the possibility of seeing whale sharks. Utila is one of the world’s whale shark hotspots and they are most likely to be seen while on a surface interval. Mark has dove with them in Thailand and I was absolutely dying to see one. They are quite possibly the most amazing creatures on earth.[youtube=https://youtube.com/watch?v=u7deClndzQw&feature=player_embedded]
Unfortunately after many close calls, the whale shark we were following was too shy and descended. So today was not my day but I feel confident I will see one some day… and it will be worth the wait!
There was still one more dive and though we considered sitting it out due to the visibility we remembered our days in Utila were numbered so we jumped in. Not the greatest dive of my life but seriously, diving with a camera makes everything fun!
What was the name of the dodgy dive centre? I’m spending a month volunteering on Utila soon and am planning on doing my Open Water whilst I’m out there – would like to know where to avoid seeing as there are so many to choose from!
Kat, I think it was Paradise Divers. Believe me, you know when you see these places in person which are reputable and which aren’t. Of course we thought we didn’t care that they were dodgy as we were getting a good price — but we learned our lesson! What kind of volunteering are you doing?
Thank you – I’ll make sure to avoid it. I’m lodging with a place called Gunther’s, so will probably end up doing my open water there (and possibly my advanced open water if I have time) but I know now where not to go for adventure dives! I am so stoked to be finally learning to dive, I’ve wanted to for as long as I can remember. What dive site(s) would you recommend the most from your time on Utila?
I’ll be volunteering with the Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Centre, so will be basically spending a few weeks chasing whale sharks around; my idea of heaven and hopefully somewhere I can return to for my dissertation project next year..
Unfortunately we only had the time and budget for the two dives I wrote about in this post, so I don’t have many dive site recommendations. Just ask other DMs about their favorites! I heard the north side is the best for seeing whale sharks, but I’m guessing you’ll see plenty of them with your volunteer project!
I stumbled across your blog while planning a budget friendly trip to Honduras and Belize. Do you have any dive companies/groups you would suggest we go with? Also besides the coolest bar in Central America anywhere else we must see?
Thanks for the tips!
Hi Amber! If you have it to Roatan, I highly recommend Coconut Tree Divers. Loved them! In Utila I would avoid Paradise Divers. Unfortunately I don’t have a recommendation for anywhere there, though check out ScubaBoard.com for tons of great suggestions. If I were going back to Utila I would definitely make time to spend a night at least on the Cayes. Not much to do on that island other than dive and relax! Roatan has a much greater variety of attractions. In mainland Honduras we only had time to hit up La Cieba, where we did some really affordable rafting and ziplining. I really recommend it!
Thanks for the great tips. I love the blog!
Hi Alex ~ stumbled across your page (don’t you just love stumbleon dot com?) and as I have been on Utila for well over a decade, it would seem fair that I point out that the dive boat that you’re on is not a dive boat that belongs to Parrots… Parrots has some pretty nifty dive boats in fact, and they are painted black… just say’n, Nope I don’t work at Parrots…
Hi Tony! Thanks for the info, I have edited my other comments to reflect this!
Unreal pictures! Love the shots underwater especially the one of the fish through the wreck!
Thanks Graham — this feels like a long time ago. Fun to look back and see how my photography has improved!