Goin' to da island...

Trip Start Apr 10, 2006
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Flag of Honduras  ,
Saturday, July 29, 2006

* see pics on... www.rubyfunk.shutterfly.com

I maneuvered myself onto a local bus the next day for the trip to La Ceiba and boiled my way across the North Coast for three hours, then fell out the bus and into a rattle of a taxi which finally deposited me and my suitcase at the Ferry dock, just in time to catch the last one across to Utila, the littlest and cheapest of the Honduran Bay Islands. I made it through the hour long ride without too much seasickness and arrived on the island to be greeted by the last day of...CARNIVAL!! Tons of people, colours, floats, music, drummers, loads of beer of course - and all that I had hoped for when I went to the carnival in trinidad in Cuba! Unfortunately, it was the last day so I had missed most of it but what I did see was great and so I'm really looking forward to experiencing a proper one eventually!

Utila, and all the Bay Islands, are renowned for their amazing scuba diving and so I decided to sign up to do my advanced course (I did my open water 2 years ago in Thailand). I picked a place called Alton's Dive Shop - new equipment and all very professional - and was very surprised to hear that there were 3 other South Africans staying there! The woman in the office told me : "You won't miss them. They're big!" After walking around for a bit looking skyward, I did finally catch sight of and meet the "okes from SA"... We all went out for dinner that night and I met someone else too - an American guy who knew the south Africans and who I met two years ago whilst working at Zapatas in Shanghai! I recognized him immediately and he could not believe the co-incidence - such an insanely teeny world sometimes! He happens to be doing his Dive Master course at Alton's too... really small little planet this. After dinner we went off to check out the remains of the Carnival - I heard some amazing street drummers from El Salvador and saw some absolutely porno dancing - but such are the joys of Carnival! We also went for a last toot in the Treetonic Bar, situated in the wonderland called the Jade Seahorse - which I can barely describe but I'll try. It is a place, built by an American artist over seven years, which is really one of the most beautiful manmade things I have ever seen. Little chalets, a bar in a tree, bridges, caves and huts, all decorated with glass, ceramic bits,"junk", lights - I took some pics but they don't even start to show how amazing this place is.

I started my scuba course the next day - well, I did a scuba "tune-up" since it had been a while since I last dived. Very necessary but not all boring - we saw some amazing things and it was my first dive in the Caribbean!!

The next day I really did start the advanced course - and did a navigation dive (on which I got lost...) and a peak performance buoyancy dive - which involved swimming through hoops and pushing weights over with my nose. Hmmm - I felt like I perhaps needed to be a little more furry...
We did two more dives the next day - a deep dive down to 30 metres and a drift dive - although there was no current so that didn't really count! In between these two dives we saw a whole school of dolphins and the captain followed them with the boat -and they started to race it! Swimming in front and next to us, leaping out of the water - it was amazing! Then we stopped and all jumped in in snorkel gear - the dolphins were a little further away by then but we could still see them underwater and hear their little squeaky noises!

Yesterday we did our final dive, a night dive - which was a totally different experience. A little scary (especially when my mask kept filling up with water and my regulator - air supply - got tangled) but really cool. You see completely different colours when you have a flashlight.
And so today, I got my PADI advanced certificate - yay!

The rest of the time here has been very chilled - hammocks, sun, swimming, great seafood - very happy me! I'm off tomorrow though, back to the mainland and different kinds of adventures and really really will hopefully write more frequently then!
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