Anyway we were here for diving and Tom is doing his Discovery Dive
. Unfortunately, I was still ill so I could not dive due to my ears being blocked. Tom thoroughly enjoyed the experience and said it was really surreal. He said it makes it well worth coming to Utila and its a great island, if you dive that is!
The 15th of September is Independence Day for Hondurans and Guatemalans. As it is a national holiday there were lots of events planned for the day. In the morning we watched the schools compete in marching band parades. The marching band seems to be a standard way to celebrate as we have heard schools practice their recitals in the streets as we travelled through Guatemala. In the evening we went to the town square and watched the annual Independence Day Amateur Boxing Matches. It was hilarious watching the adults and granddads fight, even if slightly wrong as they were fully going for it. We have uploaded just two of the fights. This was not just for fun definitely a place to sort out any rivalries. Thomas' scuba diving instructor was fighting against another instructor and it was clear that they didn't like each other!
Besides the boxing, a huge telephone pole had been put into a 1 foot hole (clearly not secure) and was greased up. At the top of the pole was the equivalent of $20 and the aim was to climb to the top
. On many occasions dozens of children and teenagers climbed amongst each other (on each others shoulders) in an attempt to reach the top. This had clearly become a practiced skill over the years as the person at the top was furiously drying the pole whilst another would use powder or flour to add grip to the pole. Besides their great efforts every team only managed to get a maximum of half way before collapsing and ending up in a pile at the bottom. For the rest of the evening, the music blared and the alcohol flowed.
We left Utila feeling slightly disappointed with the environment but overall it was fun due to the Independence Day celebrations.
From Copan we took an infamous chicken bus (google them they are fantastic) to La Ceiba to get a ferry across to Utila. We were highly recommended Utila from fellow travellers and we fully expected another paradise island similar to Caye Caulker.....oh how we were disappointed! The island is known for its scuba diving and is one of the cheapest places around the world to dive and get your PADI. For example, Oz is about $600 and Utila is about $270. Due to this people flock here and the island is crammed full of dingy hostels and dive centers. Unlike Caye Caulker, there were no colourful beach shacks, sandy roads, no barbeque's by the side of the road cooking seafood and no golf cabbies. Instead, the island is full of motorbikes and quad bikes trying to run tourists over. Compared to Belize, this island did not feel cared for. Apparently, the sister island Roatan is much nicer and serene but this is the expensive island, not for the traveller budget.