Feb 5 to 21, 2004
Diving in Utila, Bay Islands of Honduras

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French angelfish
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Thanks to our unplanned extra time in the Bay Islands I finally realised a long time plan to get certified for Scuba diving. Diving is Utila's biggest industry. The island is said to be the cheapest place in the world to learn to dive and it attracts travelers on all kinds of budgets - mostly young people.

Our anchorage in East Harbour
Our dive boat heading out

The warm waters are very clear with an abundance of colorful tropical fishes, corals, sponges and other exotic marine life. Magnificent whale sharks, the world's biggest fish, can be seen in the spring off the coast of Utila.


There are probably close to 20 diving operators on the island and there is a complete spectrum of beginners and more advanced courses available. I started with Deep Blue Divers, where I got my PADI Open-Water certificate. At that time I was quite addicted and vent on to take my Advanced Open-Water Diver certificate at Gunter's Dive Shop.

Dophin: Welcome guys!
Green morey: But not too close.

I highly recommend both Deep Blue and Gunter's. Both have friendly, experienced instructors and seem to properly maintain their equipment. I was particularly lucky to be assigned to Tex, probably one of the most experienced instructors on the island. On the Open-Water course we were only two students with the instructor and on my Advanced course I had the instructor all for my self!

At the Haliburton wreck ...
.. we found a bike!

The Advanced Open-Water Diver course consists of 5 modules, of which "Deep Dive" and "Navigation" are mandatory. In addition to them I choose "Wreck Survey", "Photography" and "Peak performance Buoyancy".

We spotted several Sea Horses
Somebody's inside there ...

There are many excellent diving spots around Utila. During my 16 dives we were lucky to spot several interesting and marvellous creatures and fauna, some of them quite rare (at least to me).

... and here.

In addition to the shools of Goatfish, Grunts, Porkfish and Spadefish we saw, among others, Spotted eagle rays, Stingrays, White nose pipe fishes, Seahorses, Porqupine fishes, Spotted drums, Fire worms, Barracudas, Atlantic oysters, Giant turnicates, Yellow line arrow crabs, Green morey eels, Grey angel fishes, Spotted trunkfishes, Trumpetfishes, Pederson cleaner shrimps, Scrawled file fishes, a Frog fish, Christmas tree worms, Sand divers, Loggerhead turtles, Nurse sharks, Jewfishes, Nassau groupers and some Spiny lobsters.

A cool Jewfish

The Bay Islands of Honduras are located on the south eastern end of second largest barrier reef in the world, only surpassed by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. The other end of the reef is located outside the north end of the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico and in the middle it reaches the coast of Belize.

Uh, maybe it's time to go up?
Our instructors, Mari & Tex
0f Gunther's Dive shop

The coral reef is an ancient association of life forms that have been in existence for 500 million years. It is very sad to realise that the reefs are highly endangered today.

Some of these photos and other dive shots can be watched as a Slide Show HERE.
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