Utila Bliss

Published: August 26th 2010
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I went to Utila to do one week of volunteering at the Iguana Station in Honduras´Bay Islands. The Station was back inland and I arrived only just in time to start work on Monday morning. In the heat, and with the gazillion insects on this part of the island (also rattled by the fact we were trying to catch them and feed them to the lizards much of the time), the 8am to 5pm schedule was pretty grueling. My legs looked like they´d been used for some medical research and with only cold water showers and three layers of deet and sweat a day, my skin was ready for the washer. Still, the crowd there was ace, and the iguanas made it worth it. There is an endemic species on the island which is endangered (not least because people are eating them), but the station is raising hatchlings and it´s this time of year they´re hatching...
The first weekend blew me away as I made it down to the beach and saw the place for the first time during the day. Beautiful island... Then, the parties started... Sun Jam, Utila´s annual beach music festival was on that week and the place was packed and decks were bouncing. I met some very cool people including lots of diving bods. I also happened to get my way down to the shore by way of a lift from one of the dive school´s owners on the first night on the island, so it´s little wonder I stayed at his dive centre for the following week... and ahem, then the week after... There was some island romance there too, and I just couldn´t leave the place. Then, finally, the steam ran out and I had to hit the road two days ago (now in Copan Ruinas).
So, the diving... Oh, what a wonderful world. Unfortunately, no pictures, but turtles, stingrays, eaglerays, massive pufferfish, nurse sharks, endless parrot fish... the list goes on... swimming with dolphins and pilot whales in surface intervals... wow. In the final week, I also took a daytrip to Cayos Cochinos, a set of remote and stunning islands between Roatan and the mainland. No public boat goes here. The dive on the way there was where I saw the sharks, then we moored on one of the islands and jumped off the boat with the local kids whilst a delicious red snapper traditional meal was cooked for us to eat right on the beach. We drank from fresh coconuts topped up with rum to the beating of drums dancing feet. When we left, dolphins followed us through the choppy waters most of the way and, needless to say, this part of my trip was a dream come true.

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