We hung onto our stomachs for an hour while the ferry rode the sea swells for the 18 miles across to Utila Island. Then we waited patiently for our bags, as the guys unloaded everything from dog food to washing powder before considering that the passengers might just want thier stuff. The dock is just off centre to a sealed road, only about a mile long, that curves both ways around the south bay. Except for small clusters of houses following the coastline around to the north side, this is all there is to Utila – one small village – and half of that is dive shops!
We took a left and headed for our hotel at the quiet end! Its a wooden building with a deep veranda all the way around, and considering the size and quality of our room, really good value for money. The garden is full of humming birds, which have to be the coolest bird on the planet! Our challenge is to get a decent picture of one, which is not going to be easy – they are fast! We can see the sea through the coconut trees to the front, and right across to mainland Honduras and its massive mountains. They do a magic trick and disappear completely some days.
The island is really small, about 3 miles across at its widest point and only 7 miles long. It has two salt water lagoons which are surrounded by mangrove, so its a pretty green place. The wildlife is mainly iguanas, monitor lizards and crabs, crabs and some more crabs. They are everywhere. Most of them are blue, but we’ve seen quite a few types, the hermit crabs being the clear favourite as they cross the road rattling around in an over-sized shell that used to belong to something else. When we walk out after dark we’re always nudging them off the road so they don’t get flattened. Saying that, crab ‘pancakes’ are quite common – but nothing goes to waste as the live crabs pull them off the road and eat them. Lovely.
The main street after the dock is pretty lively at night. Newly qualified diving instructors celebrate by drinking “Gifiti” (a Garifuna drink made from Rum, Vodka as well as bark, wood chippings, moss and probably rat droppings and cow pats for all we know… all we know is if you drink 4 straight you get a free t-shirt. Needless to say I don’t need a t-shirt that desperately!
So anyway we’re here! Not much happening at the moment cause I had a cold and so I was unable to dive. I’m coming out the other end of it so in a couple of days I’m booking 10 dives around the island at various sites, mostly at the northside (apparently it’s better round there). I spend my days coping with the heat and walking out for food… and that’s it 🙂 (Jane disappears occasionally to do things slightly more energetic, as is her want) It’s a hard life!