By , December 5, 2011 8:22 pm

Utila is a small island off the north coast of Honduras. It’s a fairly famous backpacker haunt because it’s the world’s cheapest place to learn how to scuba dive. An average certification course costs somewhere in the neighbourhood of $240-$270USD. When we left home, I had never heard of the place. Once we were on the road, It didn’t take long to meet people who had either already been to Utila, or were planning to go there.

If you recall, we had made plans to scoot through Honduras and spend some quality time volunteering in Nicaragua just as we were leaving Belize. After a lengthy bit of decision making, we decided we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get Ashley her open water scuba diving certification. I already had my certification from 11 years ago when I took the course along with most of my grade 12 class, and hadn’t been diving since. I’d never been diving anywhere near an ocean, and really wanted to give it a go.

We also figured that even if we couldn’t afford to do a lot of diving on this trip, we’d make good use of our certifications sometime down the road. It is a lifetime certification after all. So we planned a week long detour in Utila.

It was about the time we arrived that Hurricane Rina decided to pass by north of us. The weather wasn’t really that bad, as the hurricane did keep its distance, though the wind and waves were enough to keep the dive boats at bay for a few days. That gave us plenty of time to shop around for a good dive shop (of which there are a lot) and work out a low season discount. If you like the sound of the word discount, and are planning your own trip, plan on arriving during October or early November.

Then comes the tweet-up. That’s like a meet up, but with introductions and planning made through Twitter. We were fortunate to tweet-up with Talon and his son Steven from It was our first ever tweet-up and as luck would have it Talon is not only a super great guy, but he’s also an awesome scuba instructor. He was freelancing with a few shops, which luckily included the very same shop Ashley had picked out to do her course through… Captain Morgan’s Dive Centre.

By the time the winds had died down, Talon was secured as Ashley’s instructor, and she had already completed the theory portion of the class. Yes, becoming certified as a diver requires reading a manual, writing knowledge reviews, and a test on top of some skills in the water. It takes a bit of work, but it’s not so difficult that you need to worry about your ability to pass.

Talon and Ashley

Talon and Ashley

I, on the other hand, spent most of my time in the hotel (included with the course!) reading books, watching movies, and trying to teach myself how to become a web programmer. For a few days at least. Each certification course comes with a couple of free “fun dives” so I had purchased a couple for myself so Ashley and I could dive together when she was officially certified. After two days of listening to all the amazing stories of spotted eagle rays, lobsters, trunk fish, and other cool marine animals I just couldn’t wait any longer. Not even the single day Ashley needed to finish her course. I decided to use my “fun dives” and then… I became hooked.

The truth is “I’m leaving tomorrow” constitutes the biggest lie told on this island. So far, our 1 week stay has been extended out over 6 weeks, and we’re certainly not leaving tomorrow.

At home in Honduras

At home in Honduras

2 Responses to “Diving in Utila”

  1. Talon says:

    I’m so happy you’re enjoying yourselves. You’ll both make fine divemasters! I feel lucky to get to be part of your experience. It’s been so much fun seeing your progression each time I get to spend time with you in the water. WOOT!

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