Being a qualified scuba diver was something that has always been on my bucket list, but actually attaining it was something that I thought I’d do a bit further down the track, when my funds were flush again. How wrong I was!

Screen-Shot-2015-11-24-at-12.45.38-PMHandstands 18m under the sea!

After spending time in Mexico and Guatemala (which I’ll write about later), Honduras seemed like the logical next step in the chase for new countries and even newer experiences. More than 24 hours were spent on various buses and then a ferry with Victoria and Cam, before we finally made it Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras, and the premier location to learn to scuba dive in Central America.

IMG_9591Double rainbow over Utila

Once I had decided to get my qualification, the hardest part was actually choosing a dive company. There were many on the island and not much separating them in price, or quality, from what I could tell by their websites and reviews. We ended up choosing Bay Islands College of Diving (BICD) because of their friendly, yet knowledgeable nature, and their facilities were second to none.

IMG_9587Backdock at BICD

I had dived once before, in the Red Sea in Egypt but actually getting my PADI Open Water Diver qualification was a bit more intense, but still heaps of fun. We undertook two video sessions and then a short exam before getting in the water and putting the theory into practice. Four days later, I was a qualified diver and was absolutely hooked.

G0015331Victoria and I enjoying our dive!

Diving is so calming, there’s no noise to contend with except that of your breathing and it’s a liberating experience. You’re exploring the underside of the world with your thoughts floating along with you in a dreamlike state. It’s a ‘sport’ that’s good for the soul. Plus, you get to see some amazing wildlife like the fish, coral, lobsters, dolphins and sharks I saw when diving from Utila.

Screen-Shot-2016-01-04-at-10.51.46-AMMade a couple of new friends!

Our private apartment at BICD provided the perfect setting for downtime from diving where we would cook meals and watch movies and generally just chill out. Given our setup, my addictive personality and the great instructors, I decided to continue my training and get my Advanced Open Water, which would allow me to undertake dives up to 30m. The two-day course further improved my skills and was even better than getting my Open Water because it included a dive on a shipwreck, and a night dive!

GOPR5370Cheeky! Shipwreck dive.

Utila is a place that I definitely want to return to one day because of the great memories and dives we had there. Getting up at sunrise and having coffee with Victoria and Cam, along with the many meals we shared and getting our dive qualifications together are things I’ll always remember, especially because it was quality time spent with two of my best friends.

IMG_8861Welcome to Honduras!

A big thanks has to go to the team at Bay Islands College of Diving, especially Rebecca who owns and manages the company and my instructors Carole and Kelsey. I can’t recommend BICD highly enough due to their fun and friendly approach whilst being very professional and safety conscious and providing the best possible training. I think I’ve just discovered my new hobby…

Country number 55 – Honduras… Check!