Scubadiver’s nightmare in Utila.

Honduras has not much to do and see except for its Bahia Islands, cheapest diving, amazing coral reefs, and meet people you already know.

“screw the money I am going to do my advance open water scuba, while you do your open water” I smiled looking at Iza.

Since I have not dive in over 5 years, I was a bit worry that I might put on my equipment the wrong way. So I pretended that I knew everything well, just so I don’t have to pay extra for some refreshing course.

Diving is a serious sport, there are many things you should know before you dive in order not to die.

Here is what I remember:
• Proper equipment set up
• Understand how water pressure works (the deeper you go the more the air compresses, when you ascend the air expands) basic but very important.
• YOU DO NOT SHOOT UP, aka ascend quickly to the surface if you are more then 30 feet deep. It can result in the bends, when nitrogen bubbles release into your muscles causing lots if pain. Very dangerous! If this happens, you will go into the oxygen chamber and pray.
• don’t play with the sharks
• always dive wih a buddy (another person with air supply)
• and most importantly don’t hold your breath

With that said, I started my advance open water course.

Day 1, Drift dive
Preparing my equipment was easier then I remembered, I turned on my air, jumped into the water from a super shaky boat, and hit my head to signal the ok sign. My instructor Johan, a local Honduran guy with a mohok, explained to us that this dive is easy, we will go down to 50-60 feet and simply drift with the current. Not much needs to be done just drift and observe fishes and get used to the water.

“Where are all the fishes?” I asked, the shirtless, muscular, hot guy on the dock, after the dive.

Dive 2, Buoyancy dive.
This is where we learned how to be buoyant in the water and mainly use our lungs to ascend and descend in a calm way. This is very helpful to maximize your oxygen and have more control under water.

We did some fun exercise like swimming in a square ring without touching the rims. The only thing that was missing was the fire. It was like a tiger jumping through a ring of fire, but in this case it was Aga the screwdriver swimming in slow motion.

Day 2, Dive 3, Deep Dive.
One of the great advances of completing your advance course is that you can dive deep, like 100 feet deep. With the recreational open water is only up to 60 feet.

One of the great advantages for Aga the screwdriver when she goes deep is the narcosis kick. Amazing, without drinking, you feel drunk. 100 feet deep it feels like 1 martini, then the deeper you go the more buzzed you get.

I am going deep! Wanna come?

Ohh yeah I forgot to mention that after you go too deep then you really go off to the lala land, and you might not wanna come back. Does anybody feel like running away? Perfect way to go down in happiness. You will see things you never saw, I promise. It will be like Planet Earth’s “Ocean Deep” episode.

In my deep dive, totally felt like 2 martinis. The colors were also very different. Johan showed us a color chart with red, green, purple, and yellow. Not sure if it was my martini feeling or the deepness of the ocean but I only saw yellow, and my instructors yellow highlights on his ass, I mean on his body suite.

I also saw a reef in a shape of a bicycle, so cool, how did they know to form a perfectly shaped bicycle? Shark cycling. Ohh wait it was an actual human bike for the fishes.

plus a huge wreck, like a boat that was under water with tons of things growing on it. That was cool.

“where are the fishes?”

Dive 4, Navigation Dive
A compass in one hand and a buddy in the other.

“ok you guys have to swim in a square using only the compass and counting kicks. You will end up where you started.”

Sure, I can do that, and also apply it to my hiking skills. I made it! I swam for 10 kicks in each direction and end up in the same place. Phew thank god, I was afraid that i was going to swim the other way in a square.

Day 3, 2 fun dives and a night dive
Two fun dives are included in the package. Since I only had the night dive left I decided to do my fun dives in the morning of the night dive.

First fun dive
“who is my buddy?” I though. But i didn’t asked. These guys are professionals maybe you don’t need a buddy. Utila Dive Center is one of the top three PADI schools with most of the people diving are either taking a course to become instructors or are masters. They are known for having good equipment, awesome boats and the best vibe.

Most of the people that were diving with us that day were all newly certified beginners. It was a big group.

Yey first fun dive.

“We will follow Shawn, the master diver. The dive is going to be around 60 feet deep. Let’s get into the water.”

I put my equipment on, double checked my air and all my accessories. I was good.

Jumping into the water holding my mask with my left hand and my weight belt with my right I took a big step and splash!!! In the water!!! While in the water I felt something fall, shit!

“I dropped my weight belt” I screamed.

A master scuba diver went down and got it for me, it wasn’t too deep to loose it. I need my weight belt for keeping buoyant. The weight belt allows you to go under, otherwise with all the equipment you will just float on the surface.

Everybody was all good and we descended to go deep. Ahhh finally a dive that I can enjoy, just relax, breath, stay buoyant, enjoy the reefs, and the underwater world.

Suddenly, I felt lighter, and started to ascend. I quickly realized that I lost my weight belt again.

“shit, ohh my god, I can’t go up this quick, I will die” in crazy panic after almost taking off my BC I looked at the first person next to me, signaled to him that my belt fell off and to keep me down. He looked like a question mark.

This is where I really started to panic, acceding faster then I should or want I started to freak out. I garbed his hand and signaled to bring me down. I can’t shoot up to the surface from 60 feet deep. I will get the bends and oxygen chamber. He was one of the beginners, and just kept swimming up with me.

It wasn’t until Shawn the master diver realized what was happening and quickly swam up and grabbed me. He had enough weight on him to hold me down.

We did our safety stop at 15 feet. If you dive deeper then 30 feet you have to do a safety stop at 15 feet for 3 minutes. Then we came up to the surface.

“are you ok?” he asked. As calm as I could, I barely said “yeah I am fine”.

We swam on the surface, looking at the rest of the divers from above.

“Ahh there are the freaking fishes, big, slow and full of equipment.”

On the dock, everybody asked me if I was ok. I guess I was, it was scary.

And then one girl approached me and said “I hate when that happens, that really sucks”.

What???!!?! You hate when that happens? How often does it happen. This should never happen! If you have good equipment, it will not happen. She pissed me off. She was newbie.

You should never trust a store that says their equipment is top of the line, and they check it everyday. They should have never even had that belt there.

After relaxing a bit, I decided to go down for my second dive. This time I made sure to check everything super close. I also, asked a girl to be my buddy and we stayed super close to Shawn.

I owe my life to Shawn, such a cool guy, I wish I could have taken him with me around the world as my protector. Not to mention that he had the sweetest eyes. Love at first sight. Or maybe the feeling of security.

The last dive of the day was the night dive. And last dive in completing my advance open water diving course. Definitely the organic cherry on top.

With our torches, we jumped in and went down to 40 feet. Staying close to my buddy, and swimming super close we observe the freakish looking marine life. The freaks come out at night!! Saw an octopus, and a whole other things that I wouldn’t even know how to pronounce.

The coolest part was when we turned off the torches and moved our hands rapidly. There were small organisms that glow in the dark with rapid water movement. It was like a rave and everybody had glow sticks. So cool!

This dive totally eased me back into reality. And now I am officially an advance diver!!

The thought of thinking about what happened in the morning dive, gives me a freak out panic look, but with time it will ease off.

Utila, was also a really cool spot to hang out and meet people from all over. Possibly even bump into people you might already know.

Hanging out by the dive shop, checking my emails. I saw a familiar face walking by.

“ohh shit is Jerad!!” A friend from NYC, what a small world he came down here for some diving. We talked a bit had some beers at the Tree Tunic, and simply just chilled.