While scuba diving in Utila we saw the most amazing things. In fact I would say scuba diving in Utila is probably some of the best scuba diving we have done in the world so far. I know part of it was the amazing care we were given by the staff from Utopia Village and part of it was just the pure quality of the reef. Next to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia it has the most living coral in the world. Man did it show itself too!
At one point on our first day of diving we came up to 35′ and as I looked around I was struck at how much it looked like I was diving in an aquarium! There were gorgeous fan corals, huge brain corals, anemones, feather dusters and more. Everything I looked at was alive and beautiful. Here is a bit of my very unpolished, and unprofessional video, I apologize in advance…
We saw things I have never seen like baby sea slugs, seahorses, certain anemones, and other little creatures we have no idea what they were.
One of the days as we were en route to the dive site our Captain, Elvis, and dive master, Fede, yelled for us to get our fins and snorkels on. They had spotted a school of dolphins and wanted us to have the chance to snorkel alongside. They swam with us for quite a while, talking, playing and swimming alongside of us. I felt myself tearing up as I snorkeled along side these gorgeous creatures, close enough to hear them and watch their graceful movements in the water. I have had dolphins swim close to our dive boats but never have I been able to jump in with them and swim along.
While this experience was amazing and definitely touched my soul. The two days we snorkeled with Whale Sharks took my breath away. I have been eager to see one of these beautiful creatures for more than 10 years. (Which is what lead me to Utila.) Of course the team at Utopia Village knew this is what we had all come for. They didn’t stop until we found them.
The procedure is that when they spot a tuna boil it is a pretty good indication there is a whale shark in the vicinity. (Tuna feed on sardines, they jump in and out of the water making it look like the water is boiling. Where there are sardines there is plankton, where there is a lot of plankton there is apt to be a whale shark, in the right seasons and locations.) So, once we spotted a tuna boil we were instructed to put on our fins and snorkels and get ready. The first day this involved a long time sitting on the back of the boat waiting to spot this beautiful beast.
Everyone else on the boat had pretty much thrown in the towel, but one of the other divers and I hung in there, determined we were going to see a whale shark. Elvis, Fede and Anna (another dive master) were also determined. So when they spotted the whale shark and yelled for us to jump in I went, and there he was, right below me. The deep blue color of his body seemed to almost fade into the deep ocean water as he glided through. The white spots served as markers to help you follow him as he descended deep into the ocean, just as quickly as I was able to jump in to see him. I was blown away. In this 30 second experience I had just realized my dream and this gorgeous spotted fish didn’t disappoint. We were lucky enough to swim with another whale shark that day and two more the next day thanks to the determination of Utopia Village crew, and our dive mates.
I knew the experience would be special, I knew it would change me but I didn’t realize how much the experience of waiting, watching, and being in the presence of this gorgeous shark would make me want to be in the water every day. I also felt so blessed that the crew truly wanted us to have these experiences. We felt their genuine joy and determination which made the experience that much better. We felt like a team, like a diving family sharing the same purpose and the same magical moments.
Here is a video of one of our sightings thanks to Paul at Utopia Village for shooting, sharing and allowing me to post it here.