I was up before 7am and drenched to the bone not long after 7am. It's still raining and a wind has picked up to boot. All ferries have been cancelled for today and La Ceiba has closed both its Port & Airport. It may all reopen tomorrow, weather dependant of course, although my primary concern is will everything be running come Wednesday when we are supposed to leave!?
After a quick breakfast I began scoping out the dive shops. I already kind of knew where I was going to go having had one recommended to me back home. It's also mentioned in the Bible that is the Lonely Planet's Central America on a shoestring book! So who can argue with two glowing reports!?!
Utila Dive Centre was created in 1991 as an adventure diving outpost. It is now, for those of you who like to know these things, a PADI Career Development Centre, of which there are only 2 in Central America. It is the highest rating a PADI facility can achieve. What appeals to me more is that they are also big advocates of Project Aware, a non profit organzation dedicated to underwater conservation in 175 countries & territories around the World. Even as a non-diver I'd say that was pretty important, wouldn't you?
I was greeted by Lawrence, a Brit who seemed awfully confused by my accent. After a few minutes of chatting though it was pretty obvious that I was from 'up t'North Lad' - you can take the girl out of Lancashire but you can't take the Lancashire out of the girl. Eagerly, I told him what I was looking to do and waited for his response. I was soon grinning like a kid in a candy shop as he told me all about the diving around Utila & his love of sea turtles whilst I told him how I still got excited about seeing plumose sea anemones... it's a diver thing.
Unfortunately, due to the conditions mentioned above, there were going to be no dive shops taking anyone out today. A bunch of us were told that another dive shop would take us out for two dives this afternoon but right at the last minute the Captain of the boat pulled the plug - the conditions were too crap on the surface. All shops I have spoken to however have all stated tomorrow is looking pretty good to go.
At first I was all keen & eager and tentatively signed up for FIVE dives with UDC but whilst walking back to the hotel it kind of hit me that that might be setting my sights a little too high! So, when I went back later to pay & give my diver number I signed up for two morning dives, the night dive and then I am going to see how I feel in the afternoon and may be do one dive then too. You'll have to forgive my enthusiasm & excitement about all of this but it's because I have only ever done cold water diving and this is going to, hopefully, be my first warm water diving experience! Please pray to the Mayan Weather Gods on my behalf!
Alas there ain't much more to do around here. You either dive, dive or dive... oh and did I mention you can dive here? So, I've just filled up with some lunch (I actually had a nice big bowl of porridge which was lush!) and am going to drag my prune-wrinkled body back to the hotel for a hot shower. May be I should wear a mask & snorkel in there to make me feel better? Then I guess I should try to dry off all my clothing. Hmmm. Good luck with that one Nic.