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Seasquirt

The adventures of Fe & Chris

Archive for September, 2007

Pictures of our whale shark

Here are some pictures of our whale shark adventure of a few days ago. We didn´t take them - a terribly nice American chap whose name I forget did and he kindly passed them on.whale-sharks-and-dolphins-005_410.jpg

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Deep Sea World

We have now almost finished our stint of diving in Utila (we will have done a total of 13 dives in 6 days!) and we are now “Advanced Open Water” divers, although not sure how advanced we actually feel!

We have been very lucky in all the exciting animals that we have seen - yesterday we saw some seahorses (I requested them, and our instructor provided - he´s very impressive!). They were very cool and bigger than I thought they would be. Our second dive yesterday gave us our second highlight of our diving to date - we got to swim alongside a male Hawksbill turtle for a good ten minutes - he was amazing, and didn´t seem bothered by our presence at all - just slowly moved on his way along the coral wall.

As part of our Advanced course we got to dive a wreck, which was interesting, and a little creepy, we did a deep dive down to 30m, and also a night dive which in all honesty was a bit disappointing as it was mainly an exercise in avoiding kicking everybody else, or the coral. Don´t think I need to go diving in the dark again for a while!

Tomorrow we are heading off to another Bay Island - Roatan - for a few days before making our way to Belize.

New adventures in Flip-flops

After suffering some mild abrasion by my fins, coupled with sandal wear and insect bites, I have been forced to abandon my trusty posh Merrell sandals in favour of a pair of flip-flops. I have always spurned such footware in the past as I endured negative experiences as a juvenile.

They cost me 75 Lempiras (Two pounds). I´ll let you know how I get on.

My Goretex is mouldy

After two months in the cloud forest my North Face Goretex jacket has gone mouldy on the inside. I have tried washing it in travel soap and a hot shower, but it didn´t help.

Can anyone suggest a suitable treatment, please?

The biggest fish in the sea…

Today was one of the most exciting days of my life.

Having been told by our instructor yesterday that ¨you´ll be very lucky to see a whale shark this time of year¨ we were very excited to come across one this morning on the way to our first ever open water dive (that makes us not only very lucky but possibly one in a million by the way!!).

The skipper was very adept at getting us in the right place to get off the boat and snorkel with this amazing animal - we saw three individuals in total - the biggest being seven metres - huge!

We managed to get in with it six times (although I missed one whilst throwing up, oops!). A couple of times we were wondering where it had got to, until we looked directly below us, and there it was - amazing!

They are quite slow moving and very pretty -  with spots all over their backs. We´re hoping to obtain pics from someone who was lucky enough to have housing for their camera (Keir you couldn´t post yours out to me could you? Hrmph, you swine!).

Chris would like to add two points - whale sharks are planktivores and therefore do not eat people. Number two, the feeding sharks attracted huge numbers of black terns, sooty terns, least terns and the occasional noddy.

None of this would have happened if it weren´t for Hurricane Felix causing upwelling and also ridding the island of tourists which meant we got on a resort boat we wouldn´t usually have been allowed on, so thanks to Felix and our bravery at staying on the island!

By the way,we also had fun on our two open water dives - saw a yellow stingray, some parrotfish and a trumpet fish. Oh and we just passed our written exam (I got 100% of course, hehe!).

Diving, exploring and relaxing in Utila

Before all the Hurricane Felix commotion we had embarked on diving instruction to gain our PADI Open Water certification. We’d spent two days learning and practising in shallow water, when we were ready to jump into the deep water the dive shop had to be shut up and packed away so we have had a couple of days to explore the island and relax (and eat the the food we’d bought to weather out the storm).

This morning we tried to walk to a bay on the north of this island, yet failed - we ended up in a mosquito ridden mangrove swamp and were forced to retreat. We are starting to learn that Utila is not an island for walking.

This afternoon we read our dive books and watched hummingbirds from the veranda - a rather beautiful species called a Green-breasted Mango frequents the feeder outside our room.

We start diving again tomorrow morning. We are in a class of two - just Fe and I - which is great. Our instructor is a terribly nice chap called Dick. You don’t meet many people called Dick these days.

Felix is all puffed out

Our hurricane experience turned out to be little more than a normal Scottish breeze and a bit of rain - Felix changed course to the south slightly and the depression filled up when it it hit mainland Central America. All we got here was a bit of a wet fart.

Preparations on Utila were interesting to observe - all the houses on the seafront were boarded up, a generator was towed behind a truck up a hill, and there was some premptory mango tree trimming and everyone living on the shoreline moved up the hill.

All but the hardiest of tourists left the island so we enjoyed a peaceful couple of days - we went to the posh man-made beach and enjoyed some solitary snorkelling.

Life is getting back to normal now, and there are still no tourists which is nice.

Hurricane Felix is coming

As you will see from our little map, we are on the small island of Utila in the Caribbean Sea. Hurricane Felix, currently a category 5 hurricane, is forecast to come our way early on Wednesday morning. Yesterday it was forecast to hit us dead on but it looks like it will hit the Nicaraguan coast first - this is good for us, but bad for Nicaragua.

We have a great place to stay, owned by Germans, which is high up the hill, and in a sheltered valley, so we´re going to close the shutters and enjoy our books.

More news when the internet is fixed after the storm (might take a while)!

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