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Hanging Out In The  Ocean

The central America trail is a whirlwind of great experiences and emotions, and the week in Utila has been one of the peaks of this adrenaline overload.

All except me had never dived before and were a bit sceptical when I raved about it telling them how it can easily become an addiction, but everyone wanted to try anyway and do it properly, so all the group decided to do the PADI Open Water Diver training. The concept of “open water” can be scary for most people, and it actually was for some of the group members, who were curious about it, but were worried it would not be the ideal activity for them.

The idea of breathing underwater through your mouth only, with a weird device no one had any clue about and staying in the water for a prolonged amount of time felt unnatural and quite impossible to achieve. Makes you wander: “what's the point?” The first day of training in the classroom is of no help to answer that question, but it is when you get your head in the water and realise that breathing through a regulator is not a big deal that you forget the burden of the heavy equipment you had to assemble yourself and are totally overwhelmed by the beauty of the ocean.

In the end, everyone loved the training and the diving and some people told me they could see now why I am so enthusiastic about it. I guess the fact that we also managed to snorkel with the whale sharks was an added bonus to the enthusiasm.

Utila is probably one of the best places in the world to train as a diver, the ocean surrounding the Islas de la Bahia is pristine and a Mecca not only for recreational divers, but also for professional ones, so you can be sure you will be trained by some of the most capable instructors in the world. As a plus, it is as cheap as it can get in the Caribbean and the island is a lot of fun, ready to party every night, although you do not want to have to wake up early for your diving with a headache which the choppy sea will surely turn into a sick stomach.

So we all came out of Utila as certified divers of various levels, all partied out with our matching t-shirts and sad we were leaving such a beautiful place.

By Simona Duranti - Central America Trail Leader

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