Sunday, Feb. 16th: Erins brother Mike is
due to arrive from the states tonight he is coming down for a week holiday, and the
3 of us will go to the Bay Islands for some diving. The Islands are known to have some of
the cheapest diving in the world, and the setting of small-island living, surrounded by a
beautiful reef makes this a very popular place for travellers. Utila and Roatan are the
most popular of the islands. Utila is smaller and less expensive, while Roatan has better
Its so hot La Ceiba you can hardly breath in the middle of the day. The normally
reliable cool breezes have gone away for some reason and its just bloody hot and
humid with no place to get out of the heat. Well, there is one place---- the matinee at
the cinema! Good thing they were playing Lord of the Rings because its nearly 3
When we returned from the matinee, Chris and Simi have arrived on their Africa Twin,
after longer-than-anticipated stay in Nicaragua waiting for a new fuel pump to arrive from
By midnight, Mike still has not arrived. We check internet Monday morning, and find a
Nor Easter has hit in Washington DC, leaving 2ft/60cm of snow on the ground. We check
email every day, and each day Mike is hopeful that "tomorrow" he will come. Once
he arrives, there are 2 options for getting to the island of Utila: 6am & 3:30pm
15-minute flight for $20, or 9:30am 75-minute ferry for $10.
Weds, Feb 19th: After much anticipation and itinerary changes, Mikes
plane has left DC, and he is finally on his way!!!! He will hopefully arrive in San Pedro
Sula in time to catch the 2pm flight, which will arrive in La Ceiba around 2:45pm.
It is only now that we realize, that we should have told Mike to wait at the airport, and
we could catch the 3:30pm flight to Utila. We decided to take a chance, and try to
catch him at the airport. Before we left the hostal, we confirmed that we could
leave the bikes parked in the garden for free, packed our gear, then jumped into taxi out
to the airport to meet Mike.
The agents at Sosa Airlines checked their manifest and confirmed that Mike had indeed
made the connection from San Pedro, and would be landing at 2:45. Although it is the
3rd largest city in Honduras, La Ceiba has a tiny airport, and they showed us where to sit
and wait for Mike to arrive. At 2:40 an agent asked us where Mike was. We said we hadn't
seen him, and that the flight wasn't due for another 5 minutes. They said the plane landed
10 minutes ago. Huh?!?! How can this be? No one has passed where we were
sitting! We asked if there is another possible exit, and as the agents eyes
bulged, we knew the answer! We immediately called the hostal, and left instructions to
send Mike back to the airport if he arrives. He arrived at the hostal a few minutes
later, about 3pm, and was told to return to the airport for the 3:30 flight. He was tired
and confused, and was sure HE was at the right place. He wasn't going anywhere!
The staff from the hostal called us, then put him on the phone, and he quickly
returned. The agents held the plane until he arrived. It wasn't the warm welcome we
planned for him, but we managed a quick hug as he got out of the taxi as the agents
grabbed his bag and we scurried out to the runway. Fortunately, the flight was far
We landed on a paved airstrip, with no structures or buildings anywhere in sight. When
we reached the end of the runway, the plane turned around and we got out. There were 3
Taxis waiting, as small groups of tourists bartered to get their best deal. It was a
10-minute $1pp ride to town. We discovered and checked into a terrific little place called
the Bayview. Double room with small bathroom was $14/night, and the rooms were right along
the bay. There was a small dock, and plenty of seating to just laze and watch life on the
Mike wanted to get his PADI open-water certification, while Erin & I wanted to do
some fun dives. After getting the rooms settled, we walked around to check a few dive
shops. Prices for the OW ranged from $119-159. We chose to go with Ecomarine/Gunters, for their
reputation and the good feel we got from the staff. The shop is only 100 meters from the
hotel, at the next dock -- Tomorrow we begin!
Thurs, Feb 20th: Viola 45 months into the journey! Mikes class
began at 8am, and would take 3 days for certification, plus 2 fun-dives on Sunday, for
$149. Erin and I signed up for the $125, 10-dive package (5 dives each) plus a $10pp
Tune-up course, since we have not dived in several years and needed a refresher.
Additional dives were $12.50 each, and there is a $3pp reef charge for each day you dive.
We spent the next few days diving, eating excellent fish dinners, relaxing, and
watching the sunset while drinking cuba libres. Mike was thrilled with his instructor,
Kara from Canada. The OW classes range from 1-5 students. Erin & I dove with different
Dive Masters each day, never more than 3 of us. They were from different countries, and
all were super friendly! The water was clear and calm, and visibility was terrific. We saw
an array of fish, coral, lobster, shrimp, rays, and eels.
Sunday morning was the last day of diving, and unfortunately Erin couldnt dive as
she was having problems equalizing her ears. She came out on the boat anyway, as Mike had
completed his course the previous night, and we were to do our fun-dives together. The
first dive site was Raggedy Caye, at the edge of the reef with a big drop-off wall. The
water, usually calm at the other dive sites, was quite rough. There were 6ft/2m swells,
and the bike was bucking everywhere. It took about 10 minutes for the boat to catch the
buoy. Mike and I quickly got our gear on, and got out of the boat moments before nausea
set in (Erin had taken a Dramamine). The currents were pulling us about, but once we got
down behind the reef, things were much easier. Our Dive Master brought us down deep, 100
ft/30 meters, but we only stayed a short time as the more interesting fish were higher up.
When we surfaced near the boat 50-minutes later, my air was near empty. Mike and I were
tired, and swimming casually on our backs. Unknowingly, the swells quickly pulled us away
from the dive boat, and Erin called out to us when she realized we were taking our time.
It was quite an effort to swim back, as we had to fight the waves and work our way to
the safety line at the back of the boat. Even with the help of the line, it took a lot of
effort to pull ourselves back to the boat. When Mike and I finally scrambled back into the
boat, we were exhausted. It was a good thing we didnt eat breakfast, as it
wasnt long before we were on our knees, hanging over the side of the boat, mouths
wide open... This happened to a few others as well, so we didnt feel embarrassed.
One diver drifted too far, and 2 dive masters had to swim out and stay with him until the
rest of us were aboard and the boat could go pick him up.
It took only 5-minutes to leave the area, and the water was instantly calm again. We
stopped on the tiny island of Pigeon Caye for wonderful fish burgers. About an hour later,
we did our last dive, which was calm and beautiful. In the afternoon, we returned to
Ecomarine and said good-bye to everyone. We would highly recommend this place if you come
to the Bay Islands. Check out at their website. They also just opened a backpackers hostal across the
street, including kitchen facilities -- cost is $3pp for a 4-bunk dorm room, or $7 for a
Monday, Feb 24th: We returned to the airstrip at 7am, and the small prop
plane arrived shortly thereafter. About 12 of us boarded the plane, and we flew back to La
Ceiba. Mike caught a connecting flight to San Pedro-Miami-Washington DC, and we caught a
cab back to the hostal. (DC was buried again in snow a few days later)
We arrived at the hostal around 10am, and while packing up the bikes, the staff
approached and said we had to pay for parking. Ill spare you the long version, but
the manager (an angry man who never comes to the hostal) now wanted us to pay $20 for
leaving the bikes in the yard, after we were told repeatedly by the staff it would be
free. The police got involved, and after they gave the manager a harsh dressing-down, we
left without having to pay. It was unfortunate end to our stay in La Ceiba, as the
staff had been really friendly.
We rode to the northwest corner of the country, and spent our last 2 nights in Honduras
at a very relaxing hostal, called Rolis Place.