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Author: Cheryl Jones
Report Date: 15-May-2005
We just returned from a fabulous 10 day dive trip to Laguna Beach Resort in Utila. Thanks to Diver's Mom for the heads up travel info on the fires. We were delayed 2 hours in Houston due to low visibility but got to SAP in time to catch our SOSA flight to Utila. What a trip! The planes look like they could barely get off the ground, and the pilots are resting their arms on the open window as we're flying.
We arrived at the Utila "airport" and were met by Luciano, the manager at LBR. After a short cab ride thru town we arrived at the dock where our gear was put on the shoreboat for the short ride to the LBR pier. We were met by Romina, Luciano's beautiful and gracious wife and co manager, who gave us a tour of the dive operation and then to the dining room for a welcome drink. She explained the schedule: Breakfast at 7:00. Dive boats leave at 8:00 for 2 dives, back around 1:00 for lunch, afternoon dive at 2:45 back around 4:30, Dinner at 7:00 ( Monday and Thursday are night dives, so dinner is around 8). We usually only dive 2 dives a day (Since we are in the 60 and over set) but did 3 dives most days since it was so easy .
Our bags were taken to our bungalow (one of 12 on the lagoon) Our dive gear was locked in the dive room in our own section and was waiting for us on the boat each morning.
Food was fabulous and plentiful. All buffet-Breakfast-Eggs, waffles, pancakes, fresh fruit, sausage, bacon; Lunch-Salads, Lasagna, Grilled Chicken, Vegetarian Dishes ,fruit Dinner- many choices. They will prepare to your dietary restrictions also. The bar is an honor bar. Make your own drinks and keep a tab. People brought their own "supply" to the bar if they wanted.
Cannot say enough about the dive staff. They were fabulous. Our captain Kerry and DiveMaster Raul were incredible.
DAY1 - They put us right on the whale sharks. I jumped in and was shocked to be looking at the face of an incredible creature 5 feet from me. One was tagged and they asked us try and see the number as they keep records.
DAY 2 - 2 more whale sharks. As we watched one disappear into the depths another huge one came up behind us. We did our first dive and on the SI another gal and I were sitting on the bow and saw what we thought were pilot whales. Kerry headed toward them and we saw 8-10 more fins and white markings. In 5 minutes we were surrounded by 12 ORCAS. WHAT A THRILL. ( I have put a short underwater video of 2 babies and the mom in my gallery, but I don't know how to insert it in this post. Maybe a tech could help me) We spent 2 hours with them. Kerry and Raul who are natives had never seen an orca. We missed our second dive, but who cares! AN INCREDIBLE DAY
Raul was filming the Orca's by holding the camera underwater at the back of the dive boat, a great shot of two orca's going by, then all of a sudden another Killer Whale almost butt's the camera out of his hand. Turn up the volume to hear the comments from the scuba divers on the boat.
The reefs in Utila are beautiful and healthy. Beautiful coral and sponges. They look much healthier than Coz reefs and we have been going there since '79. You do not see many big fish, but saw many small creatures. A green long lure frogfish, big seahorses, flying gunnard, lots of turtles, barracuda ( a huge one in the wheel house of the Halliburton), reef squid doing a dance just below the surface, dolphins, a trio of spotted drums, flounder, lobster, dog snappers, filefish, puffer fish , nurse shark, and the other usual small suspects.
All in all, the most gracious and accommodating staff and a beautiful laid back, restful resort. I am glad we went when we did before everyone discovers Utila
This report was originally posted on www.scubaboard.com
Re-published with the permission of the Author