DEEP BLUE DIVERS – Farewell Utilia

14 04 2011

Sorry for our tardiness with our lack of posts recently, our computer gave up the go, seems it enjoyed the Honduran humidity as much as we did!

The last month we have spent at the dive shop Deep Blue Divers on the magical island of Utila. Matt is now a Dive Master and was doing up to 5 dives a day – including 3 times with whale sharks! I finished my Open Water and Advanced but was never on the boat when they found whale sharks so had to settle for turtles, eagle rays and moray eels – not all that bad!

Thank you Libby, Anjay, Kike, Pablo, Emma, Nikki, Victoria, Oscar, Little John, Norge, Jeff, Andy, Zoe, James and Tosspot for a wicked time at Deep Blue! You guys rock – come visit us in Panama!

We both loved Utilia and had some great times not only diving but partying with friends and staff at the dive shop – the following pics show you how we were having way too much fun!

Matt the master of divers!

Getting ready for a dive.

Underwater dive master training antics!

St Paddys Day was large in Utilia – the Beer Olympics were held at the dive shop Under Water Vision where we entered a team that consisted of 6 nationalities, hence the name! The events included flip cup, volleyball, boat races, tug-a-war – even mud wrestling! ………… And no Matt didn’t let me participate in that one!!

Deep Blue Beer Olympics team - The Six Nations!

Coach Carlie and Canada's Rep Jeff

Matty in action for Deep Blue

Theme of the day!

Paddys Day maddness!

When things turn even madder!

Ouch!!

The final test to become a Dive Master is the famous snorkel test – in which you are on your knees sculling anything and everything through a snorkel beer bong styles! Matty’s mix included beer, rum, banana liqueur, tomato sauce and mustard! Lets just say that the night went very messy for the newly crown dive masters Chris, Andy and Matty! The party rocked on back at the dive shop and it was a perfect way for us to end our time in Utilia!

Our boat to our final day at Water Cay, hmmm!

Beach Bar.

The boys about to do their snorkel test!

Nikki showing them how its done!

The whole crew.

Newly crowned dive masters with all the ladies!

Sunset dock drinks.

Utilia turned it on for us with this final sunset!

Next stop was Miami – off the hook! We’ll post pics very soon plus some very exciting news of our next adventure….

Advertisements




Utila, Bay Islands – Honduras

17 03 2011

Currently in Utila one of the three Bay Islands on the Carribean side of Honduras. The island is a dive mecca offering the cheapest diving and courses on the planet. Carlie has just finished her Open Water and will start her Advanced in a few days. My Rescue completed today and I commence the Dive Master course tomorrow. This includes our stay at the shop and unlimited diving anytime the boat is out, assisting with training courses and about 3/4 dives a day.

On our second day here after diving the Halliburton Wreck, a cargo ship that sits in 30m of water. We were lucky enough to spot a small whale shark about a km from the island. This fella was a baby at 5m, its not uncommon to see the big boys around the island, measuring 30m. Not over yet we then had a free dive with a pod of dolphins half way back to the shop. Our Capitan Oscar was also a happy camper!

Halliburton Wreck

Into the light

Snorkel Head

Whale Shark

Matty up close and personal!

A "small" whale shark @ 5 meters long!

On a beautifully sunny Honduran day we set sail for a small island called Water Cay for our new friend Andy’s 30th birthday and a famous “snorkel test” for newly crowned Dive Master Emma! Picture a small Finlandian sculling beer, rum and whatever else gets poured in – down a snorkel beer bong style! Something that Matt has to look forward to when he finishes his training!

Water Cay was incredible, stunning blue warm water, plenty of drinks, beats and good people! You can rent these small islands for $125 a night!

On our way in style

One of the islands up for rent

Island water

Chillin...

Heaven

Early in the day

A "few" drinks later!

Its Paddys Day here so we are off to the beer Olympics where Matty is competing for the Deep Blue Divers team – should be another interesting afternoon! More pics soon! x





Isla Ometepe & Granada – Nica

7 03 2011

Once again we left the coast in search of higher ground and headed to a Lonely Planet “must see” Isla Ometepe! Labeled a ‘fantasy island formed by joined volcanoes with lovely villages and great beaches’ I think we landed on the wrong island!?

We have again confirmed that we are happiest at sea level, with our feet in the sand and not in the mud! The trip was saved by meeting some great new crew, and an interesting old Nica with a machete.

Picture Bangkok tuk-tuk traffic madness, throw in the odd horse and cart, add a hundred or so bike riders from Hanoi. Then hear the sounds of current house music being mixed by DJ hopefuls from the doorways of every second block. Walk a bit further and the sky has dissapeared under the cover of a maze of markets, meat is being chopped by machetes, fish is being gutted by hand, and the westerner is being bounced around like a ball in a pinball machine. Just another Saturday morning in Granada.

Volcano skies!

If the volcano erupts run that way!??

Have to keep your guard up in the jungle!

Coffee beans in Ometepe

Founded in 1524, caught up in a civil war and burnt to the ground in 1856. The city has gone through extensive restorations in areas, and been left with run down original buildings for the most part that, giving it a very cool flavour.

Convento e Iglesia de San Fransico - Granada, 1585!

Basalt sculpture from 800AD.

Mirrors!

Amazing massages we had from blind people.

Street signs.

Granada maddness or Bangkok?

Street vendors in Granada.

Market place.

Nicaraguan local selling mango's in the markets.

Meat market.....

Granada streets with our Irish mate Kim.

Hostel paintings.

Exit Granada, spend a night under curfew in the “most dangerous city in Nicaragua, Managua” then spend 16 hours on a bus to make it to the north east coast of Honduras………….Enter The Bay Islands!

Surfboards won’t be making it out of the covers but the mask and snorkel has been dusted off. The Bay Islands are home to the second largest barrier reef system, and cheapest diving on the planet. We have found a home at the Deep Blue dive school, Carlie to start her underwater career tomorrow while I try and turn my brain back on so I can put the words Dive Master on the CV.





Popoyo – Nicaragua

27 02 2011

Popoyo Nicaragua, a tiny surf town mid way on the Pacific coast. There is not much to do here besides surf, sleep, eat, lay in the hammock and surf again.

Lake Nicaragua the largest inland lake in Central America runs almost parallel to the coast near where we are and creates constant offshore winds for 300 days of the year. Surf here has been the most consistent we have come across with waves in the 3 – 4ft range everyday.

Each day a fruit truck rocks down the main street sounding like a propaganda wagon, its hard to say no when you can buy 2 pineapples, 14 bananas and 6 oranges for $2.50.

The town itself is growing with surf tourism with almost 7 hostels and homestays now available. Apparently enough to put on a contract security guard for the street, he doesn’t have a uniform but is the only person in town that carries an AK-47 over his shoulder and haven’t seen him argued with to date.

Popoyo beach

Hammock time at Casa Maur Guesthouse Popoyo

Hostel views

Sunset colours

Forget something?

Matty

Local groms

Locals here are super friendly in and out of the water. Doing my best to get the spanish to a decent enough level to have some more detailed conversations with the groms out in the water.

Grom punt!

Sunset surfers

The Melting Elephant Guest House

Nicaraguan OHS?

Shadows

Footprints





San Juan Del Sur – NICARAGUA

20 02 2011

After 2 days, 1 boat, 2 border crossings, 3 taxis and 2 long haul bus rides we FINALLY left Bocas behind us. It was a very easy to get stuck there!

We have arrived in the beautiful Nicaraguan town of San Juan Del Sur, the town is built around a stunning bay on the Pacific coast. The weather is extremely toasty but the ocean water is icey which is a nice contrast to the bath water we have had in the Caribbean. Plus we get amazing over water sunsets!!! The locals are really friendly – reminds us of a Balinese vibe.

The food is great – $2 tacos, and we have been dining in the local cantina’s where the head waitress is a 10 year old girl who is amazing at her job! She serves in her school uniform and I’m sure gets great tips.

We have been travelling with a group from the hostel in Bocas, 9 of us in total – 8 girls and Matt! How did he get so lucky.

Next stop is a small town up the coast called Popoyo – we’ll post more pics soon!

Carls and Marina (our new dorm buddy) in transit.

San Juan Del Sur Bay.

View from the beach - if you zoom in you can see a massive Jesus statue on the hill.

Down town San Juan.

Church square.

Such a nice little town!

Dinning Hall - amazing tacos and so cheap!

Amazing sunsets.

Cocktails anyone?

Sunset drinks in the beach side bar.

Fire Maddness!

Fire dancers at the Pataya Surf Festival.





Costa Rica – Puerto Viejo

31 01 2011

After an interesting night back in Bocas Del Toro we headed over the border into the surf town of Puerto Viejo in Costa Rica. The town has a very chilled out Rastafarian vibe with Bob Marley being blasted from all of the local shops and bars.

We spent a lot of time chilling in hammocks and eating way to many chocolate brownies with ice cream. On a few of the days we hired push bikes and rode to the near by town of Manzanillo (13km away) and beautiful beaches such as Punta Uva. Matt managed to get a flat tire on both of these trips! 🙂

Crocodile Surf Camp - our Puerto Viejo home

Crocodile Surf Camp - our Puerto Viejo home

Surf shack

Jungle surf

Jungle vines

Just another Caribbean beach

One love

Local footy game

Swamp dog trying to beat the heat

Thieve's in the bushes - we saw a guy in the bushes with a security hat on. Thieve's in the bushes in disguise maybe?

Beach log at Punta Uva

Another sloth sighting

Frogga

On Australia Day Eve Costa Rican time we talked two of the local bar owners into playing the Triple J Hottest 100 for us. Tasty Waves at Cochels Beach – head there for a cold beer, tasty tacos and a great time with the very cool owners Bryton and Steve!

After the bar shut we ended up at a local jam session with some very talented local muso’s – a great night and way to send Annie off after her month long Central American adventure.

Next stop for us – back to BOCAS!!

Tasty Waves boys Bryton and Steve

Annie's last night with us

Leave us some messages – we miss you all! xx





BOQUETE

21 01 2011

After Ryan’s departure for his 80 hour transit back to Sydney, and a good swell for 3 days in Bocas, the girls decided it was time to drag me away from the coast to a town called Boquete. The town sits on a mountain river in the “Lote” Chiriqui highlands between the pacific and Carribean coasts of Western Panama.

Prior to leaving we were told of “Lost & Found”a nomadic style hostel built by two Canadian travellers. Basically these two guys picked a spot that travelers would pass and then built a hostel up a cliff in the middle of the jungle. The first challenge at this place is getting the bus to stop at their home made sign, next you just have to make it up the 15min hike to the hostel itself. A good call leaving the three boards in Bocas.

So after a couple of beer fueled nights meeting some great other folks in the 6 x 6 jungle bar, and getting the low down on Turantula sex from the resident Oxford University Arachnologist, it was time to leave the mountain crew with their nightly foosball competition so as not to miss the main reason we travelled all this way to Central America. The Boqete Coffee and Flower festival.

Evan, Annie and Carls about to hike to their beds.


..


Rooms in the Jungle


Dinner Time


Sunset at Lost & Found


Loco Monkey!


Cold mountain water on a very hot day.


Red Dragon Flies.

Hot Springs


FHM

One of the tick box activities that most do when they come to Central America is Ziplining, (AKA) flying through the trees on a pool lanerope cable whilst having the blood cut off to your balls. So with Captain AMac at the helm wearing her best jungle knee high boots and off the shoulder number we set off up the mountain again to be proper tourists!

Tarzan impersonations complete, flower festival tick, back on the chicken bus to where there is sun, sand, salt water and brazilian bikinis. Next stop accross the border to Costa Rica’s Rasta surf town of Peurto Viejo.