Monday, July 31, 2006


my usual diving buddy went on a deep dive without me the other day.

he came back without an arm. the left one. ( the inflator/deflator arm.) this will drastically influence his future diving style.

he lost his feet in a previous dive while posing as a "missing diver".
an unfortunate octopus encounter.

you can probably see how out of sorts he looks.

oh sure, i could take the easy way and blame the instructor who "borrowed" him but he's canadian and i'm sure he wouldn't be that careless. (of course, they did give us celine dion...)

so i can only surmise that it was the little known and highly elusive potato shark that shoulders the blame.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

whale sharks

the whale sharks have decided to play with the puny humans these last couple of days.

as long as the weather holds this will probably be the case.

the question is not necessarily whether or not they are there; it's whether or not you can find them. that is the key.

this involves a sharp eye and a working radio. you either have a captain who knows where and how to look or you have one who knows how to listen to his vhf radio and leech off of someone else's skill.

there are way too few of the former. at least they have developed, through the years they've invested in getting to know their quarry/income stream, an affinity with the sharks. they treat them with respect.

some captains, like willie waterhouse, seem to know where, and if, they are before his boat leaves the dock.

it's a six to twelve mile trip from his dock to the sharks depending on which end of the island they're feeding .

i remember a time when i was divemastering off willie's boat and he put us on an underwater sea mound. i hadn't dived that site before so i asked him about it.

"just go west around the mound at 40'; after about five minutes you'll see a big green moray under a ledge. a couple of minutes after that you'll see a big school of southern sennets."

he was spot on.

after the dive i asked him when he had dived that spot last.

"oh, about eight years ago i guess".

Sunday, July 16, 2006

instructor development

just finished day 2 of my latest instructor development course.

this is going to be very relaxed and a lot of fun because i only have one student.

so we have plenty of time to fine tune and adjust. plenty of time to practice real world scenarios
and have fun while we do.

maybe even have a couple of dives where we do absolutely no skills at all. at least no formally demonstrated skills.

i'm thinking about a couple of dives on the north side of the island.

turtles and eagle rays.

northern stargazers and sailfin blennies.

whale shark.

Saturday, July 15, 2006



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(ssshh...i think i just heard a whale shark)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

whale sharks

one of the things that make this small honduran island of utila special is the whale shark.

it is nothing less than magnificient.

imagine swimming in open ocean water that drops to depths of 800 metres/2400 feet two miles offshore less than an arms length away from a 12 metre/40 foot long shark.

oh look, there's one now.

as you can see by looking at the tail, this one's been properly tagged and sampled by utila's own Whale Shark and Oceanic Research Center. (that's wsorc for those of you who are spelling impaired)

this one swam across my desk during my lunch break.

maybe i'm just not ready to stop drinking.

Friday, July 07, 2006


yesterday i ventured a couple hundred metres outside my normal range.

there is a small grocery store here that is singlehandedly dragging the food business on utila into the 20th century.

two electric belt checkout stations, four double sided aisles, 14 glass upright cooler doors.
a place for everything and everything in it's place.

a produce section (not that i ever go there for anything other than research you understand).

there are products here that i wasn't aware were even available in honduras, much less on a small island.

14 types of cheese. olives stuffed with onions. american cereals that i have never heard of.

6 types of spam. spam with cheese. spam with bacon!? (life is good!)

heineken beer. dos equis.

all in all a very heady experience.

i have to go lie down.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

canada day

happy canada day to all you hosers (this means you, Frasier) north of the border.

i'm sure it'll be days before you see this (or anything else) but you all know who you are. enjoy the beer (it wouldn't hurt to send a couple bottles of labatts down to utila ya know, eh?) and the bbq.

i personally will (in your names, of course) be using today to practice up for july 4th.