Love takes a LEAP at UDC… February 11, 2016Posted by Utila Dive Center in Uncategorized.
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Utila Dive Centre got a special treat this January, celebrating the renewal of Kate and Zac’s wedding vows. The couple met at UDC in January, 2011. “We both came down here 5 years ago to change our own lives” tells Kate, MSDT and returning rotational instructor to UDC.
Zac first came to Utila in 2011 with the intent to begin his dive career as an open water diver and go from “Zero to Hero” by taking it all the way to instructor. Instead of teaching, he decided to explore the road less traveled by studying technical diving and becoming a successful commercial diver after completing his DM with UDC.
Zac tells us one of the reasons he went down the TEC pathway was because he ‘loved having missions to do underwater’. Perhaps the greatest mission of all came when he re-proposed to Kate off the shores of Utila, much to her surprise! Poor Kate wasn’t sure if it was the narcosis kicking in on their dive or the elation of Zac’s gesture, but safe to say it was a dive to remember for the both of them!
The sunset ceremony held on Wednesday 27th, was about as close to a Utila fairytale as we’ve seen. The iconic UDC top dock was decorated on all sides by palm fronds, two large palms forming an ‘archway’ at the edge of the dock. ‘This is a special place for us… Where we originated from,’ the couple told, as they walked down the UDC ‘aisle’ to Hootie and the Blowfish. Captain/Pastor ‘Chucksy’ almost stole the show with his beautiful words, guiding the couple through their vows with very few dry eyes behind our sunglasses as Utila delivered a picturesque, trademark sunset. Zac and Kate said ‘I do’, and as the cheers went up, so did the call for the couple to solidify their union with the time-honored ‘JUMP’ off the dock, hand in hand and into the clear waters below!
It was the couples’ dream to have a UDC reunion to celebrate their love, and with old faces and new sharing in their happiness, the night carried on with sunset champagne, dinner at RJs, and of course the reception party at Treetanic, where under white balloons the couple had their first Utila wedding dance to ‘Hold My Hand’, and in true style, were the last to leave the party!
We wish Kate and Zac all the best in their future together. Currently Kate is teaching on rotational staff with us, and Zac is about to set off on his next commercial diving venture in California! Just to show, you never know where life will take you when you quit your old life, and embark on the adventure of a life enjoyed underwater! Zac’s advice combining marriage and scuba? ‘Well, she’s the instructor… as a dive master I’m there to help!’ Sounds like sound advice to us, Zac! Congratulations.
Cayos Cochinos day trips December 29, 2015Posted by Utila Dive Center in Uncategorized.
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At Utila Dive Centre we organize special trips to visit other beautiful areas around the Bay Islands at least once a month. Of the smaller Bay Islands, Cayos Cochinos is the perfect tropical getaway with spectacular diving, it has 13 small cays that host a friendly community that welcome tourists to their precious home.
The first stop of the voyage is at Roatan Banks, a seamount starting at 12 meters/40 ft, with currents that bring lots of nutrients attracting marine life. It’s common to see large schools of fish surrounding you, turtles, nurse sharks and occasionally reef sharks and other surprises.
Pelican Point is the other popular site for diving that we usually visit, a deep wall where coral life and fish are abundant, as well as commonly spotting sharks. This is usually a drift dive ending on a shallow reef top overlooking the mountains.
After these 2 great dives it’s time to eat! Our final destination is Cay Chachauate, where we are greeted with the famous coconut drinks and food ready at the table upon arrival. After a few hours of relaxing, swimming, selfies and fun, we depart back home; during the journey we often have surprise visits from dolphins swimming along the boats and whale shark encounters. Finally we arrive at our dock in time for sunset.
November Tec Diving! December 11, 2015Posted by Utila Dive Center in tec diving, trimix diving.
Tags: padi, Technical Diving, trimix, Utila Dive Centre
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Congratulations to all our November Tec Divers and Instructor Graduates!
November turned out to be one of our busiest tec months ever! We breathed through over 3000 cubic feet of helium, explored sites to depths of 300 feet/90 meters and discovered caves, stalactites and canyons that are off limits to regular recreational divers on Utila. We celebrated the month introducing the world to:
2 Tec Deep divers
2 Trimix Divers
3 Tec Deep Instructors
3 Trimix Instructors
1 Tec Sidemount Instructor
The training was conducted in both traditional backmount and the innovative tec sidemount configurations, involving a series of training dives that encompassed building technical diving motor skills, emergency drills, advanced dive planning and decompression diving using several mixes, including pure Oxygen for accelerated decompression.
The deeper trimix dives we conducted on the dropoff walls that sit on the continental shelf on Utila’s Northside with support divers for safety and logistical aspects of the dive planning.
On several of the dives we contributed to reef conservation by removing invasive Lionfish (no natural predators in the Caribbean) that have decimated local fish populations. They are mostly found bellow recreational limits, which makes them unreachable for most divers and conservationists.
We also had some fun going to a new dive site, a previously unexplored seamount on the southwest of Utila named the Barra Banks, sitting from a bottom of 215 ft / 60 mt to a top of 90 ft / 27 mt and found healthy coral coverage and diversity of aquatic life.
Congratulations to Alfredo Gonzalez, Curtis Snaper, Joshua Blair, Simon Scot, Jake Bulman and Larry Mclean on an amazing accomplishment in diving and to excelling yourselves. It was a pleasure having you dive and train with us and we look forward to seeing you again. Training was conducted by Trimix Instructor Scott Peaker and Trimix Instructor Trainer Andy Phillips.
Training at the diver level is offered all year round and we offer tec Instructor classes at specific times of the year.
Shark Dive Day Tours in Roatan with Utila Dive Centre November 26, 2015Posted by Utila Dive Center in scuba diving, Uncategorized.
Tags: bay islands, day trip, shark
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Want to experience what swimming with over 20 Caribbean Reef sharks is like? Join us on one of the most thrilling dive adventures available in the Bay Islands, the Shark Diving day trip with Utila Dive Centre!
We begin our journey at dawn, setting up our gear for the first dive to the famous Odyssey Wreck in Roatan, our sister island about 2 hours away. It’s a deep dive with a sandy bottom at 33.5 mts / 110 ft and the wreck itself is 100 mts / 300 ft long, its open spaces are fun to explore and host interesting marine life to keep your eyes entertained.
After the wreck dive, we head into town where we meet up with the dive center that takes us to the shark encounter. The guides have years of experience in the area and the sharks are accustomed to the presence of divers. As soon as you jump in the water, the first ones start to make their appearance, when everyone is in position, kneeling on the sand at approximately 18 meters / 60 feet, the magic starts to happen, more and more Caribbean Reef sharks start to swim around you, until you lose count.
After that adrenaline rush, its time to eat! We then head down to a beautiful ocean view restaurant, relaxing and sharing the excitement of the dives. As the day draws to a close we depart back home, arriving at our dock on time for sunset.
Package includes dives, transportation, snacks, drinks and all tax. Contact us for details.
Join us for Sunrise Diving upon demand September 4, 2015Posted by Utila Dive Center in scuba diving.
Tags: sunrise, utila, utila dive centers, Utila Dive Centre
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Sunrise is one of the most magical moments of a day for us, diurnal creatures. The world starts moving and the colors explode in front of our eyes. It’s the birth of the Universe all over again. That’s why we like to share the moment with our loved ones, creating memories that will last forever.
Now imagine the sensations you will experience when enjoying a sunrise under the sea. Witnessing the last movements of the nocturnal creatures, the awakening of all diurnal fish, mollusks and crustaceans, and the outstanding sight of a whole reef appearing in front of you where there was nothing but darkness just minutes before.
UDC now offers you, upon demand, sunrise dives on our unique dive sites around the island. Discover with us all the shades of the Mesoamerican Reef and take your diving experience to a whole new level.
Contact us for more information or reservations.
Photos by Keith Thompson.
The new Poseidon Se7en Rebreather units July 2, 2015Posted by Utila Dive Center in closed circuit rebreather, utila.
Tags: poseidon, rebreather, utila, Utila Dive Centre
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At Utila Dive Center, we are the only PADI Career Development Center in the Americas to offer diver and Instructor level training on the PADI Closed Circuit Rebreather programs. Now, with the acquisition of two new Poseidon Se7en units, we keep leading the industry in the region by offering our customers the latest tecnology available.
Some of the benefits of diving with a closed circuit rebreather over traditional open circuit scuba are:
- Longer dive times with extended gas consumption, and longer no decompression limits.
- Less noise and no bubbles, fish and other creatures will come closer to you.
- Enhanced photos and videos quality of aquatic life as you can get much closer to the subjects.
- Stay warmer longer as less body heat is exhaled.
- Divers who do not want to GoTec but want the benefits of extended times
Rebreather diving, is simply put, scuba on steroids!
Some of the upgrades on the new Poseidon Se7en unites are:
- Generation 7 electronics, more possibilities for interaction, accessories and app integration. Completly new internal hardware driven by a new generation of firmware makes the SE7EN faster, flexible and reliable.
- Automatic dive log downloads via Bluetooth, combined with detachable displays and sensors that making support faster and more convenient than before.
- An upgraded mouthpiece with a new system that keeps the bail-out valve locked in place in closed or open circuit, while still enabling simple switches from closed to open circuit.
For more information on the new units visit the official Poseidon website.
The next complete Diver/Instructor programs will be scheduled for 2 weeks in July 2015. Student level will start July 15th and the Instructor level July 25th and later dates in October/November.
Visit our Rebreather section on our website for more information or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UDC trimix team in Roatan for freediving World Record January 19, 2015Posted by Utila Dive Center in freediving, tec diving, trimix diving.
Tags: Diving, freediving, roatan, tec diving, Technical Diving, trimix
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At the beginning of September 2014, Utila Dive Center’s trimix team was invited to participate as support divers for Eusebio and Christina Sáenz de Santamaría (a free diving couple and founders of Apnea Total) that decided to descend together in the discipline of Variable Weight in West Bay, Roatan.
Of course UDC was honored and accepted this special invitation, Jhair Herrera, CJ Howarth & Guillermo Peirano loaded our very own Old Tom boat on Friday 3th and traveled to Roatan to meet the whole crew and dive.
Eusebio & Christina’s goal was to establish a new world record as the world’s first dive of two people to descend on a weighted sled and ascend under their own power at the same time from a depth of 100 meters, which they successfully completed. It was all documented directly by the Discovery Channel and will air at the end of October 2014.
The logistics and security for the event was provided by Esteban Darhanpe, organizer of the Caribbean Cup free diving competition held in Roatan annually at the end of May.
Lets get technical…
The team was formed by:
- Two Trimix divers, our very own Jhair & CJ, at 90 mts with 5 tanks each. As part of safety equipment, they carried a leash that in case the divers pass out on the bottom, they can tie them up and send them with a lift bag to the surface, which was not needed.
- Guillermo Peirano was providing in-water coordination and support for the trimix divers during decompression.
- Two recreational scuba divers at 20-40 mts with one tank each.
- Three safety freedivers from Apnea Total, down to 30 meters.
- Surface team.
Eusebio and Christina first prepared for the descent with a 45-minute warm up breathing exercise. The Trimix team took 6 ½ minutes to reach desired depth, and waited for the couple. A few moments later they saw the two divers reach depth and the divers began their ascent.
The Trimix team bottom time was 13 minutes, including descent time; they preformed 3 gas switches and had 59 minutes of decompression stops. The last stop was at 5 mts for 18 minutes on pure oxygen while getting friendly funny visits from the freedivers and wondering the official outcome of the world record. At the end on the surface, as an extra precaution, they breathed 5 more minutes of pure oxygen.
The whole crew enjoyed many smiles and excitement as they celebrated the record and got the opportunity to work together and share their passion for the underwater world.
To learn more and follow Eusebio & Christina story, visit their blog at
Tags: andy phillips, caribbean, ccr, rebreather, utila
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How fitting that on Earth Day (April22), marine biologist Ossie Stewart qualified with us as a PADI Poseidon Rebreather Instructor, and becomes the 1st female certified as a PADI Rebreather Instructor in Central America, congratulations Ossie!
Ossie originally trained with Utila Dive Center as a PADI Scuba Instructor and was employed with us for several years and is now the dive officer on board a Super Yacht and will now be overseeing all rebreather diving and training and allowing her divers a more enhanced dive experience with longer no decompression times.
Sea Shepherd visits Utila Dive Center with the MV Brigitte Bardot November 25, 2014Posted by Utila Dive Center in conservation, enviroment.
Tags: bay islands, sea shepherd
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After a successful patrolling mission in Guatemala where together with the Guatemalan Department of Fisheries enforced an anti-poaching operation, the 35mt vessel MV Brigitte Bardot arrived in Utila, Honduras on March 15th, 2014.
With the objective to help enforce local fishing laws in the region, the Sea Shepherd crew met with the community of Utila to listen what the needs are and how they can help better implement these laws. After several meetings, they now have open new doors for the protection of marine life in the area.
On Sunday, March 16th, a gathering with the Sea Shepherd crew and over 120 people was held at Utila Dive Center’s facilities to give our divers the opportunity to learn about who they are, what they do, ask questions and purchase t-shirts to directly finance the different projects around the world.
On the following day, Sea Shepherd opened its doors of the MV Brigitte Bardot vessel to the public, giving people the opportunity for a close up experience to the life on a boat and take plenty of pictures with the crew. Field trips where organized for schools, giving the young generation an interactive experience, witch is a rare opportunity in our precious little rock.
Now the Bay Island will have a permanent group of volunteers in Utila representing Sea Shepherd, gathering funds and working with the community finding ways to conserve and protect the marine environment from illegal activity in Honduras.
See more pictures of the presentation in the Facebook album
Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit, marine wildlife conservation organization established in 1977. Their mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species.
Sea Shepherd uses innovative direct-action tactics to investigate, document, and take action when necessary to expose and confront illegal activities on the high seas. There mostly know for the show Whale Wars on Animal Planet.
UDC is now 100% Aware October 18, 2014Posted by Utila Dive Center in enviroment, partners, project aware.
Tags: Environment, padi, partners, project aware
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We’re proud to announce that in January 2014 and beyond Utila Dive Center will be supporting Project Aware as a 100% partner and financially supporting Project Aware by issuing an Aware version of every PADI certification card to all divers who get certified with us.
In addition to our support for the University of Queenslands/Project Aware ‘Coral Watch’ program with our coral reef surveying and monitoring, and our monthly clean up ‘Dive Against Debris’ events, we have also initiated the following measures through our facility and hotel for 2013/2014;
- All light bulbs switched over to energy efficient rated bulbs
- Solar panel installation at the hotel and for the pool pump
- Installation of a ‘treadle pump’ (YouTube it!) at our dive center to save electricty and fresh water for our sanitation systems
- No throw-away plastic plates/cups served anymore at our restaurant/bar
- Issuing of re-useable non-plastic water bottles to all our PADI IDC Instructor candidates!
Once again we’re proud to leave the way not just in the training we offer all our divers, from beginner through to Instructor, but also in sustainable environmental practices.
You make a difference when you choose to train with Utila Dive Center, not just in the quality and standard of your dive training but also in what you do to make a positive difference to our precious aquatic environment, your future office!
Protecting Our Ocean Planet, One Dive at a Time!