My first day on Utila dawned early (as diving days always do), and I headed out with a pack of Divemasters-in-training from the Bay Islands College of Diving (BCID). Our mission: find and catalog as many fish as possible during two dives at Black Coral Wall and Airport Reef, each at only about 45 feet, so we were able to log plenty of bottom time.
I’m not bad at fish ID, but I’m excited to up my expertise, so the lecture the night before on common Utila species at the island’s tiny Reef Cinema had me excited to get in the water. Unfortunately I don’t have an underwater camera (see previous post about the GoPro) so you’ll have to take my word for it — we saw spotted eagle rays, tons of butterfly and angelfish, damselfish, trumpetfish, parrotfish and only one dreaded lionfish. The picture accompanying this post is of me at Little Little Bight, where I dived with friend and island photographer Brad Ryon. He’s got some wicked shots from the site of a mama octopus guarding her eggs, also accompanying this post. Next up on the passport docket: tech try-out dives, where participants sign up to try both side-mount and rebreather systems.