While traveling around in Central America I met people who told tales about Utila, and how everyone find it hard to leave the island. After my one week on the island turned in to two, and several attempts on leaving failed. I can definitely say that this island is something special.
The people, the vibe, the diving, it all just makes you feel like you've found your little island family. A home away from home. I certainly found mine, at Alton's Dive Center. Sometimes when you're on the road, especially as a solo traveler, you just need to feel like you belong, and that's how I felt at Alton's.
I started with my open-water diver course the same day I arrived. And on my first day in the ocean I got to snorkel with a whaleshark in-between dives. No words can describe how it feels to swimming next to the biggest fish in the ocean.
The open-water course comes with free accommodation and 2 free dives, but that turned out to not be enough, and I was soon doing my advanced too.
My one and only night-dive is my favorite dive so far. The thought of swimming in the deep with no lights made me a bit nervous, but when I got in, the nerves were all forgotten. To see the same reef in the dark is a completely differently experience. What really took my breath away was the bioluminescent that light's up when anything move, and the strings of pearls. We spent half of the dive without light, just swimming around and looking at the reef glittering. And I may have been waiving my arms around like a crazy person, so fascinated by the "glitter" appearing with every move.
After finishing my two courses, free dives and all, I didn't feel ready to leave. But after 5 days out of the water I decided that I would probably never be ready to leave. Now, in a shuttle headed for Nicaragua, I can honestly say I'm still not sure if leaving was the right decision. But, I can always go back.