Leaving Utila

On the road again, but I still ❤ Utila.

It had to happen eventually. Especially after seven weeks. The family had to break up, the party had to stop, the bubble had to burst. A little bit ago there was a tragedy that struck the dive shop and then a baby hurricane hit; it was grey overcast with an odd mood cast over my corner of this island. Even though the rain poured down, the heat and humidity never cut. It’s like the island started rejecting us. The sunshine good times were over and it was time to start getting the hell out. That was two weeks ago, and I feel like I have been saying goodbyes ever since.

I will miss being so connected to this tight-knit community. I’ve made so many friends here who I adore. I love how long it takes me to walk the 100m from the dive shop to my house because I am stopped over and over by my friends–sharing news, giving a dinner invitation, or just saying hi. You can’t help but be keyed in to what’s happening with everyone, and it is a beautiful beautiful thing.

Some say Utila will steal your soul. Perhaps it does. The last days have been an especially crazy mix of celebration, goodbyes, and large quantities of rum. Mad fun, bittersweet, weird. The crew is all shipping out in all separate directions. DMTs are graduating, new instructors are being minted; everyone is finishing what they came here to do. It’s getting dangerously close to the Bitter End.

I have loved this time in my life and will miss these brilliant moments dearly.

As we gathered up our posse on another “last night”, this one for Rich and Brian, walking down the street from La Cueva to Skid Row we called out for a final “Roll call!!”. Won’t be many more nights all together now. Just a few last family dinners and farewells. Oh, plus a naked dive and a fancy dive to cap things off.  It’s been a blast, and I love so many of you. Hope to catch each and every one elsewhere in the world, another place another time, where we can reminisce about when we called insane Utila “home”.

But Nicaragua and Mexico beckon. I actually booked a hostel in San Pedro Sula and Leon the other day, so I know the departure is happening. After doing some travel research, suddenly I’m not just “leaving Utila” but headed towards new adventure, and it looks like it’s going to be awesome. Packing up my bag for the first time in a month, it is time. I’m getting excited.

On my last day, I walked about settling up my business. (I don’t skip town without paying my tabs, unlike *some* people!) I said farewell to my laundry lady, happy birthday to Denny Bush, scheduled a haircut, said bye to the ladies at La Casita, waved to Sophia passing by on the back of an ATV, got more compliments on my fancy dive outfit the day before, picked up a pack of cookies for the afternoon fun dive at BICD, said what up to Tom, had a super mega baleada at Seven Seas, and was reminded by Doug and Vero about my going away party that night. That night at Vero’s place we all gathered and DJ Jeff started off the party with MJ’s “Thriller”, because my Utila family knows my jam. Doug and I danced the night away. My last morning I spent with joking and laughing Beau and Ben at Rio Coco, then one last liquado and sausage sandwich at my favorite spot, Che Pancho, with Nick. When I closed out my bill at UDC for the third time, Rusty eyed me sceptically. No! I’m leaving this time. Really! I left the island feeling so happy.

Mic spike, smoke bomb, I’m going to get my harmonica… in Nicaragua. I’m out!

Sunset dockside beers with friends, is there a better way to end the day?
…perhaps by throwing in a few dead baby jokes! Oh, we are wonderful people…
A little bike-towing mischief en route.
Just hanging on a boat with a bunch of hot half-naked men, how I do.
Tying up on the beautiful south side of Utila, per usual for an afternoon boat.

Tea-quila shots! Can’t let the photo dive boat props go to waste…
Wouldn’t be a party without a cute me+Nico photo. BEFORE he ditches us to go to sleep. 😛

Running to Treetanic in the rain. I was so proud I didn’t loose my shoes that night. Photo courtesy of  Courtney Ramos.

The gang, rockin’ it down the street. Photo courtesy of Courtney Ramos.

The real Aussies representing at Treetanic. Photo courtesy of Richard McKenna.
Let’s hear from all the Americans: Aussie aussie aussie! Oi oi oi!! Photo courtesy of Courtney Ramos.
Rich after he survived his divemaster snorkel test, wearing now-my staff t-shirt. 😉 Photo courtesy of  Richard McKenna.

IDC party and the man of the hour: Instructor Doug! With scores that were practically perfect in every way. Gratz again, hon. 😀
Kissie kissie!
Doug and Sophia, peer-pressure cheering me to stay just a few more days. Well, okay… Photo courtesy of Nick Cooper.
Surprisingly met up again with the ever-charming Mr. Nick Cooper. Next stop, Nicaragua! Photo courtesy of  Nick Cooper.
Sky over the Utila harbor on the night of the boat light parade, from the back of Denny Bush’s speedboat.
Vero getting the party started after boat light parade when UDC, Cross Creek, and my boat joined together to make a big floating dance floor in the middle of the harbor.

Ross taking over the bbq master mantle.
Gearing up for my *actual* last dive.
Representing UDC as we infiltrate BICD!
No Doug, Plata is never ok. Except when all the Flor is gone. 😛
Last night revelry. Who knew the beach party could actually be good??

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