Friday, 30 December 2011

Granada VS Leon

On Friday night in Leon, I went to my first ever baseball game - Granada VS Leon. It was a pretty big game and the last time the two cities played each other there were street parties for a week to celebrate the Granada Victory!

In the stand, we were the only annoying people shouting CHARGE after the trumpet jingle - apparently they don't do that here!

The game was super long an lasted nearly 4 hours with it ending in a draw, which was pretty infuriating, but it was fun!

We left the game suitably smashed and ready to hit a local bar!


P.s. The 2 lovely ladies in the photo are Pam & Chanelle who I am now travelling with!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Tour of Granada

So on the bus crossing the border I bumped in 2 ladies (Pam & Chanelle) that I had actually met when I was drunk in Utila...and we decided to all head to travel together to Granada as our first stop in Nicaragua.

After the longest day on a bus, we arrived in Granada which reminded me ALOT of Antiqua as it was a very similar colonial town.

To get a good view of the thousands of churches (!) we took a horse drawn carriage tour of the city, the lake (Lago de Nicaragua) and the active volcano - Monbacho. It was cute!

Within the lake there are also 365 islands that were created from a massive volcano eruption 10,000 years ago, so we took a boat trip to check them out.

The islands vary massively in size, but many are privately owned by the mega rich people in Nicaragua with insane holiday homes & houses built on them - jealous much!

There is also a little fishermans island, 'monkey island', and islands that are so tiny you couldn't walk on them!

At monkey island, there are just these 5 random monkeys living in the trees there! God knows how they got there because this island is in the middle of a massive lake and not close to anything else!

1 of the monkeys, 'Lucy' (haaa) came into the boat and sat with us, which was hilarious but you have to hang onto your bag & stuff so tight because they always steal things to play with!


Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Sketchy Tegucigalpa...

So after a few more days stuck on Utila because of the cancelled ferry, I finally made it off the island - woo!

And I embarked on a super long journey to Nicagurua, the 5th country on my trip.

I was on a bus for 2 days with an overnight top in Tegucigalpa, which is the capital of Honduras and massively sketchy and unsafe for people to walk even 1 block on their own...

I literally arrived on the bus, took a cab to my hotel and then did not leave until the next morning to get on the next bus and even then I was pretty scared.

It was all fine in the end though and I was ready to see what Nicagurua had to offer....after I crossed the most dilapidated border & passport control so far and which could only be described as a building site!


Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Rain in Utila means being smashed on a Sunday by 1pm!

It was now Sunday and I had been in Utila for almost a week - the longest i had stayed anywhere so far. The place just seems to suck you in?!

It was torrential rain and had been for 3 days solid meaning that the only ferry leaving the island was cancelled and everyone was somewhat stranded.

So everyone in the hostel decided there was only 1 thing for it - to drink!

We started super early and went to a bar for Irish Coffees and Bloody Marys for breakfast!

We then went back to the hostel with 2 of the biggest bottles of rum you have ever seen and embarked on an afternoon of drinking games - by this point it was 1pm!

Needless to say things got silly & messy pretty quickly - I think the low-point was probably jumping in the sea fully clothed - whoooooops, ha!

By 5pm everyone was so drunk that we all had to go have a lie down! I had a solid 3 hour nap before getting up and going out all over again with the Canadian guys. Fun fun fun...


Monday, 26 December 2011

Night Dive

So after completing my PADI the dive centre give you 'fun dives' to get a couple more dives into your log book to enjoy the underwater environment more!

For my fun dive I choose to do the night dive and I was petrified in the lead up and even more so on the boat to the dive site. When you get on the boat it's pitch black and then you have to step off into the ocean which is pitch black too, so it's pretty daunting..


The site we visited was Moon hole (18m) - underwater 43 mins

It's so funny because all of the fish are just chilling on the bottom of the sand asleep!

At one point we all sat on the bottom of the ocean covered our torches and just watched up at the sky and there were so many floating sea luminescence. When you waved your hand in front of you, the luminescence trailed what you were doing and lit up where your fingers had been, it was kinda magical to just play with them in the pitch black!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Open water dives

So it came to the time to get into the water and do some proper dives - eeeeeek!

The boat left the dock at the hostel at 7am every morning so everyone was always up super early to prepare all of the equipment and cram themselves into their wetsuits.

All of these dives are geared up to get you used to all the equipment, learn the underwater sign language, get tested and observed on skills (e.g taking your mask off underwater, breathing tricks with your regulator etc), whilst also looking at the amazing environment so it's pretty intense especially as you are still adapting to being underwater so deep - my ears still have water in them!

Just to give a little run down of the dive sites that I visited over the 4 dives...

Little Bight (12m) - underwater for 42 mins with skills

Black coral wall (12m)- underwater 54 mins

Teds point (18m) - underwater 40 mins with compass skills & emergency ascent practice

Moon hole (18m) - underwater 41 mins

All the dives were amazing and I saw loads of amazing sea life & corals including puffer fish, lobsters, turtles, jellyfish, eels & more - so wish I had an underwater camera!

Oh and the average water temperature was about 27 degrees with most days it actually being warmer in the sea because of the rain! Not too shabby....


Karaoke Friday!

As a now qualified diver and what with it being a Friday, I wanted to go out and celebrate.

The only way people on Utila know what day it is, is by reference to how many days you are away from Tequila Tuesday & Karaoke Friday, so another night that is kind of a big deal!

In true Utila fashion everyone goes to karaoke Friday and in true smashed fashion everyone claims they aren't gonna sing until they have had a few rums and it suddenly becomes a good idea, myself included!

Had a very funny night and while at the bar I met the famous 'Dr Jon' (the only doctor on the island) - who constantly (even at 4am!) wears swimming or motorbike goggles, no top, army trousers and massive boots! He is usually a mess and pretty smashed, causing trouble, but apparently is the best doctor in Honduras?! Which is very hard to believe when you see the state of him!

Just another smashed night on Utila... At this point I was starting to see a slight pattern or theme emerging to my stay here, ha!


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Tequila Tuesday!

Ok so Tequila Tuesday is the biggest night on the island so naturally everyone is out partying and for good reason... Shots of tequila are 10 Lempiras which works out to be about 30p each!

I started at the hostel for 'wing night' and ate quite a few 'very good' chicken wings!

The restaurant was pretty busy and there was quite a long wait for food so I thought I would have a couple of pre-drinks while I waited - BIG mistake!!

Before I even made it to the bar I was smashed and in true Heather fashion when I got to Tranquilos, I couldn't do any tequila shots as I was too busy telling people I was in a bad way -

The night ended pretty early as I had to take myself to bed!


PADI at Underwater Vision

So slightly hungover after my first night I set off on the search for the Dive Centre where I was going to get cracking with my first diving experience!

After visiting what seemed like all the dive shops on the island (there is one every other shop!), comparing deals & instructors etc I enrolled in my scuba diving PADI open water course at Underwater Vision.

The course was 4 days including 2 afternoons in class learning about the theory of diving, a confined water dive to get used to all the equipment then, 4 ocean/fun dives and then an exam.

Underwater Vision was a really nice location & setting (in my opinion the best on the whole island) as we had a view of the ocean, our own mini private beach, volleyball and hot water - hooray!

I got a couple of sunset shots on the first night but really I should have taken some photos during the day too, but it then rained solidly until I left island and the scenery wasn't quite as picturesque through torrential rain!


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Cruise to Utila

After experiencing the luxuries of living in a proper house, I was reluctant to move onto my next stop - Utila, but was also excited to see what it had to offer as I had heard many many good things about the island (and the partying!).

From Roatan there are no main boats or ferries that travel between the 2 islands, however there is a guy - Captain Vern, who owns a private catamaran that cruises between the islands and you can jump onboard (for a not very small fee!)...

The trip takes between 3-4 hours and the sun was out the whole time making it nice to sit outside on the front of the boat and look for ocean wildlife.

We arrived to Utila just in time for sunset - perfect!

As soon as I stepped on land I bumped into some hilarious Canadian guys (the Stefans) that I have travelled with at a few places along my route. I dumped my bag at the hostel and we started drinking cocktails straight away - nothing like exploring and spending your first night in a new place smashed!


Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Bay Islands - Roatan

After a couple of days in Copan, it was time to get back to the beach and hit the Caribbean again.

Shame that it was rainy season and there was about 1 day of sun in about 2 weeks!

I headed to the Bay Islands and my first stop was Roatan.

It's a pretty expensive place as alot of the Caribbean cruise ships stop off at the island and so prices are not so backpacker friendly!

I had a hilarious few days staying with my friend Kate, who I had met previously in Mexico and now lives & works in Roatan as a dive instructor. We drank Bloody Marys for breakfast, gossiped and chilled out waiting and hoping for the sun to come out - ha!

It was so nice to be staying in an actual house with home comforts and hot water. The house was also right on the beach and had an amazing sea view!

I stayed there just chilling and getting any tiny patch of sun that I could soak up - which was very little, but had an amazing few days!

Thanks for having me Kate...


Copan Ruins

Haven't blogged for a while so thought I better catch up...!

So after the comedy value border crossing into Honduras I arrived in Copan - a small ish town with not too much going on apart from more bloody ruins!

Again the site was massive but what was impressive about these ones is the level of detail still remaining on sculptures etc.

The wildlife was pretty good too with Macaws just perching and flying about in the trees above as you walk around!


Friday, 2 December 2011

Sunrise at Indian Nose

Monday morning started bright & early with a 3.15am wake up call - yuk!

But with a good reason - to climb the Indian Nose mountain to watch active volcanos for sunrise.

To get there, I took a local 'chicken bus' which essentially is a pimped out & painted old American school bus packed with soooo many Guetamalans that you can barely move!

After a 30 min super steep walk up (good job I managed to buy some sub standard walking boots to replace my other ones!), we arrived at the view and it was amazing - with the active volcanos, the lake below which kinda looked like a cloud and the sun slowly coming up over it all.

To make it even more magical, we built a fire to keep warm as it was so so cold.

I was back at the hostel by 8am feeling like it was about 4 in the afternoon and ready for a nap...