Friday, November 22, 2019


Hi Team!

So I’m in Honduras… okay. I’m really back in LA.
But Craig… why don’t you write these emails on the the trips anymore?
The answer:  there’s no internet cafes. Or at least, I didn’t see any on my 15 day journey through Honduras, Nicaragua (and for a day in El Salvador!)
Since Wi-fi has taken over the backpacker experience, they just don’t exist.
And I miss them.
I miss going out a couple times during the trip, checking in, and sharing adventures while there.
So next time I’m going to bring a blue tooth keyboard and type it up on my phone and share it that way…

At this point you might say:
“Craig, you went to Honduras? Nicaragua? WTF?!?!”
And honestly, that was a bit of my thought too when this trip first showed up. I checked out the US State Department travel advisories. There are 4 levels of advisors.
1:  Generally safe. Common caution.
2:  Upgraded caution. Be more aware.
3:  Rethink travel due to safety concerns
4:  DO NOT GO.   (Think Iraq or Afghanistan).

Well, Nicaragua, was surprisingly a 2. That’s cool. Just like Cuba, or India.
Honduras was a 3.  “Rethink Travel”.
Warnings consisted of DO NOT TRAVEL AT NIGHT. And lots of warnings about the capital city and other major cities and the entire eastern part of the country.

I’m not going to lie. It was a bit intimidating. I love adventure, but going to war zones or places of high human conflict or danger — no thanks.

So again, you ask: “Why did you go?”

Well, faithful readers, you might recall a certain adventure involving millions of crabs from the Cuba emails earlier this year. And you might recall Hannah and Fabian, the two totally awesome German’s I shared that with, whom I also rock climbed and scuba dived with. Some of my favorite people I’ve ever met traveling. Well those two have been traveling since I met them back in March. They went from Cuba to Mexico, bought a VW Camper van and have been driving south ever since. Months in Mexico. Climbing volcanoes and sailing and exploring caves with huge underground waterfalls in Guatemala. And they were headed into Honduras for diving and beyond. So I thought: Let’s have some more adventures together and joined them for a couple of weeks.  In addition, they had two friends from Germany with them, Stefi and Franzi (Twin sisters), who joined a a couple weeks before me and were doing 2-3 months.

Me, Hannah, Franzi, Fabian, Steffi
So the stage is set, I’ve got pickpocket proof travel wallets, belts with hidden money compartments, and a plane ticket to Roatan, Honduras. I land on a short runway in the rain of this lovely island. Then hop the ferry for the 1 hour ride to Utila. A smaller island nearby. Well, the ferry crossing was one of the wildest boat rides I’ve ever been on. The waves were BIG. Like 10 foot at times big, and rolling into the boat side to side. The horizon was grey. Sheets of rain came down. I loved it! I was on the top deck, enjoying the fresh air and the wind. At one point the crew told everyone to sit down and looked genuinely concerned… hmmm….

In the end we landed in Utila and Hannah and Fabian were there to greet me on the dock with giant hugs and smiles and frankly it felt like we’d seen each other a week ago. And it’s been 6 months. It’s one of the amazing thing about travel. I spent a total of 5 days with them in Cuba, but it’s like 5 weeks of normal time. And as a result, we just clicked back in to stories and jokes and good times. It was awesome.


So the main thing to do in Utila is Scuba dive. It’s one of the cheapest places in the world to learn. So I did my Advanced open water with Fabian and Franzi. (Hannah and Steffi had already done it). Doing the class meant 7 dives in 3 days, and some book and class work. We did our book work on a pier overlooking the Caribbean sea. Now that’s a classroom!

Our first day was actually snorkeling and hanging out on piers and enjoying the island. Because, for whatever reason they decided to do the classes the next day. We’re on island time now!

Well, at 3 am I woke… and did NOT feel good. Nausea. Headache. Really?!?!? I just got here. That’s gotta be a record. My best guess was the Poke I ate at the beach wasn’t so good. So my first morning was sleeping while they started diving. It was the right call as I felt better 12 hours later, but still. Whew.

The diving here is AWESOME. We were at Parrot’s dive shop. This rag tag, lovable place with great instructors and a real family fun feel to it. Arjen, our teacher, who’s from Holland, was great, and we dove down to 100 feet multiple times. We did an awesome wreck dive, on the USS Haliburton (yep, that company). It was purposely sunk a number of years ago, and was a really cool cargo ship to float around. It took me all of 2 minutes to get used to diving again, and after the 7 dives I really felt like I had improved a lot.

Highlights included the wreck, a night dive with some bioluminescence and tons of fish (more came out at night!). I loved the deep dive egg trick, where Arjen cracked an egg at 30 meters (100 feet) and it stays together. We could push on it and toss it around like mercury on the surface. And on the birthday dive, there was a free swimming eel that followed us for 12 minutes or more. It came up next to me, like 5 feet away, then swam up the sea mount… then came back. The dive master had skewered a lion fish and fed it to the eel, and then the eel spit it out and got really sassy. It swam up underneath some of us, and even went right up to the dive master, who shooed it away with a harpoon. I’ve never seen a free swimming eel before. Arjen’s passion for the undersea life makes me want to learn more about what I’m seeing down there. It’s another world I recommend to anyone.


So November 21st was my birthday…. and Stefi and Franzi’s bday too!
Yep! Triple birthday fun!
It started with cake and candles and sweet gifts that Hannah and Fabian had made or got for all of us. Cool stickers with nice notes on them. Then we did our two great dives. And after we came up from the 2nd one: Champagne on the boat! The dive shop got us a bottle and we all celebrated on the ride back.
Then back at the shop:  More cake! The DIVE SHOP had a cake made for us! What?!?! How nice! Then later on the bar gave us one bottle of champagne each! It was pretty great! A fun special day indeed.

So there is a really funny video about Utila. This island where people come for a week and stay forever. It’s apparently pretty common. I loved the island, but I don’t think I’d get stuck there. (Supposedly it’s Robinson Crusoe’s island. There are signs and maps up all over by someone claiming this was the spot. So they sure got stuck! lol).

So the video has 3 lies:
1.  “I think I love you.”  and the response “No, you don’t.”
2. “I’m leaving tomorrow” — “No you’re not.”
3. “I’m not drinking tonight.”  — “Yes you will.”  “Cause the truth, not the lies, you’re in Utila still”.

It’s a great place. With great people, and a great vibe. And it’s super safe, and super friendly, and really… it is amazing. And if you love diving: buy that ticket to Utila and enjoy!

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