Diving in Utila is rich and diverse. We have more than 70 marked buoys and many more unmarked sea mounds and other sites. Many dive sites here in Utila are within 5 to 10 minutes of the town with the furthest only being 30 or so minutes away (depending on the speed of the boat you are on!) Diving in Utila is awesome and we will tell you why.
The glorious visibility, healthy coral, huge variance of fish, tropical warm water and the ever present chance to snorkel with dolphins and whale sharks and you can see why every level of diver would like to come diving in Utila
Photo Credit: Scubaben
Diving in Utila
The diving in Utila separates broadly into different regions, all offering something unique. The South of the island has white sand beaches that run into the ocean ringed with fringing coral. The sand patches are home to flounders, garden eels, sea horses and other magical creatures.
There are also lots of squid who all like to hang out in big groups of 20 or more and change colour on the whim of their leader! The coral closest to the sand patches where it is shallow are a perfect nursery for juvenile fish, so you can see miniature versions of all the reef fish you see round Utila.
Diving in Utila: A Scuba Divers Delight
Moving further up the shore, still on the south side of the island of Utila but closer to town, we start to get walls. The top reef is about 5m and has sand patches and soft coral with the walls descending to 20m or so and then deeper out in the sand. These walls also have an abundance of black coral and are good sites to encounter Turtles, Morays, huge Channel Clinging Crabs and Lobster. There are also often schools of Black Margate, Atlantic Spadefish, Creole Wrasse and Blue Chromis.
Photo Credit: Scubaben
Diving the Wrecks and Reefs of Utila
Moving round into the harbor, we are lucky enough to have our very own wreck, the Halliburton . Many divers come to Dive in Utila to explore this famous shipwreck.
It was sunk in 1998 and has developed into a rich ecosystem.It is a 30 meter long cargo ship that sits perfectly upright in 30m of water. Perfect for the deep dive of the Advanced course, wreck specialties and anyone who loves to see a majestic ship in crystal clear blue water!
Diving the South East of Utila
The South East section of the island offers some of my favorite dive sites. The reef is gently sloping and covered with beautiful soft coral. It also has lots of sand channels and a sandy bottom so it is perfect for seeing Eagle Rays and Stingrays. There are also a couple of small wrecks and lots of little caverns and swim throughs and when the sunlight hits the sites at a perfect angle for showing off the beautiful topography.
Diving the North side of Utila
This reef is the 2nd largest in the world and creates an awe inspiring backdrop. The walls drop to more than 100m and then deeper and deeper as you move away from the shore. Our tech divers love this side of the island and it has several swim throughs at more than 40 metres!
For recreational divers the feeling of floating over the edge and seeing the wall fall away beneath you makes every dive site here take your breath away. It also has large schools of the huge ocean going fish that are coming up from the depths to feed.
Photo Credit: Recovering Vagabond
Tiger sharks, White Tips and Nurse Sharks can sometimes be seen although no one is sure who is watching who!! Large Grouper lazily cruise along checking out the reef for a tasty snack and for those that like the “small stuff” Lettuce Leaf slugs, Flatworms and nudibranchs can be found in the shallows.
Diving in Utila can be done by divers of all ages and experience and will satisfy even the most discerning diver. Have you ever had the please to go diving in Utila? Let us know in the comments below.
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This Guest blog written by Sarah Dowdall from Utila Diving Center who is diving in Utila as a dive instructor.