Life in Utila is a far stretch from what I had been used to back in London. Basically, I didn’t think within 24 hours of arriving, I was going to be the number 1 pin in a game of human slip n slide ten pin bowling. My job back in England prior to coming to Utila was designing trains which consisted of an almost 2 hour commute on the London tube system, mostly dreary weather and drearier people. (That’s real negative, some were alright, but you’ll understand my feelings after a week here.)
My first introduction to life on Utila was a bunch of strangers and a table full of lionfish. I was picked up at the airport by a little motorised cart (which is the closest thing thing they have to taxis on this island) and brought to what would be my new home. It’s a simple stilted house up a small street that is lined with dogs who often follow us to work and hang out at the office for the day. The living situation is basic but I really liked the change from my home in busy London. We have and make do with what we need, but there’s nothing fancy. You do what you need and there’s no fuss or extra hassle. The next day continued with Lionfish (I was strongly promised this wasn’t everyday..) but I was already enjoying the change of lifestyle.
My journey down to “work” is a 5 minute walk often made shorter by someone offering a perch on a quad bike or a seat on a golf cart. This consideration for people you don’t know was something that’s been missing in London for a long time and something that contributed to my want for a change. My first point of meeting the good people here was after finishing analyzing, dissecting and filleting the lionfish and everyone went and met down at the lodge. “Sunday Funday” is basically a chance for all the people affiliated with the diving college, WSORC and the resort to get together on our one day off and do fun activities. The activity on my first day was a dock party / slip n’ slide, so they put a tarp out on one of the docks (with some padding underneath), covered it in soap, and let everyone get creative. At one point there was a train of 20 people that all went at once, and that’s how I eventually ended up as a human bowling pin at the end of the dock getting smashed by a bowling ball of people. I think the biggest personal difference of life here compared to back home is waking up and feeling like I’m doing something good. There’s a lot of exciting projects coming up at WSORC, most I probably won’t be around to see the final product but I’ll be contributing whatever I can to the cause and will most definitely be keeping in contact and keeping an eye on their progression. Thanks for being sweet as balls, Utila. I like this place.
Author: Patrick Herbert, November 2015