After about a month and a half of shipping organization and transit time to Utila Island, the modular chin bar replacement for the snapped flip-top button on my Scorpion EXO-900 TransFormerHelmet finally came in! It’s like Christmas in May. I couldn’t imagine touring through such vastly different climates as I have been – from December’s record lows in the southeastern States to the humid 90s along the Caribbean coast – in anything but a modular lid; hydratable, breathable, and chattable with flip-down shades.

I've been living on Utila Island and working and diving at the Bay Islands College of Diving for about two-months now. This island is a place like no other. The population exists on about 1/8 of the island and is separated by waterways, volcanic rock and mangroves. The local language is an Ebonics-esqu English and the social ‘interface’ seems to have paused somewhere around the age of 14. The local guys, descendants of white Europeans, African slave and native Hondurans, hang out in front of the wood constructed mini-marts, day-drink, blast their man-sized speakers and cat-call women. They don’t move far, only to get another cold one, although they really can’t go far without a boat. It’s amazing on such a tiny area of land mobility that many of the locals allegedly don’t even know how to swim … or the one’s who do are free diving to dine on endangered Conches; it’s not ignorance, it’s disrespect.

Mixing with locals, and probably almost equal in population, are the backpacker-type tourists and temporary dive shop instructors and divemasters who usually stick around for about 3-to-4 months. As one of the cheapest places in the world to acquire one, Utila Island is the scuba dive certification factory.

To accommodate this tourist economy there are bars like Treetanic, a Gaudi-style creation made by a Los Angeles ex-pat, Tranquila built on a dock, and Skid Row peddling shots of guifiti, a local moonshine, and serving it up 7-nights a week … not to mention easy access to marijuana and cocaine. Just ask the local Dr. John who’s usually too coked out of his gourd to practice. Although, according to veteran divers, when his accountant does her job by withholding earnings to control the doc’s binges, he’s apparently a guru at resolving scuba-ailments.

Mix all this international youthful highness up and you get a crazy stew, which leads to weird things … like alcohol poisoning due to the divemaster’s snorkel tests, where the snorkel becomes the liquor bong or the man who fell out of a tree while picking mangos and electrocuted himself or the thief that was caught with a bunch of stolen laptops and cameras and was returned to the island from the Honduran mainland after just two-days because no one had enough cash to press charges. I’ve concluded that I’m living in an island soap opera. I feel like Truman.

Fortunately for a dose of reality, I hope, my Brother Bear will be flying out here to the Honduran Bay Islands to get his scuba certification on June 5; yeah! So after we have some fun swimming with the fishies, it’s time for me to get back rolling through the jungle.

Cart-her and I will be climbing back aboard the cargo ship on June 12 to continue our exploration. Tentative plans are to roll back into Guatemala to explore the natural ponds and limestone bridge of Semuc Champey, the bat caves of Lanquín and to immerse myself in a home-stay environment to study Spanish in highlands of Cobán … hoping Cart-her can make the 4,356 foot climb this time.