I left my hotel in Copán Ruinas at 4:30 in the morning. The minibus to San Pedro Sula (Casasola Express) leaves on the hour. San Pedro Sula is a transportation hub, and on the way to Ceiba (where the ferries to the Bay islands leave).
I am not usually walking the streets at dark.
It is pretty.
I was a bit apprehensive about waiting for a minibus on a street alone, but men working for a company going to another location assured me the bus would be there soon, and even called the driver to say I was waiting. I know there are bad people out there but it is almost hard not to be dependent on the kindness of strangers in Central America.
After a four hour bus ride with many stops, and an interior that far surpassed its cargo carrying capacity, I arrived at San Pedro Sula. It was the biggest bus terminal I had seen so far. I wasn't sure exactly where the buses to Ceiba would be but as soon as the bus door opened I heard 'Ceiba... Ceiba', and was thankful (although where is the adventure if it is so easy?!). An employee working for Diana Express took my luggage and walked me to their office where I would buy my ticket to Ceiba... Ceiba.
The bus was a full size luxury bus, and after a while I got a window seat and enjoyed the view.
After another four hours I was (almost) in Ceiba.
The bus went right passed Golosón International Airport. Yes, this is the international airport.
It is also the place where you can board flights to the Bay islands (no thanks!).
When I was dropped off at Diana Express' bus stop there were taxis waiting to take customers to the ferries (too easy!). The Utila Princess has two trips to Utila, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It I didn't make it before 4pm I was going to be spending the night in Ceiba (hence my early departure from Copán Ruinas).
I got there two hours early but I was starving so it worked out. I got two baleadas. This is Honduran street food. It is basically like a thick flour tortilla folded in half with beans and cheese and sometimes cream. They are delicious.
I noted, while waiting at the dock, that people sending packages to and from Utila are not known for their packing abilities.
(You never know when information like this could come in handy!)
The sea was rough!
All of the sudden the idea of taking a flight from the Golosón International Airport didn't seem like such a bad idea. At least I would die sooner, not trampled by people trying to flee after the boat capsizes an hour into the trip.
It took a 71 minutes to arrive, and it felt exactly like 71 minutes. I was sweaty, uncomfortable, nervous, and fearful almost the entire time. Every time the boat started to tip over I tried to move over to the other side to balance it out (which was difficult to do since I was at a table, blocked in by a pregnant woman).
I know this sounds over dramatic but this is my experience, and my story, and no one can take this away from me.
Okay, so obviously we made it.
Although I felt like I was going to die (or at least other people were going to die and I was going to be floating in the water waiting to be rescued) nothing happened. The ferry drivers know what they are doing, always driving along the grain of the waves, to reduce the impact.
Utila is much closer to the mainland than the other popular Bay island, Roatan. This is not the reason I didn't go to Roatan. Utila is more relaxed, smaller, safer, and has cheaper diving.
After arriving at the hotel/dive center I got a beer and relaxed a little. I signed up for some dives, washed some clothes, and took a walk through town to get some dinner (ice cream).
On Tuesday I signed up for a refresher course, which the dive master recommended to everyone if a year or even less has passed since a previous dive. I also signed up for a morning dive on Wednesday.
I felt pretty travel savvy about this invention (needing to redeem myself after the border crossing incident). I brought with me dry sheets of laundry detergent but there was no way to block the sink (because hotels don't want you drying your wet clothes on their furniture) so I washed my clothes in a bag.
Although at first I thought that I wasn't going to be speaking Spanish at all I was pleasantly surprised that this is only true at dive centers (which are very international).