...Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras, to help promote environmental awareness.
Utila Dive Festival is the first annual cooperative festival between all the dive centres and businesses on the island of Utila. (http://www.utiladivefestival.com
- site still under construction)
Utila's snorkelling/diving is comprised of amazing reef systems, and is a little more diverse than most warm water destinations. On the North side of Utila we have sheer walls and drop offs that go several hundred metres (though obviously we don't go that deep!) This is where we find the gentile and majestic WhaleShark and also we have regular encounters with Dolphins and we formed the Utila Center for Marine Ecology which specializes in the study of Dolphins and other marine creatures and have an accredited specialty in Dolphin Research recognized by PADI and supported by Universities in the USA that study cognitive behaviour in marine mammals. On the South side of Utila we have a fringing reef system with spur and groove formations where you'll find some of the more diverse creatures in the Caribbean, the REEF group that publish the 'Caribbean Fish ID' series of books have voted the Bay Islands the most diverse region in the Caribbean for aquatic life. There are Eels, turtles, Spotted Drums, Stonefish, Frogfish and a plethora of other inhabitants of the reef. The visibility here averages 20-30mt and water temp averages 26-28c.
Utila is less commercial than the other Bay Islands and most islands in the Caribbean and you won’t find deludes of cruise ships, motor traffic, condominium developers or mass tourism, instead the island is reminiscent of the traditional Caribbean way of living. Whilst there is not an international airport on the island, this has protected the island from over development and allowed it to retain its natural charm and beauty, and Utila is still within easy reach of the mainland. The island is English(mainly) and Spanish speaking, very friendly, and you won’t need to take taxis or shuttles to get around the island, or waste time communicating; most people get around by bicycle, and you have easy access to supermarkets, apartments, all close by. Utila is also one of the most affordable destinations to live and train on in the Caribbean as well, due to the lack of commercial development on the island.
Utila Dive Festival is being set up to promote the island and what it has to offer, but also importantly to raise awareness of the plight the aquatic ecosystem is facing. Special events are still being finalised, but include environmental events and every business is contributing with products or services to attendees (there is basically no financial budget, and everybody is putting in their efforts for the greater good); giving all visitors a chance to sample what Utila has to offer, and further educating the local and ex-pat community.
Food and music are strong influencers in Utilian culture and the 'Taste of Utila' events will allow visitors to sample Utila's range of local and international cuisines.
We are looking to expand the musical talents during the week however. Already, Pup Morse (Scuba Cowboy)
will be coming along as an international musical guest (familiar with the diving demographic) and will be supported by various national and local musical celebrities, including Utila Thrillas (previous number 1's in Honduras) and Barefoot Band.
What are we looking for? It may be a far reach, but we are looking for an internationally recognised musical talent to give up their time (perhaps for some renumeration, but honestly this is limited). We would however cover all costs whilst on island and air-fare too.
Why KT? Well, you were my first thought as I'm a 'Nutjob'!
Plus as a passionate environmental advocate, you would help promote awareness of the eco-causes that are facing the world's oceans. Project Aware (http://www.projectaware.org/
) and PADI, supporters of Utila Dive Festival, raise awareness particularly in two areas currently:
Marine Debris http://www.projectaware.org/project/marine-debris
Sharks in Peril http://www.projectaware.org/project/sharks-peril
A highly recognised face will help ensure coverage of these areas and more following the event, so if you have some time 'to spare' between August 18th and 25th, it would be great to have you on board. You can PM
me, or contact me on http://www.facebook.com/scubasimon