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what can I expect to see in Roatan and Utila?

Discussion in 'Bay Islands' started by h3o, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. h3o

    h3o Barracuda

    Hi, just wondering what kind of life I should be expecting in Roatan and Utila. I looked at "Dee's photo albums" of Roatan, and it seems there is a lot of variety as far as coral, nudis, and fish, but I didn't see any photos of turtles, rays, pelagic fish, whales or sharks. Just wondering what other people's experience has been in Roatan and Utila.

    Has anyone been to Utila and seen a whale shark?

    Thanks =)
  2. SubQ

    SubQ Instructor, Scuba

    hi there H30

    I was on Utila a short while ago and as you say there is a good variety of corals etc. The amount of fish was a bit dissappointing to me, but the variety of species was very nice. We saw all sorts of special stuff, (e.g. shortnosed batfish, flying grenard/gunard(?)lots of octopus, seahorses etc.) Around Utila you have very little chance of seeing shark, except for the nurseshark living at silver gardens maybe. The chances of seeing whaleshark are pretty good sept to nov./dec.(?) But I was there for six weeks and did not see a whale shark. A buddy of mine did though. Its all down to luck, but chances are pretty favorable. The captains of the diveboats are always on the lookout for the telltale signs. (jumping tuna etc.)As far as rays go, it would be strange if you didnt see a at least couple of Eagle rays. I saw plenty!
    Also dolphins abound, I didn't see them on the dives though, but we did jump in with them off the boat occasionally.
    Turtles are there aswell.
    I would like to hear where to find those nudis! I was always on the lookout for them, but I only spotted the same ones over and over.

    Greetz SubQ
  3. Tim Ingersoll

    Tim Ingersoll Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Rochester, NY
    Dove at Anthony's Key Resort last year. What was remarkable to me was that there were lots of groupers. They were like big friendly dogs that followed us around. No pelagics.
  4. SubQ

    SubQ Instructor, Scuba

    Thats interesting,
    the groupers at Utila are usually small.
    Probably a reflection of the fact that the reef at Roatan is much better protected than the reef at Utila. All the big Utilan groupers end up on R.J.'s BBQ...
  5. fredk

    fredk Nassau Grouper

    In the season I was in Utila I saw whale sharks on many occasions, you have to dive with the right shop, lots say they find whale sharks but only by trying to follow the boats that do find them. As for other types of sharks there is often black tips around the whale sharks looking for an easy meal so beware. Also on the deep side of Black Hills you often see black tips, saw many nurse sharks at the Maze and in March we saw a large Manta at CJ'S dropoff.
  6. RicanDiver

    RicanDiver Angel Fish

    I am headin on a dive jaunt to Roatan Utila in april. I have been doing my due diligence as far as dive operators. I am looking to get my advance OW there.

    Can anyone steer me in the right direction? Who is considered the best D.O. , price while is always of consequence is not my most important priority.

    By the way great board. =-)
  7. leadweight

    leadweight Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives:
    Location: USA
    Bring lots of insect repellent. The sand flies on Roatan are hungry. I found the underwater world around Coco View to be unusually colorfull.
  8. RicanDiver

    RicanDiver Angel Fish

    Thanks for the heads up. I will make sure that off is certainly well represented in my packing arsenal :)

    Any suggestions on dive operators? FredK, who did you charter to check out the Whale Sharks? Also to note is that I want to get my AOW cert while down there. I am NAUI, but will swing either way.=-)
  9. caribbean-diving.com

    caribbean-diving.com Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: Caribbean
    In terms of the paelagics you can usually spot baracudas. Im not sure if Jacks are paelagics though. I wouldnt count on seeing a whaleshark unless you go with one of the plane spotting helped operations.
  10. Doc

    Doc Was RoatanMan

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Chicago & O'Hare heading thru TSA 5x per year
    If you are coming to the Bay Islands for big fish, you will be looking for the wrong thing.

    Pretty much so you can save money and go to the Bahamas if you want to see Groupers, Baracudas and the like. Yes, you are more likely to see Whale Sharks in the Bay Islands, but that is best in a few months at select lunar phases. To go expecting Whale Sharks is folly, to go and stumble into them- that's a bonus.

    You can go anywhere in the Caribbean to see Lobsters and Crabs, but as you mention "Dee's" photos, you must understand that the South shore of Roatan is what sets the Bay Islands apart from the rest of the Caribbean. It's the small stuff.

    Dee is set up for macro photo. If a big critter swam by, not only would she not be set up to photograph it, but Dee has seen a Turtle, a Ray, a Shark (or two). Trust me, after the 10th Shark- enough already. Got my turtle... check. Now... can we go looking for Pipefish and Arrow Blennies... something really cool?

    I can't tell you how many dives that I have done, right next to Dee, when one or the other of us saw a 3' Baracuda and didn't even bother to get the other's attention. Okay, another Baracuda. In your first 30 logged relaxed warm water dives, if you don't see three baracuda- you just weren't looking! The cool stuff is tiny- half dollar sized down to pin-point tiny.

    The South side of Roatan is a nursery that is visible to advanced divers with excellent buoyancy and observational skills. Many better divers carry magnifying glasses and move very little during any dive.

    "Advanced" diving can mean many things, but I always point out that it represents skill sets that must be understood and honed to be attained. This kind of advanced diving... no- it isn't life threatening if you don't master it, but thorough mastery of buoyancy and observation can make the difference between a standard caribbean dive trip versus the wonderment of the Bay Islands.

    More microscopic wonders? See http://www.docksidedivecenter.com/WeeklyLog.html (also look at "previous weeks")

    When the time comes, you'll see the big stuff swimming by- in the mean time, go find yourself an Anemone Crab or SeaHorse.

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