• Gary Rosewell

Utila: Revisited

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

Meet Rosie Alvelais from El Paso, Texas (below, left) – Master Scuba Diver Trainer and all-round life go-getter. I met Rosie and her partner, Ethan, while doing my Divemaster in Utila, Honduras, June 2019. Adventure 176 caught up with her to find out why Utila, wherever she is in the world, will always be a special place.

Photo by Utila Dive Centre, Rosie left

Q. Rosie! How are you holding up during the lock down?

Things are so weird and uncertain at the moment. We will be leaving Kona, Hawaii [currently working there as dive instructors] because the tourism industry has taken a huge hit and many flights are cancelled up until September.

We had secured jobs as instructors for kid’s summer camps in Ethan’s home state, North Carolina. Sadly, those too have now been cancelled, so we are really taking it day by day. On the flip side, it is a rarity for both of us to spend so much time with family, so we are looking forward to that!

Q. Why did you pursue diving?

I have always had a huge appreciation for the water and wildlife. When I had the opportunity to get certified, I jumped at it and absolutely fell in love.

Diving is fun, full of variety and you are constantly learning. The dive community was one of the major appeals too - some of the very best people I have met have been through diving.

Q. What brought you to Utila and how long did you spend there?

I had spent three years traveling on and off and Utila was my final adventure before finding a job to top up the coffers...

Originally, I planned to stay for a month to complete my PADI Divemaster but ended up staying for nine! I arrived as an Advanced Open Water diver and left as a Master Scuba Diver Trainer, having truly found my passion.

Q. Why become an instructor?

I quickly established that my favorite aspect of the Divemaster was assisting on courses. I wanted more of that and thus signed up for my IDC (Instructor Development Course).

I adore introducing people to the underwater world and teaching them how to do it in a safe and fun manner. If my students finish a course with an understanding of safety and a higher interest in conserving marine life, then I have done my job.

Q. You instructed with Utila Dive Center (UDC) of course. What three words best sum up your diving experience there?

Constant learning experience…

I simply loved learning every day. We were lucky to teach full time at UDC and therefore work with a ton of students in each class from all corners of the world.

I learned how to help students overcome difficulties both in and out of the water. It made me a better instructor and taught me how to adapt to different styles in a short period of time. It was a great experience that I will always be thankful for.

Q. You met your partner in Utila. Any advice to couples making it work on the dive scene?

I love that we both have an appreciation for the natural world - it is so fun to be able to share exciting things we see on a dive and take pleasure in that together.

As with any relationship, look for someone that you will have fun with in life! The pandemic has brought its challenges but we've really made the most of our time together.

Thank you Rosie - look forward to hearing how your adventures continue in the future.

On a separate note, the global diving industry is, like almost all other industries, on unknown ground right now. Nobody really knows how the remainder of the year will play out. Utila's economy is 100% dependent on tourism and diving makes up the vast majority of that.

Some countries are starting to open up - us Brits are on lock down until the beginning of June - and there will be a likely staggered approach to re-starting everything. Some countries are yet to see their peak however, throwing further doubt on Utila's ability to withstand the storm.

One thing's for sure - diving is full of resilient, innovative and solution-orientated people - Rosie a case-in-point. Utila is one of the most convenient and cost effective places to learn diving in the world, and UDC is certainly a world class dive school. When safe to do so, Utila will be back with a vengeance!

Photos by Rosie Alvelais, Angelina Pilarimos Photography and Adventure 176

Further Reading:

Honduras Tourism

Lonely Planet Utila

Utila Dive Centre

Angelina Pilarimos Photography

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