In 2018 Diving with Heroes ventured to the other side of the Caribbean Sea to dive and explore Utila, one of the Bay Islands of Honduras. The divers stayed and dove with Utila Lodge. This was a large group, with nine veteran divers, including a U.K. veteran who traveled from Australia to learn about, and dive with, DWH.
Utila is situated within the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, and the main draw for DWH were migrating whale sharks. While no whale sharks were encountered, the divers saw so many unique fish, including (but not limited to): upside down jellyfish, margintail conger eel, large-eyed toadfish, shortfin pipefish, northern stargazer, and wire coral shrimp. The divers also learned about the terrestrial ecosystem with the help of Kanahau Utila Research and Conservation Facility, where they toured their facility and explored the bat cave (singularly the best field trip DWH has even taken).
The divers logged 17 dives in Utila, including two night dives. They also earned their PADI Coral Conservation and Fish Identification Specialties, and four divers completed the PADI Advanced Open Water certification.
DWH Beneficiaries: Matt Commons, Chris Dawson (U.K.), Neal Hamilton, Robert Kuykendall, Mike Velazquez and Bill Yurek.
Returning Alumni: Heather Deerenberg, Aaron Kirzner and Rich Lawrence.