If recreational diving is like driving a Mini, then DSATs tec 40 diving in Utila Honduras is like manning a semi truck," says Matt Awty, course director for Deep Blue Utila Dive Resort. "Imagine trying to parallel park it."
The basic tec 40 diving rig doubles the gear load: two tanks joined by a dual manifold, two regulators and two computers. Tec 40 divers in Utila, Honduras also carry at least one stage bottle used to extend dive time — in this case, a standard-size aluminum 80 carried on the left. The added bulk and lopsidedness thwart agility, making otherwise experienced divers appear as graceful as a hippo on roller skates.
DSATs three-day introductory Tec 40 divingcourse familiarizes students with the new setup, and how to comfortably and quickly operate it in a simulated emergency. For example, a newbie learns how to quickly isolate a gas flow by craning an arm up and behind his head to turn off the corresponding tank valves. This might sound easy, but in terms of flexibility, it's akin to scratching between your shoulders.
Utila, Honduras serves as a convenient location for those seeking deep water (special diving courses). The island's (Utila Honduras) north shore abuts the Caribbean's continental shelf, which drops off beyond 1,000 feet. For divers, the close-to-shoredrop-offs make for fast boat rides and, should you want additional recreational dives between classes, short surface swims. Graduates who take further tec courses can look forward to extra credit: Sea-mounts rising within 200 feet of the surface pepper this area, with many still unmapped. For certified tec 40 divers on Utila, virgin descents are the norm. It is one of the best places for technical wreck diving in the world.
Training starts at a site such as Big Rock. With the first two-tank plunge, the cumbersome gear demands total focus. Then a school of dog snapper passes, followed by a spotted eagle ray with a remora in tow. Self-consciousness melts. Fumblingand flailing cease. For a moment, newbie and pro alike watch in perfect stillness — no jackknifed semitrucks in sight.
What You Need
Advanced Open Water and Enriched Air Diver certifications, as well as deep- diving experience.
When to Go
Water temps range from upper 70s in winter to the mid-80s in summer.
Deep Blue Resort (deepblueutila.com) offers the full package, from rooms to tec instruction plus an on-site restaurant.
The Tec 40 diving course costs $450.