This expedition is based on Utila Island and is aimed at training you to become a PADI Divemaster (DM). You need to be qualified to PADI Rescue Diver and have 40 logged dives before starting on this course. Your course will then involve assisting qualified Divemasters and Instructors in training new Open Water divers and providing additional supervision in the water to the normal DM and Instructor ratios. The costs of the course are included in the expedition, though you will have to purchase the necessary PADI training materials ahead of joining the expedition and pay PADI registration fees after completion. During your expedition you will also have time to join the Caribbean reef ecology and survey techniques course and will be able to learn how to identify most of the coral and fish species encountered in the Caribbean as well as gain an insight into the marine research being carried out at the Coral View Research Centre. Note, one of the benefits of training with Opwall is that assuming you perform well on site then for future seasons we offer those who have trained with us the opportunity to fill one of the DM roles on different expeditions around the world.
In the Caribbean, there are a number of core issues that have been affecting the biodiversity of the coral reefs – including the mass mortality of keystone sea urchins that have allowed algal colonisation of reef areas, an invasive species originally from the Indo-Pacific (lionfish) that acts as a predator on reef fish which has been spreading across the Caribbean, and overfishing of reef fish by local communities. Opwall has two monitoring sites in Honduras: one is on the island reefs of Utila and the second on the coastal barrier reef of Tela. At both sites, teams of Opwall scientists and students collect annual monitoring data to assess temporal patterns of ecosystem change, alongside novel research to address key management priorities and gaps in our current understanding of tropical marine coastal ecosystem function.
Our marine sites are hot and usually dry, but with occasional storms.
Fitness level required
Low – Moderate. Some fitness is required for in water activities, but conditions are relatively easy.
Facilities are comfortable but basic. There is phone signal and limited wifi that is often unreliable.