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. The course involves a combination of dive theory, in water practical sessions, and shadowing instructors teaching PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water courses. The training 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 complete our Caribbean coral reef ecology course and will 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 by our team. One of the benefits of Divemaster training with Opwall is that, assuming you perform well on site, we can offer Divemaster positions on our various expeditions around the world in subsequent summers. There is also the option to extend this expedition to 6 weeks and spend the additional time collecting data with our team of scientists on a range of research projects.
In the Caribbean, there are a number of core issues that have been affecting the biodiversity of coral reefs, including the mass mortality of keystone sea urchins that have allowed algal colonisation of reef areas, an invasive predator (lionfish) originally from the Indo-Pacific that has spread across the Caribbean, and overfishing of reef fish by local communities. Opwall has two marine research sites in Honduras where these issues and many more are studied: 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 in reef community health, alongside novel research to address key conservation priorities and gaps in our current understanding of these fragile ecosystems. Honduras is also home to Opwall’s pioneering efforts to integrate technological solutions into the monitoring and study of coral reefs, including our 3D computer modelling method. Opwall’s team of marine scientists in Honduras helps to support not only international academic research and new method development, but also supports local non-governmental organisations with their efforts to improve marine conservation in Honduras.
Most of our volunteers fundraise for their expedition costs. Find out more.
Our marine sites are hot and usually dry, but with occasional storms.
Fitness level required
Moderate – High. As a Divemaster, a fair level of fitness is key to ensuring divers stay safe in the water. This will naturally improve as the course progresses on your way to becoming a PADI professional.
Facilities are comfortable but basic. There is phone signal and limited wifi that is often unreliable.