Utila | Honduras


Ryan and I decided to take a holiday to the Bay Island of Utila in Honduras. We had some time available between Christmas and New Years and about three months ago started doing mini planning. I have wanted to learn how to scuba dive for a long time, I just kept putting it off. Each spring would come around, the ice would thaw and I would tell myself ‘This is the year you will get Padi certified!’ .. and it didn't happen for many, not very good, reasons. I have travelled to the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Florida Keys, Australia - all places where I could have dived but wasn’t trained.

Utila came on our radar because it is a island, almost completely catered to scuba diving, in Central America and different than the normally ‘down south’ holiday locations we have taken in the past. As well as it’s big sister island, Roatan, the Bay Islands are part of the Mesoamerican Reef system, only 2nd largest to the Great Barrier. From Cozumel down to Honduras .. there are miles and miles of beautiful reefs, fish, mammals and life. The training was done over 3 full days at Alton’s Dive Center, whom I was very, very happy with. I’m not a quick learner but my instructor did not rush, was patient and wanted to make sure I understood and was confident and clear.

I barely took out my camera. I packed my gear lightly, only brought one body and my 70-200. I left the 300 at home but brought my extender. After several flights and a ferry, we arrived on Sunday night. Monday was our only real free day as we went with a charter on Tuesday, Christmas Day to Water Cay, which is a cay off of Utial in the southwest part of the island. We stayed the whole day with a group of people and snorkelled, picnic, swam, slept and a few drinks. I did my training all day Wednesday through Friday and then did two fun dives on the Saturday .. then we left Sunday morning. We do have a GoPro but didn’t bring it in the end as I wanted to focus on my diving and not be worried about the camera, so I have no underwater photos but I can tell you there were plentiful and beautiful and I even go to snorkel with a pod of bottlenose dolphins for a couple of minutes. It was so moving I cried in my mask. True story. My favourite fish to watch was the male and female Stoplight Parrotfish, which I was able to identify later in a book. As I know nearly nothing about fish, I will need to get some kind of identifying slate next time I dive.

Sometimes I regret not capturing EVERYTHING but not this time. The diving makes you quite tired and in my down time I just wanted to relax on our oceanfront rental and sway in the wind on the hammock.

There are many dogs that roam freely, almost all have collars so perhaps some are pets that roam? There is a shelter being built on the island for the organization Jasper’s Animal Shelter. I unfortunately didn’t get a chance to visit while there but very thankful there is a community of people caring for the dogs and cats. There is no vet on the island but there is a vet tech who I believe is going to be trained in veterinary medicine and return to the island.

We saw countless iguanas and anoles and there is also a conservation group, Iguana Station, for an endemic species of Iguana on the island called the Utila spiny tailed swamper Iguana.

We will definitely be heading back to Utila .. it’s just our speed and a nice mix of backpackers and vacationers with no chains, cruise ships or resorts. We stayed off Old Airport Road, which is a 10 minute walk to the main shops but away from the more noisy, younger crowd.

I hope you enjoy some of the few photos I took on Monday afternoon of dogs, iguanas, birds and some cats. :)


Sit With Me adoption faces of 2016

Here is a collage of some the wonderful dogs I met this year through Sit With Me. Some have been adopted, some are still looking for a home. If you are considering adding a dog to your family, please look at adoption. There are so many different types available with many rescues. Do your research, ask questions and adopt responsibly. 

My goal is to photograph dogs to help get them noticed, expedite the process to their new life and raise awareness about adoption. 

Sit With Me's 3rd Birthday

Sit With Me Shelter Dog Rescue had their 3rd birthday today at Laroche Park in Ottawa. It was great to see so many people come out and help support our rescue group who has so many volunteers behind the scenes. Volunteers whom mostly all work full time jobs PLUS helping save the lives of dogs with no time left in our local shelters. There were activities for people and pets and Chuck Desjardins Photography was taking professional photos for the afternoon. A BBQ with meat from the Manotick Butcher, loot bags, Crazy Beautiful Collars and much more. Here are some photos of the very, very hot afternoon. The park had many mature trees throughout so people and pooches could cool down, which was very nice as well as a bit of breeze here and there. 

I had two of my previous fosters show up, Robyn and Wylie and it warms my heart when these reunions happen. Many dogs I have photographed in the past have been adopted but there are still many more that are waiting. 

If you are considering adopting a dog, I ask you to consider Sit With Me. Check out their Facebook page for their ADOPTABLES album and see if there is someone in there that might suit your lifestyle.