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Utila East Wind - January 2006 Edition

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Stories picked from the Headlines

Local Heroes Save Life

Local Heroes - Andrew & Lance Bernard - Click to enlarge
Local Heroes
Andrew & Lance Bernard

Local men Andrew Bernard and Lance Bernard have been declared heroes after their quick-thinking actions saved the life of a drowning man. Without their help Canadian tourist, Marc Andre Beaudry, 55, would almost certainly have died.

The duo was returning from work when they spotted a large object in the water about 200ft from the shore close to Cheppes Beach. At first they didn’t realize it was a person, but when Lance, 21, went for a closer look he discovered a body face down in the water.

After shouting to Andrew, 27, to get help, Lance began pulling the body out of the water. Lance, also known as Sidway, said: “The man was face down and he had snorkel gear on and had a bag with him. I just pulled him out of the water as quickly as I could while Andrew was calling the medical center to get help.”

Back at the shore, Lance and Andrew discovered Mr. Beaudry was completely unconscious and they feared he was dead until they heard a sigh. Then Andrew went to work performing CPR - an action that Dr John believes certainly saved the unconscious man’s life.

Dr John said: “I think Mr. Beaudry was unconscious in the water and I doubt he would have survived if they hadn’t pulled him out of the water, given him CPR and brought him down to the medical center.”

Modest Andrew added: “We just did what anyone would have done, but it was a relief when he started breathing again. I’m just glad I knew how to perform CPR - it is definitely something everyone should learn.”

“When I saw him I said he’s dead, he was as white as Spanish cheese. They said no he’s breathing, get him inside. His blood pressure was normal, so was his pulse and respiration. His lungs were full of seawater though,” said Dr. John. Mr. Beaudry was put on oxygen, an IV and flown to the hospital in La Ceiba. During the flight Mr. Beaudry regained consciousness and is now expected to make a full recovery.

Mr. Beaudry was on seizure medication for epilepsy. The patient took in a mix of water and air as he was snorkeling. The next morning the patient come to and was talking. He himself thought he had a seizure too. Dr. Maradiaga treated him without payment which in unheard of in D’Antoni. If he hadn’t done this, the patient would not have made it. The man’s family did say they would pay for the treatment.

Mr. Beaudry decided to go back to Canada even though he was planning on staying in Antigua for four months after his visit to Utila. This way it would be easier for him to put this ordeal behind him.

Mayor Alton Cooper has praised the actions of Lance and Andrew saying: “Without their quick-thinking we would have had a tragic death on the island. They have proved how valuable it is to know CPR. We live on an island and it is vital that everyone should know some basic first aid skills – Lance and Andrew have proved just how important that is.”

Andrew Bernard y Lance Bernard fueron proclamados héroes después de su acciones rápidos salvaron la vida de un hombre que se estaba ahogando. Sin su ayuda la turista Marc Andre Beaudry, 55, probablemente estará muerto.

El dúo estaba regresando de su trabajo cuando vieron un objeto largo en el agua a unos 200 pies de la orilla cerca de la playa de Cheppes. Al principio no realizaron que era una persona pero cuando Lance, 21, se acerco descubrió un cuerpo boca abajo en el agua.

Después de gritarle a Andrew, 27, para encontrar ayuda, Lance empezó a sacar el cuerpo del agua. Lance, también conocido como Sidway dijo: “El hombre estaba boca abajo y tenia equipo de esnorquel puesto y tenia una bolsa. Le saque del agua tan rápido como pude mientras que Andrew estaba llamado al centro medico por ayuda.”

En la orilla Lance y Andrew realizaron que Mr. Beaudry estaba completamente inconciente y temieron que estaba muerto hasta que oyeron un suspiro. Andrew empezó con RCP – una acción que Dr. John piensa que salvo la vida del hombre inconciente.

Dr. John dijo: “Yo creo que Mr. Beaudry estaba inconciente en el agua y dudo si habré sobrevivido si los chicos no le habían sacado del agua, dado RCP y llevado al centro medico.”

Andrew añadió “Solo hemos hecho lo que cualquier persona hubiera hecho, pero si era un alivio cuando empezó a respirar. Estoy muy contento que se hacer RCP – definitivamente es algo que todo el mundo debe saber.”

“Cuando le vio dijo esta muerto porque estaba tan blanco como queso Español. Me dijeron no, esta respirando, llévalo adentro. Su presión de sangre estaba normal, y su pulso y respiración también. Pero sus pulmones estaban llenos de agua,” dijo Dr. John. Le dieron oxigeno, un IV y le llevaron al hospital in La Ceiba. Durante el vuelo Mr. Beaudry recubrió la conciencia y creen que recupera completamente.

Mr. Beaudry estaba tomando medicamentos contra ataques para epilepsia. El paciente entrego una mezcla de agua y aire como estaba haciendo esnorkqueling. La siguiente mañana Mr. Beaudry empezó a hablar. El también piensa que tenía un ataque en el agua. Dr. Maradiaga le ayudo sin pagamiento algo que es el nunca hace. Sin su ayuda ya no estaba aquí. La familia de Mr. Beaudry dijo que iban a pagar los costos del tratamiento.

Mr. Beaudry decidió regresar a Canadá aunque sus planes eran quedarse in Antigua unas cuatro semanas después de su queda en Utila. Piensa que así será más fácil olvidar esta experiencia.

El alcalde elogio las acciones de Lance y Andrew. Sin sus acciones habríamos tenido una muerte trágica en Utila. Probaron que es muy valioso saber RCP. Vivimos en una isla y es vital que todos tenemos habilidades básicas de primeros auxilios.

Diver Dies after Deep Dive

Jose Midence - Click to enlarge
Jose Midence
Died 12 January 2006
after a deep dive off Guanaja

Jose Midence died Thursday the 12th of January after doing a deep dive off Guanaja. He was diving with Nautilus Resort with his buddy who had been banned from at least one dive shop on Utila after conducting extreme deep dives.

Another dive shop refused the rent equipment to her for of the same reason. Normally she would do a deep solo dive whilst Jose would stay at the surface. After doing this a number of times the two decided to do a deep dive together. They went to a depth of 315 feet without proper training and proper equipment. The duo descended on a single tanks of air and did not use any back up, safety equipment such as a drop tank and did not notify the captain that they would be deep diving.

At 200 feet everything seemed to be ok. At 300 feet Jose only had 1000 psi left and probably panicked, the effects of nitrogen narcosis at this point would be detrimental to normal function. At this point his buddy carried him by his tank and dropped some of his weights in order to go back to the surface. At the depth of around 70 feet Jose’s tank was empty and the two made a fast ascent to the surface.

At the surface to two got back onto the boat and according to the boat captain, Jose was fine. He was even happy and very excited about the dive he just did. About one minute later he started to complain about dizziness and pain in his chest. Approximately another minute passed before he became unconscious.

They got back to shore where they hired a fast boat in order to get Jose to Roatan for chamber treatment. After the two-hour trip they arrived at the chamber where two hyperbaric physicians attended him. They put him in the chamber and started a table six, which is 4 hour 45 mins. Whilst he was being brought up to about 20 feet he stopped breathing as he had suffered cardiac arrest. He was given CPR in the chamber but unfortunately it did not help. When they took him out of the chamber they give him adrenaline and started defibrillation but it was too late. Jose was pronounced dead at 9.36 p.m. Thursday the 12th of January.

José Midence falleció jueves el 12 de enero después de hacer un buceo profundo en Guanaja. Estaba buceando con Nautilus Dive Resort con su compañero. Ella fue excluida de por lo menos un centro de buceo en Utila.

Otro centro de buceo la deniega el alquilo de equipo de buceo por la misma razón. Normalmente ella hacia buceos profundos solo mientras que José estaba en la superficie. Después de hacer esto varias veces decidan hacer un buceo profundo juntos. Fueron a una profundidad de unos 315 pies sin el propio entrenamiento o equipo. El duo descendió con un solo tanque y no usaba ninguna reserva como un drop tanque.

A 200 pies todo pareció bien. A 300 pies José solo tenía 1000 psi en su tanque y probablemente le cundió el pánico como los efectos de narcosis de nitrógeno en ese momento seria perjudicial a función normal. Su compañero lo agarro al tanque y dejo caer algunos de Joses pesos para ir a la superficie. A la profundidad de unos 70 pies su tanque estaba vació y los dos hicieron un ascenso rápido a la superficie.

Allí los dos volvieron al barco y según el capitan José estaba bien. Incluso, estaba muy contento y entusado con el buceo que acaba de hacer. Dentro de un minuto se quejaba de vértigo y dolor en su pecho. Mas o menos un minuto mas tarde estaba inconciente.

Regresaron a la tierra donde alquilaron un barco rápido para ir a la cámara en Roatan. Después de un viaje de dos horas llegaron a la cámara donde dos doctores le atendieron. Le pusieron en la cámara y empezaron con una tabla 6; cuatro horas y 45 minutos. Mientras que le trajeron a unos 20 pies dejo de respirar. Sufrió un paro cardiaco. Le dieron RCP en la cámara pero infortunadamente no sirvió. Cuando le sacaron de la cámara le dieron adrenalina y empezaron defibrilacion pero era demasiado tarde. José fue declarado muerto a las 9.36 p.m. jueves el 12 de Enero.

Municipality News

Alton Cooper - Utila Mayor - Click to enlarge
Alton Cooper
Utila Mayor
The municipality is in the process of buying a new garbage truck, which will hopefully be on Utila in the beginning of February. The major would like to apologize to the people in Caponado because they had to use a pick up truck instead and therefore had to stop running materials for filling. Once the new truck is on the island it will start running materials again.


The UDSEC has guaranteed the funding of the municipal police for two more months. After that the organization might not be able to keep funding the police. The major will have a meeting with the UDSEC later on this month and he is positive that the project will be continued.


The land sales tax that has to be paid whenever a piece of land is sold is a municipal tax. It was put into practice on the first of this year with the purpose of sustaining the municipality and helping the fund projects. The tax is two percent of the commercial value of the property and has to be paid before changes in ownership of the property can be made official in the municipal computer.


Land taxes have dropped substantially in 2005. The taxes will stay at this level till 2010 as they can only be reevaluated in years ending in 0’s and 5’.


After the change of government Alton will look into long-term projects such as the roads to Pumpkin Hill and the Cayes. The funding for these road projects comes from the national government. The projects are long term as it is not sure when the money for these projects will arrive.


Utila is working together with Tela, Omoa, Guanaja, Trujillo and La Ceiba on the promotion of tourism in the northern part of Honduras, including the Bay Islands. This promotion will happen over the next four years both nationally and internationally.


This year the major would like to:

  • Complete the desalination plant project ( have it up and running)

  • Finish the sanitation project

  • Continue with the maintenance of the streets

  • Continue the paving the Camponado area

  • Get a small truck equipped with oxygen and an automatic defibrillator to use as an ambulance on the island

  • Repair the main dock on the Cayes around February/ March and repair the bridge on the Cayes


La municipalidad esta en el proceso de comprar una camión de basura nueva. Esperamos que esté en Utila a principios de Febrero. El alcalde quiere disculparse a las personas en Camponado. Como la municipalidad no tiene un camión de basura tiene que usar un pick up por el momento. Por eso tenia que parar llevar materiales allí. Cuando llega el camión nuevo ya continuare con los materiales.


La organización UDSEC ha garantizado el fondo de la policía municipal por dos mese mas. Después de estos dos mese la UDSEC no será capaz de continuar el fondo del la policía. El alcalde va a tener una reunión con la organización este mes y es muy positivo que el proyecto será continuado.


Los impuestos sobre la venta de tierra que uno tiene que pagar cuando vende una propiedad es un impuesto municipal. Fue llevado al cabo el primer de este ano para sostener la municipalidad y para ayudar con el fondo de proyectos en Utila. Los impuestos son de un dos por ciento y tiene que ser pagdos antes de que cambios en la propiedad puedan ser hechos oficiales en la computadora de la municipalidad.


Impuestos sobre la tierra han bajado sustancialmente en 2005. los impuestos quedarán lo mismo hasta 2010 porque los impuestos solo pueden ser revisados en anos que termina en 0’s y 5’s.


Despues del cambio de gobierno Alton examinara proyectos de largo plazo como el camino a Pumpkin Hill y el camino a los cayos. El fondo para estos proyectos viene del gobierno nacional. Los proyectos son de largo plazo y no esta seguro cuando los fondos par estos proyectos llegaran.


Utila va a trabajar junto con Tela, Omoa, Guanaja, Trujillo y La Ceiba en la promoción del turismo el norte de Honduras, incluso las islas bahías. Utila es el vicepresidente y Tela es el presidente. La promoción sera nacional e internacional del turismo el los siguientes cuatro anos.


Este ano el alcalde quiere:

  • Terminar el proyecto de la planta desalinizadora

  • Terminar el proyecto de sanitazion

  • Seguir con el mantenimiento de las calles

  • Seguir con el pavimento del Camponado

  • Obtener una camioneta con oxigeno y AED para usar como ambulancia en l isla

  • Repare el muelle principal en los Cayitos alrededor de febrero / marzo y repare el puente en el Cayitos


Recycling Books


As of the 1st of this year student divers and leadership level candidates have to buy and posses current books and other materials for their courses.

One of the concerns on Utila about this was the amount of books that might be left by divers and also the old books that were being used till this date. In order to make sure that the books are not being thrown out and creating more garbage on the island Emma from Ecomarine dive shop is starting a recycling project.

Through this project she will try to make sure the books are collected and send of to the recycling company in La Ceiba. All the dive shops support this program and have agreed to pay a small fee for the transport costs. The UDSEC will have a meeting on the 23rd of this month to discuss the program further.

Till then you can n drop your old books at Ecomarine. The first collection will probably be the biggest as this will most of the old books of the dive shops. After this the plan is to send them of to Ceiba on a monthly basis.

Some travelers might decide to leave their books on Utila as they don’t want to travel with them. Some of the books might be donated to the schools. Will keep you posted on the subject.

Desde el primer de este ano estudiantes de buceo y candidatos de los niveles profesionales tienen que comprar y tener los libros y otros materiales para sus cursos.

Uno de los preocupaciones es la cantidad de libros que buceadores dejan en la isla y los libros viejos que las tiendas de buceo usaban antes. Para asegurar que no se tiran los libros y no generan más basura en Utila Emma de Ecomarine empezó con un proyecto de reciclaje.

Con este proyecto quiere intentar que todos los negocios de buceo coleccionen sus libros viejos y que sean mandados a la compañía de reciclaje en La Ceiba. Los negocios de buceo ya accedieron a pagar una tarifa para ayudar a pagar los costos del transporte de los libros a La Ceiba. El UDSEC va a tener una reunión el 23 de enero para discutir el proyecto en más detalles.

Hasta entonces puedes entregar libros viejos en Ecomarine. La primera colección probablemente será la más grande como esta consistirá de los libros viejos de las escuelas. Después los quieren mandar al La Ceiba una vez cada mes.

Algunas viajadores pueden dejar sus libros en la isla en vez de llevarlos en sus viajes. Puede ser que también van a donar algunos libros a las escuelas. Le mantendremos al tanto.

Whale Sharks coming soon


Whale Shark - Click to enlarge
Whale Shark season is almost upon us

February is usually the start of the whale shark sighting season on Utila. Whale sharks can be seen all year round but as the rainy season changes into the dry season, the winds calm down and the ocean calms down the whale shark is easier to spot.

There is still not much known about their migration patterns. In order to learn more about this the www.utilawhalesharkresearch.com website has been launched as part of the Utila Whale Shark Research Project. For a period of five years this project will focus on studying the population dynamics and ethology of the whale sharks that visit Utila.

By using the website important data can be collected which will not only tell us more about the whale sharks in Utila but also of those throughout the Caribbean and other places in the world.

How can you help? It is very easy to help collecting important data. Every time you go out on a morning boat with your dive shop make sure you have your underwater camera with you. If you don’t have one you might be able to rent one. When you get into the water with a whale shark try to take some pictures of it. (Try to focus on the dots behind the gills on the left-hand side). Not just nice as a souvenir but this is also what the project needs. The pictures of the spots are put into pattern recognition software and scanned to see if they match with any of the other pictures in the database. These photos are very valuable as it helps build a history of the spotted animal.

The whale shark has a life span of about 60 years so the picture might have a long-term impact on the research. So the more people that submit their picture the more chance of learning more about the different whale sharks and maybe even about individual ones. Once you have taken your picture you can upload it on the website. This information will then be shared with the ECOCEAN whale shark photo identification library. This way researchers can collect data and learn more about the migration patterns of the whale shark.

When you see a whale shark and you take picture make sure you also register some other important data such as the time, date and place you saw it and the approximate size. The average size of the whale sharks found last year was between 20 and 30 ft with most of them being young males. In four weeks they had 53 encounters of which 21 were identified as individual whale sharks. Since then another 4 whale sharks were identified from the pictures. Whale sharks do not just pass through but some actually hang around Utila. One of the whale sharks that were spotted in February last year was seen again 6 weeks later. Last year guidelines were put into place to make sure people do not touch and annoy the whale shark and to ensure it is done safely. Your dive shop will be able to give more information on these guidelines.

UDSEC's Projects


The UDSEC (Utila Dive Safety and Environmental Council) is a means for dive shop on Utila to implement and help out with island projects. These projects are not just dive related but are also land based. One of the island-based projects that the UDSEC put into practice last year was the municipal police project.

This project was started after a crime wave hit the island last summer. The Mayor appointed seven men to do nightly rounds on Utila to combat crime. The project has been very successful since it was set up. At the moment the UDSEC is struggling to pay for it. It has said that it will have enough money to keep the project going for two more months. The Mayor will later on this month get together with the council about the project.

All the wages and the initial costs of the program such as uniforms have been covered by the UDSEC said Steve Fox, owner of Deep Blue Divers. “At the moment we can’t afford it anymore. It basically costs us double of what we get in. We would like to see other businesses (bars, hotels, restaurants, etc) to become involved in the project as it is beneficial to the whole island.”

If more businesses fund the project the UDSEC can start looking at setting up new projects as this would free up some money for this. The council does not make any profit. All the money that comes in is invested into projects.

Another project that the UDSEC has been working on are the buoys. Numbers have been put onto the moorings so that it makes it easier to keep a log of the buoys, to keep track of maintenance. A number of new buoys have been put in at Turtle Harbour. The number system also makes it easier to get to the right dive site in case of an accident. Not every dive shop has the same name for the same dive site. They are also looking into buying oil mats to reduce the spilling of oil on boats and into the water.

At the moment most of the dive shops are part of the UDSEC. According to Steve Fox it would be good if all dive shops are part of it. ‘If all the shops are involved we will be the first island in the world to be completely PADI. This way PADI and others write an article about UDSEC’S PROJECTS By Utila East Wind Staff this and this will give Utila more publicity.” For more information about the UDSEC and their projects contact your local dive shop

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