Later that night I began my research focusing on the Caribbean. Honduras seemed as good a place as any for an escape. I discovered Honduras has several islands besides Roatan that are world renowned for diving. Other dive destinations included Utila, Guanaja, and Cayos Cochinos. I chose Utila. It seemed to have the right mix of laid back atmosphere and nightlife I felt would fit me, and my friend John who at this point I had convinced to join me after another news report of continued snowfall that week.
United Airlines has direct flights from Chicago, so I booked my ticket to San Pedro Sula (relatively cheaply I might add at $400 r/t!). Found what I imagined to be the perfect beach house on vrbo.com. The Round House. Owner Sue emailed back and forth for a few days and recommended contacting Coral View Dive Center for diving since it was across the street. Within 2 days I had planned my winter escape! What next?
After chatting with dive shop manager Sarah, John and I decided to take the PADI online course before heading down. This, she explained, would save us some hours sitting in a classroom while on our holiday in paradise. So we watched videos online, took four quizzes and an exam, and learned the basic principles behind the science of diving; and we were ready for the next step in our Caribbean adventure!