Originally I starting writing this blog as a way of letting my family and friends know what I’ve been up to while away in the Caribbean. After my last blog received over 1500 likes and with only having a modest amount of friends on Facebook, I’m starting to think that there are a lot of people reading this who don’t know who I am. I think it’s about time I formally introduced myself. My name is Rebecca Ruscoe (most people just call me Becky), I am 23 years old and I’m from England. I’m currently carrying out research into Antibiotics as part of my PhD at the University of Manchester, which is funded by the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council). They give PhD students the opportunity to carry out a three months placement, that is unrelated to their current research and this is why I am here.

my lab

My lab. The environment I’m used to working in as part of my PhD.

me everyday work

Me working in Utila. An environment which is very different to what I am used to.




















No stranger to long days and hard work, (being a PhD student and all) I have learned to make the most of my time off as a means to keep my sanity. In England that means savoring a day spending time with my boys (my boyfriend and 2 dogs), going on a white water kayaking adventure or some other pastime to help me forget the world of synthetic chemistry. Now on my days off I find myself in a tropical paradise without my boys and without any white water looking for new ways to escape from the week’s work and refresh for another week’s trekking and tagging and bat catching.


My dogs that I left behind


My boyfriend Jack and me hiking back in the UK










Jack and I paddling

Jack and me kayaking in Scotland


















Being a big fan of coffee (at home we have two Nespresso machines as one just isn’t enough to satisfy my wonderful addiction!) my first port of call was to sniff out a local coffee shop on the island. Sure enough I found one, Rio Coco is my very own answer to everything that’s wrong with the world. A self-professed coffee lover I may be, but admittedly I don’t quite have what it takes to hack 7 days a week on Black Americanos alone, so this fine establishment is where I can spend time, juggling a coffee, a bagel and a book, I recommend the Hazy Crazy!


Rio coco

Rio Coco

rio coco

My Hazy Crazy!











It was the quest for home comforts that brought me to Rio Coco and Rio Coco that introduced me to the community. It’s here that I have met members of the community with whom I’ve become friendly and introduced me to some of the things I could be doing on the island in my down time. One example of this is bumping into Emma the Yoga instructor here on the island, who told me about the opportunity to go stand up paddleboarding with her. We even did Yoga on the boards, it was an amazing experience! And has made me try Yoga on solid ground at Yoga Utila.




Stand Up Paddleboarding











Me trying out some Yoga










Utila’s tourism industry is based almost solely around its AWESOME coral reef and is apparently the most affordable place in the world to do a PADI diving qualification. I’ve ventured into the reef, but armed only with a snorkel and mask. This is the first reef I’ve seen in person and it didn’t disappoint, the incredible biodiversity of the coral itself and the fish that call it home was beautiful. As I dove down into the water, holding my breath, I found myself amongst long rays of light that pierced the surface of the water, iridescent fish swimming between them whilst they played off the coral, I was transported back into my imaginary wildlife documentary. So enchanted by the beauty of my surroundings, I found that when I finally broke free of its allure it was to the sudden and stark realization that I hadn’t breathed in quite some time. Treading water at the surface, coughing, spluttering and desperately trying to re-catch my breath I was suddenly very jealous of all the divers on the island. I’ve had a very small taste of the reef, but heard tales of old pirate ships sunken and ready for exploration and whale sharks and sea caves. My conclusion, diving is a must on this island!


Snorkelling with Lindsey and Jordyn