Ps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1503 times:
Just thought I'd ask about people's scuba diving experiences or snorkelling if they had any good ones. For me I always loved the pics of underwater and stuff and was obsessed with tropical islands when a teenager so when 19 I took a year out and went to work in the South Pacific in a country called Vanuatu. I'll never forget the first time I took the bus out to a place called Hideaway Island and went snorkelling. I was surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of small colourful fish everywhere and the reef and it went on for hours.
A little later I looked out the scuba diving place on a small island with just a hotel on it in the harbor near the town. Scuba diving was cheap for locals or people working there at I think 8 pounds a dive (maybe 16 USD). I started off in the pool and then moved on to the water and stuff. My first dive was a shallow reef dive with my instructor Michael Crawford. I'll always remember looking at the very calm graceful way he moved underwater with minimal movement and I tried to emulate that (probably not very successfully). It was great and they were a very professional outfit made up of guys who used to all work on a cruise ship together and then decided to settle down there. I did quite a few more dives of shallow and deeper reef and wrecks and took the tests and stuff and got my basic open water PADI license.
Then I found some friends at the university who also were into diving and one weeknight they said lets go to this other "cowboy" outfit on hideaway island for a night dive. My first moment in the water at night was incredible, seeing all the light beams underwater like something out of the James Cameron movie the Abyss! However I was always a very sensible and cautious diver and was not too impressed when we were told not to go below 20m I think and my dive buddy decided to go chasing crabs off on his own deeper. I stayed put and luckily he decided to come back after a few minutes!
Then near the end of my work placement (the reality of which I did very little work!) my brother also came and my friend's wife and they both learned to dive also. Our final dive was a 35m night wreck dive which I think was all guys that night. We joked about getting nitrogen narcosis and the bends and stuff. I was actually a little worried about just dropping down to 35m but when they showed us there was a rope you follow down it was much better. Anyway we went down, swam around the ship, tried to see if we felt any different, saw a stonefish (very poisenous fish to touch) and came back. It didn't last very long and I actually preferred the shallower dives where you could enjoy it for longer and not worry about decompression stops and stuff. And on the decompression stop my buddy ran out of air so grabbed my extra mouthpiece only he was so light with no air he began floating to the surface and pulling me with him. Then an instructor grabbed him and pulled him back down to the bar we were holding on to.
The only other highlight of Vanuatu diving was on an island called Espirito Santo with a couple of friends on a shipwreck called the SS President Coolidge. It was a shore dive which meant walking all over painful coral to get in but is apparently a dive people travel all over the world to do. We did a few dives and the size was incredible. Looking at the bridge or swimming down the promenade deck was like diving on something like Titanic or something. Plus going into holds and seeing jeeps inside and stuff. There were quite a few "hardcore" divers on Santo too. I liked diving but I really only liked looking at fish and swimming around coral and the underwater beauty. I never considered myself to be a "serious" diver (which I wasn't).
We did some more scuba diving on our way back to the UK in places like New Zealand (the Rainbow Warrior, current dive) and Malaysia and Thailand too (turtles). I never had any interest in diving with sharks as I don't like to be scared! But learning to dive in Vanuatu really did spoil me as everything else wasn't as good. Less fish, less visibility, less coral. I'm sure there are places just as good or even better but I never got a chance to visit them.
I'm probably too scared to go scuba diving now and will just stick to snorkelling. But back when I was 19 the thought about it possibly being scary never even entered my mind for a second. It was all about the adventure and the beauty of the underwater world.
Anyway apologies if I've bored everyone to death. Do you have any good snorkelling or scuba experience you'd like to write about. Would be great to hear.
flymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 6296 posts, RR: 6 Reply 1, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1491 times:
I have always been interested in maybe one day doing scuba but for now have not tried it.
I have snorkeled on a few occasions the best being right here in Miami in Biscayne National Park. Even locals do not realize that Miami has its own tropical coral reef and it was awesome all the colors, the shallow waters, fish etc.. It is great stuff! One of the advantages of living in a place like South Florida. There are plenty of things to scuba dive around down here too. Lots of old wrecks even from the Spanish Armada Fleet, and artificial reefs and of course plenty of random wrecks and even some plane crashes. Some people have made tens of millions on treasures found in Florida Bay and the reef.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
Ps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 2, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1486 times:
Quoting flymia (Reply 1): I have snorkeled on a few occasions the best being right here in Miami in Biscayne National Park. Even locals do not realize that Miami has its own tropical coral reef and it was awesome all the colors, the shallow waters, fish etc.. It is great stuff! One of the advantages of living in a place like South Florida. There are plenty of things to scuba dive around down here too. Lots of old wrecks even from the Spanish Armada Fleet, and artificial reefs and of course plenty of random wrecks and even some plane crashes. Some people have made tens of millions on treasures found in Florida Bay and the reef.
Thanks. I will have to look that up some more. I'm sure there's excellent scuba diving in places like Florida Keys but it's cool that there is reef in Miami too. Last time I was in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico coast I didn't scuba dive or snorkel but I did a lot of kayaking. Everywhere I went from State Parks to even downtown St.Petersburg waterfront there were little outfits renting kayaks. Every kayak trip is like a little adventure and is different from the rest. Some open water crossings (not too open though!), some coastlines/waterways in rich residential areas, some mangroves. And in the state parks they have routes marked out with numbers for you to follow sometimes too. Good times!
Arrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2582 posts, RR: 2 Reply 3, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1464 times:
Quoting flymia (Reply 1): Lots of old wrecks even from the Spanish Armada Fleet,
Now how did the Spanish Armada -- mostly sunk off the south coast of England -- make its way to Florida?
Anyway ... done lots of snorkeling in Hawaii, Mexico, Cayman Islands, and Australia. Australia was by far the most spectacular -- out on the Great Barrier reef. But Hawaii is a close second. Looking forward to my next Hawaii trip.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
Arrow From Canada, joined Jun 2002, 2582 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1448 times:
Quoting Ps76 (Reply 4): Probably the same way that British jet engine technology went to the USA!
Ha! I thought so. My father was a young engineer working for Rolls Royce during the war years and was assigned to the jet engine project. More than 25 years later, he ended up at the GE jet engine plant in Lynn, Ma. -- and made them change a big billboard they had proclaiming "home of the first jet engine." He was mightily PO'd about that. They inserted "US" -- he was happy, but his first choice was to insert "third" for first.
Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
AF340 From Canada, joined Jul 2007, 2786 posts, RR: 4 Reply 6, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1404 times:
Kind of a timely thread, I actually am off to my PADI Instructor Exam tomorrow, so hopefully this time next week I will be a fully-fledged instructor and not simply a Divemaster.
I'd love to dive Vanuatu, that sounds incredible. Done Cozumel many, many times and it is always loads of fun. Belize is great as is Hawaii and Barbados. The wrecks off the Florida Keys are certainly something any wreck diver worth his or her salt (pun intended) should visit.
I work at a dive shop so I do tons and tons of diving up here in Ontario which is great (and in our pool, like this morning which is not quite as great ). Dry suit necessary for the colder, deeper dives. But definitely worth it. The wrecks of the Great Lakes are incredible and varied.
Teaching is really fun as well - seeing the look on a new diver's face when he realizes the freedom and beauty of the underwater world is unparalleled.
To anyone not-yet-certified, go to your local dive store and ask about a Discover Scuba session. Try scuba, you do not even need to know how to swim and anyone 10 years old and up can be certified. Give your local dive store a call, you will be happy you did!
He's faster than a speeding bullet, he can leap tall buildings in a single bound; he's Obamaman!!
Ps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 8, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 1365 times:
Quoting AF340 (Reply 6): Kind of a timely thread, I actually am off to my PADI Instructor Exam tomorrow, so hopefully this time next week I will be a fully-fledged instructor and not simply a Divemaster.
Good luck with the exam. Dive instructors are a valuable resource. Without them nowone who's interested would be able to learn to dive.
Quoting AF340 (Reply 6): 'd love to dive Vanuatu, that sounds incredible
Vanuatu is a wonderful country and not just for the diving. There are awesome beaches and palm trees and great papayas. There are over 80 islands in total but very little tourism and everything is unspoiled. There are active volcanoes you can look in at night and see red lava everywhere. And there is their traditional drink which is called kava. It is made from the root of a plant. You drink a few coconut shells of it over an hour or two (it tastes worse than mud from a puddle would) and sit and talk quietly all night (mostly with guys) under the pacific stars. The ni-Vanuatu people are extremely kind and if you are friendly and nice to them they won't even accept any money you try to offer them for food or a hut or anything (in the villages on the different islands).
Zkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4739 posts, RR: 10 Reply 9, posted (9 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 1353 times:
Sounds line you started in one of the best places - Vanuatu.
Tropical Diving is definitely my preferred option... Clear warm water rather than murky cold water.
I really enjoyed Malta... Wreck Dives, Cave Dives, Deep Dives. Only downside of Malta is that there aren't that many fish to see generally.
Really want to go to Mexico apparently that's amazing diving.
The Rainbow Warrior is a great dive!
airtrainer From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 1519 posts, RR: 13 Reply 10, posted (9 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 1305 times:
I've had only one little snorkelling experience so far, it was on one of the small islands off from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. Maybe not the best place on earth for snorkelling, but for my first experience I really loved it ! So much that I bought a mask and a tuba when I came back home I really hope to try this again.
planeguy727 From United States of America, joined Mar 2007, 1066 posts, RR: 1 Reply 13, posted (9 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 1284 times:
I've been snorkeling in a bunch of places: Florida (esp. Keys), Hawaii, Bali, etc. One of my favorites was the Pearl Islands of Panama. Started at Contadora but the boat took us a few different spots. Highly recommended. Can even do it as a day trip from Panama City.
Ps76 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 15, posted (9 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1249 times:
Many thanks for all the replies. It makes for good escapism to read!
Quoting FlyPNS1 (Reply 11): Anyone know how good scuba diving on the Cook Islands is?
I don't know exactly but I would imagine it would be awesome. If you really want to get away from it in the South Pacific maybe go to a country called Kiribas (Kiribati). I only ever met one guy who went there and he said it was like coral reefs and white sand beaches and islands flat as a pancake. Just jungle and huts not too much else. He said it was awesome!
Also if you're interested in the South Pacific I would reccommend the book "The Happy Isles of Oceania" by Paul Theroux written in the 90s I think when he got divorced and to get over it went paddling in his collapsible kayak all over the South Pacific. Some people hate him because he comes across as quite cranky and stuff in this book at times but it never really bothers me and makes for an interesting read. Apologies if you've read it already.
soon7x7 From United States of America, joined May 2006, 2798 posts, RR: 14 Reply 16, posted (9 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1244 times:
Broken eardrum at 60 feet in Bermuda with Kevin Burke from the movie, "The Deep". Scary!...lost sense of direction so I just followed the light. Flew home the next day on new Pan Am 747, N741PA. Ear equalized automatically with hole in it. how convenient.
aerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 6325 posts, RR: 14 Reply 20, posted (9 months 2 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1062 times:
The Philippines are amazing. sea snakes and awesome reefs with amazing fish. I want to try Puerto Princesa,PH and also the Eastern end of Sabah,MY. Have done a little in Rarotonga,Venezuela, Zanzibar as well, but the Phils are the best I've done so far.
sturmovik From India, joined May 2007, 264 posts, RR: 0 Reply 21, posted (9 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1054 times:
I dived at a small outfit in south Sri Lanka. Bad experience. They didn't weigh us properly, instead used their judgement to add lead weights to the belt you wear. My friend and I weigh the same despite me being shorter, and I was weighed down with more weights than necessary on account of looking fat
As soon as I hit the water, I began to sink, unlike the others who floated back up. Even inflating the flotation device thingie wasn't of much help, as only the top of my head was above the water. To my credit, I went into full blown panic and thrashed about until i was helped out of my kit and back into the boat.
While I am a decent swimmer, especially in the sea, I was reminded of a near-drowning incident from 8 years ago. It was triggered by the initial sinking due to being too heavy, and the light dimming above me as I sank reminded me of a similar scene at Diu on the western coast of India. In any case, my mates wasted no time labelling me a 'chicken'
extspotter From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1 Reply 22, posted (9 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1048 times:
I've snorkelled in a few places. I don't at home because it is kind of boring and cold, when i've been snorkelling in the Carribbean it has been ok, but going to the Maldives was truly amazing. Snorkelling with Green Sea Turtles and Dolphins in the wild was one of the best memories I have. The Maldives is a great palce to go for combining aviation with snorkeling/diving, the seaplane to get to the hotel from Male was a really cool experience too.
AF BE BY FR MV PD SZ U2 VZ DHC6, 8-3/4Q, 732/8, 763ER, A319, A380
ImperialEagle From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 1230 posts, RR: 14 Reply 23, posted (9 months 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 991 times:
Just returned from a week in Bonaire with a group of friends. All three of them are divers. I have to snorkel due to medical issues. Stayed at the Buddy Dive "Resort". Use of word "resort" is a stretch. The food at the restaurants "on property" was very good, Housekeeping was not so good. Nonetheless, it was all about the diving and Buddy's certainly excels there. The dive masters were very professional and personable and everybody had a great time. We were also lucky to have near perfect weather each day. Typical high humidity and 90 degree heat every day. The water was very clear and visibility was great!
Saw porpoises, barracuda, Rainbow Angel fish, and all kinds of other beautiful tropical fish. My diving friends really enjoyed their adventures. They did two boat dives every day and lots of shore dives as well. Everyone I talked with said Bonaire was one of the best places they had been to as far as diving is concerned. Just don't look for too much airconditioning! The rooms at Buddy's have it but not much else on the island has it. Most of the better restaurants are "open-air".
Iguanas and donkeys freely roam the island. Iguanas are so friendly they would crawl up into your lap if you let them. They are always looking for a hand-out of some "people food" or flowers to munch on. Lying out at the swimming pool I discovered one shading itself from the sun right under my lounge chair and it was as long as the chair! Donkeys are not friendly and have a bad attitude----at least towards tourists.
Anyway, we had a blast and the diving/snorkeling were great!
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"