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Scuba

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#21
No, I haven't been to Bonaire, much less diving there...but everything here is expensive since we traded the guilder in for the euro...

From what I've researched before, I think the diving is the best on Bonaire, Aruba has better windsurfing, and forgot what Curacao had... but the familiarity factor of bacteria could be what gets my husband convinced we should go there...

You all probably think I'm the biggest weirdo talking about foreign bacteria ...but you'd have to know what we've been through with the littlest one to understand... spending a number of days in ICU with your child kind of changes the way you look at certain things.
 

Kym

Certified Ski Diva
#22
Sorry, to clarify my post above the Coral triangle (CT) hosts 76% of all known coral species, and more than 50% of the world’s coral reefs. Indonesia is one of 6 countries in the CT.
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#23
Kym, that diving sounds amazing....there are other flight options than KLM... but have to think about the bacteria thing...Bonaire is sounding a bit more bacteria safe.

On another note, is the padi jr certifcation from age 12? or was it 14?
 

Kym

Certified Ski Diva
#24
Padi introduced bubble maker and seal team for kids as young as 8! But it is in confined water (pool only).

To enroll in the PADI Open Diver course or Junior Open Water Diver course, you must be 10 years or older (PADI eLearning requires an extra registration step for students under 13 years due to international internet laws). Students younger than 15 years, who successfully complete the course qualify for the PADI Junior Open Water Diver certification, which they may upgrade to PADI Open Water Diver certification upon reaching 15 (that's from the instructor manual).

PADI has high standards, but they are not enforced the same in every country as many businesses are more interested in taking your money than being duly concerned about safety. Sad, but true. If your little one has any form of respiratory reaction when she gets sick - you would need a proper dive medical before going. In fact, I recommend a proper dive medical (rather than the tick and flick sheet Padi has) for any child who will take up diving. Check out the PADI website for more info on what would require a medical :smile:

No matter where you go, I am sure you will not regret it. :smile:
 

valli

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#25
I got certified in 1996, although I dive less frequently now that I have kids. We've been diving several times in Hawaii, Heron Island and other places on Great Barrier Reef (incredible!), Belize (close diving lame, atolls were cool), and the north shore of Bali. I loved Bali, but DH did get Bali belly. Of course he also ate the local raw milk yoghurt, foolish in retrospect. We also encountered some dynamited sites, very sad. We are planning on going to Cayman this summer, both for ease and safety concerns, and the fact we could use our frequent flyer miles. Roatan sounds great, it sounds very kid friendly.
 
#26
East Timor - that is really off the beaten path. Sounds very interesting and exotic!
 

Kym

Certified Ski Diva
#27
East Timor - that is really off the beaten path. Sounds very interesting and exotic!
I guess it could seem that way! I work in 'international development' - and compared to some of the other countries I have visited and worked (notably, Pakistan and Somalia) Timor is a bed of roses! I lived there just under 10 years (still hard to believe!).

The diving is phenomenal and the tiny country has a spectacular range of landscapes. It is the kind of place where you learn to dive really 'well' - as there are NO margins for error. No chamber, no one to rescue you if you get in to a big ocean current! Very conservative dive profiles and lots of extra training.

It's a beautiful place though - and the people are really amazing. If they can keep it stable - it would be a great place to visit as a tourist in a few years :smile: No skiing though - it's a little warm for that!
 
#28
(Posting from the beach @ Boniare)
Heidi, if cleanliness, safety and hygiene are high on the list, you should really consider this island. They have one of the best water systems in the Caribbean- the whole island is on a system that comes from a reverse osmosis purification system. There are no water worries whatsoever. Especially after Honduras, it's is very clean and safe; there aren't armed Federales and private security everywhere. Much less or no trash everywhere.

I'm not sure why this wouldn't be high on your list. Most of the divers I know think it is a very good reef. Bonus: cruise ships only come in one day a week, and many of the dive resorts just won't deal with them, period.
Time to go work on my tan...

GG
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#29
(Posting from the beach @ Boniare)
Heidi, if cleanliness, safety and hygiene are high on the list, you should really consider this island. They have one of the best water systems in the Caribbean- the whole island is on a system that comes from a reverse osmosis purification system. There are no water worries whatsoever. Especially after Honduras, it's is very clean and safe; there aren't armed Federales and private security everywhere. Much less or no trash everywhere.

I'm not sure why this wouldn't be high on your list. Most of the divers I know think it is a very good reef. Bonus: cruise ships only come in one day a week, and many of the dive resorts just won't deal with them, period.
Time to go work on my tan...

GG
Oh nice...

Bonaire is actually high on my list. Plus the girls could choose a PADI course in Dutch or English. And there are daily non stops from Amsterdam to either Aruba or Bonaire every day....

Actually, Bonaire is part of the Netherlands, so actually it wouldn't be a trip abroad for us.:tongue:

Scope out some kid friendly looking places for me! April 2014 is my plan. This summer I'm going to put them in a Ocean Jr. Lifeguard course to learn about the Ocean and swimming in the Ocean, as sort or precursor to Scuba, and to be safe with surfing.
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#31
So, if I can afford the airfare, seems to be 850 EUR per person... it would be fabulous. The flight over stops in Aruba, but it's non stop on the way home...

Love me up some long haul non stop flights :yahoo:.

Call me weird, but I've probably just traveled a bit too much, and lost some tolerance along the way...got more fussy.:laughter:
 

veronicarella

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#32
I'm a diver too!

Here's my story:

I had a whole plan to travel around Australia as much as possible in 2 weeks until I landed in Cannes. Originally, I had just planned to do a one-day tourist dive, but the concierge advised that it was too windy the next couple days, so before I knew it, I was signed up for the 2-day classroom and 2-day liveaboard course and cancelled all other travel plans. At first I was very wary about the quality of the instruction when the classroom and pool was located in the back of a porn shop building, but four days later, I had the most amazing experience including receiving my certification card underwater! I even opted for the night dive and that's when the sharks come out and play. As a newbie diver, I never even thought about planning vacation to go diving, but I happened to have a trip to Belize planned two weeks later, so I considered myself a spoiled diver going from the first great barrier reef to the second great barrier reef.

I am thinking about going to Roatan. Would love to hear more about travel/diving tips there!

Love this photo!
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#34
I'm a diver too!



I am thinking about going to Roatan. Would love to hear more about travel/diving tips there!


Anthony's Key Resort. The only place you want to dive. Like their fan page on Facebook, and then you'll be up to speed when they make special offers, and that's when you should book...It's a bit pricey, but when the offer a discount its affordable (for me at least). Food is wonderful, dive shop is fabulous, crew is great, dolphins on site, just can't beat the experience.... would love to go back, but with 4 of us, it adds up quickly... Can not recommend enough!
 
#35
I am thinking about going to Roatan. Would love to hear more about travel/diving tips there!

There is a place down the beach from Anthony Keys called Tranquilseas Eco Lodge which I have on my FB feed. We didn't get it together to check it out while we were there but it looks very much like the kind of place we'd like. We made the mistake of staying on the West Bay beach - that was a huge mistake (for us) but other people might like it. If we ever go back to Roatan, we will be much more astute about our choice of where to stay. WestBay is lined with resorts, each bar blaring a different kind of music; day cruisers fill areas of the beach wall to wall, each hotel has armed security guards plus Fedarales patrol the beach, and way too many aggressive beach vendors. I'm sure other parts of the island are quieter, but keep in mind that Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the WORLD. Our hotel told me I'd be safe to walk two miles into town and I basically got my rear end chewed by an ex-pat barista when I did get to town, as in, " they should not have told you that".

Some folks LOVE Roatan. We did not. The diving and snorkeling was very good, but for us the other vacation components just did not add up. We love to enjoy good food when we travel, and this was another area where we felt the Island really fell short. Ten days, eating out every night at different places (using Trip Advisor), and only one meal was more than "just okay". There are water worries, crime worries, trash, horrible sand fleas,and omg the drivers.....I'm used to third world Latin American stuff, but they were ca-ra-zy! We rented a motorcycle and locals were throwing things at our wheels and tailgating 12" off the back wheel. I was on the back of the bike. I'm not sure who was more terrified, me or DH driving.

I might be in the minority with our experience so make of it what you will. Our dive trip resume include Cozumel, MX multiple trips; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Roatan, Honduras; and multiple trips to Bonaire, Netherland Antilles.

I think a lot of folks go there because its pretty cheap.
I am currently posting from Bonaire and the contrasts with our trip to Roatan last year are pretty significant.

GG
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#37
There is a place down the beach from Anthony Keys called Tranquilseas Eco Lodge which I have on my FB feed. We didn't get it together to check it out while we were there but it looks very much like the kind of place we'd like. We made the mistake of staying on the West Bay beach - that was a huge mistake (for us) but other people might like it. If we ever go back to Roatan, we will be much more astute about our choice of where to stay. WestBay is lined with resorts, each bar blaring a different kind of music; day cruisers fill areas of the beach wall to wall, each hotel has armed security guards plus Fedarales patrol the beach, and way too many aggressive beach vendors. I'm sure other parts of the island are quieter, but keep in mind that Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the WORLD. Our hotel told me I'd be safe to walk two miles into town and I basically got my rear end chewed by an ex-pat barista when I did get to town, as in, " they should not have told you that".

Some folks LOVE Roatan. We did not. The diving and snorkeling was very good, but for us the other vacation components just did not add up. We love to enjoy good food when we travel, and this was another area where we felt the Island really fell short. Ten days, eating out every night at different places (using Trip Advisor), and only one meal was more than "just okay". There are water worries, crime worries, trash, horrible sand fleas,and omg the drivers.....I'm used to third world Latin American stuff, but they were ca-ra-zy! We rented a motorcycle and locals were throwing things at our wheels and tailgating 12" off the back wheel. I was on the back of the bike. I'm not sure who was more terrified, me or DH driving.

I might be in the minority with our experience so make of it what you will. Our dive trip resume include Cozumel, MX multiple trips; Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos; Roatan, Honduras; and multiple trips to Bonaire, Netherland Antilles.

I think a lot of folks go there because its pretty cheap.
I am currently posting from Bonaire and the contrasts with our trip to Roatan last year are pretty significant.

GG
That sounds horrible. I can tell you for 100% our stay at Anthony's Key could not have contrasted more to your experience. Anthony's Key in all inclusive, and the food was fabulous! Also, it was very quiet there, and to be honest, we never left the resort. Never wanted to, it was so beautiful and peaceful. Also, the decompression chamber for the island is situated at Anothny's Key. Not that you ever need it, but it speaks more to the quality of their facility. Goes to show, how different the same place can be. I would definitely go back to Anthony's Key. As a side trip, we rented a car and did some Maya Ruin exploration, and it was also fabulous, but that did smack of your diving experience there...I have a couple of stories about that one, including getting chased out of town after filling up with gas, and I can tell you, my heart was racing! But that's something else.
 

veronicarella

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#38
Thanks for the tips and sharing your experiences at Roatan. From the sounds of it, Honduras is kind of like Belize - islands are safer than mainlands, resort areas are safer than local hangouts, great diving, food selection could be hit-or-miss guessing that depends on high or low tourist season.

As a side trip, we rented a car and did some Maya Ruin exploration, and it was also fabulous, but that did smack of your diving experience there...I have a couple of stories about that one, including getting chased out of town after filling up with gas, and I can tell you, my heart was racing! But that's something else.
What's the story here? I rented a car in mainland Belize and let's just say within a few minutes of driving, I understood why the hotel kept asking if we liked them to arrange airport transfers for us, so we may have similar stories here..

Our hotel told me I'd be safe to walk two miles into town and I basically got my rear end chewed by an ex-pat barista when I did get to town, as in, " they should not have told you that.
My friend decided to walk the 2 miles from the dive store back to the hotel by herself at Caye Caulker, and she got exactly the same response. And she was wondering why a police followed behind her the whole way!?!!
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#39
Well...it was pretty scary.

We rented the car, got a bit lost, and ended up using more gas than we had planned and had to fill up with gas. We first sought a gas station with a visa/mc sign, then asked repeatedly if they took visa or mc, then kept saying 'si, si'...but it turns they didn't take credit cards, or didn't want to, don't know which. While discussing how to resolve this, we were slowly surrounded by more and more people, with rifles... and somehow, I don't know how, me and my then boyfriend escaped in the car Bonnie and Clyde style, with them chasing after us on horses and rifles..

Well, it isn't our style to rip people off, much less people like this in Hondura's, but due to communication breakdown, and rifles, we just fled. After we returned the car, we explained to the rental agency what happened, and did give her some money asked her to pay the bill for us, for lack of a better solution. It certainly wasn't ideal. Part of me thinks, she probably she kept it for herself, that's just the way they are there. And of course, in these small villages, there aren't ATM machines, and as we were only there for the day basically, we hadn't exchanged enough money, certainly not enough to pay for gas. We also offered them some greenbacks, because we had those... so to be fair, it was a bit our fault as well. But we did ask, and we thought we were sure we understood each other before filled the car with gas... my yep...my heart was racing.

Anthony's Key is good anytime, any day. Read on trip advisor or anywhere else, you would be hard pressed to read a bad review there. The people that run the place do a lot for the community on Roatan as well, and encourage you to tip staff if you feel so inclined, it was very sympathetic without being pathetic.
 
#40
We just aren't into the all inclusive thing if there are other options. For us, it's a travel and a vacation experience and not only about the diving. The whole thing is so subjective just like skiing. What suits one person's idea of ideal is not necessarily another's. "best diving" is like "best ski area",lol.

I think we're going to try Little Cayman next. The people we meet at these places pretty consistently recommend it to us.

I guess I'm out of ski mode for the season!

We've had some adventures in Mexico, but never the kind where we felt unsafe.
 

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