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Scuba

Kym

Certified Ski Diva
#41
Anyone dove Thailand/Adaman islands?
I have dived in parts of Thailand - but there are so many places to dive that it is hard to judge all by the few places I dived. It was very nice diving, but the waters have been overfished and I found that there was a lot less diversity there than in somewhere like Kota Kinabalu (in Sabah, Malaysia) and the coral wasn't was nice as many other places I had dived. There were also SO many tourists it felt like us humans outnumbered the fish. There are some nice places though, especially if you get to go in Whale shark season. There are also nice things to do topside - which can make a difference.

My partners mother and her husband live in Malaysia and have sailed to the Andamans to dive. They said it was really nice up there - far less crowded - but a lot further away too. Also they had their own compressor on board and dived where-ever they wanted. Another friend (in fact my instructor for my Dive Master) went there to be an instructor for a dive company and was not impressed with the diving or the way the place was run.

When I am diving in places well off the beaten track (even in parts of Thailand) I like to make sure I know where the recompression chamber is located - and never travel without dive specific insurance (like DAN).

Good luck!
 

HeidiInTheAlps

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#42
I do one all inclusive per year...

Not having to think about anything, including food, really helps to just completely debrain... so one week a year I do an all inclusive. More than that I wouldn't like at all, but for one week a year, it's a pleasant change... And then if you are in a place that really spoils you with food, like Anthony's Key or Kona Village in Hawaii, then it is just the bomb!
 

Divegirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#43
I just found this thread.

I have been certified since 1982 and diving regularly since 1990 when my husband got certified. I have both NAUI and PADI OW certification and have logged close to 300 dives.

We dive Bonaire every year. We have also done Curacao, Grand Cayman (I have close friend who is Dive Operator on Grand Cayman) and all 3 Cayman Islands on a Live-Aboard. We leave the day after Thanksgiving for Bonaire and will be doing another Live-Aboard in the Bahamas next August.

As you can see in my photo - we are into underwater photography. I like macro subjects and getting close to fish and animals. My husband likes wide angle and the big stuff.

SCUBA and skiing are my water sports.

Laura
 
#44
I haven't posted in this thread in a while, but it popped back up in my email. Not much diving since going to Roatan 2 years ago either! Last Sept my BF and I did find ourselves in Iceland, and both certified to dive (though he had no other dives since his course). We couldn't resist diving the Silfra Rift. This is an awesome dive for two main reasons. The first is that it's between the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates, and you can touch both. The second is the water. It's glacial meltwater that filters through lava for somewhere between 30 and 100 years before reaching the lake, so vis is around 100 m. It's very clean too, you just take out your reg and drink when you want some water.

The part that was challenging for me was that the water is also 3C, which is fricking cold! We'd never dived in drysuits before (neither had anyone else in the group), so we got the 5-minute intro to avoiding suit squeeze, they dressed us (literally, those things are hard to get on!), and then went for it, and used our BCDs for buoyancy as normal. My fins were so huge for me with the big drysuit boots that it was hard for me to kick properly, and I spent the first dive going up and down like a yo-yo trying to figure out my buoyancy, as I was also very overweighted. I'm sure the whole group looked hilarious. Thankfully it was a shallow dive!! The second dive I figured out the diving part but was freezing by the end...fingers and toes burning when I got out cold.

It was so worth it. And I would totally stand on shore and watch if I was there again with other people diving it!

The Silfra Rift:
Iceland 591.JPG

Between the tectonic plates:
IMG_1328.JPG

Looking down the rift:
IMG_1355.JPG
 

Divegirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#45
Wow. So cool. I have seen photos of the rift in SCUBA Diving magazine. My husband and I went to Iceland years ago and loved it. I would love to go back probably not to dive - we're wimpy divers.

Laura
 

GingerSnaps

Certified Ski Diva
#46
I've been diving for several years, and it is seriously one of my favorite things to do! It is just a great way to clear my head of all the crud that builds up from daily life. I love dive travel, of course, but also dive at home in the summer and fall(even though I get cold super easy in the water and haven't had the $$$ to spring for a dry suit). Most of my vacation dives are super low key... I just putter along taking pictures.

If any of you have the opportunity to do the manta ray dives in Kona, Hawaii, I HIGHLY recommend them. Amazing, graceful animals!

Those of you who are considering Bonaire... GO! The diving there is great, super accessible, and you really don't need to touch a boat unless you want to. Most of the hotels have a dive shop on property and many include a pickup truck with the room. The island map has the dive sites marked, just grab a tank, and get in the truck and go shore dive. The group I usually go with does to boat dive, and this past year we did three boat dives a day, plus shore dives afterwards. I did 24 dives during the week I was there this August.
 
#47
I can update on Similans.
We stayed on an amazing livaboard. We'd anchor right there. During the day, the fast boats come out from the coast loaded with people so it's more crowded than you would think.
It's really different in that the coral grows on large granite outcrops, like the kind you'd find in California Sierra Nevada. So you swim in channels inbetween the gigantic rocks which are the tops of submerged mountains. There were lots of giant mantas every day. The snorkeling was not great and I'm the snorkeler. Our boat was so beautiful I didn't really care; went out a lot in the kayak when we were anchored.
 
#48
Just got back from Belize a week ago. We stayed at Ramon's Village on Amergris Caye on a dive package.

The resort was really nice. Much of it burnt down a couple of years ago, so all very new. We stayed in the cheapest rooms, which were across the street away from the beach from the rest of the resort, so it made it a whole 1 minute walk to the beach. Those rooms were sufficient for us...2 beds, shower, fridge, AC. The resort has its own reverse osmosis system so we didn't need bottled water all week, which was awesome. The beach was nice, and the cleanest of any that we walked on in either direction. They seemed to have a full-time raking crew cleaning up walkways and the beach. A very short walk into San Pedro (<5 min) along either the beach or the street, which was nice for exploring lots of food options. Town was quite safe, we never had any weird encounters or felt the slightest bit like we needed to take any extra precautions over what I would in a city 3 hours from me. The drivers were a bit crazy, but 85% of traffic is golf carts so it was fine. Our package included breakfast at the resort, which was nice for grabbing a bite before diving. We ate quite a few lunches there (depending on diving), but headed elsewhere for most dinners. The food was very good at the resort and most other places we tried. I ate a lot of fish...mmm...

Of the 4 travelling, 3 of us were certified and one did the course, but I don't know that she'll turn into a diver...more than compentent, but VERY nervous. The other 3 of us came to an agreement that we wouldn't push her to dive if we took another trip together, and leave it up to her if she wants to try again.

For those of us on the package, it included 2 dives/day, which is much less than I'm used to. There were afternoon and night dives available, as long as there were enough people (which I think was 3), at an extra cost. We did a couple. We also upgraded one day to the 3-tank Blue Hole trip. A very cool dive at the Blue Hole, swimming between the massive stalactites at 41.6 m. My deepest dive to date...and probably for the foreseeable future, as I have no desire to push the recreational limits any farther. The dive shop at Ramon's was very nice, very professional with good gear. The weather wasn't great (it was very much the beginning of their high/dry season) and we had a number of days with patchy rain and high winds. There was one day when no boats went out at all, and they gave us credit for those 2 dives. On our last day they wanted us to finish diving by 10 because of our flights the next day, which initially was going to mean we only did the first morning dive. After the stormy week we had (we also had a night dive cancelled at the last minute as a storm blew in), our divemaster decided to come in early that day and got out us early so we could do 2 dives, which they certainly didn't need to do but we appreciated.

The diving itself was good, though the weather did affect the visibility somewhat. The reef is very interesting, with a kind of finger-canyon structure which made it fun to dive. The reef seemed quite healthy and although we spotted a few lionfish they are being hunted vigorously. Our divemaster often carried a spear, and we frequently had a contingent of sharks following us around hoping we'd spear one for their lunch. Hopefully they eventually realize that they are prey without having a human kill it first.

Very good trip overall, just could have wished for less wind!!
 

Divegirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#51
My DH and I have been diving Bonaire for 25 yrs (we've also done Curacao and the Caymans). We love it. It is like coming home. We do boat dives as my DH has knee issues and would have problems getting in and out of the water from the shore. Last year I experimented w/ solo diving off our hotel dock and really enjoyed it. We saw the Manta a couple years ago. We want to get to Bonaire some year for the Digital Shootout. Our hotel usually hosts it. I love macro photography - Flamingos Tongues, seahorses, cleaner shrimp and so on.

Unfortunately, due to some health issues my DH is having, we couldn't go this year. I was looking forward to testing out my new camera - Olympus TG-3 and housing. I did take it to Europe in the Spring and snorkeling this summer at my little beach here in MA and had a great time w/ it.

Belize is on our list along w/ Hawaii and Australia. My person bucket list dive would be the Red Sea but I know that probably won't happen. Maybe Palau or Yap to dive w/ the mantas - we'll see.
 

Divegirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#53
@jellyflake as you asked in your thread - "And your name reminds me that diving might be an option for us for next summer. Should be not too much impact for the knee when he can move a bit again...? What do you think? I have never been diving so I just don't have a clue..." My thoughts on diving w/ a bad knee.

Diving is a great sport and like skiing - can seriously dent your wallet. As for diving after knee surgery. I am 6 wks out of knee surgery and I just started pool therapy w/ no kicking or climbing ladders and I am not as serious as Mr. Jellyflake. Once in the water, it is great, the hard part will getting in and out of the water w/ the gear on. Boat ladders, dock ladders, jumping off docks, rocks, walking across beaches and so on. Many dive masters will help people in and out of the water - they'll put your equipment in the water and you don and doff it in the water and they retrieve it when done or your dive buddy will help.
It would more than likely be up to his docs and therapists on what he could handle. I end up wearing about 25 - 30 lbs of gear when all suited up.

If he gets the OK - I would start smallish - snorkeling and work my way up to diving if you both like it. If you find you want to go onto diving, try what is called a "resort course". It is short course of dive lessons, pool work and shallow dives (40 ft or less) usually done during your week stay somewhere and if you still like it, opt for a full blown certification course. I can't remember if resort courses give full certification or just a provisional one for that week. I did not do a resort course.

I have been diving Bonaire for 25 yrs. Bonaire is great for snorkeling and diving - best in the world. I have met many people from Germany over the years there. Direct flights out of Amsterdam. Our dive shop there has a great team of dive masters who will help w/ anything. They have fixed my gear many times.

Hope this helps and hope you get to try diving.
 
#54
Divegirl, where/how do you do Bonaire? We've always done the resort thing, stay at Capt Don's and rent a truck. We know people who go down and get apartments. I don't dive, so DH can find dive buddies if we stay someplace with lots of divers.
 

Divegirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#55
Geargrrl - we stay at the Divi Flamingo just south of Kralendijk. We have a studio time share there. The Divi is a 10 minute walk to downtown. We like being able to walk into town for dinner or lunch. Eat breakfast in the studio. Nice pools, not much in the way of a beach. Some times the pools gets overrun by local kids and then it is a pain. Since we can see Town Pier, we get to see every ship that comes in. We don't rent a car or anything so we tend to hang around the property or walk into town.

Diving - we boat dive w/ the on-site shop - Divi Dive. Serge De Groot is the manager and he and his staff are wonderful. We do the morning 2 tank dives and lounge around in the afternoon. I experimented w/ solo diving last year on the house reef. The house reef is Calabas and is a nice dive. We don't shore dive except on the house reef. Boat diving gives us access to Klein and several boat only sites up North. We don't dive w/ a group but meet up w/ a bunch of other non-group divers each year. We've sort of become a de facto group. The core group seems to us, a couple from Chicago, a couple from DC, a guy from Finland and a guy from Germany then we adopt anyone else who shows up. Your DH would definitely be able to find a buddy or at least dive w/ the dive master off the boats.

Hope that helps.
 

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