scuba diving
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Scuba Diving


Scuba diving, scuba diving equipment, scuba diving vacation, Hawaii scuba diving, scuba diving gear, scuba.


Scuba diving Boat

The world above the water is reason enough to go boating. Getting away from it all to sheltered coves that no four wheel drive vehicle can ever reach feeling the rhythm of the water dancing against your hull even the adrenaline rush that comes from experiencing a sudden thunders from experiencing a sudden thunderstorm from under a canvas dodger are all unique to the boating life.

But for many boaters this world only skims the surface. Some 55,000 Boat U.S. members are among the 3 million Americans who are certified scuba divers.

Once you get a glimpse of what's down there, they say, your perspective of the "real" world is forever changed.

Scuba diving is at its most fascinating -- not to mention most comfortable -- in warm waters full of

coral reefs and marine life, and both the eastern and western Caribbean fill this bill. While there are literally hundreds of land-based resorts from which you can dive -- or learn to dive -- many divers opt to stay on a boat. In the eastern Caribbean, these boats are generally crewed charter boats; in the western Caribbean, they're live-aboard dive vessels.

Here is a other great tropical diving site in Thailand, its around Phi Phi Islands and the Similan Islands.

scuba diving corals andaman sea
Scuba diving corals Andaman sea
sea snake scuba diving andaman sea
Sea snake scuba diving Andaman Sea

What's so great about taking a dive vacation on a boat? Maybe into the Andaman

Sea to explore the great coral diversity.

First, the crews are scuba diving professionals. Many are scuba diving instructors, so you can get certified if you need to, or get checked out if it's been awhile since you last dived.

The charter captains know all the most popular dive spots and have a few not-so-well-known favorites of their own.

Second, all of the boats have dive equipment on board and most have compressors to keep the dive tanks full.

Scuba Diving searching for fish shoals
Scuba Diving searching for fish shoals

In addition, while land-based vacationers may have to travel in a small open boat for an hour or more to get to a dive site, you're already there in a charter or dive boat, and you aren't limited to a certain area.

On a crewed charter boat in the eastern Caribbean, you can dive from one island one day and another the next -- all you have to do is head on over. On a live-aboard dive boat, you'll travel more than 100 miles over the water during

a great dive site
A great dive site
 a typical seven-day  trip

Finally, depending on the dive boat and the number of guests, it's often less expensive to charter -- with food and drinks included -- than to stay in a hotel or resort.

The "little" extras that hotels usually bill you -- like rental fees for snorkel gear, windsurfers, fishing rods and scuba equipment - are almost always included in the dive boat charter fee.

 

 

Scuba dive boat
Scuba dive boat


Learn Scuba Diving

 

There are a number of scuba training and certifying groups to teach you the sport -- PADI, NAUI and the YMCA are the largest. Open Water certification, which includes classroom sessions, a pool dive where you learn to use the scuba equipment, and four open-water dives, can be obtained in as little as four or five days, but that's really pushing it.

Instead, consider this increasingly popular certification method:

Take the classroom portion and pool instruction at home , and then have your instructor write a letter of  referral to a dive instructor in the Caribbean.

The right place to learn scuba diving
The right place to learn scuba diving

Doing this, says Marty Rayman, owner and PADI course director of Aquatic Adventures in Alexandria, VA, means you get the best of both worlds.

   

"You get all the time you need to learn about the science of the sport and to get your questions answered in class, and then practice using the equipment in a pool until you're comfortable," Rayman said. "Once you have that knowledge under your belt, you'll be prepared to do your four open-water certifying dives in tropical waters."

Diving in the Eastern Caribbean

In the eastern Caribbean, especially the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, there are at least 40 yachts available with a certified diving instructor so you can learn right on board, and another 75 or so with a dive-master aboard (divemasters are diving experts but they aren't yet certified to teach).

The kinds of boats available range from 80-foot motor yachts and sprawling catamarans to

wreck scuba diving photo by cwhiting
Wreck scuba diving photo by cwhiting

smaller sailboats that cater to couples. And while each boat and crew is different, they all have one thing in common - they want their clients to have a great time.

Don't worry if everyone in your party isn't prepared to take the scuba plunge, or is just too young (you have to be at least 10 for PADI certification). Snorkeling is a wonderful way to get a window on what's below. In St. John, USVI, there's a terrific marked snorkeling trail in Trunk Bay maintained by the U.S. National Park Service.

In the British Virgin Islands, probably the most popular diving site is the 1867 wreck of the 310-foot mail ship R.M.S. Rhone, which broke in half during a hurricane. Snorkelers can have a grand time floating just 30 feet above the stern, watching the divers below and the thousands of fish that live in the wreck.

One more benefit of crewed charters is the ability to dive after the sun goes down. Since 80% of all marine life emerge only at night, consider a night dive. With underwater flashlights, you'll see colors you'd hardly notice in the daylight shining forth in the dark like neon signs.

Coral polyps extend tentacles from their protective cups as they feed on planktons, lobsters scoot across the bottom and gorgeous parrot fish that surrounded you during the day snooze in their mucus cocoons at night. Shy and beautiful moray eels, mostly hidden in coral nooks and crannies in daylight, slither about the reefs in search of a meal.
When you're through with your night dive, staying on board means all you need to do is hop back aboard, perhaps enjoying a nightcap in the cockpit before heading to your cabin below.

 

Diving in the Western Caribbean

especially Belize and Honduras' Bay Islands -- is less crowded and more pristine than the eastern Caribbean. And like that area, there are dives to suit every taste, from wall dives, where you literally dive up and down a rock wall teeming with different kinds of marine life at different levels, to drift dives, where you start in one place and let the current carry you along until you resurface to meet your boat.

Night, cave and wreck dives are equally popular. No diver would ever complain about the clarity of the water or the diversity of the sites in this part of the Caribbean.

 

scuba diving corals
Scuba diving corals
scuba diving antenna fire fish
Scuba diving antenna fire fish
scuba diving crab over coral
Scuba diving crab over coral
scuba diving difficult to eat
Scuba diving difficult to eat
scuba diving sea horses
Scuba diving sea horses
Scuba Diving Whale Shark
Scuba Diving Whale Shark

However, the boating is a bit different. Instead of a variety of charter boats in all sizes, boats are limited to what are known as "live-aboard dive vessels." In the western Caribbean, these boats range from 80 to 120 feet, and they are definitely odd looking. Built on twin hulls modeled on the same technology used to build offshore oil platforms, the boats are very stable.

Live-aboard dive boats have private cabins equipped with individual heads and showers. With the increasing popularity of diving, most accommodations have evolved from "spartan" to "really comfortable."

Most boats go out for a week at a time, carrying 20 to 30 passengers. You can get fully scuba-certified or upgrade from one level of certification to the next. While truly avid divers can go below four to six times a day, there's abundant snorkeling, jacuzzis, sun decks and other entertainment for non-divers. Almost all live-aboard dive boats have nightly education presentations and underwater photography labs to process your film daily.

In Belize, you'll be diving mostly off two coral atolls --

Turnieffe Islands and Lighthouse Reef -- staying each night on moorings right above your dive site. You'll have a chance to dive the Blue Hole -- the world's largest -- made famous by Jacques Cousteau.

This dive begins at 110 feet, which means you'll have much less time on the bottom than you would at 50 feet. However, it's worth it: Exploring this collapsed underground cavern and swimming among its remaining stalagtites is an unforgettable diving experience.

Sing Rays spottet on a Live-aboard dive
Sing Rays spottet on a Live-aboard dive
Great views during a live aboard scuba diving trip
Great views during a live aboard scuba diving trip
scuba diving shark watching
Scuba diving shark watching
Caribbean Scuba Diving
Caribbean Scuba Diving

Live-aboard dive vessel operators say you're four times more likely to see large marine animals like manta rays, dolphins and whales than if you stay at a land-based resort. That makes sense, because once you get out on the water, trips to shore are rare.

And while you'll have your own cabin, the privacy of a crewed charter yacht isn't there -- recreational and dining areas are shared by all. If you feel like staying up and partying all night, chances are you'll be greeted with glares from

Live aboard dive vessel
Live aboard dive vessel

your fellow passengers in the morning.

But, like crewed charter boats, you'll probably wind up paying less, not more, than you would at a resort -- even a dive resort.

Prices generally include all meals and snacks, soft drinks, beer and wine and, of course, the diving: equipment, tanks, air and divemasters (instruction may be extra, depending on the boat). Most live-aboard dive boats offer discounts for passengers who don't dive.

Caribbean Scuba Diving Corals
Caribbean Scuba Diving Corals

Beyond the Caribbean, there are almost as many charter and live-aboard dive boats around the world as there are beautiful places to explore underwater.

Some more excellent scuba diving regions

are the South Pacific, the Maldives Islands and Thailand all beckon. A bit closer to home are Panama's San Blas Islands and the Galapagos Islands, 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

Crewed charter boat
Crewed charter boat
Thailand Diving around Similans
Thailand Diving around Similans

Caribbean Scuba Diving catch the fish

 

 

If you want more information on scuba diving, you don't have to go too deep. For a start, check out the NAUI, PADI and YMCA Web sites at www.naui.org, www.padi.com, and www.ymcascuba.org. Learn about Divers Alert Network (DAN), an insurance and medical program for divers, at www.diversalertnetwork.org. An excellent site for all-around information on scuba diving is www.scubadiving.com.

Once you decide to take the plunge, so to speak, the term "sea change" will take on a whole new meaning for you.

COPYRIGHT Boat Owners Association - COPYRIGHT Gale Group


Scuba Diving

 

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