If you were given two weeks to dive anywhere in the world and could choose any scuba diving destinations, where would you go? Would you try to push your boundaries wondering how you could quit your job to travel permanently? Or would you choose a nice destination like Thailand to go and explore the Phi Phi Island for two weeks?
Although the ocean is a scary place, it also harbors the most relaxing places in the world for scuba divers. That’s because scuba diving is one of the best activities to do when you’re on a nice beautiful tropical island. After all, how else could you explore the ocean? Under the sea, where it’s a little bit greener, you’ll find coral reefs, clownfish living in anemones, and lots of other fishes and plants alongside swimming around. So whether you’re looking to start your scuba adventure or looking to try out new places to explore, here are three exciting scuba diving destination to consider while you’re gearing up those oxygen tanks:
The Blue Hole: Once known as the “Bottomless Pit” to locals in Belize, the Blue Hole has become one of the most famous sites in the world. Why? Because the Blue Hole is essentially a massive sinkhole – a vertical cave – in the middle of the Reef Atoll. The near-perfect circle expands 1000 feet across and 400 feet in depth, which is why locals once believed the vertical cave never ended. The best way to see its full size, however, is by helicopter or plane.
So, how did this site become so famous? It became famous when filmmaker and scientist, Jacques Cousteau, listed it as one of the top 10 scuba diving sites in the world. Another great thing about the Blue Hole is that divers can jump into the crystal clear blue water and see several different shark species, including bull sharks and hammerhead sharks.
Thailand: At the heart of Southeast Asia, you’ll find Thailand, the “Land of a Thousand Smiles,” a country proud of its unique culture and famous scuba diving islands. With the Gulf of Thailand just west of south China, divers will find tons of diving opportunities. Ones that include fringing reefs, deep drop-offs, tunnels, and ocean seamounts. That said, Thailand has a number of famous dive sites that include Phuket, Ko Tao, and Similan Island.
This means that divers can practically go anywhere in the country, but the best diving location is near the Ko Tao, and Similan Island. Additionally, the Ko Tao diving area is a cheap place for beginners to learn how to dive, using proper equipment, and techniques. Don’t worry, if you’re an experienced diver, there’s a place for you too at this location. Just be careful where you go, because some locations throughout Thailand cater more towards tourists and therefore don’t have much to see once you’re in the water.
The Mnemba Island in Zanzibar: Zanzibar is a place that offers something for everyone — whether you’re a diver looking to swim with the dolphins of Mnemba or just want to be one of many divers to experience shallow dives and coral gardens. Whatever the case, the water near the Mnemba Island is home to turtles, dolphins, and over 400 different species of colorful fish, and other marine life. Although rare, whale sharks, manta rays, and reef sharks have also been spotted in the water around the island.
When’s the best time to visit the island?
The best time to visit is from mid-to-late February to mid-December. That’s when the visibility is at its best and diver’s are able to see everything since the sea is flat around that time. For tourists interested in visiting the island, keep in mind that the Mnemba Island is a privately owned location. This means that not everything located on the island is available to travelers. On the flip side, there are over a dozen sites divers can check out while staying on the island, along with certified scuba shops to help divers get the right gear.
As a final point, you should always plan your dive. In other words, don’t just rely on your computer system to help you navigate through the open ocean, especially since computers rely on battery life and batteries have limited power. Additionally, acquiring your own equipment plays a major factor in the enjoyment of the sport. Sure, you can always rent gear, but you don’t want to rely on rental equipment if you plan on going more than 20 feet in depth. That’s why it’s best to purchase your own equipment and establish relationships with local diving shops so you’re notified when they’re offering coupons, sales, and online discounts. The bottom line of equipment ownership is that it’s much easier to achieve maximum enjoyment when you have your own diving gear.
Be safe and have fun.
Avery: Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves exploring the U.S. mountains of SW Idaho and examining human interactions with the greater world at large. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.
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