One of most amazing marvels that modern technology has to offer humankind is the experience of scuba diving. Human beings throughout time have had a fascination with the water and the depths are still largely unknown by man. The beautiful world of the first 100 feet of the aquatic realm can be enjoyed by just about anybody in this day and age. As one travels the world and occasionally puts a regulator in one’s mouth, it’s obvious after a while that the diversity below the surface of the water is at least equal to that above.
That said, here are five amazing places to dive:
1. Indonesia – There are many good reasons to go to this nation of over 17,000 islands, chief among them being the top notch diving. The vast diversity of life found under the waves is staggering. Bunaken Marine Park offers an array of colors and shapes that is difficult to find anyplace else on the planet. Also, Indonesia is the premier spot for one of the newest types of diving: muck diving. Instead of floating above an abyss just off of a continental shelf or hovering over expanses of colorful coral reefs, the muck diver instead focuses on small areas. Going through the sediment at the bottom, muck divers encounter some of the strangest forms of life that the world has to offer. Indonesia boasts so many fine dive sites, it’s difficult to narrow it down to one best site.
2. Chuuk – Formally known as Truk, Chuuk is a group of islands in Micronesia. Not only is Chuuk in the tropics among seas that are often suited for diving, but it has an extra benefit: Chuuk is the site of one of the largest battles of WWII. Hulls of planes and ships of war now lay littered about underwater and are slowly being absorbed by the ocean. These American and Japanese craft, once filled with men, guns and pumping engines are now homes for coral, anemones and sharks.
3. The Great Barrier Reef – This has to be here. Some dive enthusiasts may have already noticed a pattern. All of the above have been situated in the fabled coral triangle. This area represents some of the world’s best sea diving. The Great Barrier Reef is no exception. With an area as large as all of Great Britain, the array of dive sites is astounding. Australia is a comfortable country to stay in or travel within by any standards. The city of Cairns must send out hordes of dive ships like no other. Yet, the reef is so huge that many will only see each other leaving and arriving in the harbor. There is good reason that this is the dive mecca of Australia.
4. North Carolina – Now I’ll switch hemispheres to a place that some may not think of quickly when asked about diving. Some of the finest wreck diving is just off the eastern seaboard of the United States. Dozens of ships lay off the coast, among them are craft from WWII. These, however, are American and German instead of American and Japanese. There are even U-boats laying off of this coast! North Carolina also offers the opportunity to dive for the petrified teeth of the Megalodon, a prehistoric shark almost twice the size of the fictional Jaws.
5. The Great Lakes – This is another region sometimes forgotten about in lists of great diving. If wreck diving is your passion, then the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada should be considered. Not only are there multitudinous wrecks, but the cold, fresh deeps of the Great Lakes is not as hard on structures as the sea is. The Pacific may have no memory, but the clear lakes do. There are literally hundreds of opportunities to wreck dive in the Great Lakes – if you can handle a little cold water, that is.
I would like to thank Jeff Menk of Huron Scuba, http://www.huronscuba.com, for his consultation on five of the best dive sites in the world.