||VAWN HIMMELSBACH, Chic Savvy Travels
Whether you’re an experienced diver or looking to become one, why hone your skills at home when you can do it in one of the best diving destinations in the world?
While you can take your PADI scuba certification pretty much anywhere, if you don’t live near a large body of water (or it’s frozen over this time of year), you’ll be relegated to a swimming pool. If that’s the case, you may want to consider taking your certification (or logging some dives) abroad, whether that’s Koh Tao in Thailand or the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Great Barrier Reef. Photo Credit: iStock
It also means you get access to seasoned instructors who know the best spots for diving and the best times to see various types of marine life.
And, if you discover you get a panic attack every time you attempt to get in the water with a breathing apparatus strapped to your body, it’s not a complete waste – you can always chill out on the boat with a beer.
In Australia, you’ve got lots of options for introductory and advanced dives, including ribbon and coral sea reefs, whale and shark diving, and even heli-diving. If you’re traveling with someone who doesn’t want to dive, opt for a trip that includes visits to island beaches, underwater observatories and glass-bottomed boats. Here are a few dive trips worth checking out:
Taka Dive Adventures — The Minke Whale Expedition aboard the 100-foot Mono Hull offers a chance to visit the Ribbon Reefs and interact with dwarf minke whales. Taka Dive has worked with CRC Research and James Cook University on whale research programs since 1995 and has discovered favoured sites along the Ribbon Reefs to encounter whales (and the skipper is a trained zoologist). Or try the five-day Cod Hole and Coral Sea dive trip, which includes a shark feed where you can spot grey whalers, silvertip and white tip reef sharks.
Clownfish. Photo Credit: iStock
Mike Ball Dive Expeditions — If you’re looking for a luxury diving experience, check out the seven-night Coral Sea Safari on Spoilsport, a 100-foot Catamaran, a trip that allows for unlimited dives. This trip, which takes you to the Coral Sea and onto prime Ribbon Reef sites, offers a bit of everything, from diving among coral gardens to shark dives to dramatic wall dives. Other perks: a lounge and sundeck, a complimentary reef ecology program, underwater photography and video services, as well as PADI instruction.
Indepth Scuba — With two locations in Canberra and Batemans Bay, this dive shop offers a diverse range of PADI courses, including deep diver, wreck diver, Nitrox diver and underwater navigation/night certification, as well as digital underwater photography, rescue diver and instructor development courses. Or, for beginners, you can learn to dive over three days or two weekends.
Adrenalin Dive — For more advanced divers, try a three-night Yongala Wreck dive trip aboard the 65-foot Mono Hull, allowing for 10 dives, plus two night dives. The Yongala, a luxury ship that sank in 1911 during a cyclone, is now considered the best wreck dive in Australia, and is known for attracting an abundance of marine life, including whales, sharks, mantas, snakes and turtles.
Ocean Spirit Cruises — For snorkelers or those who might want to try an introductory dive, consider a one-day Oyster and Upolu Reef dive trip, featuring two top destinations on the Great Barrier Reef, aboard an 82-foot Catamaran. These destinations offers shallow, sandy bottoms for first-timers, and a chance to see giant clams, turtles and maybe even a reef shark.
Dolphin Dive Fremantle — If you’re in Western Australia, this dive shop offers diving and snorkeling trips to Rottnest Island, a limestone-based island with deep crevices, caverns and a maze of caves to explore. In spring spot humpback whales and in autumn hang out with grey nurse sharks.
Copyright @ 2011 Chic Savvy Travels
Date Added: February 19, 2011 | Comments (1)