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Dive Computer Buying Guide – What you have to consider!

How to Choose the Best Scuba Diving Computer

Dive Computer Buying Guide

First things first, a dive computer is a computing device used by scuba divers that are worn on the wrist or as part of a console. It resembles a smartphone screen and does some life-saving calculations for you.

It measures your depth (built-in depth gauge), time of the dive (timer) and then it calculates and informs you about the amount of nitrogen you have absorbed in your body. The higher your nitrogen saturation, the longer time you’ll need for your ascent. It shows this time on a large and often colorful screen that is easily visible underwater.

Does that simplify things a little? Now it’s time to venture into more complicated turf.

Buyer’s Guide

How do you pick the best scuba diving computer for yourself? The following sections outline what you should consider before buying a dive computer. 

Scuba diving organizations like PADI, SDI/TDI, and others do nowadays recommend that you use a dive computer when diving.

Basic Considerations

What’s your skill level?

Beginners should stick to the basics. Look for something that has a clear and visible screen and does what it’s supposed to do without you having to fiddle with it. There are a lot of good scuba diving computers which do just that.

Some standard features you’d want in one are depth, time, no stop limits, ascent rate, no-decompression limit (NDL) or no stop time, emergency decompression and information about the previous dives. More advanced or recreational divers may want additional features like open-circuit air/nitrox/trimix compatibility.

Reliability and Durability

Your dive computer tracks potentially life-impacting environmental information. Don’t go just for the lowest price on a device that in a certain situation your health could depend on.

You want to get a computer that is reliable and durable. Diving is not kind to your gear. No matter whether you dive in the ocean, in caves, or just in a lake, you will expose your gear to harsh environments. Constantly changing temperatures, scratches, bumps, saltwater, many travels, to just name a few…

They build these computers tough to withstand all of these challenges. Just strapping on a waterproof sports watch or slightly improved fitness tracker will not do it.

Grab a specialized dive computer that is built to work reliably under those conditions. Flexible straps, scratch, and shatterproof screens will make sure that your device won’t let you down when you most need it.

Suunto Vyper Novo Wrist Dive Computer Blackjpg

Display

You want to see the data large and clear. So look for a big (colorful) screen with a backlit display. A dot matrix display works equally well too as long as it is visible.

Some newer models offer the latest technology to display data. Top of the line displays today are OLED based, similar to high-end TV’s. They offer brilliant colors and clarity that is hard to beat and makes reading the data underwater a lot easier.

Screen Size

With our trend to make everything smaller, you might think having a smaller screen underwater is better. That somewhat depends on yourself. Many divers prefer a smaller screen as they can use the dive watch also on land.

However, the purpose of a dive computer is, first of all, to be able to see important information underwater. Light conditions can vary and it’s hard to read the data on a small screen. Soon this will improve as they will introduce more and more devices that use high-contrast and colorful displays that use OLED technology. Data displayed can in that case easily be read even on a small screen.

Specifically, if you are vision-impaired or you dive with prescription lenses, then pick a display size that is rather large. It will display the data on a bigger screen making it easier for you to read even if you can’t rely on the corrective lenses in a dangerous situation.

Backlight

Nearly all available models today offer a backlit screen. Even LED or OLED variants use some sort of backlight to produce the vibrant displays on the device.

Some older low-end models do not have a backlight. You must use a flashlight or torch to be able to read the data on the screen.

Not having backlight results in less battery consumption. A strong backlight potentially drains the battery nearly as much as the rest of the computer itself. Use it sparingly to conserve battery during diving.

If your dive computer does not have a backlight, then shining a flashlight against it to read the display sounds easy. It’s not that easy when you have to fumble for the torch first to be able to read the data on the screen.

You should definitely go for a backlit screen as it’s easy to read in darkness and even in sunlight. You’ll avoid having to search for your torch to be able to read the data. One quick thought though. If you’re looking at some of the latest dive computers with OLED based displays, then please know that they have minor issues when you try to look at the display in bright sunlight.

Sizing and Weight of a Dive Computer

Considerations on screen sizes we pointed out above have a direct impact on the weight and overall size of the device. Underwater, the weight aspect is of lesser importance than on land as you don’t have to lift the weight. Usually, these devices are also too light to make a difference in your weight calculations for buoyancy.

However, the physical size of the device can very well have an impact. You most likely would not want a huge piece of equipment on your wrist during a dive. It can be a nuisance and you can’t easily get to see the important information.

Similarly, a device that’s too small can be hard to grab and read when you’re immersed. Most devices you can get today are reasonably sized and allow for ergonomic handling underwater with or without gloves. Some technical dive computers end up on the larger side. They have a lot of features that need to be packed into a device so you potentially have to get used to such a larger device on your wrist if you get into sophisticated technical diving.

Lastly, having a small device works well in warm environments where you’re probably only wearing a rash guard. If you dive in colder waters and you need a wet suit or even a drysuit, then most of these small computers offer the problem of not having a long strap. You will have trouble mounting them on your wrist on top of your suite as the straps are not long enough.

Oceanic Console Mounted Dive Computer

User-Friendly

As we said before, you don’t want to be fiddling too much with your dive computer underwater. Look for something that’s as hands-free as it can be. For the tasks that demand your fingers, look for models with large buttons. Remember that you potentially will wear thick gloves.

Another aspect of being user-friendly is how you prefer to navigate through the different options. Some entry-level models offer a single button. While this is simplifying things, on one hand, it makes it harder on another.

If there are a few menu options then using one button can make life a lot easier. Multiple buttons are necessary when you have a device with many features. In that case, it’s easy to navigate to the specific option/display you’re looking for without having to step through the whole set of menu choices.

Comfort

One thing many don’t think about is that your dive computer should be comfortable to wear. It’ll be with you at every dive and one thing it should not be is that it irritates you.

If you intend to use a small system you wear on land and in water then check that the straps are comfortable to wear all the time. If you use them on top of your wetsuit, then a slightly rougher material might not be an issue. If you wear it on your skin all the time, then you want something that can be worn comfortably.

Price

The average price for a personal scuba computer with standard features is around $250-$500. Advanced ones will make you poorer by $800-$1,200. Beginners should pick an entry-level device that is not only more affordable, but that reduces the complexity of the computer.

More features usually result in a higher price. If you want a technical dive computer where you can change algorithms, have air integration, an integrated compass, etc. then you not only have to expect to pay more but you will also need to get a much better understanding of how to use the system.

Mount Style

You have two different styles to choose from. One is a wristwatch styled dive computer which once again has two different varieties, one that looks like a hockey puck and the other which resembles a normal wrist watch and can be worn on land too.

The second style is a console or boot mount styled computer that has all the features packed into a compact device. You can often find the same device to be available in either a wrist- or a console-mount. It is somewhat of personal preference and not necessarily a safety or capability question on which type to choose.

In our opinion, it can be easier to use a wrist-mounted system as you always know where it is. A console, if not set up correctly, can have a life of its own and you potentially could end up trying to look for it. It can be a problem if you end up in a dangerous situation and you’re not instantly able to see the data you’re looking for as you have to search for the console first.

Technical Considerations

Mares Smart Dive Computer

Dive Modes

Pretty much any modern dive computer will offer you several modes. Most common in all models are gauge mode and air.

Nowadays pretty much any device will also be able to deal with at least one nitrox/gas mix. If you’re thinking of venturing into technical diving, then having a computer that provides different models to deal with gas blends is of the essence. The modes to consider are multiple gas mixes including Tri-mix you can switch during a dive.

If you also enjoy freediving, then you want that mode to be part of the offered features. Technical divers that use a rebreather require a computer that can calculate limits for rebreathers.

Algorithms

All dive computers use an underlying algorithm that is tracking your absorption of nitrogen under pressure while you dive. These algorithms are based on a variety of different models and the goal is to keep you safe while you dive.

Every manufacturer has its own little tweaks on this and these algorithms are not all the same. Some are more conservative (less time underwater) while others are possibly even based on different models and are more liberal (more time underwater).

Nearly all available computers will allow you to influence and adjust the calculations. Usually, it means you can change them to be more conservative. This can be a good idea specifically if you are a beginner or just diving again after a while.

You’ll often experience these differences when you dive with a buddy or group where everybody has a different brand of a dive computer. Some will alarm for decompression limits earlier while others will do that later. If you don’t cheat your dive computer, you should be safe no matter how conservative or liberal the calculations are.

Oceanic tries to overcome this dilemma by having dual algorithms in their computers. You can pick which algorithm to use when you dive with a group or buddy that uses a different brand. That way you get your calculations close to each other.

Air Integration

Last but not least, air integration is one of the most sought after technologies in the top dive computers. It allows you to connect it to the oxygen tank using a transmitter and it will display the amount of air time remaining and the PSI reading of the tank.

This sounds straightforward but there are a few things you need to consider. First, how do you want your air integration to work? If you use a console-mounted dive computer, then it might have a pressure gauge integrated that connects to your tank via a hose.

Otherwise, the most common air integration is done through wireless transmitters on your tank. These typically work well.

If you are a dive guide or teacher, then you might need a more advanced setup where you can wirelessly track the air levels of all the members of your group. You can find dive computers that can connect to multiple wireless transmitters allowing you to track the pressure in each tank so you can safely get everyone to the surface.

Dive computer for beginners

Connectivity

One often overseen aspect of your dive computer is to be able to log your data and to download it to your PC. Log capabilities are different in nearly all devices and some can store data for many dives while others have a limited log capability.

The latest generations of dive computers often offer Bluetooth connectivity with your smartphone or computer. You can download your dive data wirelessly. Other options are that you can connect through a USB cable which most times are optional and will cost you extra.

Being able to analyze your dive log can be helpful. Not only does it give you bragging rights, but you actually can compare the data collected on different dives, so you can work on your air consumption, etc. That might not be your priority but once you gained enough experience, it can be an interesting aspect of using a dive computer.

Changeable Battery

All dive computers run off batteries. Some even come with rechargeable ones. That sounds at first glance like a great thing but is it?

Having a rechargeable battery has advantages. First, you won’t have to change the batteries when they are empty. However, it can be quite negative when you’re on a dive trip and you forgot the charger. Once the battery is drained you’re stuck with no computer.

Another obstacle found with some models is that you can’t change the battery yourself. It’s required that you send your device to a service center where the battery gets changed. That many times is not an issue as you can plan around your dive trips but it can be if you miss having them changed early enough and during a dive vacation you find out that the battery won’t last long enough. If you are in an area that offers lots of diving then you might be able to find such a service center and have the battery switched in a short period of time

The potentially best solution is that you get a dive computer where you can change the batteries yourself. In that case, you have a spare battery with you or at least you can purchase one of these standard batteries pretty much anywhere worldwide. The downside is that you will have to open the case to change batteries. Make sure that the system is protected from the water after you change and most battery replacement kits from the different manufacturers include O-rings that should be changed, etc.

Best Dive Computer for Beginners

If you are just starting out with scuba diving then you might wonder what the best dive computer for beginners might be. Luckily, there is quite a selection of different dive computers for the entry-level market that are affordable while providing you with the most required features and functions.

You might be compelled to go for a mid-range or high-end unit, to begin with, but that’s typically not necessary. Pick one of the best entry-level dive computers available and you’ll be set for the first couple of years at least.

Final Thoughts

Buying a dive computer is not a life-or-death decision. If you stick with the most trusted brands like Oceanic, Suunto, Cressi, Aqualung, Shearwater, to name a few, then your search starts at a place where you know the unit is keeping you safe.

Consider what you really need. Just because a specific dive computer model looks great or has all the bells and whistles doesn’t mean it’s a good choice for your diving style. 

Don’t forget, if you start with an entry-level model then you can always trade-up when you get more experienced. You can either sell the used dive computer or keep it as your backup.

In any case, stay safe when diving and enjoy the world underwater!

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Best Scuba Diving in the Galapagos Islands

Located on the Equator, the Galapagos consists of 13 islands and 7 islets, making it an interesting travel destination. For many years, before the Galapagos became populated, they were a sanctuary for marine and land animals that have evolved over the years and become a delight for biologists and scuba divers alike.

Best Scuba Diving in the Galapagos Islands

The island is populated by a few locals and has a marine reserve and a national park. It is officially recognized as a part of Ecuador, with most of the population speaking Spanish. Over the years, it has become popular for dive vacations due to its extensive display of incredible marine life.

Why Dive In The Galapagos Islands?

There is plenty to explore in the Galapagos Islands, both on land and underwater. The region is famous for its Blue Footed Boobies and massive Galapagos Tortoises. Apart from that, one of the islands, Santa Cruz, hosts a mangrove forest and a flamingo lagoon. It is also home to the Charles Darwin Research Station (globally famous biologist). You can enjoy a boat tour of all these incredible places.

If you’re focused on what’s under the water, the marine life is incredible (discussed in detail in the “What Aquatic Life Can You Find” section). Some locations like Academy Bay have calm waters, ideal for beginners, while other diving locations can be a bit challenging and are better suited for intermediate and advanced divers.

Is It Good For Beginners To Dive In The Galapagos Islands?

There are some dive sites in the Galapagos that can be a bit challenging, so it’s ideal for divers to at least have an Advanced Open Water Diver Certification. Some other certifications that will help divers in this region include:

Although some dive sites in the central island are suitable for Open Water Divers, most of the locations with the best marine life are best for intermediate and advanced divers. Many of these locations have cold water with strong currents and average to low visibility. Divers need to be skilled in dealing with water currents and may need to hold on to large rocks while some large waves pass.

The average level of visibility is 10-21 meters (33-70 feet), but this may vary if the water is rougher than usual.

Is It Easy To Get There?

To get to the Galapagos Islands, you’ll initially need to travel to Ecuador. From there, you can fly from locations like Quito and Guayaquil to one of the islands like San Cristobal. There are a number of flights to these islands daily, and they last around 3 hours. Air tickets from Ecuador to the Galapagos may go up to around USD 500 or less, depending on the season. Traveling to other islands can be done by sea.

If you’re traveling to a number of different dive locations in the Galapagos Islands, just keep track of the time interval between your dive and air travel to avoid getting the bends.

Are There Good Dive Sites For Families?

There are a few dive sites in the Galapagos that are suitable for beginners. The majority of the locations with the best marine life are meant for intermediate and advanced divers. If you have a family of ocean lovers, this is an ideal travel destination. There are also plenty of snorkeling opportunities, both from the shore and from a liveaboard.

What Aquatic Life Can You Find?

The marine life in the Galapagos is incredible. From marine iguanas and fur seals to penguins, every dive is a unique experience. Apart from these, there are manta rays and tuna fish. The Galapagos Islands are also particularly famous for their large number of hammerhead sharks that can be observed from nearly all the dive locations in this region. Some other shark species commonly found in this region include blacktips, white tips, and the occasional bull or tiger shark. Sea horses, dolphins, and seals are also seen frequently.

Apart from some incredible marine creatures, these waters are rich with mangroves, coral reefs, and other interesting underwater plants.

Underwater World in the Galapagos Islands

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the Galapagos Islands:

From family-friendly destinations to dive spots for pros, there is plenty to explore in the oceans of the Galapagos Islands.

El Arenal, Darwin Island

This dive site is located around Darwin’s Arch, a stone arch that rises above the ocean in El Arenal. With plenty of marine life like hammerhead, blacktip, and whale sharks, as well as big-eye jacks, you’re in for a treat.

Although dives start at just 9 meters (30 feet), the strong current makes diving in this region suitable for intermediate and advanced divers.

El Arco, Darwin Island

El Arco is one of the top diving sites in the world. It’s famous for its whale and hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, silky sharks, and the infamous Galapagos lurking in the waters. This dive location can only be accessed through a liveaboard. Many divers just stay in one place and observe marine life from their spot.

Shark Point, Wolf Island

There are quite a few dive sites in this region, which is located next to Darwin Island, but Shark Point is the most popular one. Shark Point is only accessible through a liveaboard. For most of the year, divers can have an unbelievable experience swimming alongside massive whale sharks. Apart from this, you can also see many hammerheads and Galapagos sharks here.

Shark point is strictly for advanced level divers due to limited visibility and very strong water current.

Cape Douglas, Fernandina Island

This spot is for advanced level divers who are certified in drift diving. In your drift dives, you’ll see penguins, fur seals, marine iguanas, and the Galapagos sea lions.

With plenty of tropical fish in the waters, this location is also great for snorkeling, making it a great family spot. It’s also a great place to observe mangroves and lava formations.

Pitt Point, San Cristobal Island

Located in the northeastern section of the island, this rocky dive site hosts schools of snappers, jacks, and grunt. The area is quite family-friendly with plenty of hotels and resorts.

Kicker Rock, San Cristobal Island

Kicker Rock is aptly named due to its shape that resembles a shoe. It is an ideal spot for both diving and snorkeling. Over here, you’ll get to see large rays, surgeonfish, wrasse, sea turtles, angelfish, and Galapagos sharks. As you go deeper, you’ll also get to see hammerheads. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a marine iguana.

If you’re traveling with your family, you can select a tour that takes you to snorkel or dive and also goes to Lobos Island to play with the sea lions. Diving here is suitable for beginners.

North Seymour, Seymour Island

Travelers usually opt for multiple dives in this region because of how much there is to see here. From yellowtail grunts to salemas to blue-striped snapper, you’ll also find manta rays, marble rays, and eagle rays. Hammerhead sharks and marlins are also seen commonly. You may also run into the occasional blue-footed booby looking for food. This dive site is suitable for everyone, including beginners.

Sea Turtle - Galapagos

Camaño Islet, Santa Cruz Island

This calm diving spot is good for beginners. The waters are full of sea horses, sea lions, batfish, groupers, and even sharks. Sometimes, you may even run into a marine iguana. There is great visibility underwater, and the dives are pretty shallow. They start at around 10-15 meters (33-50 feet).

Gordon Rocks, Santa Cruz Island

Gordon Rocks is actually an eroded crater located in northeastern Santa Cruz. Although there are plenty of marine animals here, it is particularly famous for its hammerhead sharks. These sharks often get grouped together due to the strong water current, so you can swim up close to them.

Dive conditions in this region are a little tricky, and the current is strong, making the dive site suitable for intermediate and advanced divers.

Roca Redonda, Isabela Island

This unique diving site is at the top of an underwater volcano that starts from the ocean floor and emerges out of the water like an island. From barracudas to hammerhead and Galapagos sharks, there’s a lot to see here. Sea horses and sea lions may accompany you when you’re diving in shallow waters.

Punta Vicente Roca, Isabela Island

Punta Vicente Roca is a wall with numerous small caves off Isabela Island. The water here is quite cold. Dives start at around 12 meters (40 feet) and go down to 27 meters (88 feet). You’ll find seahorses and frogfish here as well sunfish. Mola Mola are seen along the wall where they come to clean themselves. Penguins and sea lions also accompany you during your journey. This dive location is suitable for intermediate level divers.

Cousins Rock, Santiago Island

Located in northeastern Santiago, Cousins Rock has a dive site that includes terraced steps that go 40 meters deep (130 feet). These steps are also coated in black coral and attract hoards of seahorses. Other than that, you can also find white-tipped reef and hammerhead sharks, barracuda, moray eels, and sea turtles here. This region is suitable for intermediate level divers.

What Specific Gear Do You Need To Dive In The Galapagos Islands?

Obviously, you’ll need basic scuba gear like your dive computer, tank, scuba mask, fins, and swimsuit. Apart from this, you’ll also need extra gear such as:

  • A drysuit for diving in the colder regions of the Galapagos
  • Underwater camera
  • Full-body wetsuit for safe diving among the sharks – gloves and hoods are also recommended (sharks are attracted to color contrasts so make sure your entire diving outfit is the same color)

With the right gear and skills, your dives in the Galapagos should be an exciting experience.

Is It Dangerous To Dive In The Galapagos Islands?

Scuba diving anywhere in the world does involve some level of risk, but as long as you take the necessary safety precautions, you should be fine. In the Galapagos, this includes having the right certification and skill level, the right gear, and checking the water and weather conditions before diving.

The Galapagos are particularly known for strong water currents and relatively low visibility in the water, so just keep an eye out for particularly strong currents when you are diving.

Apart from that, the best dive locations in the Galapagos involve diving with sharks, which can be risky. You just need to be careful not to attract too much attention and have easy access to a safety point in case you run into a dangerous situation.

Final Thoughts

Diving in the Galapagos Islands is possible all year round, although it does rain or drizzle every now and then. Temperatures range from 71-85 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on where you are on the island. Visibility varies between 10-30 meters (30-100 feet) depending on the season and the plankton level in the water.  

The Galapagos are famous worldwide for their incredible sharks and are favored by advanced and professional divers globally.

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Scuba Diving at Epcot Divequest – Worth a Dive?

Disney World is full of endless opportunities for never-ending fun and enjoyment. It offers a wide range of incredible attractions, ranging from golf courses and water parks to a variety of food and dining options.

Scuba Diving at Epcot Divequest

However, some of its top attractions are by far its four main theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and the Animal Kingdom. All four have their own unique features to offer to all the visitors and tourists that let you have an experience of a lifetime.

While all these theme parks are absolutely beautiful and grand in their own ways, Epcot Park really does stand out as it offers you a chance to go underwater, immerse yourself in the calm, blue waters, and dive with a range of stunning sea creatures.

The Epcot Divequest is one of the most exceptional things about Epcot Park, and if you have a knack for diving underwater and exploring the hidden world below, you will truly love Divequest.

Here’s everything you need to know about scuba diving at Epcot Divequest. The information present in this blog post will help you decide whether it’s worth it or not!

What is Epcot Divequest?

Epcot Divequest is the ultimate three-hour scuba experience by Walt Disney World, with unlimited visibility, calm and tranquil seas, and the most spectacular marine life. It gives you the opportunity of a lifetime to take a plunge in the Caribbean Coral Reef, which is basically a 5.7 million gallon tank with saltwater where you get to see, observe, and marvel at almost 6,000 incredible sea creatures!  The best part about Epcot Divequest is that it has absolutely clear waters that are void of any currents. This allows divers to get the most amazing views of numerous creatures just swimming away, such as sharks, sea turtles, eagle rays, and dolphins, to name a few.

The actual dive is for about 40 minutes, whereas the overall Divequest experience lasts for almost 3 hours, where you also get to tour all around this beautiful and massive human-made ocean.

The first part of the dive comprises of a short introductory video, followed by a tour of the facility plus the water filtration system, which has also been touted as the world’s best filtration system.

Can You Scuba Dive at Epcot?

Yes, you can scuba dive at Epcot in its ‘Divequest’ scuba session that lasts for a total of three hours. You are provided with all the necessary equipment, and personal diving equipment is not allowed. All you need to take with you is a swimsuit, but if need be, you can bring your dive mask. The equipment provided includes the following gear: regulator, mask, fins, buoyancy compensator tank, and weight belt.

Epcot Divequest - Dive with Shark

How deep is the Tank at Epcot?

The tank at Epcot is almost 30 feet deep and has a capacity of 5.7 million gallons. This kind of depth allows divers to roam around the full tank and also gives them a chance to interact with their family or other resort guests through the 56 giant acrylic windows that surround the tank.

How much does it Cost to Dive at Epcot?

The dive at Epcot is ideal for teens and adults, and it costs $179.00 per person for a total duration of three hours.

Is It Good for Beginners to Dive at Epcot Divequest?

The Epcot Divequest is a wonderful opportunity for beginners to kickstart their scuba diving journey. They have dive instructors there for your ease and convenience that give you all the safety instructions along with how to enter the water and swim with the wildlife. Another reason why it’s good for beginners to dive at Epcot Divequest is that it is a fully-controlled tank, with all the safety measures and precautions well-in-place. On top of that, it has 100-percent visibility, so you aren’t likely to get lost!

However, you must bear in mind that in order to dive at Epcot Divequest, you must be SCUBA-certified. It is also only open to age groups of 10 years and above.

Is It Easy to Get There?

Yes, it is quite easy to get to Epcot Park, but the journey depends on where you are staying in Disney World. You have access to several transportation options, which include buses, boats, Minnie vans, gondolas, monorail, and ferries.

Is it good to Dive for Families?

Epcot Divequest presents a great opportunity for families to dive into the vast, human-made tank with beautiful sea creatures. However, you must note here that the cost per person is a tad pricey. While the diving experience on its own is incredibly unique, and ensure that you’re safe when you’re on your drive, you should consider the total cost of this attraction if you have multiple members of your family who want to dive. Additionally, you have to be SCUBA-certified if you wish to participate in the Epcot Divequest.

On a brighter note, though, your family and friends can go to the observation deck and watch you dive through the big windows, which is also an experience of its own.

Epcot Divequest - Mouse Ears

Important Things to Remember about Epcot Divequest

Before you head to Epcot Park for the ultimate underwater diving experience, there are a few essential things that you need to know regarding its policies, as well as other general information.

  • Firstly, to be able to participate in this Divequest, you must be SCUBA-certified and 10 years of age or older. In the case of participants who are between 10-12 years of age, they are required to be accompanied by a paying adult who must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You are supposed to take off all accessories before entering the aquarium, which includes all types of jewelry and wristwatches.
  • Personal diving equipment is not allowed for the Divequest since they provide you with everything. The best part is that their equipment is highly modern, updated, clean, and well-maintained.
  • The backstage area of the aquarium doesn’t allow photography, so you must refrain from using your cell-phones, camera, or any other related equipment. However, there’s no such restriction on non-backstage areas.
  • You should make it a point to check-in at Epcot’s Main Entrance at least 15 minutes before the time mentioned for the start of the diving experience.
  • In case you have a booking but aren’t able to show up on the due date, you will have to give up the entire price of the tour unless you cancel your reservation within a matter of two days.  
  • One-third section of the backstage area of the aquarium is partitioned off so as to prevent people from diving with the dolphins. This is mainly due to the fact that dolphins tend to get overly playful and can end up hurting themselves or other sea creatures.
  • When you enter the water, there’s a cameraman who films you and creates a souvenir video for you. Although you are shown the video later after the tour ends, you are required to purchase a DVD if you wish to take the video back home with you. 

Final Thoughts

The Epcot Divequest truly sounds like an exciting and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all the scuba-enthusiasts out there. If you wish to explore the beauty of the calm blue waters and dive with a range of exotic sea creatures, this is a great option for you!

So, if you ever take a trip to Disney World, make sure to experience Epcot Divequest and have an experience of a lifetime!

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Best Scuba Diving in Aruba

Aruba lies in the southern Caribbean area and is one of the three ABC islands. It is an independent country and has around 100,000 inhabitants.

Best Scuba Diving in Aruba

The country resides within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is 33km (21 miles) long; it’s small enough to ensure that you will never get lost. The weather of the island is usually sunny and warm, perfect for a getaway vacation. In 2017, Aruba hosted around 1.1 million tourists, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world.

It is also home to some of the most exciting scuba diving locations in the world. Here is everything you may need to know about the best scuba diving in Aruba.

Why Dive In Aruba?

The best scuba diving in Aruba consists of fascinating coral formations and spectacular shipwrecks. The destinations dominate the protected southern and western coasts of Aruba. All of the dive sites are at a close distance from some of the best hotels on Palm Beach. If this wasn’t enough, the island is also home to a stunning, rich marine life. You will be able to reach the dive sites easily since there are plenty of boat services that make travel convenient. Even reaching off-shore reefs is easy since boat travel is a common form of transport there.

You will have access to over twenty diving sites run by different dive operators in the region. There are also plenty of scuba diving classes that you can take if you are a beginner.

Is It Good For Beginners To Dive In Aruba?

There are plenty of scuba diving sites in Aruba that are perfect for beginners. Most of the scuba diving locations aren’t that deep, ranging around 40 feet deep. Aruba is also known for the calm, serene water with low currents. This makes it the perfect location for beginners to dive in. The underwater realm is gentle and has plenty of exciting marine life that people can remain entertained without too much adventure.

The island is also equipped to handle beginners. There are plenty of scuba diving operations that offer classes and support.

Is It Easy To Get There?

Aruba is a Caribbean island located right outside the hurricane belt, which means the island has great weather all year around. What this means to you is that you’ll never have to suffer through any flight delays or cancellations due to the weather.

The state-of-the-art international airport of Aruba, Queen Beatrix International Airport, receives thousands of flights yearly. You can get single-connection and frequent nonstop flights from most of the major cities in the US. Daily flights are also available from some of the major hubs around the world.

The best part is that most South American, European, Caribbean, Canadian, and American citizens don’t need a visa to enter Aruba. You can check whether your country doesn’t need a visa to enter Aruba here.

Are There Good Dive Sites For Families?

There are diving sites for people of all levels and ages. Even children from ages 4-7 years can scuba dive safely with scuba tours such as Snuba Doo underwater adventures by De Palm Tours. There are plenty of water sports opportunities for the elderly as well. Aruba is fun for the whole family.

What Aquatic Life Can You Find?

Interesting coral formations are found from shallow water depths of 20 to 100 feet, with little or no current and flat surface conditions.

Aquatic Life Underwater in Aruba

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in Aruba

Aruba is known for its rich marine life, amazing coral formations, famous shipwrecks, and awe-striking underwater territory. There are many dive spots that you can explore around the western and southern coasts of Aruba. Several healthy reefs are perfect for explorative scuba dives. Here are some of the most popular destinations.

Mike’s Reef

Mike’s Reef is a scenic area with clear, serene waters, making it the perfect untouched paradise for scuba diving. The reef became famous after Captain Mike Hagedoorn started taking people to it when he created the Tranquillo Aruba in 1977.

You can take a boat from Oranjestad to get to the reef. This takes around 45 minutes of smooth sailing till the dock of Mike’s Reef. You can have fun drifting in the area – a kind of snorkeling invented by Captain Hagedoorn where drivers are propelled by the current instead of using their fins to move. You will be able to see a 100 ft deep ocean floor with thousands of multicolored and transparent marine creatures swimming through.

Antilla

The Antilla scuba diving destination is famous for the largest South Caribbean wreck. The Antilla was a ship made in 1939 in Germany and was confiscated by the Dutch during World War II. The German crew on board opened the valves of the ship so that it would sink instead of giving it up to the Dutch. The ship sank into the shallow 45ft waters, and most parts just lie right below the surface.

The ship has plenty of large components that you can explore. You can even see the dormant explosives that were used to make sure that it sank. There are some stunning tube sponges, coral formations, and a variety of tropical fish that you can see.

Pedernales Wreck

The Pedernales ship was another casualty of World War II. This Italian tanker was taken down by a German submarine and now lies in 25ft near Antilla. The Pedernales is around 26-30ft deep into the water, which makes it easy to explore while scuba diving. There is a huge array of life in the ship, such as octopi, groupers, silversides, angelfish, snappers, grunts, and moray eels. The calm waters make it a great spot for scuba diving.

Renaissance Island and the Barcadera Reef

Renaissance Island is popular because of the harbor reef that has a sunken tugboat and airplane wrecks in the area. The first twin-engine airplane with a pressurized cabin wreck can be found at a depth of 39ft. Hurricane Lenny of 1999 broke the aircraft into two, but there is still plenty left to explore. There is another airplane wreck just a few feet away that you can explore as well. The wreck has turned into an artificial reef full of amazing sights and things to see.

The island is owned by the Renaissance Resort, which is a perfect spot for tourists to stay at.

The Barcadera reef has a gradually sloping sea bed and is a healthy reef. Visitors can see star coral, brain coral, pillar coral, and amazing sea fans. The stunning marine life includes tangs, goatfish, schooling grunts, spiny lobsters, and green morays. At 45ft deep, you will even spot some gorgeous sea horses.

The Mangel Halto and the Hole in the Wall

The Hole in the Wall is an amazing dive location with several exit and entry points. You can get into the water from the beach or the jetty. Visitors are urged to dive at night since it is especially beautiful then.

The Mangel Halto is a bowl-shaped diving spot that has some remains of a tugboat lingering in the water. The narrow reef tract has a really calm underwater environment despite the currents on the surface of the water, making it perfect for diving. The beautiful shaded beach is also a great destination for picnicking and snorkeling.

Jane C Wreck

The 190ft Jane C ship was launched in 1959 and was used to ship cocaine and cement. Local dive operators in 1988 sunk the ship with the bow of the ship facing the Palm Island. The ship sits at 50-90ft deep in the waters and has become a great location for dives. Since it’s close to the reef, it has a great thriving marine life residing inside. The coral growth is home to plenty of marine creatures and fish. You can explore the ship through the open cargo hull.

Diving in Aruba

Serito Pinnacle

The Serito Pinnacle diving area is actually a well-kept secret between diving enthusiasts. This unspoiled portion on the southern coast is only accessible by private charter. It isn’t really family friendly since there are no real facilities there. But, since there are so few opportunities to visit the Serito Pinnacle, it is truly a virgin paradise.

You will be able to relish in the strong current that has bought a diverse range of marine life. Visitors can see barracuda, jack, and even the elusive Manta Rays.

SS California

The SS California is often mistaken for the California that was famous for receiving distressed signals from the Titanic but never responded. The wreck is still unidentified but pretty interesting to explore nevertheless. It is especially ideal for underwater photography and lies 15-30ft deep into the water.

The SS California has occasional strong currents and lies on the southern side of Aruba. You will be able to see bull and hammerhead sharks if you venture deeper past the wreck.

Pet Cemetery

The Pet Cemetery gets its name from the pets buried there with handmade headstones and crosses. It lies on the east side of the Baby Beach and is a wide reef tract. You will be able to see several different species of the pencil and finger coral, staghorn and elkhorn coral, mustard-hill coral, and sea fans. The reef gets steeper and narrower as it extends past the Baby Beach. On this site, you will find a host of sturgeon, triggerfish, cowfish, gobies, and damselfish populations.

The Wall

The Wall is another perfect diving spot for tourists. You could dive at the Wall for days and even weeks and not see all the marine life in the region. The breathtaking reef is home to green turtles that tend to lay their eggs there from May to August. Other gorgeous visuals include groupers, moray eels, gorgons, and burrfish. There are also plenty of coral formations such as flower coal, star coral, ribbon coral, and black coral. The beautiful marine life at the Wall includes porgys, damselfish, and jackknife fish. It is definitely a one-of-a-kind sight to see!

Star Gerren

The Star Gerren wreck is also known as the Cinderella of Aruban wrecks because it is often overlooked due to the more popular Antilla wrecks. The ship was purposely fully sunk in 2000 and is a 300-foot ship that lies upside down in the water. It lies in 40ft deep waters near the high-rise beach of Hadicurari. It was sunk intentionally after a bout of engine failure and other issues. It is an impressive artificial reef that has become home to yellowtail snappers and silversides. You also be able to see big spider crabs and barracudas.

The Star Gerren is accessible by boat and is a really great place for exploration. It is a great spot for non-skilled and skilled scuba divers alike.

Debbie II Wreck

The Debbie II is a 120ft fuel barge that was purposely sunk in 1992. It acts as a great artificial reef with a widely spread brain and leaf corals. It is visited by lobsters, barrel sponges, and different schools of fish. You can even spot rays of sea turtles passing by. It lies in 70ft of water and is definitely a great diving spot.

The Debbie II wreck is strategically sunk right in front of Palm Beach High-Rise hotels.

Finger Reef

The Finger Reef is named after the amazing finger-shaped corals at the center of the island. The spot is recommended for more experienced divers since it has strong currents. There are great opportunities to dive deep since the water goes from 40-130ft deep. You will be able to see great sea life, such as soft and hard corals, rays of sea turtles, and stunning schools of fish.

Mas Bango Reef

The Mas Bango Reef is known for its conserved, beautiful sloping reef. It is covered by a gorgeous array of soft and hard corals that are surrounded by smooth sand. It is southeast of the Finger Reef and starts off at a depth of just 5 feet, sloping down to 130 feet. You will be able to enjoy five islands of coral and see marine life such as tuna, mas bango fish, and barracudas.

Underwater Sights when diving in Aruba

Kappel

The Kappel was positioned by JADS Dive Center next to the Mangel Halto Reef on the sandy sea ground and sunk in 2009. The ship rests at a depth of 35-45 feet and is a great location for beginner divers. You will be able to see plenty of juvenile fish, arrow crabs, green moray eels, and other underwater species.

What Specific Gear Do You Need To Dive In Aruba?

You can bring your own equipment if you like. Otherwise, every diving site does have all the equipment for rent with an additional cost or for no extra charge. You will receive a weight belt, weights, and tanks at every diving location. Most diving places renew their equipment annually and have top-quality equipment. If you aren’t sure about the equipment, you can always ask the local guides and operations.

Many resorts and hotels in the area also lend snorkeling equipment to their guests. You can also buy or rent out your own equipment from local tourist shops. If you do plan on bringing your own equipment, you should check with the local diving facilities if they allow this.

Is It Dangerous To Dive In Aruba?

The short answer: no. If you are a beginner diver who doesn’t want to deal with faster currents or deep diving, you can stick to the easier scuba diving spots on the island. There are also plenty of diving operations and schools that take you for diving. You will be accompanied by experts on such tours, which can make you feel safer. You can also get private snorkeling tours where the diving instructors can accompany you and give you their undivided attention.

The Aruba underwater realm is known for calm, serene currents that are really friendly to the divers. The marine life in the area is also safe, with no incidents to speak of in the history of Aruban diving. The climate of the region is also very stable, ensuring that you aren’t adversely affected by storms or heavy rainfall while diving.

Final Thoughts 

Aruba is an amazing destination with gorgeous flora and fauna, hospitable people, top-notch hotels, and stunning scuba diving destinations. The island is centered on being a great destination for tourists and has plenty of family-friendly activities.

The best scuba diving in Aruba offers a memorable experience of exploring wreckages, interacting with beautiful marine life, and swimming along stunning coral reefs. The experiences that you will get from scuba diving in the clear, calm waters of the Caribbean island, Aruba, is one that you will cherish for eternity.

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Best Scuba Diving in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands consists of 3 islands, of which the Grand Cayman is the most famous. Collectively, these islands have a number of incredible dive locations with incredible marine life. Combine these with the numerous resorts and hotels in the area, and you’ve got yourself an ideal holiday destination.

Best Scuba Diving in the Cayman Islands

With warm, clear waters and beautiful beaches, you can either put your gear on and explore underwater, or find a shady spot on the sand and relax.

Why Dive In The Cayman Islands?

This tropical region is home to many world-famous dive sites featuring centuries-old shipwrecks that can be explored, deep, dark caverns, and fluorescent walls of corals. The temperature is neutral all year round, around 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the water is around the same, making your dive enjoyable. You don’t have to worry about dealing with icy winds and freezing waters with strong currents. It’s a good holiday spot, especially if you’re going with children.

Is It Good For Beginners To Dive In The Cayman Islands?

Most of the dive locations in the Cayman’s are suitable for both beginners and expert level divers. However, some cater mostly to deep divers where the best views are seen at depths of 40 meters and below.

Given the clarity of the water, however, beginners can also enjoy a decent dive, either from the shore or a boat (depending on the location), and view some great corals and sea life. The wreck and cave dives are safer for more experienced divers.

Is It Easy To Get There?

After taking an international flight to get to the Caymans, the rest of your travel will mostly be by road. If you’re traveling to dive spots on separate islands, you can book flights with Cayman Airways, which operates daily.

Getting around the islands is easy enough, and most of the popular dive locations are easily accessible by boat. The more distant ones will require access through a liveaboard.

Are There Good Dive Sites For Families?

Some of the less-visited dive sites and those known for deep diving are usually not visited by families. However, many dive sites are well-developed, with plenty of resorts and hotels in the vicinity. In some regions, dives start in waters as shallow as 6 meters, making them ideal for a family vacation.

What Aquatic Life Can You Find?

Apart from breathtaking corals and hidden passageways, the Caymans are rich in marine life. Many species are found in these waters, such as snapper, stingrays, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, tarpon, eels, the rare blue parrotfish, and turtles. There are also smaller sea creatures found among the corals like nudibranchs, anemones, etc. Colorful tropical fish also frequent the waters. These include angelfish, sergeant majors, butterflyfish, and so on.

In fact, many famous dive sites in the Cayman Islands are named after the species found there, such as the Snapper Hole, Tarpon Alley, and Stingray City.

Diving with Stingrays in the Cayman Islands

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in the Cayman Islands

The Cayman Islands are visited by scuba divers from all over the world, including beginners and pros. Some spots are quite tourist-heavy, while others are not as well-known but still contain some hidden gems underwater. We’ve listed a mix of both to help you decide which locations work best for you:

Snapper Hole

This dive site is well known for cave diving with plenty of tunnels and caverns to explore underwater. The rocks are studded with bright corals. It’s an ideal destination for beginners with dive sites as shallow as 20 meters (66 feet), offering great views. You’ll find a range of different sea creatures like tarpon fish lurking in the caves, snapper, black-tip and nurse sharks, denizens, and even eagle rays. Underwater visibility caters to entry-level divers and is more than 24 meters (70 feet).

The dive site is also famous for the sponge-covered remains of an anchor from an ancient 300-foot-long tanker wreck, the Methusalem. Divers reach Snapper Hole by boat and should typically have Open Water certification at the very least. This spot is popular among tourists and is family-friendly.

Eden Rock Dive Center

Eden Rock is a popular reef diving area with 2 globally famous spots – Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto. Both can be accessed from the shore at a depth of around 14 meters (45 feet). The dive sites are famous for caves, grottos, and tunnels rising from the ocean floor. Divers are greeted with a splash of color, not just from the corals but from colorful fish, sponges, tarpon, and sea fans.

These spots are frequented by underwater photographers from all over the world. There are many resorts in the area as well as other activities that the family can do together, like boat tours and snorkeling.

The Maze

Located in the southern region of the Grand Cayman, the Maze, as the name suggests, is an underwater labyrinth of corals and sponges. Dive depths start at around 17 meters (56 feet) and go down to around 30 meters (98 feet). This dive site hosts the world-famous Wreck of the Ten Sail, a shipwreck caused due to an event that occurred in 1974.

It is accessible by boat, and you can see many marine creatures like Caribbean reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, and turtles. The region has plenty of hotels and resorts and has activities on the land as well, such as the Wreck of the Ten Sail memorial park, making it ideal for a family vacation.

Babylon

Located in the North of the Grand Cayman, dives in the Babylon start at around 12 meters (40 feet) and go all the way to around 30 meters (98 feet). With hoards of plate coral, rope sponges and black corals lining the ocean walls, your dive here will be a truly unique experience.

Pros can dive deeper and find a stunning world with spectacular marine creatures like barracuda, spotted parrotfish, eagle rays, turtles, and occasionally, even hammerhead sharks! Diving in this region is either done through a liveaboard or a one-day safari if you’re a beginner or intermediate level diver.

The region isn’t particularly family-friendly and is mostly suitable for advanced level divers who don’t need too many amenities and activities above land to keep them entertained.

Captain Keith Tibbetts’ Wreck

Sunk deliberately in 1996, the Tibbett wreck is a Soviet-built warship accessible only by boat, a journey of about 5-20 minutes from the shore, depending on where you start your journey from. Dives range from depths of 17 to 34 meters. There is some incredible marine life to view, such as bright coral formations and sponges, barracudas, eels, scorpionfish, and other sea creatures native to the tropics.

Diving a wreck in the Caymans

While the water is calm and clear enough for entry-level divers, the dive is more enjoyable for experts who can actually penetrate some portions of the wreck and truly explore the depths of the ocean.

The region is family-friendly with other snorkeling and boat tours and colorful views of the ocean, even for shallow divers.

Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens are famous among recreational divers for shallow dive sites down to 15 meters (49 feet) and is located in the South of the Grand Cayman. Divers can swim through the underwater passageways and observe incredible marine life like the Bermuda chub, the blue juvenile fish, and corals swaying with the current.

The area is popular for both scuba diving (from a boat) and snorkeling but has lately become overcrowded with too many boats and people.

Julie’s Wall

This dive site is opposite Old Man Bay town in the Grand Cayman. The region is quite windy and caters to intermediate and expert level divers. Visibility underwater is great – 20-30 meters (65-97 feet).

The underwater scenery is spectacular with black coral, stingrays, blue Chromis, and other sea creatures. It is a site not frequently visited, so the place won’t be crowded with tourists, and you’ll be able to explore the ocean undisturbed.

Bloody Bay Marine Park

This is one of the best and biggest dive sites in the Caribbean. It is visited by advanced, deep divers since the bright coral walls go down to an incredible depth of around 1,800 meters (5,900 feet)!

It does start from a depth of around 6 meters (20 feet), so shallow divers will also have something to observe. Turtles, lobsters, triggerfish, horse-eye jacks, and other tropical species are commonly found here. The corals and sponges themselves are bioluminescent and appear neon underwater, making for an unreal dive experience.

Although the diving experience here is incredible, it can be quite expensive. The dives usually take place from a liveaboard.

USS Kittiwake

This is another shipwreck to explore in Grand Cayman and is accessible by boat through the Caymans’ infamous Seven Mile Beach. The marine life here is not as exciting as in some other locations, but the fun here is in exploring the shipwreck, which is 5 stories tall! The maximum dive depth here is around 20 meters, making it popular among beginners and expert divers.

Snorkelers can also get a good overhead view of the wreck, but divers are in for a treat – they can explore the hospital, mess, ammunition lockers, and deck. This dive spot is considered to be a very family-friendly location.

Stingray City

Located in the north of the Grand Cayman, Stingray City is home to some of the friendliest stingrays in the world. Divers and snorkelers can even feed them by hand. Starting at a depth of just 4 meters, divers can approach these enormous creatures assisted by trainers who provide them with snacks.

This shallow dive site is popular among beginners and is great for families since these stingrays can also be observed through snorkeling and boat tours.

Diving an underwater cavern in the Caymans

Tarpon Alley

Tarpon Alley is close to Stingray City, but dives start a little deeper – at around 15 meters to 24 meters. A hundred or more tarpons roam among the reefs here, and these beautiful silver creatures make for a fascinating dive. These massive creatures are over a meter long!

Other creatures like barracuda and yellowtail snapper are also found here. Similar to Stingray City, this location is popular among tourists, but the view from above the water is not that great. The real experience comes from swimming among the tarpon.

What Specific Gear Do You Need To Dive In The Cayman Islands?

Since this is a tropical region, you won’t need a wetsuit or other special dive gear. You will need all the basics, such as a scuba mask, tank, wetsuit, fins, dive computer, etc.

For experienced divers who are going to visit the deeper corals at depths of hundreds of meters, Nitrox tanks may also be needed. Since the Caymans are popular dive destinations, you can easily rent your scuba gear from local dive stores. Professionals may carry their own equipment.

Is It Dangerous To Dive In The Cayman Islands?

The Cayman Islands are famous for their ideal dive conditions, combining spectacular underwater views and calm, clear waters. The current in this tropical region is not too strong, and visibility in most dive sites is around 20 meters or more, making it a relatively safe diving spot.

However, as with scuba diving anywhere in the world, divers need to be prepared for emergencies and must always be accompanied by a dive buddy. Deep divers also often opt to get dive insurance through which they can get access to proper medical assistance if the need arises. As long as you have the proper certification, expertise, and gear, you should be safe.

During the months of June-November, there may be hurricane warnings, so it is important to check the weather forecast before making any dive plans.

Final Thoughts 

Diving in the Caymans takes place all year round by both basic and advanced divers. The experience is surreal with ancient relics, glowing corals, tropical fish, and even sharks swimming by you.

Apart from scuba diving, the region is also great for snorkeling and plenty of land-based activities like hiking, bird-watching, experiencing the local culture, and so on. There are many famous tourist spots like “Hell,” which features black limestone formations. The complete experience makes the Caymans a favorite among underwater photographers, historians, and those looking for a fun family holiday destination.

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How to Store your Scuba Regulator

Scuba diving is a thrilling and fun sport that once you start, it is hard to stop! That is because of the exhilarating experiences you get under the water; it is like discovering a whole new world you never knew existed.

How to Store your Scuba Regulator

Once you get into scuba diving, it is likely you’re going to purchase your own equipment, and as you will find out, scuba equipment doesn’t come cheap! That is why you want to make sure you clean and store it properly to make sure it lasts you a long time. Plus, if it’s cleaned and stored properly, you will be able to make sure it is working properly, which is essential when you are underwater.

One of these pieces of equipment is the regulator. A regulator is probably one of the most important pieces of gear with you when you are diving –  it is what carries the air from your tanks to you, making sure you can breathe. So, having a safe and properly-stored regulator is very important for your dive. Below, we will discuss in detail how to clean and store your regulator so it is ready for your next dive!

How to Thoroughly Rinse and Clean Your Regulator

Properly rinsing and cleaning your regulator after a dive is the first step to ensure that you are storing it well. During your dive, your regulator picks up salt from the water and other contaminants, such as algae or debris. These unwanted substances can creep into the tiny crevasses of your regulator, which is why a thorough rinse is necessary.

As soon as you get done with your dive, rinse your regulator with warm freshwater. There are a few precautions that you have to take before doing this because you do not want water entering your 1st stage; that could cause a lot of problems for you later.

Rinse the entire unit with the regulator still attached to the cylinders and the air still on using a hose. Then, use the hose with a low setting pressure to rinse the individual areas of the regulator, including the mouthpiece and the 1st stage. Make sure everything is still assembled and on; this will ensure that no water gets into the 1st stage.

If you choose to remove the regulator from the tank before rinsing it, you need to be careful about letting the water in. Start by drying the dust cover and then use your finger to cover the inlet on your 1st stage. The dust cover alone won’t be enough to create the seal you need. Do not press the purge button at any point while putting water on your regulator as this will allow the water to get inside and cause damage.     

Do You Need to Store Your Regulator In A Dry Place?

Storing your regulator, once it is dry and in a dry place, is very important because leaving it wet can cause it to get damaged. After your dive, and after you rinse your regulator, it is surely going to be wet, but don’t put it out in the sun to dry!

Once you are done rinsing your regulator, use a towel to pat it dry, and then leave it in an open and airy area to dry out completely. Make sure this place is shaded and every part of your regulator is completely dry before you put it away for storage.

What you need to know when storing a scuba diving regulator

Can Storing in Sunlight Be Harmful To A Dive Regulator?

Yes! Direct sunlight can cause discoloration of your regulator as well as speed up the process of deterioration. The high temperatures from the sun, along with its rays, can cause the material to degrade rapidly. Store your regulator in a cool, dark place that doesn’t have extremely varying temperatures and no harsh light.

The sunlight can cause the material of your regulator to start cracking and become brittle, which can be dangerous on a dive.  

Should You Hang a Scuba Regulator Up to Store?

Hanging up your regulator can cause dents and permanent stress points on your hose. These dents and bent areas can start cracking over time. This is especially true for the 1st stage, where the joints tend to crack very easily. The best way to store your regulator is on a flat surface if you are planning to store them for a long time. If you are storing them for a short time and plan to go diving again fairly soon, you can coil them and put them in their regulator bag so they are ready to go for your next dive!

Even if you are storing them flat, make sure to check all sides of your hose to make sure there is no deterioration or cracking before you head over to your dive.

How Long Can You Store a Dive Regulator?

Regulators should be used and moved around as often as once a month to make sure the soft materials on the equipment do not become hard; that can cause cracking and general deterioration. You should not store your regulator for longer than 6 months without use, and even if you are storing it for that long, make sure to get it serviced before you go for a dive.

The internal structures of your regulator tend to weaken over time. Get it checked to make sure everything is working fine!

Do You Need to Pressurize Your Regulator(s) And Hoses When Storing Them?

If your regulator does not have a storage function where it will take the pressure off the 2nd stage itself, you can simply do it yourself. You need to reduce the pressure on the seat, which will wear out over time with extra pressure.

However, fully depressing the purge and removing all the pressure will also cause strain. Depressurize your regulator enough so the 1st stage seat is not in contact with the orifice, but not more. This will help you extend the lifespan of your regulator.

How Often Should Dive Regulators Be Serviced?

First and foremost, you should remember no matter how little time has passed after service, if you have any doubt that your regulator is not working properly, you should get it checked and serviced. Most professionals recommend having your regulator serviced at least once a year, or after every 40 dives; whichever one comes first.

Once you have them serviced, you can trust that your regulator will be working in perfect condition, meaning you won’t have any unexpected problems or surprises on your next dive.

Caring for your equipment is a crucial part of diving because equipment that isn’t working properly can be extremely detrimental.  

Storing a scuba regulator

How do you Ensure That Your Regulator is Working When Using Them the First Time After a While?

There are a few steps that need to be conducted if you haven’t used your regulator for a while and want to make sure it is working properly. First, carefully look over all parts of your regulator, including the hose, the joints, and the 1st and 2nd stage. Make sure there are no cracks or bends that need fixing.

Connect your regulator to your gas cylinder before the dive and take a few breaths from the second stage. Make sure your SPG is giving you the correct reading and the air is flowing properly. Take a second to listen for any escaping air and that the 2nd stage is not free-flowing.

Turn off the airflow from the cylinder and press the purge buttons and inhale from the 2nd stage; no air should be flowing through or a very minuscule amount should be felt. If you feel anything at all is off about your regulator, have it serviced before your dive.

Final Thoughts 

A regulator is much like your lifeline when you are underwater. This is why caring for it and storing it properly is so important. Go over every step, from cleaning to storing and even servicing it, to make sure your equipment is working to the best of its ability for the longest possible time.

No one likes spending money over and over again on the same things, so why not care for the equipment in the first place to avoid the hassle of having to replace your regulator often.

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Do You Need a Dive Slate?

Communication underwater can be an extremely frustrating task, especially if everyone on the dive is not at the same level of understanding of sign language and hand signals. This is most prominent in the case of beginners.

Do you need a Dive Slate

Dive slates can be a handy tool when you are trying to communicate something more elaborate than the basic signs; like trying to identify certain marine life or even in the case of an emergency. Here is everything you need to know about dive slates and why they are so great:

What Is A Dive Slate?

A dive slate is essentially just a piece of equipment that you can write on to communicate underwater. They are a piece of equipment to help you communicate underwater. They are a quick and easy way to communicate anything that isn’t easily understood through signs.

Dive slates are also used to document dives and write down any vital information like dive time and depth.

What Material Is A Dive Writing Board Made Of?

Depending on what kind of dive slate or writing board you get, they can be made from a number of different materials. However, the primary material used on almost all dive slates is plastic. This is because plastic is a durable, waterproof material that can easily be cleaned for reuse. It is also cheap, making it the best choice to make the boards.

How Do You Clean An Underwater Writing Device?

Everyone who uses a dive slate knows what a blessing they are when you are trying to communicate or record something under the water. But, these people also know how tedious and annoying it could be to clean them! You often find lead or ink marks left on the slates, making it more difficult to write clearly on top.

There are many solutions you can use to clean dive slates. Mostly, the slates come with an eraser, which is much like a regular pencil eraser. Though these erasers work fine, they leave a sticky layer behind on the slates and don’t clean the lead off effectively. The same goes for other cleaning solvents and putties.

Toothpaste is a good option if you are looking for a cleaner. Slather it on your slate and wipe away any remnants of ink or lead. Make sure you use the white kind and not the gel. Rubbing alcohol works just as well. Just pour it onto your slate, you don’t need to wipe – just let it work its magic!

Speaking of magic, the absolute best way to clean your dive slate is with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. This easily available household item is a thick, dense white sponge that actually works like magic! Just dampen the sponge with a little hot water and wipe away all traces of ink. This eraser, sometimes, works a little too well. If you have made permanent markings like grids or lines on your slate with a permanent marker, Mr. Clean will get rid of those too.

If you are in a hurry, you can grab a little sand and brush off any writing from your slate. This will clean your slate, but if it is done too harshly or too often, it can scratch the surface and damage your slate.

How Much Do Dive Slates Cost?

Dive slates are a relatively cheap piece of equipment but can be very handy. Because there are a few different kinds of dive slates, the prices can vary accordingly. You can get a standard dive slate for as low as $6 while the more complicated ones like the AquaSketch Minno can go up to $50! If you go for an underwater notepad, they can set you back up to $35. The options for dive slates and notebooks are endless, so you will be able to find one within your budget!

How Long Do Underwater Sketch Pads Last?

Underwater sketch pads are made of plastic, making them durable. Depending on your usage, they can last you for years! If you clean them gently and use them with care, this affordable piece of equipment can accompany you on many dives. Take care of it and clean it properly to ensure that it doesn’t break and there are no scratches on the surface.

Dive slate works better than computer underwater!
Don’t try this!

Can You Build Your Own Dive Slave?

Dive slates can actually be made very easily. All you need are a few old floppy disks or other pieces of plastic, a pencil and a plastic or latex piece to tether it all together!

If you are using floppy disks, remove the contents so you are only left with the plastic casing. Stack three of them together and tie them together with the tether from the preexisting hole at the top. Tie the other end of the tether to a pencil and voila! Your homemade dive slate is ready.

Are There Different Kinds of Underwater Boards?

There is not just one kind of dive slate available on the market. There are multiple kinds, and you can choose one that fits you and your needs best:

Standard Slate

This is the most economical and common dive slate available on the market. They are made up of a plastic sheet that comes in a variety of different sizes and a tethered pencil. The slate also has a hook attached, which can be used to secure the slate to your BCD. Not only do these standard slates come in different sizes, but you can also get glow in the dark versions, which are great for night dives! 

Magnetic Slate

The magnetic slate uses the same technology as the Magic Eraser children’s toy. It has a plastic surface under which there is a layer of magnetized grains. The attached magnetic pen pulls these grains to the surface where ever it touches; the writing looks much like a regular lead pencil. These slates are much easier to clean because they have a slide eraser that gets rid of all markings, but they aren’t great for detailed notes and are a lot bulkier than other slates.

Wrist Slate

These are much smaller and more convenient than standard dive slates. They attach onto the wrist with an adjustable Velcro strap.

These slates have 3-4 pages of curved plastic surfaces, which can be used for communication or notes. The slate is easily accessible as it is right there on the wrist and gives the diver a stable surface to write on. The tethered pencil and multiple pages also make it easy to take detailed notes.

Underwater Notepad

An underwater notepad is much like a regular spiral notepad, except the paper is waterproof and tear-proof! These notepads are typically made up of 15-30 pages, which can be torn out if necessary and even refilled. Underwater notepads have the most room for detail and are easy to carry and store. They also come with an attached plastic pencil.

AquaSketch Minno Wrist Slate

This is the most unique underwater slate on the market. It is the only scrollable slate that allows for a lot more detail and is worn right on the wrist. The device is made up of a long vellum scroll that can be written on with a standard pencil. These scrolls are also phosphorescent, meaning that they glow during night dives for visibility. Another unique fact about these slates is that the scrolls can be removed and scanned into a computer for detailed documentation of the dive.

Final Thoughts

Dive slates may seem like an unnecessary piece of equipment, but the few dollars you spend on getting one of these could save you from a lot of frustration underwater. If you and your dive buddy are not at the same level of communication, a dive slate could be an essential piece of equipment that could save you in the case of an emergency.

Add this piece of equipment to your gear bag for your next dive to have an experience that you can record!

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Best Scuba Diving in Fiji

Fiji is an extensive group of over 300 islands that exist in the South Pacific. It is known for its pristine beaches, picturesque landscapes, and crystal-clear blue coasts. On the islands, you can see the beautiful British colonial inspiration in the architecture, but under the water, you can see how unspoiled the habitat is.

Best Scuba Diving in Fiji

Fiji is on the top of the list for scuba diving destinations for many divers, and there is no denying why. The water is full of flora and fauna of all kinds, making it an ideal scuba diving experience.

Below we will discuss why Fiji is the place to go for scuba diving, and all our favorite spots:

Why Dive in Fiji?

333 islands surrounded by beautiful blue clear water just ready to be dived into; why wouldn’t you want to scuba dive in Fiji? Apart from the warm weather and the gorgeous landscapes of the islands above ground, Fiji houses a truly magical world under the water. It is known as the soft coral capital of the world, meaning divers can witness how undeniably vivid the colors Mother Nature produces can be.

The water surrounding the islands is warm and inviting. Divers are able to see the effects of swimming through water enriched with nutrients – the marine life that exists in Fiji is unmatched. The coral reefs are home to over 1000 different reef fish from tangs to clownfish and butterflyfish. There are also larger pelagic fish species in abundance like sharks and rays. Fiji is also frequented by humpback whales, dolphins and sea turtles; all these species make diving in Fiji an awe-inspiring experience. 

Fiji offers 70 different dive sites, each holding a different and unique experience for scuba divers. From different landscapes and marine life to the different colors of the coral present in the area, Fiji is truly a diver’s paradise.

Is It Good for Beginners to Dive in Fiji?

Fiji has 70 different dive sites scattered amongst 333 islands, all offering unique dives and experiences. Because of the abundance of places to dive, there are sites available for all levels of divers. There are some sites that have strong currents and deep water that is not recommended for beginners, but for the most part, divers of all levels can find a site to dive at different locations.

Are There Good Dive Sites for Families?

Since Fiji is known for scuba dives and snorkeling, locals have taken advantage of it and made many dive resorts. Some dives are available for all levels of diving experiences, making them delightful family excursions. You can find resorts that offer all kinds of experiences and even 5-star family diving experiences in Fiji like the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort in Savusavu.

Is It Easy to Get There?

Though it is a popular holiday destination, Fiji is in a remote location, so the question often arises: how do you get there? Unless you are flying out of New Zealand or Australia, there are limited flights that fly into the Nadi International Airport. If you are flying out of the US, the only direct flight is out of LAX; you will most likely have to start your trip there to go to Fiji. Traveling to other islands in Fiji is mostly done through seaplanes and limited local airlines.

Clown fish in FIji

What Aquatic Life Can You Find?

Fiji is known as the soft coral capital of the world and there is no questioning it because it is home to over 300 different species of soft coral, and just shy of 100 different species of hard coral. Hard coral species include the unique spiral wire coral, which looks like a coiled-up wire. The soft coral species in Fiji are impressive, including the fluffy Nephtheidae that can be seen in different hues of pink and yellow, gorgonians that have a firm skeleton and look like an intricate root system standing upright, and leather coral that is seen in shades of green and beige.

The extensive coral species provide an ecosystem where other fish and marine creatures can thrive. You are likely to see the venomous yellow-lipped sea snake slithering around, or the easily angered moray eels, and even harmless jellyfish. Other than that, the corals are home to an astounding 1200 different species of reef fish.

Some of the reef fish you can find hiding among the anemones is 5 different species of clownfish. One of them is the infamous Nemo from Finding Nemo; bright orange with white stripes. You can also see many species of triggerfish in all colors swimming through the coral; they can be identified by their big lips and human-like teeth. You are also likely to see the masked butterflyfish; it is bright yellow and looks as if it is wearing a masquerade mask on its eyes.

Massive schools of yellowfin goatfish will swim by you near the corals, and if you look down, you will see the low-swimming leopard shark. You might also think you see a squid hiding in the coral, but it’s probably a cuttlefish! 

Fiji is also home to 5 out of 7 critically endangered species of sea turtles. You can find the green sea turtle and hawksbill swimming around pretty commonly, but if you’re lucky, you will also see the Oliver Ridley, leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles too! Divers are coaxed not to touch the turtles as they can spread bacteria, which can be fatal for the turtles.

Seeing rays in the Fijian water is also common; you can spot reef manta rays and giant mantas swimming around in shallow water.

In 2003, Fiji declared that its waters are now a whale sanctuary after they realized the dwindling humpback whale population that was once thriving. Since then, the whales have started making their way back to this area and are seen a lot more often. Apart from humpback, you can see many other species of whales, such as sperm whales, minke whales, blue whales, and false killer whales, to name a few. Not only whales but dolphins are also commonly seen here; sometimes, you can see super pods of over 1000 bottlenose dolphins swimming together to hunt. Spinner dolphins are also native to this region.

You don’t have to be far out in the ocean to encounter sharks in Fiji. The warm water here is home to 12 different species of shark, and divers report seeing at least 1 or 2 sharks per dive. Some species of these magnificent creatures that you can witness are bull sharks, tiger sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, blacktip reef sharks, and nurse sharks.

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in Fiji

With so many different dive sites available across the islands, it is hard to choose the top dives. However, below we have divided up the best areas to dive, some offering multiple sites, and some of the best sites as well. Here are our top 5 picks:

Bligh Water

Predominantly reached through liveaboards, this is one of the locations that make Fiji known as the soft coral capital of the world. This stretch of water consists of 25 different dive sites that have depths ranging from 5m to 40m with strong currents; it is recommended for experienced divers only. The dive sites are made up of tall pinnacles that can reach up to 900m in length from the floor. They are colorful and covered with soft corals; you will be in awe of all the pastel hues of pink, purple and yellow. Some of the outer dive sites at this location break way from the sight of reef fish, and you can see reef sharks and the occasional hammerhead too! These sites are often visited by manta and eagle rays as well.

Manta Ray Island

This island is obviously named for its abundance of manta rays that visit from the month of May to October. The island offers multiple sites, but what divers mainly go for are the manta rays. This site can be accessed through a short boat ride off the island. There are scores of rays that can be seen, and tour guides will even notify divers staying in nearby resorts when the rays are out to feed, giving them a chance to see them when they are most abundant in the water.

Scuba Diving in Fiji

Rainbow Reef

This is one of the most picturesque dives you can take. This is a reef that looks like a wall covered by a rainbow. The soft corals that cover the wall come in all colors, shapes, and sizes, making for a wondrous dive. There are many anemones on the reef too, which are home to many different reef fish. You will see little colorful fish swimming in and out and around the reef; it is a diver’s dream. Little fish aren’t all you will see here; Rainbow Reef is also home to reef sharks, tiger sharks, barracudas, and manta rays.

Great Astrolabe Reef

This is the third-largest barrier reef (at 100 kilometers long) in the entire world, but it hasn’t been commercialized, which is why it is completely preserved for divers’ experience. The reef has multiple dive sites that can be accessed through the shore or through dive boats. Each site has varying currents and depths from 5m to 40m; ask a guide to help you determine which site would be best for your level of experience. You can see a large variety of reef fish, and at some sites, you can even see passing manta rays. Overall, the sites at this reef are nothing less than outstanding!

Beqa Lagoon

Pronounced Benga, this location is a favorite amongst divers. The sites have little to no current with depths ranging from 5m to 30m, making them available to divers with all levels of experience. The sites here have something for everyone; there are pinnacles and bommies, reefs and even some wrecks. No matter what you are looking for in a dive, in Beqa, you won’t be disappointed. Though it is not as densely packed with coral as the other sites in Fiji, you can still find an array of fans and soft coral at these sites. However, you are likely to see sharks and octopus. The best part about these sites is that the water is extremely gentle and warm all year round!

What Specific Gear Do You Need to Dive in Fiji?

It can be a mission to lug around a bag full of heavy diving gear while traveling. Thankfully, the islands of Fiji are frequently visited just for scuba diving. You can likely rent any of this equipment very easily. With each location though, your needs might change; your guide will be able to tell you what equipment is absolutely necessary, but here is a list just in case:

  • Snorkel
  • Diving mask
  • Scuba tanks
  • Regulator
  • Wetsuit
  • Fins
  • BCDs
  • Weights

Is It Dangerous to Dive in Fiji?

Scuba diving shouldn’t be taken lightly in any situation. All safety precautions should be taken before entering any dive. There are dive locations in Fiji that have stronger currents, which require some experience and control of buoyancy, while others have marine life that can be dangerous if not handled with care.

Always take the help of a guide when entering the water, and make sure you are told about any specific dangers at each site. If you follow your instructor’s instructions and take other precautions into accounts, the dive should be nothing less than a spectacular experience. 

Final Thoughts

With excellent visibility, warm water and countless species of marine life, Fiji is one of the best places to go for scuba diving. If you know the kind of experience you want to have, swimming with sharks, looking at reef fish or witnessing unique underwater architecture, you just need to pick the corresponding site at one of the islands and book a dive tour there! Fiji is the absolute ideal scuba diving destination.

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Best Scuba Diving in Indonesia

When you think about scuba diving, Indonesia is one of the few places that springs to mind immediately. Its oceans are full of a wide variety of marine life, many of which aren’t found anywhere else in the world. From giant manta rays to pygmy seahorses, there’s a lot for you to explore.

Best Scuba Diving in Indonesia

You can experience everything in these regions, including reef diving, cave, and wreck diving, night diving, and so much more. The best part is that scuba diving on a budget is possible here.

Why Dive in Indonesia?

Diving in Indonesia can be a great experience for beginners and professional divers. With a vast range of amazing dive locations, featuring spectacular coral reefs, aquatic life, and wrecks, your diving experience here will be unlike any other. In fact, apart from scuba diving, this culture-rich country has much more to offer and is an ideal holiday destination. Temples, scenic beauty, white-sand beaches, volcanoes, shopping malls, and tropical resorts make for a complete, fun-filled vacation.

What’s more, is that you can do all of this in a relatively small budget. Scuba diving here is significantly less expensive than many places around the globe, such as the Maldives.

Is It Good For Beginners to Dive in Indonesia?

Many locations have calm waters and shallow dive sites, so they’re safe for beginners, but still offer plenty to see underwater. Ideally, beginners should obtain their PADI Open Water Diving certification here and make the most of their tropical diving experience.

Is It Easy to Get There?

Getting to Indonesia is relatively easy. It has over 250 airports, with 20 of them being international. The airports that receive the most international traffic include:

  • Soekarno-Hatta International (CGK) in Jakarta, the capital city
  • Juanda International (SUB)
  • Ngurah Rai International (DPS)

Many travelers use any one of these airports and then make use of local airlines such as Air Asia and Lion Air to find budget-friendly tickets to help them get around the country.

Are There Good Dive Sites for Families?

Indonesia, and specifically Bali, hosts countless dive sites, some more well-known than others. While some of these waters have strong, unpredictable currents, others are calmer and beginner-friendly.

Many of the spots offer shore-diving and free diving, making them ideal family destinations. You can find out more about the various dive sites (including family-friendly ones) in the Best Scuba Diving Destinations section.

What Aquatic Life Can You Find?

You can find many incredible aquatic creatures in these tropical oceans. These include angelfish, lionfish, barracudas, and many different types of sharks, such as black tips, white tips, and on rare occasions, even tiger sharks. Other inhabitants of these oceans include sea turtles, snakes, octopus, and manta rays.

In some regions, you may even be fortunate enough to get the opportunity to swim with dolphins and orcas or even spot a great blue whale! Even a single dive on your entire trip will be an incredible experience.

Aquatic life to be seen when Scuba Diving in Indonesia - Two divers and a turtle

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in Indonesia

Some of the top destinations to go scuba diving in Indonesia include:

Alor, East Nusa Tenggara

This is one of the not-so-well-known scuba diving destinations in the region, which is also probably why it has some incredible marine life that hasn’t been affected by extreme human traffic. With bright coral reefs, steep walls, and a number of muck sites, the diving experience in Alor is quite unique and an amazing spot for underwater photography.

There’s a decent variety of small and medium-sized sea creatures, and photographers can find a number of interesting subjects, such as leaf scorpionfish, seahorses, frogfish, eels, and so on. Sharks and other large animals may also be seen occasionally.

This region generally caters to intermediate and advanced level divers and is not the most family-friendly, especially if you have little children. The water current can be a bit strong and somewhat unpredictable, especially if you go in the offseason (March-December is the best time to go).

Alor is better suited to the serious scuba divers since it doesn’t have too many resorts or other activities other than diving. Diving is mostly through a liveaboard.

Bali

Bali is one of the most popular tourist hubs in Indonesia and has plenty of dive resorts and scuba diving destinations. A plus point of Bali is that it can be considered to be a very family-friendly spot.

Unique sea creatures, wrecks from World War II, bright corals, fish, and muck dives are characteristic of this region. It is popular for both freediving and technical diving.

The USAT Liberty Wreck is one of the most-visited sites in the area and can be accessed by the shore – you get to see parrotfish, barracudas, turtles, and so much more.

Although scuba diving here is possible all year round, if you wish to see the unique Mola Mola, the best time is from July-October.

While most diving here is from the land, you can opt for a liveaboard package that will take you from Bali to Komodo to get the chance to see more sites.

There is much more to do in Bali than scuba diving, such as shopping, visiting the beach, etc. which is why it is so popular among families and beginner-level divers.

Ambon Bay, Maluku

This region is particularly well-known for its muck dives. You’ll also see some incredible sea creatures such as rhinopias, ghost pipefish, Coleman shrimp, stonefish, wonderpus, cuttlefish, the psychedelic frogfish, and so much more.

There are plenty of resorts in the area, and most scuba diving trips are through liveaboards, some part of a combined tour with other islands like Raja Ampat and Banda.

The dive conditions are suitable for beginners as well as advanced divers, making it a family-friendly location. Just remember that the island doesn’t offer any land activities of interest, and your experience will be centered around scuba diving.

Wakatobi

Wakatobi is another one of those less-visited regions with some incredible and unique marine life. It includes 4 islands and is well-known for some of the largest and brightest coral reef formations in the world. The ocean floor is full of walls and overhangs as well as sea creatures like eagle rays and reef sharks, seahorses, cuttlefish, and many other kinds of tropical fish.

Diving on these islands may be done from the shore or from a liveaboard based on the package you choose. Scuba diving is possible all year round and is ideal for both beginners and advanced level divers.

Other activities are limited, and the main attraction in Wakatobi is scuba diving.

Banda Sea, Maluku

The Banda Sea is usually a dive location that is on the way of a couple of liveaboard routes. Wall dives are common, and sea creatures found in this region include sea snakes and even hammerhead and reef sharks. 

This remote location is accessible only by liveaboard and is suitable mostly for intermediate and advanced level divers due to the unpredictable and strong water currents. As such, it is not the most family-friendly spot.

Lembeh, North Sulawesi

Another great spot for muck diving, Lembeh is home to a host of unique marine creatures such as hairy frogfish, harlequin shrimp, snake blennies, mandarin fish, anemones, batfish, and rhinopias, etc. In fact, there are over 130 species of aquatic animals for you to observe.

The region attracts macro-photographers from all over the world and is suitable for beginner and advanced level divers. You can dive here all year round.

If you do visit Lembeh, don’t miss out on a land tour to see the Komodo dragons, especially if you’re going with your children.

Derawan Islands, East Borneo

Derawan is a group of islands and has one of the three jellyfish lakes discovered globally. Apart from the jellyfish lake, other islands allow you to see manta rays, turtles, reef sharks, barracudas, and eagle rays. Drift and muck dives are common.

You won’t find a lot of resorts here, but it’s still a decent diving location and has a number of liveaboards.

Activities in this region are limited, but the place is still suitable for a family vacation, as the water is calm and clear enough for beginners.

Manado and Bunaken, North Sulawesi

Manado has great muck and reef diving sites and has some amazing sea creatures like mimic octopus and cuttlefish, squids, and nudibranchs.

The nearby Bangka Island has gorgeous coral reefs and larger fish like reef sharks, rays, tuna and barracudas, and even some smaller creatures like shrimp. Dolphins and whales may also be visible from your liveaboard. Shore diving is also possible here. Scuba diving is possible all year round and is suitable for beginner and advanced level divers. You also have activities like snorkeling here, which is great, especially if you’re looking for family-friendly activities.

Komodo, East Nusa Tenggara

Komodo is only an hour away from Bali and is a group of volcanic islands, home to thousands of Komodo dragons. It offers an exciting scuba diving experience with bright coral formations, schools of fish, manta rays, and eagle rays.

One particular region, the Cauldron (or Shotgun), is known for its rip current, which “shoots” you through the channel, through which you’ll see snappers, reef sharks, and schools of trevally.

Fish over Komodo Coral Reef

The waters in South Komodo can be quite chilly, so it is ideal to pack a drysuit.

This region is excellent for tourists since there are plenty of dive resorts and budget-friendly accommodations, liveaboard trips, etc.

The water current is quite strong and somewhat unpredictable, and you need intermediate or advanced certification to dive here. The extra effort is worth it for the unique underwater experience.

Raja Ampat, West Papua

Raja Ampat is probably one of the most coral-rich regions in the entire world! 72% of the world’s coral species are found here, and over 1,400 fish species reside in this region. You can visit Raja Ampat a number of times and still find something new to look at. As dive sites go, it is one of the most diverse globally.

Soft corals and mangroves grow in tandem with some areas, even featuring corals growing from mangrove roots! There are also a few muck diving sites here.

Species such as the epaulet shark, wobbegong shark, garden eel, reef sharks, and manta rays are commonly seen.

Most divers spend over a week on a liveaboard to soak in the entire experience and explore the vast Raja Ampat region.

You do need to be an intermediate or advanced level diver to get through the waters, though. So keep that in mind.

What Specific Gear Do You Need to Dive in Indonesia?

For pretty much any scuba diving location, you’ll need some basic gear. This includes a wetsuit, scuba mask, breathing tank, fins, and a dive computer if you’re deep diving. Based on the region you’re diving in, you may need special equipment:

  • For night and wreck diving – underwater light, bailout system, high-performance regulator, knife, etc.
  • For muck diving – underwater camera, torch, and a muck stick to stabilize the diver as they stay in one space to take pictures.

Is It Dangerous to Dive in Indonesia?

Indonesia is generally a safe place for diving, but scuba diving is not danger-free, and you need to be mindful of certain factors:

  • Water currents can be extremely unpredictable and may change from calm, slow water, to rough tides overnight. Even experienced divers may face difficulty in moving around, so it’s best to consult tide tables before you dive. Beginners should avoid regions known for strong water currents.
  • Don’t go for the first deal you find – if you go for the cheapest option on the list, you may find that the equipment is of poor quality, and safe diving procedures aren’t being followed. This could put your life at risk. Do your research and look for operators with international level certification, such as PADI certification.
  • If you’re an Open Water Diver, don’t go diving among the sharks and exploring caves. Understand your limits and choose locations suitable for your abilities.
  • Listen to your dive guide and stay away from any sea creatures that they’ve warned you about to avoid endangering your life.
  • Make sure your feet are properly covered to avoid being stung or cut by any aquatic animals or pointy reefs.
  • Ideally, you should wait a few hours after landing before you dive to allow your body to hydrate itself. Diving almost immediately may put you at risk of decompression sickness. 

As long as you observe safe diving practices, you should be alright.

Final Thoughts

Indonesia has plenty to offer for scuba divers of all levels, which is why it is frequented by divers from all over the world. These tropical waters are host to some of the most unique and incredible marine life.

With its many tourist activities, both under and above water, Indonesia could be your ideal diving and holiday destination

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Best Scuba Diving in Iceland

Iceland is quickly becoming one of the most popular destinations for travel. It offers all kinds of experiences to visitors like the Northern Lights, volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, caves, and crystal clear water for diving. Some people are put off by the idea of the extreme cold temperatures in Iceland, but in reality, the temperatures stay roughly around 32 degrees in the winter months.

Best Scuba Diving in Iceland

While enjoying the countless natural sights and activities that Iceland has to offer above ground, there’s a true magic to be witnessed once you dip in. Below we will discuss all the best dive sites with unmatched architecture and experiences in Iceland, as well as the wonderful marine life you can see swimming around:

Why Dive in Iceland?

Iceland may not have been on your top list for dive locations because the cold temperature water seems off-putting, but you would be missing out on extremely unique and memorable dives if you didn’t give it a shot.

Iceland is home to one of the top 10 dives in the entire world, which is the only place you can dive in a crack between two tectonic plates where two continents meet. Also, some dives in Icelandic water are warmer than the outside temperature, like the ones offered at Silfra and Strytan.

The water in Iceland also has some of the best visibility you can find anywhere in the world. Fresh spring water and melted glaciers clarify the water through movement, ensuring you get crystal clear views in water that is clean enough to drink!

Iceland is also home to some very strange looking marine life; monkfish and wolffish can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean. Divers also get the opportunity to dive with curious seals that love coming up to divers and exploring their equipment.

Is It Good for Beginners To Dive In Iceland?

Snorkeling in Iceland is an experience that is available to anyone and can be an exciting and unique experience. However, the same cannot be said for diving. Not to say that it is not exciting or unique, but rather that you are required to have a certain level of certification before you can dive here.

Most dive sites require an open water certification, and a dry suit diving certification, but some require even more experience. The dives in Icelandic rigid waters pose challenges and require divers to be experienced in such waters to actually be able to start and complete a dive.

Is It Easy to Get There?

Iceland has two local airlines that offer flights from major cities in the US; namely Icelandair and WOW Air. International flights land at Keflavík International Airport, near the capital city of Reykjavik. From here, you can take a bus to wherever you need to go or catch a local flight to the northern city of Akureyri. A plus point for travelers from the US is that Iceland does not require you to get a visa, just a valid passport! 

What Aquatic Life Can You Find?

Iceland is home to more aquatic life than people realize. The country has a combination of cold arctic waters in the north and comparatively warmer ecological zones in the south. Species from both zones can be found in and around Iceland.

Let’s start with the sponges and coral. The sponges found in these frigid waters resemble moss but are not as soft as the ones in warmer climates. They develop small needle-like spikes to survive in the cold water. Though coral is mostly associated with tropical climates, you can find soft coral that doesn’t form reefs in Icelandic water. You are also likely to see sea anemones that often form their homes on the backs of snails and other sea creatures walking the continental floor. Other marine life like hydrozoans can be found; they are often confused as vegetation but are in fact animals.

Iceland is also home to jellyfish, sea stars, sea cucumbers, feather stars, the common starfish and sea urchins; you can find both the green sea urchin and red sea urchin slowly moving through Icelandic water bodies. Other interesting find occasionally seen here are the European flying squid and the elusive giant squid.

Iceland is also home to a variety of crustaceans. You can find everything from sea spiders to spider crabs, hermit crabs, and lobsters, to name a few; however, they aren’t abundant enough for commercial catches.

In the north, variable conditions of the water make chances of seeing fish species unpredictable. The species that can be seen swimming around include polar cods, the strange-looking eelpouts, Atlantic mackerel, and the creepy monkfish. A larger fish that you can see is the Greenland shark. They can withstand the coldest temperatures out of all the shark species and are known for their slow, lazy movement through the water.

When you come toward the border of the north and south, you are likely to see the bright orange lumpfish, redfish, haddock, Atlantic cod, and Atlantic herring. As more interesting finds, you can see the bizarre flatfish, which seems to have its entire body on one side, the horror-film worthy wolf-fish and the shorthorn sculpin, which is green with white splatter and has big, human-like lips.

If you’re looking to find marine mammals, Iceland is no stranger to seal, whales and dolphins. Less commonly seen whale species include blue whales, bottlenose whales, and killer whales; these species tend to stay away from the coast. Closer to the coast though, you are likely to spot minke whales and humpback whales.

Iceland is home to 7 different dolphin species. You can see the harbor porpoise, which isn’t technically a dolphin but is grouped in with the species. Other common dolphins you can see are the Atlantic white-sided dolphin and the white-beaked dolphin, to name a few.

You can see grey and harbor seals settling on hidden and remote coasts along the water. They may be shy on the ground, but under the water, they are curious and playful with divers. If you go toward the north, you can spot walruses, hooded seals, and harp seals; these are just a few of the seal species you can find here.

Silfra Fissure in Iceland

Best Scuba Diving Destinations in Iceland

Silfra

Known as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, no Icelandic dive tour is complete without a visit to the Silfra Fissure. This site rests at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Þingvellir National Park, just 60km away from the capital city of Reykjavík. The fissure lies between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates that formed this rift in 1789 after numerous earthquakes. It is known as the place where two continents meet; a truly unique experience. It is the only place on Earth where you can dive in a crack in tectonic plates.

The fissure is filled with crystal clear water that is a combination of fresh spring water and melted glacier water. It has unmatched visibility that is free of any contaminants – yes, that means you can even drink this water! The water temperature remains at a constant 2-4 degrees throughout the year with a calm current.  This dive site offers up many experiences like caves, lagoons and unique architecture, all the maximum depth of a moderate 18m.

Don’t Miss:

Swimming in the Big Crack, this is an opportunity to swim between two tectonic plates that are the meeting point of two continents. You can be at two places at once!

Strytan

In the north of Iceland in the middle of Eyjafjörður, divers can experience something truly exceptional. This 70m deep dive gives scuba divers the chance to experience underwater geothermal chimneys made of limestone. The chimneys are 55m tall, with their tops reaching 15m below the water surface. These chimneys expel 100 liters of hot 72-degree water every second. In 2011, this site was named a natural reserve.

Because of the warmer temperature, there is more marine life to be observed at this site than the others. The water here, however, has very strong currents, so it is only suitable for advanced divers that have great control over their buoyancy.   

Don’t Miss:

Little Strytan; a 25m high chimney that sits upon an underwater hill that is dotted with multiple other chimneys. This hill has the biggest variety of marine life that can be seen in Iceland.

SS El Grillo

During WWII, a 150m long British oil tanker was sunk by German fighter planes in a fjord located on the east side of Iceland called Seyðisfjörður. This tanker leaked oil up until 2002 when it was finally pumped clean. The ship lies deep 45m under the water with its highest point at 28m. Due to the large size of the wreck, it cannot be explored in just one dive. This wreck is not for the amateur diver. It requires advanced certification in wreck diving as well as drysuit diving. 

Don’t Miss:

The air defense guns; you can see some of the air defense guns, some of which are still very intact to witness what ships during WWII would use to protect themselves.

Gardur

About an hour south of Reykjavik, you get to take a shore dive into the Atlantic Ocean. Here, you can see the wonderful marine flora that Iceland has to offer. The site is also known for other interesting marine life like the wolffish, flatfish, monkfish, and scorpionfish. You will see desert-like patches of sand underwater, with the occasional coral peeking through, making for a relaxing and interesting dive on the eastern side of Iceland.

Don’t Miss:

The 42 different species of colorful algae and kelp forests; Gardur translates to garden, perfectly describing the sight you see with the plant life.

David’s Crack

Locally known as Davíðsgjá, this is an extremely deep fissure that exists in Þingvallavatn, Iceland’s biggest open body of fresh water. It is extremely deep and challenging, starting at 7m under the water going down to a whopping 116m, though you can only dive to about 21m. Divers can enter the water through the shore, and use the preexisting guide till they reach the crack. As divers descend deeper and deeper into the water, they are awed by the brilliance of the visibility. Marine life divers are likely to see spotted brown trout and Arctic char. 

Don’t Miss:

The one-of-a-kind architecture that can be witnessed in the crystal clear water, it is truly a sight to see.  

Diving at Silfra rift, Iceland

What Specific Gear Do You Need To Dive In Iceland?

Iceland has cold water dives, which do require different gear than regular dives. It is difficult to lug around heavy diving gear with you when you are packing for a trip, but some gear needs to be brought along, such as exposure protection. Dive locations in Iceland are prepared for scuba divers to rent specific equipment, but you need to make sure your body does not go into shock when it touches the cold water, so layer up properly.

Another important difference in gear is the regulator. You need to make sure your regulator is suited for cold water. You don’t want it to freeze up in the cold temperatures, which can be very hazardous. The regulator should offer environmental seals to make sure there is no hiccup at the first stage.

Since the locations are a frequent stop for divers, you are most likely going to be able to rent any of this equipment very easily. With each dive site, your guide will be able to tell you what equipment is absolutely necessary, but here is a list just in case:

Compulsory Gear for Regular Dives

Additional Gear for Wreck and Cave Dives

Is It Dangerous to Dive In Iceland?

The reason why so many different certifications are required is that it can be dangerous to dive in Iceland. Depending on the dive and your level of experience, the danger associated with these dives varies, but generally, all dives should be approached with some level of caution.

Wreck dives and cave dives can be more dangerous than regular dives, so make sure you have the knowledge of what you are getting into before going. Always get a trained local expert to guide you to avoid any mishaps.  

Final Thoughts

Many people write off Iceland as a destination for scuba diving. We hope with the extensive dive we have taken into what this country has to offer in terms of scuba diving, we were able to change your mind!

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