Scuba diving is becoming the hot sport of today, and with good reason. After adventuresome types have skied, climbed mountains, and seen the world they realize there’s an entire world they may never have seen, the world of underwater, and it’s an enormous and diverse one.
Most of the earth is composed of water, 70 to 71 percent of it, and predominately salt water, with only 3.5 percent fresh water, like the Great Lakes. This world consists of gorgeous colors, fantastic formations, unusual marine life, wrecks, and the sublime silence of the waters many feet under. Traversing the underwater seas has become an engrossing adventure for many.
However, a warning: Never go underwater alone and never never go without having taken a certified course. I made the mistake of going diving without ever having had a single lesson. I went diving in Cozumel and in the Keys and was fine, however I went diving after a storm in Acapulco, couldn’t see because of a storm, panicked, and nearly drowned. I never went out again.
However I will be trying again, but this time I’ll take a course with expert instructors.
Once I am certified I’ll begin to explore the world under.
Here are some dive areas that I’d like to try, (and some I already did) but there are many, many more. Diving to view and explore wrecks (and not just for booty) has become a popular underwater adventure for many divers.
We are fortunate in the U.S. to have some of the best preserved underwater wrecks in the world because the fresh water of the Great Lakes doesn’t eat away at the boat wrecks the way salt water does, and one of the best places to dive for these well preserved wrecks is in Lake Michigan in the small town of Port Washington, Wisconsin.
1. Port Washington, Wisconsin.
There are many wrecks in all the Great Lakes, but in Port Washington there are about fifteen that can be seen underwater in one cluster, so a good diver can visit all of them in the space of a few hours.
A new dive center, Port Deco Divers, has opened just to allow divers to see and even to explore the wrecks. The dive center will be at the heart of a proposed Marine Sanctuary, one of only 13 in the country. Port Deco’s dive boat goes out several times a week for divers to launch off of. To actually enter the wrecks, divers have to be specially wreck-certified, and Port Deco Divers can certify you. How exciting to go back in time seeing ships of yesteryear!
Next Page: Peru and Australia.
2. Lake Titicaca, Peru.
Another great lake to dive in fresh waters is Lake Titicaca, in Peru. It is the highest clear water lake in the world, where you can dive and see the ruins of an Inca City. You can imagine how these people lived hundreds of years of years ago.
Here’s a video about Lake Titicaca:
3. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is on almost everyone’s list as a top dive area. It’s so large you can see it from space! The Great Barrier Reef stretches 1,430 miles along Australia’s northeastern coast.
Mind-boggling in size and scope, encompassing more than 4,000 separate reefs, cays, and islands, the reef could rightly be called its own sub-aqueous country. In its biodiversity, it’s home to more than 1,500 species of fish, 1,500 shipwrecks, and countless other things.
Best Places to Dive: Osprey Reef, Blow Hole, Cathedral, S.S. Yongala wreck, Lighthouse Bommies. Visibility is best during the dry season, and while Jellyfish can be an issue, they’re more common close to the mainland, not on the outer reef.
Next Page: Why Cozumel should definitely be on your list.
4. Cozumel, Mexico.
Divers and snorkelers enjoy some of the Caribbean’s clearest waters off of the island of Cozumel in Mexico, with visibility averaging 100 feet, sometimes even reaching 200 feet or more. At least 230 fish species live around Cozumel’s reefs, famous for rich coral growth, fans, and giant elephant-ear sponges that measure 10 to 12 feet across and grow at 100 feet or below.
The continuous ocean currents responsible for the island’s remarkably clear water and thriving marine life make Cozumel the Caribbean’s drift-diving capital, where divers swim in a 1 to 2 knot flow. Cozumel has a variety of dive depths, experience levels, and some unusual sea life.
For shallow diving Chankanaab National Park offers easy access to a shallow 20-foot deep cove, with many fish and coral heads. Paradise Reef has a trio of adjacent reefs with multi-colored tropical fish, lobster, octopus, and Cozumel’s toad fish. These fish, found nowhere else in the world, range from 12 to 16 inches long, and can inhale another fish quicker than any other.
San Francisco Reef ranges from 35 to 50 feet, making it Cozumel’s shallowest wall dive. The reef is divided into three separate sections with sandy stretches of 50 to 60 yards between them. This reef is filled with marine life including rays and sea turtles.
Popular Palancar Reef extends more than 3.5 miles and is located about a mile offshore with many deep reef sections as well as 20 to 40 feet caves and narrow, long tunnels. Lacking a strong current, it’s the perfect site for new divers. See large groupers, sea turtles, and spotted eagle rays with wingspans of eight to 10 feet.
A few less well-known options.
Try some other unusual and maybe not so well known areas in the world to dive: in Iceland you can stand underwater and touch two continents, the North American and European; In Key Largo’s Penecamp Park you can view a large battleship and a submerged statue of Jesus; in Madagascar, underwater Pirate ships; off Morehead City, 60 ships and a 352U boat; in St. Petersburg, Russia, WWII and wooden ships from the 14th Century; and Columbia, South America is now being called the new Caribbean for several of its dive areas.
Catalina Island is famous for its kelp forests, swarming schools of fish, and its dolphins.
Let me know if I left off any of your favorites!