Diving in Cozumel is right up there as one of the world’s great scuba experiences and it’s been on our bucket list for about as long as we’ve been certified divers. In this post, we finally get beneath the waves of the turquoise Caribbean Sea, just off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.
Word is, Cuba’s underwater world offers some of the best – if not the best – diving in the Caribbean.
While our two-week Cuban itinerary doesn’t stretch to some of the island’s more remote diving destinations, we’re determined to get beneath the waves during our visit.
So we plot a route south, to a long, narrow bay made famous in the early 1960’s, when a failed military invasion stranded 1,400 US-trained Cuban exiles on the beaches of Cuba’s Bahia de Cochinos: the infamous Bay of Pigs.
This is Cuba’s most accessible diving area, and there are dozens of swim-out dive sites scattered the length of the bay.
There comes a moment, when you’re ten metres below the surface, face into a driving current, hanging on by a finger to your divemaster’s fin and doing your best to avoid the stinging fire coral just inches away, that you wonder whether you’re actually ready for the sometimes challenging reality of diving in Komodo.
We’re trundling down a dirt track towards the sea on the outskirts of Amed, a jumble of villages stretching for miles along Bali’s east coast. Gentle waves lap against a beach of large, smooth stones lined with narrow, brightly-coloured fishing boats. Behind us, the steep sides of Mount Agung, an active volcano, rise sheer above the lush green countryside. It’s a vast, impressive scene. But we’re here for the small stuff.
We’ve often heard tell of the excellent diving in Malta and Gozo, an area awash with caves, wrecks and reefs. And while we’re a little uncertain about its vote as the second best diving destination on the planet – as judged by the Diver and Sport Diver Awards in 2013 – we’re certainly curious enough to don our wetsuits and jump into the chilly May waters of the Mediterranean to see what all the fuss is about.
Diving doesn’t get much better than the Red Sea, and with so many dive sites to choose from there really is something for even the most discerning diver.
We’ve enjoyed enchanting coral gardens, exciting caves, an amazing variety of colourful tropical fish of all shapes and sizes, and of course the wonders of the blue hole.
That’s why it’s one of our go-to spots for a diving holiday, and while pictures will never truly do this amazing place justice, we hope it gives you a taste of what awaits you under the sea off the coast of the Sinai Peninsulai.
Sydney diving is great fun, but we’ve been aching for the warm, clear waters of the Red Sea, and the spectacular dive sites off the coast of Dahab. It’s a place we frequently talk about, especially with other divers, and it’s always been one of the highlights of our diving memories.
Superb shipwrecks, mantas, mola mola, fantastic coral, cute cuttlefish, morish muck diving, nifty night diving and fantastic tropical water with awesome visibility.
Add easy, relatively short flights from Sydney, great cheap accommodation overlooking the ocean, and friendly, gentle people, and you’ll get the gist of why Bali is our go-to destination when we need a tropical diving fix.
Here’s just a few pictures to whet your appetite.
We’re staring down a wide, stone-paved roadway that winds off into the distance. Nearby, low walls of crumbling brick trace out the arcades, rooms and courtyards of seaside villas in what was once the summer playground of Ancient Rome’s rich and famous. It’s a scene reminiscent of many historic sites of this large and powerful empire. Except this site is entirely unique. This site is under the sea.