GregT943

GregT943

My Dive Map

Reviews (9)

Kauai Hawaii

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ISLAND OF KAUAI

Kauai is one of my favorite Hawaiian Islands. It is a little less touristy and crowded than some of the other islands. It is home to the famous Napali coast, beautiful waterfalls, rich rain forests, and amazing beaches. Just like the other islands, there is so much to do topside. The diving on Kauai itself is good, but it's not the best as far as far as Hawaii goes. It does allow you to access Ni'ihau, which is widely considered the best diving in the Hawaiian Islands. Ni'ihau can be accessed on Kauai from May to late September. It is an all day trip, generally done as a three tank day. It is one of the only places where diving with monk seals is frequent occurrence. Ni'ihau has amazing lava arches and rock formations as well as dramatic wall dives with unlimited visibility. The winter swells make the crossing between the islands too hazardous outside of the summer months.

Diving on the main island of Kauai is great as well. There are many dive sites all over the island, but most of the diving is concentrated around the south side (poipu beach side) of the island. Koloa landing is a great shore dive, and is great for beginners and students. It's a shallow dive in a sheltered cove that is no more than 45 feet deep. Lots of fish, turtles, and my favorite, dragon morays. Sheraton Caverns is another one of my favorite sites. Never have I seen more turtles at one time than at Sheraton Caverns, I lost count after 20, green turtles everywhere. Lots of arches and overhangs that shelter lots of fish and marine life. Another site I really enjoyed was Brennecke's Ledge. This site usually has strong currents and is done as a drift dive. This site was loaded with reef sharks and schools of fish. Diving around Kauai can come with strong currents and choppy boat rides. But with the exception of Ni'ihau, all the sites are located right off shore and only a few minutes away by boat. There are multiple dive shops to choose from, and if you like shore diving on your own schedule, there are some great shore dives available, and the shops will let you rent gear and dive them on your own. If you are heading to Kauai, definitely set a few days aside for diving, and if you are there during the summer months, you cannot pass up diving Ni'ihau.

Visited on 10/2013 - Submitted on 09/28/2015

Australia

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Location: Byron Bay (Julian Rocks)

Byron Bay is probably my favorite place in Australia. Byron Bay is an amazing little beach town in northern NSW. It is somewhat of a surf town, and it is popular among young backpackers. Byron Bay has a wide selection of accommodation from camping, and cheap hostels, to bed and breakfasts, and beach side hotels. It also has a great selection of bars and restaurants that are open late into the night.

Cape Byron is the most eastern point of the Australian mainland. All of the diving in Byron Bay is concentrated on a large rock formation just off shore, known as Julian Rocks, and is easily visible from the beach. During the summer months tropical species can be found out at the dive sites, and during the winter, colder water species are found. During the winter months the rocks host a large population of the endangered Grey Nurse sharks. The winter months also bring migrating humpback whales. Although you will probably not see a humpback on a dive, it is common to hear them, and come across them on the short boat ride out or back from the rock. During the summer months when the water warms, the tropical species move in, and it common to see Leopard sharks, as well as manta rays. Other tropical species such as eagle rays, lion fish, bat fish, and colorful reef fish can also be found. Year round inhabitants of the rocks include two species of Wobbegong shark, green and loggerhead turtles, massive bull sting rays, guitar fish, king fish, and big friendly Blue Gropers. Being a temperate dive location, visibility and conditions can vary greatly and change quickly. Visibility can range from just a few meters to 25+ on a great day.

The most commonly visited site at the rocks is called the nursery. The nursery is a shallow site that bottoms out around 12 meters at the deepest. It is the most sheltered site, and this is where any classes are usually held. The needles is on the south side of the rock and is about 15 meters in depth. The currents are stronger at this site. The currents draw large schools of fish, and lots of rays. One of my favorite dives is to start in the nursery and end in the needles. Hugo's trench is on the opposite side of the rock from the nursery. This site is more exposed and not visited nearly as much as the nursery side. The site is about 15-20 meters deep. The trench runs perpendicular to the rock and is home to a huge amount of life, and interesting rock formations.

Byron Bay is great town, and should not be missed in Australia. Few travelers go there just for the diving, but if you do visit, I highly recommend doing a day or two of diving.

Visited on 08/2012 - Submitted on 09/27/2015
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Sea of Cortez

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Location: Cabo San Lucas

Cabo is home to some amazing diving. Most of the diving here is around the Land's End peninsula that pushes out into the sea of cortez. All of the sites around land's end are just a short boat ride from the Cabo marina. The water is clear and there is a huge amount of marine life. My favorite dive here was Land's end, which is the very tip of the peninsula. It's one of the deeper dives here so it's usually done first. Here you will see huge schools of fish, sting rays, as well as mobula rays. Pelican rock is another good dive site and is a little shallower so sometimes it is done as your second dive. Here you will see angel fish, sea horses, schools of bait fish, and the rock itself is covered in nudibranchs. A unique feature you will see while diving in Cabo are sand falls. Sand from the beaches and surrounding desert wash into the ocean and build up on ledges, once enough has built up it begins fall off the ledge into the deeper water and it creates an effect that looks like a water fall. It's cool to see and can be found at numerous sites around the peninsula. There are a number of dive ops to choose from, and most of them do day trips to Cabo Pulmo and the Gordo Banks as well. I would recommend skipping the Gordo Banks and doing Cabo Pulmo if you are looking for a day trip. Gordo Banks rarely has the schooling hammerheads that you are going there in hopes of seeing. It is a blue water dive where if there isn't sharks, which there usually isn't, then you end up just floating around in the water column looking at nothing. On the day I went we didn't see sharks, but we were lucky enough to see a couple of mobula rays, and a large marlin during our safety stop.

Topside: Cabo has great restaurants and is famous for it's night life. It has excellent bars and clubs. Cabo has great beaches as well. Cabo is also world famous for it's sport fishing, and fishing for a day on a panga is a must. There are few places where the fishing is so good for such a cheap price.

Cabo makes a great dive vacation. If you are looking for a good inexpensive dive trip, and are looking to change it from somewhere in the Caribbean, Cabo is a great choice.

Visited on 10/2012 - Submitted on 09/14/2015
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Cozumel, Mexico

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Cozumel has some of the best diving in the Caribbean. Cozumel has excellent conditions, and abundant marine life. Cozumel has a variety of dive sites, but it is most well known for its stunning wall dives and leisurely drift dives. Marine life you can expect to see on most dives in Cozumel include nurse sharks, eagle rays, giant green morays, turtles, lobsters, and numerous colorful reef fish. There are so many excellent dive sites on the island, but in this review I will just cover a few of my favorites. Santa Rosa wall is a beautiful wall dive that is done as a drift dive. The top of the wall is right around 50 feet and it drops off into the abyss. Keep an eye out for the endemic splendid toad fish that hides in the coral crevices along the wall. Punta Dalila is a great dive site that was loaded with nurse sharks and eagle rays, it is also a shallower site at around 40-60 feet so it makes a great 2nd dive after a deep wall dive. The cathedral was an amazing dive because of it's incredible reef structures. Around these dramatic swim throughs and the cathedral cavern itself you will see lots of lobsters and green morays, as well as large groupers. While diving this site we were also visited by a lone reef shark. Right by the Cathedral is an excellent dive that is only for experienced divers called The Devil's Throat. The devils throat is a cave/tunnel that starts around 90 feet and continues down until it opens up at around 135 feet. Due to the depth and confined space, only very experienced divers should attempt this dive. Columbia shallows is a nice shallow site that is loaded with beautiful colorful reef fish and frequented by turtles. This site is always done as a second dive after a deep wall dive due to the fact it's only about 20-40 feet deep. This site is very popular as a second dive so it can get somewhat crowded at times. My favorite wall dive that I did on the island was Maracaibo. This was a deeper wall dive as the top of the wall is at around 80 feet. The wall itself is stunning and it drops straight down into the abyss. Currents were relatively strong and this dive is always a drift dive. Drifting along this beautiful wall while watching eagle rays glide by and nurse sharks prowl the edge of the wall made for one of the most memorable dives of my trip.

Topside Cozumel has amazing beaches, excellent restaurants, and lively bars. The main town of San Miguel can get crowded and busy when a cruise ship is docked there, which is pretty often. Cozumel is great for a cheap dive vacation, as getting there is cheap, hotels are cheap, and diving is cheap. With great diving in a beautiful location at great price, it's obvious why Cozumel is such a popular dive destination.

Visited on 10/2011 - Submitted on 09/13/2015
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Australia

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Location: HERON ISLAND (Great Barrier Reef)

Heron Island is a small coral island located about 90 km off the coast of Gladstone in Queensland, AUS. The island is amazingly beautiful, and looks like a postcard. The island is also very small, you can walk around the entire island in about 20 minutes. Heron Island is home to one resort, and the University of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef Marine Research Station. I have not stayed at the resort so I cannot comment on the resort itself, but I was lucky enough to stay at the Marine Research station for 2 weeks while I was studying at UQ. The resort is small and so is the marine research station, so you will never have to worry about crowds or busy dive sites. The island is home to 100,000+ nesting sea birds, as well as a nesting site for green and loggerhead turtles between the months of March and October. Whales can be seen moving through the deeper water off the island during the winter months. The island is surrounded by an unbroken picturesque white sand beach and a shallow coral reef shelf.

There are several options for getting to the island. There is a boat that runs from Gladstone a few days a week. There is also a helicopter pad on the island if you wish to use a faster (and much more expensive) travel mode. Sea plane is the other option.

The resort dive operation is the only dive operation open to the public on the island. The diving on Heron Island is absolutely amazing. Most of the dives are relatively shallow, very few are below 20 meters. The reefs around the island are very healthy; I have never seen so much healthy stag coral anywhere else. The reefs have an abundant amount of marine life. I will never forget that I saw my first Manta ray here, as well as my first tiger shark. Turtles, sharks and rays were seen on pretty much every dive I did. White tip sharks, Grey reef sharks, the occasional tiger shark, manta rays, green turtles, logger head turtles, barramundi cod, coral cod, huge numbers of rays, barracuda, sea snakes, countless colorful reef fish, coral trout, octopus, spotted eagle rays etc. are all found at the sites around the island. The currents at some of the sites can be swift, so there are a number of drift dives done around the island. For the non-divers in your group, the shallow reef surrounding the island is also perfect for snorkeling. There is also a channel cut through the reef to allow boat access to the dock. Snorkeling in this trench in the late afternoon after any boat traffic has stopped is great. In this trench in the evening it is common to see large number of white tipped reef sharks prowling the trench, as well as sleeping turtles, and schools of small bait fish. At the end of the trench is a large intact ship wreck, the HMAS Brisbane, that is only partially submerged, most of the wreck is above water. This island truly is a divers paradise, and I cant recommend it enough.

Visited on 10/2008 - Submitted on 09/12/2015
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Vanuatu (Million Dollar Point)

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Million Dollar point on the island of Espiritu Santo is a unique dive with a very different kind of reef to experience. Vanuatu was a staging area for the US offensive in the south Pacific during World War 2. At the end of the war a priority was given to getting troops home, and there simply wasn't room on the ships to get the millions of dollars worth of equipment on board. The American Navy decided for whatever reason that throwing everything that couldn't fit onto the ships into the ocean was a good solution. So Sea Bees constructed ramps into the ocean and proceeded to drive countless vehicles including jeeps, trucks, tractors, bulldozers, etc into the ocean. They also used barges to dump countless crates of objects from weapons, uniforms, cases of coca cola, and many other things, and when they were all done dumping supplies into the ocean, they sank the barges too. That's how million dollar point got its name, from the millions of dollars worth of equipment dumped into the ocean there.

Million dollar point is done as a shore dive and is also relatively shallow and within recreational dive limits. Some areas are also shallow enough for snorkelers to enjoy. You can make numerous dives exploring the massive amount of vehicles and objects left behind and still not see everything. The man made reef attracts a fair amount of sea life, and the beach at the dive site is a nice sandy beach that is great for relaxing and swimming during your surface interval. There are multiple dive operations that dive million dollar point. It's a unique dive site with a unique history, and it's a lot of fun to explore.

Visited on 11/2009 - Submitted on 09/09/2015

Vanuatu (SS President Coolidge)

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Vanuatu is an amazing island nation in the South Pacific with excellent diving. Located on the island of Espiritu Santo is the SS President Coolidge wreck. The Coolidge is a 653 foot long ship that began its life in 1931 as a luxury ocean liner, and was converted to a troop transport ship in December of 1941. In October of 1942 she hit a friendly mine while navigating the channel between islands. The captain knew the ship would sink and purposely ran the ship ashore to save the ship and crew from going down in deep water. Everyone on board was told to evacuate the ship and to leave everything on board, and that they would return at a safer time to retrieve everything off the ship. Over night the ship listed heavily to one side and slipped down the slope and sank into the channel where it lies today with everything still left inside.

The Coolidge is usually done as a shore dive and is located a surprisingly short distance off shore. There are few dive operations on the island that dive the wreck. The entire wreck is intact and in one piece. The ship sits on its side, on a slope with the bow at 21 meters and the stern at 73 meters. In order to fully enjoy the entire wreck you will need to be trained in tech diving as much of the wreck is below recreational limits. The Coolidge is great for penetration dives and is considered as one of the best wreck dives in the world. The cargo holds are still full of Jeeps, fighter planes, fighter plane drop tanks, and other equipment. The wreck is littered with rifles, gas masks, personal possessions that were left behind, plates, silverware, and countless other things to discover. There is also a lot of live ammunition on and around the wreck. The fuel and propellers were salvaged from the wreck shortly after it sank. There are numerous entry points into the wreck including some cuts into the ships side that were made in the initial salvage operation.

Their are some key dives that should not be missed when diving the Coolidge. The swimming pool towards the stern of the ship is intact and beautifully tiled. A dive to the Engine Room should be done, all the gauges and controls are still in the same position as they were when the ship was ran ashore. A dive to give "The Lady" a kiss is a must, as well as a tradition when diving the Coolidge. The Lady is a porcelain ornamental statue of a woman in a red dress on a unicorn that is found within the wreck around a depth of 39 meters. The Cargo holds are a great dive as they are still full of jeeps, and other war vehicles and equipment. The Cargo holds are also teeming with flashlight fish and make a great night dive as well. If you are trained for it, the stern is a great dive as the name of the ship is still clearly visible painted in white across the stern.

If you love wreck diving, the Coolidge is a must. It's arguably the best WW2 wreck dive outside of Truk Lagoon. Vanuatu is a great place topside as well. Loganville is a small town, and is the main town on the island. The island is still very rural, and most topside activities involve enjoying Santo's natural beauty. Visiting one of the islands fresh water blue holes is a great day trip, as is hiking up to the millennium caves. There is also a huge amount of topside world war two history to see and experience. The people of Vanuatu are very welcoming and friendly. Vanuatu has been named the happiest place on earth multiple years in a row. It has a low crime rate and is very inviting to travelers.

Visited on 11/2009 - Submitted on 09/09/2015

Thailand

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Hin Daeng and Hin Muang

Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are widely considered the best dive sites in Thailand outside of the Similans. Hin Daeng and Hin Muang are two dive sites on the west coast of Thailand that can be accessed by either live aboard or by day trips out of Ko Phi Phi or Ko Lanta. These two sites are best known for their frequency in Manta Ray and Whale shark sightings. Both sites are remote deep water pinnacles. Hin Deang just barely breaks the surface, where as Hin Muang is a submerged pinnacle with its base on one side leveling out around 60 meters, and the other side is a vertical wall that plunges into a deep abyss. Both sites are more advanced sites, and Hin Muang often has relatively strong currents. Both sites are right next to each and always dived together in one trip. At both sites you will see huge schools of fish, pelagics, lion fish, nudibranchs, Manta Rays, whale sharks, and reef sharks. Both sites are within the boundaries of a marine park and attract a massive amount of life. The ride out to the dive sites can be rough, and if you are doing a day trip out of Ko Lanta/ Ko Phi Phi it will take about 2 1/2 hours to make it out to the site. Diving these two sites on a day trip will take up an entire day. Due to the remoteness of these two sites, crowds are not something you have to worry about when diving here. Anyone diving on the West coast of Thailand should not miss these two sites.

Visited on 02/2012 - Submitted on 06/06/2015
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Thailand

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Koh Tao, Thailand

I lived and worked on Koh Tao as a Dive Master for a year. Getting your open water certification is on the list of things to do for most young people back packing through Thailand. More open water certs are completed on Koh Tao than any other location in the world. Koh Tao is a small vibrant island in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao has good diving, great night life, and plenty of topside activities to do.

The Diving: There are good things and bad things about diving on Koh Tao. First we will start off with some of the negative aspects of diving Koh Tao. Koh Tao dive sites can be very crowded. Some of the larger resort boats hold close to 50 divers. Dive sites like White Rock, Twins, Japanese Gardens can have a dozen boats onsite all at once. Sometimes dive sites look like parking lots. Also due to the fact that most people are on Koh Tao to learn to dive, there is a huge number of beginner divers everywhere. Now for the good things. Due to the fact there is a huge number of dive ops, all of which are very different, it's easy to find one that offers what you are looking for. There are small shops with small boats, big shops with big boats, etc. Also the diving is cheap, really cheap. Due to all the competition on the island, courses and diving prices are extremely low and affordable. There is also a variety of dive sites for both beginners and more experienced divers. Notable sites are Laem Thian with great swim throughs, and geographical features, frequented by black tips. Chumpon Pinnacle was my favorite site, which is frequented by bull sharks, whale sharks, huge schools of fish, tornadoes of barracuda, and giant groupers. White rock, which can be crowded at certain times, is a nice reef with lots of life, no shortage of morays and blue spotted sting rays. Sail Rock is also easily accessible from Koh Tao, and Sail Rock is without a doubt the best site in the Gulf of Thailand. Sail Rock is frequented by whale sharks, bull sharks, huge schools of fish, big schools of barracuda and Trevally, as well as a few resident giant morays. Turtles can be seen on the island but are surprisingly scarce, and also you WILL NOT see a manta ray in the gulf of Thailand. There are also a couple of wrecks on the island that were sunk to make artificial reefs. The diving on Koh Tao is good, but it is not world class, and is even not as good as the diving on the West Coast of Thailand. But it is a great island that is lots of fun and definitely worth visiting.

Topside: Koh Tao has a large variety of restaurants and resorts. Everything from 5 start luxury resorts, to dirt cheap hostels. Koh Tao also has a great night life and huge party scene. Lots of bars, and drinks are very cheap. Choppers is an Aussie owned sports bar on the island that opens early and they show NFL games, Soccer, Baseball, Cricket, everything, so you can still watch your favorite sports games while on the island. Rock Climbing is another popular topside activity on the island, companies like Good Times Adventures offers a variety of activities other than diving. Koh Tao is also a great place to learn free diving. There are a few free diving schools on the island with great instructors.

Getting to the island is also relatively easy. From Bangkok you can book transport down from a few different companies, such as SongSerm, and Lompraya. Buses run from Bangkok to Chumpon, where you board a ferry that takes you to either Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, or Koh Samui. You can also fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui, and then jump on a ferry or speed boat over to Koh Tao.

Visited on 10/2010 - Submitted on 06/06/2015
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