Amanda’s Scuba Diving Adventures
I did my first dive in 2009 off the coast of Mozambique and have been hooked ever since. I was a bit spoiled on my first few dives as I was in the pristine waters of the Bazaruto Archipelago and its protected marine reserve.
I have never been too fond of swimming, especially in open water (and public pools…and bathtubs) so I was a bit apprehensive to try diving. Luckily, I was persuaded by my coworker (and dive instructor) to give it a go. It took a lot of convincing and a promise from her to try horseback riding before I agreed—am I ever happy I did!
The marine national park is home to an abundance of species; dolphins, spotted rays, pelagic fish and colourful soft coral were amongst the daily sightings. This was of course made easier by the 40m+ visibility. The western side of the island was quite sheltered from currents which made for ideal conditions for learning to dive.
I am not a fan of being cold, which plays a huge factor in my dive location choices. Last December I joined an Intrepid trip in Thailand and thought it would be great to add a few days diving in Koh Tao. I was not disappointed. Often called one of the best dive destinations in South East Asia, Koh Tao is a bustling island in the Gulf of Thailand. We had impeccable weather the first few days but our timing (just after the monsoon season) caught up with us by the 5th day. The waters were very choppy and the visibility went from about 20m to 5m. Not ideal, but it was my first time in less than perfect conditions; I like to think of it as character building!
There are not many big species in the waters surrounding Koh Tao but we did see some big Grouper, Banner fish and Barracuda. There are tons of soft coral and shy Anemone fish, Damsel fish and bucktoothed Trigger fish. If you are there at the right time of year (beginning of March), you have the slight chance of seeing Whale Sharks.
My next chance to dive will be in the Red Sea off the coast of Jordan. I had the chance to snorkel in the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt, and loved every minute of it. I am headed on a G Adventures trip in Jordan—a destination I have been quietly (ok, not so quietly) obsessing about for a good 5 years. I am so excited to finally be able to go and even more so now that I have decided to dive! I will be joining a dive group in Aqaba on the northern tip of the Red Sea. I hope this section of the sea is as impressive as when I went snorkeling in Hurghada, Egypt.
I have not had the pleasure of diving from a live aboard yet, but it is definitely on my bucket list which why I was so excited on a personal (and professional) level to hear of our recent partnership with The Aggressor Fleet. They offer group departures and dive charters all over the world. They run trips in some of the most renowned dive destinations like: Belize, The Maldives, the Red Sea and Fiji. The trips are quite intensive with the option of diving up to 5 times a day! There are some specialty departures– family weeks, diving with the owners, and underwater photography, to name a few.
One might think that these trips are only for seasoned divers, but they also offer the full range of certification from Open Water to Master Diver and from Nitrox to Wreck Diver. Almost all of the dive crew are certified under multiple governing bodies—PADI, SSI and NAUI. The expertise of the crew coupled with the small group sizes (8-22 passengers with 16 being the average) means that every diver is going to be able to experience the sites to their fullest.
Keep an eye out for my Jordanian blog; I will surely have some great diving stories to share!
October 1, 2014