DDC Blog

5 Packing Tips for Scuba Diving Vacations

Anyone who has taken a few scuba vacations knows: Anything bad that can happen on a scuba trip is likely to happen — unless you take steps to ensure Murphy’s Law doesn’t apply. Here are quick tips to help you steer clear:

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How To Pack Your Scuba Diving Gear and Equipment for Travel

Packing for dive travel presents a conundrum. Spread before you is a vast arsenal, each piece essential to fulfilling your travel fantasy. To bring along all of the regulators, wetsuits, computers, masks, fins and camera equipment and other scuba gear necessary for a serious dive mission (along with their backups and batteries), you’ll need a fleet of roller bags — and a Sherpa. But your airline has strict limits on the amount, size and weight of luggage, and violating its limits can add up to an astronomical cost. How can you make it all fit?

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World's longest underwater cave system discovered in Mexico

The Gran Acuifero Maya (GAM), a project dedicated to the study and preservation of the subterranean waters of the Yucatan peninsula, said the 347-km cave was identified after months of exploring a maze of underwater channels.

The caves of Sac Actun - once measured at 263 km - and the 83km Dos Ojos system have a tunnel that connects them and following conventions the largest cave absorbs the small, so Dos Ojos becomes part of Sac Actun.

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7 Signs You Need a Scuba Refresher

Sure, you have a certification card, but that doesn’t always mean you’re feeling ready to dive. If it has been awhile since your last dive, you may be in need of a PADI ReActivate scuba refresher program. Here are seven signs to look for.

  • You can’t find your C-card.

Sure, someone from the dive center can call PADI® to confirm you’re certified, but if you can’t find the card, that’s a sign that perhaps too much time has passed since your last dive.

  • You finally have a vacation planned and you want to dive.

You could spend precious time at your destination catching up on skills — or you could do that work with your hometown dive center.

  • It’s been a while since your last dive, and you will be diving with your kids.

“A lot of times, we are dealing with families that got certified together,” says Lyn Fishman, owner of Mid-Atlantic Scuba Center located in Bensalem, PA, outside Philadelphia. “One thing I remind parents before they get in the water is that they are going to be responsible for another person, and I ask if they feel up for it.”

If the answer is no, consider a refresher course.

  • Six to 12 months have elapsed since your last dive.

“One of the first questions we ask someone who is coming in to dive is, “When is the last time you were in the water?” says Jeff Cleary, owner of Sea Dwellers Dive Center in Key Largo, Florida.

As for the answer, some dive shops will suggest a refresher if you haven’t been diving in six months, a year or longer.

  • The thought of putting your gear together makes you nervous.

If you’re struggling to remember just how the gear fits together, keep in mind that the divemaster can assist you — but it might also be time for a refresher course.

  • You can’t remember when your last dive was.

If your last dive was more than a decade ago, you may need more than just a refresher course.

Fishman starts by asking folks how long it’s been since their last dive.

“Then I ask about the time before they stopped diving. I ask them to estimate how many dives they had before they stopped. For some people, it’s been 15 years and they guess that they had maybe 10 dives before they stopped,” says Fishman.

She adds, “It’s always their choice, of course, but we recommend taking a full course at that point.”

If you’re still unsure if you need a scuba refresher, know that you always have the option of hiring a private divemaster to serve as a guide for you and/or your buddy or family.

If you identify with any of the above, it might be time to call your local dive center and schedule time for the PADI ReActivate program.

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Palau: A Deluge of Life

We've arrived in the middle of a special weather advisory: downpours, gusting winds, the works. The unusual, unseasonal storm has pummeled the islands for days, and the dive staff have developed a sense of humor about the situation. One wannabe comedian cracks a joke as we lug our gear to the boat: "Sometimes they'll name a typhoon in retrospect. This might qualify." We respond gamely with the best laughs we can muster. The rain is coming down hard, and I put on my mask for the skiff ride.

As we motor through the iconic rock islands it doesn't take long for admiration to take hold. Palau is otherworldly beautiful. Even in the rain, even through a misty mask, the colors grab me and won't let go. It's as if a benevolent giant threw a handful of emerald-green marbles onto an impossibly turquoise backdrop. Underwater, the vivid splendor is magnified: The offshore waters are crystalline blue, the lagoon a rich aqua. Neon soft corals and anemones pop, while silvery barracudas and jacks shimmer. Sharks and mantas exude gravitas with their crisp monotones.

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Clipperton: A Plastic Paradise

Isolated takes on a new meaning when after three straight days of sailing you're still more than 12 hours from your destination. This is the journey required to visit Clipperton, the most remote atoll in the world. The little dot in the Pacific is more than 750 miles away from Cabo San Lucas, our port of departure. It is almost 600 miles from the Revillagigedo Archipelago (Socorro Island), which is itself extremely remote by any normal standard.

Surrounded by coral reefs, Clipperton encloses a stagnant lagoon overgrown with algae on the surface and transected by a toxic layer of hydrogen sulfide at around 45 feet deep. I traveled to this atoll as part of the 2017 Big Migrations 2 Clipperton expedition team headed by Canadian explorers Michel Labrecque and Julie Ouimet. We carried Explorers Club Flag #93. For six days our team of 18 dived in Clipperton's waters and explored the almost eight-mile ring of land that makes up the island. This was more time than most people get at Clipperton, but it still didn't feel like nearly enough.

Clipperton’s reefs feature unique topography and many endemic species.
When I first backrolled into the ocean, I was immediately surprised by the warmth of the water — 87°F at the surface, according to my computer. We reached the reef at about 45 feet and were greeted by a large school of black durgon (triggerfish) that glided over huge, round coral heads. Coral boulders extended as far as the eye could see, all accompanied by groups of brilliant red soldierfish and highlighted by purple coralline algae around the bases. Shelves of Porites coral also dominated the landscape, providing shelter for juvenile groupers and perches for coral hawkfish. A school of grunts swam through my frame, soon followed by a train of trevally, and a curious leather bass hovered in front of my dome port.

We saw three fish species that are endemic to Clipperton: the Clipperton angelfish (Holacanthus limbaughi), the Clipperton gregory (Stegastes baldwini) and the Clipperton fanged blenny (Ophioblennius clippertonensis). Sixty minutes flew by, and before I knew it we were doing our safety stop in the blue warmth of Clipperton's shallows.

The 2017 Big Migrations 2 Clipperton expedition team members remove an abandoned (“ghost”) fishing net from
the reef. The team also collected almost two miles of longline and associated hooks and hardware.

Despite the atoll's natural underwater beauty, I couldn't help but notice the copious monofilament from longlines that were wrapped around the reef. We recovered almost two miles of line along with 18 hooks and 43 fasteners over the course of 17 dives as well as a huge ghost fishing net we dragged up from 50 feet. We collected as much as we could reasonably carry while underwater, but this represented only a tiny portion of what we saw. It quickly became evident that even out here in the middle of nowhere, marine ecosystems weren't safe from human habits.

The same phenomenon was echoed on land, but on a far greater scale.

Clipperton looks like paradise at first glance. Turquoise waters crash onto a gleaming white beach of crushed coral punctuated by green palm trees. Hundreds of birds fly in a dramatic cloud-swept sky. But upon closer inspection a much more flawed landscape comes into focus. One that bears the ugly human fingerprint that seems to not leave any natural habitat on Earth untouched: plastic.

A masked booby smiles for the camera.
We live in the Anthropocene epoch (a term proposed but not yet officially accepted) — a period of geologic history defined and shaped by the activities of humankind — and plastic is our calling card. Each year we dump about 8 million tons of it into our world's oceans, and if we stay on our current trajectory it is estimated there will be a larger volume of plastic in the ocean than fish by mid-century. These statistics hit home for me when I first stepped onto the most remote atoll in the world and could not move my feet without stepping on plastic. Humans have not thrown plastic refuse directly onto Clipperton Island, but by improperly disposing of it and indulging in the single-use plastic bonanza in which we find ourselves, we might as well have done exactly that.

The plastic on Clipperton went beyond plastic bottles and stray flip-flops. It ranged from refrigerators to razors, trinkets to toothbrushes, medical waste to microplastics. Every shape, size, color and variety of plastic is represented on this island, which has not been inhabited since before the plastic revolution began. If plastic plagues even Clipperton, an uninhabited island with no measurable visitation and surrounded by nothing but open ocean for hundreds of miles in every direction, it is clear that our lifestyle is in dire need of a sustainability makeover.

The team collected more than 200 pounds of plastic, including 2,089 bottle caps, but they watched in dismay as
more plastic floated ashore.

Plastic pollution is a huge problem, but it is presents an opportunity to make a monumental difference. Even the tiniest of actions when taken by many can create significant change. As people who actively appreciate and enjoy our world's waters, divers can embrace the opportunity to set an example for those around us and thus expand our impact. Reject single-use plastics when possible, avoid using plastic bags, properly dispose of and recycle your garbage, buy a reusable coffee mug and water bottle, and refrain from using disposable utensils and straws. Purchasing glass or metal containers rather than their plastic counterparts can also help immensely.

Our addiction to plastic has gone far enough, and it is our responsibility as stewards of this blue planet to make educated lifestyle choices that limit our contribution to plastic pollution.

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Porbeagle Shark

The Porbeagle Shark, also called Lamna nasus, comes from the family of Lamnidae sharks. It is mostly found in cold and temperate waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. This is a species of the mackerel shark and is a close relative of the salmon shark. The Porbeagle can reach over 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length and can gain a weight of 135 kilograms or 298 pounds. They are normally white at the bottom and grey on top giving it some nice camouflage for hunting. When looking at the shark from above, it is difficult to locate because of the grey color against the sea bed. Looking upwards, the white color blends with the ocean surface.

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Where Do Basking Sharks Go In the Winter?

Shark scientists have questioned basking shark migration for decades, since an article in 1954 proposed that basking sharks, which were hardly seen once cold weather hit, hibernated on the ocean bottom during the winter. A tagging study released in 2009 finally revealed that basking sharks head south in the winter, further than scientists ever dreamed.

The basking sharks that spend their summers in the western North Atlantic are not seen in that area once the weather cools. It was once thought that these sharks might spend their winters on the ocean bottom, in a state similar to hibernation.

Scientists finally got a handle on this question in a study published in 2009 online in Current Biology. Researchers from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and their colleagues fitted 25 sharks off of Cape Cod with tags that recorded depth, temperature and light levels. The sharks swam on their way, and by wintertime, the scientists were surprised to find them crossing the equator - some even went all the way to Brazil.

While in these southern latitudes, the sharks spent their time in deep water, ranging from about 650 to 3200 feet deep. Once there, the sharks remained for weeks to months at a time.

Eastern North Atlantic Basking Sharks
Studies on basking sharks in the UK have been less conclusive, but the Shark Trust reports that the sharks are active all year and during the winter, they migrate to deeper waters offshore and also shed and re-grow their gill rakers.

In a study published in 2008, a female shark was tagged for 88 days (July-September 2007) and swam from the UK to Newfoundland, Canada.

Other Basking Shark Mysteries
Even though the mystery of where Western North Atlantic basking sharks go during the winter has been solved, we still don't know why. Gregory Skomal, the lead scientist in the study, said that it doesn't seem to make sense for the sharks to travel that far south, as suitable temperatures and feeding conditions can be found closer, such as off of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

One reason might be to mate and give birth. This is a question that may take awhile to answer, as nobody has ever seen a pregnant basking shark, or even seen a baby basking shark.

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Top 5 Winter Diving Hotspots

While warm-water divers pack up their kit and hibernate for the winter, dry suit certified divers enjoy great diving and fewer crowds. Here are five destinations for your (insulated) bucket list.

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Six Reasons Why You Should Dive In The Winter (in Sydney!)

Sydney diving is not just a summer hobby. I LOVE diving in the winter, even though I’m an unashamed wimp when it comes to cold! I’m going to share my favourite things about winter diving, as well as some hints on keeping warm.

1. The visibility is better

During the winter, there are less algal blooms because the water is cooler. The prevailing winds and currents in winter also push cool clear water close to the coast. These factors result in more days of clear blue water in winter to give your dives that extra ‘wow’ factor.

2. Port Jackson season

The Port Jackson shark is endemic to temperate Australia, and during the winter months they come up from deeper waters into the shallows to mate and lay eggs. Unlike many sharks, they do not need to swim to breath. They have the ability to pump water through their gills whilst stationary so can frequently be seen resting on the sand.

Shelly Beach is a great place to spot these sharks during the winter, you can often see multiple individuals on each dive, and get close enough for some fantastic photos.

3. The Giant Cuttlefish

This species of cuttlefish (Sepia apama) is found only in temperate Australia. Winter is their mating season and this is when they are at their largest, up to 1.2 metres, and most feisty. They can be very interactive towards divers. Many a diver has had their torch, camera or dive computer ‘felt up’ by a cuttlefish, as they seem to be attracted to our shiny objects.

The surprising thing about the giant cuttlefish is that they only live 1-2 years, so their rate of growth is even more impressive given such a short lifespan. They die shortly after mating and laying eggs, so you’ll see them looking like ‘zombie’ cuttlefish towards the end of the winter. They can be spotted on both shore and boat dives and they like to hide in rocky overhangs or caves.

4. Humpback whales

During June and July, migrating humpbacks pass through Sydney on their way to warm tropical waters. This means that if you join us on one of our boat dives in the harbour, your surface interval is likely to double as whale-watching time. Humpbacks may be seen breaching, tail slapping and frolicking at the surface, and particularly curious individuals have even been known to approach and inspect dive boats.  During your dives, listen out for the enchanting song of the humpback as it can travel 40km through the water.

5. You’ll have the beach to yourself

As much as I love the warmth of summer… I do NOT miss trying to find a parking space at my dive site! In winter the beaches and dive sites are quieter. You have the joy or arriving at your favourite shore dive site and having your pick of the parking spaces. You can walk over the beach without weaving around sunbathers or sandcastles, and often have a whole dive site to yourself.

6. Night dives

There must be some benefit to the shorter days, and the fact it’s already dark outside when you leave work. Short days mean you don’t have to wait for it to get dark to go on a night dive! Manly has fantastic ‘muck diving’ sites where all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures come out at night, including the blue-lined octopus and pyjama squid which can only be seen in temperate Australia. During the darker winter evenings they will be out hunting that little bit earlier. Ask us about upcoming night dives!

How to Stay Warm:

Thermal Protection – A semi-dry suit of 6.5mm or more is best for the winter, combined with a Sharkskin vest or long-sleeved top underneath for extra insulation. Since a large percentage of body heat is lost through the head during dives – hoods make a massive difference. Wearing wetsuit gloves will also reduce the chill factor.

Surface Intervals – If you are doing multiple dives, especially if you’re out on a boat, make sure you have a good windproof jacket to put on for the whole surface interval, as well as a warm beanie hat. Prepare a thermos of hot tea or soup to have after the dive to raise your body temp.

Dry Suit Diving – If you are prone to cold, or want to extend your dives, then dry suit is the way to go.  I always wear a dry suit in winter and with good undergarments, I don’t feel the cold at all. The other great thing about a dry suit is that after your dive you can literally step out of it and straight into the café for breakfast without having to dry yourself off! Ask us about trying a dry suit and enrol in a Dry Suit Specialty Course to prepare for the cooler months.

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Key Largo - A legacy of marine conservation

Spring Break 1978 was one of the singular events that shaped my life. I was living in Colorado, perfectly happy with my Rocky Mountain high, and working in a photo lab to make a living. I had stayed in touch with a swim-team buddy from high school who was living in Key Largo, Fla. He worked as a treasure diver, and back then divers could still find booty and artifacts on the wrecks of the Spanish galleons that ran aground off the Upper Keys in 1733. I took a dive holiday to Key Largo that year, found I really enjoyed the diving and started thinking that I could make a living there. Lots of tourists were diving John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and I thought if I were to open a little shop to rent underwater cameras and process E-6 slide film, maybe I could get by and enjoy the lifestyle for a year or two.

I moved to Key Largo in November of that year. It certainly never occurred to me then that this little island would be where I would meet my wife, where we would raise our daughter and where I would still be a member of the dive community four decades later. Some things have changed over the years, but the diving that enticed me — and makes Key Largo one of the world's most popular dive destinations — remains constant.

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Traveling Light

For most people, dive trips are about relaxing and enjoying yourself. While you can bring all your dive gear with you when you travel, this can be expensive, time-consuming and stressful.

Dive equipment can be rather heavy, bulky and inconvenient for airline travel. While innovations in materials and design have led to lighter and more packable gear, some products may not be as comfortable, durable or easy to use as standard gear.

At popular dive destinations around the world, much of the available rental gear is adequate. Although it is best to practice with your equipment and confirm comfort and fit before travel, this isn't always possible and may not be necessary for every piece of dive gear. Just make sure you are capable and comfortable with your equipment before you dive. Some gear, however, you'll definitely want to bring with you from home. Here are some considerations for traveling with various pieces of dive equipment.

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The North Carolina Outer Banks l584-l958

by David Stick
p. l84-l94
Though it would be difficult to find visual evidences of it there today, one of the largest communities on the Outer Banks in the latter part of the last century was Diamond City, which was located a short distance west of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, just beyond The Drain.

People had been living in that vicinity since the early days of Banks settlement, but the life of Diamond City itself was a short one, with a strange and unhappy ending. It was not until about l885 that this community of several hundred persons acquired a name, yet in less than twenty years the name was about all that was left of it, for the people had moved, and when they moved they took Diamond City with them--except for the name, that is, and the little family graveyards where the houses used to stand.
The written records in the story of Diamond City begin as early as l723. On September 2 of that year two Carolinians, brothers- in-law Enoch Ward and John Shackleford, signed an agreement for the equal division of some 7,000 acres of Banks land they had acquired jointly. Their original holdings extended from Beaufort Inlet, around Cape Lookout, and up the Banks to Drum Inlet, an entire Banks island some twenty-five miles in length. In the division, Ward agreed to take the eastern half, the part known as Core Banks; Shackleford took the western half, from Cape Lookout to Beaufort Inlet.

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The North Carolina Outer Banks l584-l958

by David Stick

Though it would be difficult to find visual evidences of it there today, one of the largest communities on the Outer Banks in the latter part of the last century was Diamond City, which was located a short distance west of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse, just beyond The Drain.

People had been living in that vicinity since the early days of Banks settlement, but the life of Diamond City itself was a short one, with a strange and unhappy ending. It was not until about l885 that this community of several hundred persons acquired a name, yet in less than twenty years the name was about all that was left of it, for the people had moved, and when they moved they took Diamond City with them--except for the name, that is, and the little family graveyards where the houses used to stand.
The written records in the story of Diamond City begin as early as l723. On September 2 of that year two Carolinians, brothers- in-law Enoch Ward and John Shackleford, signed an agreement for the equal division of some 7,000 acres of Banks land they had acquired jointly. Their original holdings extended from Beaufort Inlet, around Cape Lookout, and up the Banks to Drum Inlet, an entire Banks island some twenty-five miles in length. In the division, Ward agreed to take the eastern half, the part known as Core Banks; Shackleford took the western half, from Cape Lookout to Beaufort Inlet.

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The Most Dangerous SCUBA Dives in the World

What could be more thrilling than diving deep into the ocean among sea creatures and exploring sections of the earth few have seen before?

Well, if you ask some professional divers, there are dives even more thrilling than those with marine life or those that reach the depths of the ocean. There are dives with an added element of danger and mystery so compelling, many will risk their lives for a chance at the challenge.

From New Jersey to Australia, sinkholes, major underwater cave systems and even a military explosives dumping ground await those who dare to dive. Many have attempted these excursions and, sadly, some didn’t make it back alive. These are the most dangerous SCUBA dives in the world.

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New Underwater Discovery Gives The Great Barrier Reef A Run For Its Money

Looks like one of the world’s most famous natural wonders has some pretty impressive competition.

Researchers in Australia announced the discovery of a coral reef with such diverse and thriving marine life, it rivals that of the Great Barrier Reef.

Using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), an underwater video camera and virtual reality goggles, researchers uncovered a stunning deep-sea world of hard and soft coral, colorful sponge gardens and massive coral fans — all teeming with fish and marine invertebrates.

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The Christmas Tree Ship

On a drizzly, overcast day in late October 1971, Milwaukee scuba diver Gordon Kent Bellrichard was surveying with sonar the bottom of Lake Michigan's west coastal waters off of Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Bellrichard was searching for the Vernon, a 177-foot, 700-ton steamer that had sunk with only one survivor in a storm in October 1887.

Local fishermen described an area to Bellrichard where their nets had snagged on previous occasions as a potential site to search. His sonar made a promising contact, and he descended to what appeared to be a well-preserved shipwreck resting in an upright position on the lake bed in 172 feet of water.

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Top 10 Dives: Best Diving in the World

We've been publishing the list of the world's top dives since 2000 and until last year the SS Yongala consistently topped the list. Now though, the Yongala has been forced into third position. She's still my favourite dive site though.

The list is fairly evenly balanced between Northern and Southern hemispheres, the South winning by 6 entries to 4. It is also a 6:4 ratio in Reefs versus Wrecks.

We know it's difficult to choose your favourite dive sites, and we ask you to choose just two! Do you prefer wrecks, sealife, caverns, drift dives, underwater scenary, big stuff - some of each?

Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Wall of coral where sharks come cruising by and barracuda surround you. You are guaranteed to see big stuff here and lots of it. Occasional strong currents blast over an underwater prairie that's home to white tips, turtles, grouper, jacks, bumphead parrotfish and of course the barracuda that give it its name.

Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia
An upwelling means this splendid wall dive is favoured by pelagics. Expect to see sharks, barracuda, eagle rays, Napoleon wrasse, snappers, jacks...if you can tear your eyes away from the fish the wall hosts thick coral with morays, nudibranchs and mantis shrimps being just a few of the attractions.

The Yongala, Australia
The Yongala is a shipwreck off the coast of Queensland. Full of life you may see manta rays, sea snakes, octopuses, turtles, bull sharks, tiger sharks, clouds of fish and spectacular coral.
The Yongala sank during a cyclone in 1911 killing 122 people, a racehorse called Moonshine and a red Lincolnshire bull. She had no telegraph facilities and so could not be warned of the weather ahead. In 1981 the Yongala was given official protection under the Historic Shipwrecks Act. The ship is 90 km southeast of Townsville, 10 km away form Cape Bowling Green. 109 meters long, the bow points north and the ship lists to starboard.

Thistlegorm, Egyptian Red Sea
A large wreck which needs several dives to do it justice. A British vessel, the Thistlegorm (Blue Thistle) was attacked from the air and sunk in 1941 whilst carrying a cargo of war supplies: rifles, motor bikes, train carriages, trucks. Currents can be strong, and in different directions at the surface and at the wreck.
Motor Bikes on the Thistlegorm
Motorbikes inside the Thistlegorm by Tim Nicholson

Shark and Yolanda Reef, Egyptian Red Sea
Three dives in one: anemone city, shark reef with its spectacular drop off and the wreck of the Yolanda. Currents make this good for drift dives and for pelagic fish. A popular dive starts at Anemone City before drifting to Shark Reef and its drop off. Finish up on the wreck of the Yolanda with its cargo of toilets.

Manta Ray Night Dive, Kailua Kona, Hawaii
Underwater lights placed on the ocean floor attract infinite amounts of plankton, which in turn attract the huge, yet beautiful manta rays of Kona Hawaii. The rays get so close to you, that you often have to move to avoid them accidentally hitting you. An amazingly wonderful and unforgettable time with one of the most beautiful animals in the world.

Great Blue Hole, Belize
Very deep, wide, hole outlined by coral reef and inhabited by sharks. Is there another sight like it? 30 m visibility coming over the bathwater warm reef of vibrant colors, descending into a cool, deep blue hole where the water begins to waver and shimmer as you enter the transition from salt to fresh water at about 15 m. Watching the enormous tuna and other pelagics dive into the hole to clean themselves as you briefly remove your octopus to taste the fresh water. Then descending another 25 m to explore the stalagtites and stalagmites of ancient caverns.

Navy Pier, Western Australia
Extending 300 m from shore, the T-shaped structure is 300 m wide, including two outlying "dolphins" (platforms for larger ships to tie up to). Although a very defined and somewhat compact site, you could spend 5 days diving there and not be bored, particularly at night. On any dive there are lots of nudibranchs and flatworms, eels, woebegone and white tipped sharks, octopuses, lion and scorpion fish, stargazers, and the usual smaller finned friends. Sometimes you'll come across absolutely huge rays dozing in the sand.

President Coolidge, Vanuatu
The SS President Coolidge off Santo, northern Vanuatu, was a WW2 luxury ocean liner. She was commandeered by the US navy and fitted out as a naval ship. Unfortunately, she was sank by one of America's own mines. The engine room and one of the dining rooms are at about 47 m, the promenade deck is around 33 m, the mosaic lined swimming pool about 50 m. It's a fabulous dive. The wreck is fully protected by law and both it and the surrounding seabed has been designated a Marine Reserve.

Richelieu Rock, Thailand
A horse shoe of rocky pinnacles, just breaks the surface at low tide. Famous for whale shark sightings, but also great for big schools of pelagic fish such as jacks, barracuda and batfish. Mantas are also seen, and it is a superb spot for Macro photography with such creatures as ghost pipefish, harlequin shrimp, frogfish and seahorses. Currents can be strong. Needs several dives to see the whole area."

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Vote Now: People's Choice H.E.R.O.

The International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF) has launched voting for the People's Choice Award in its H.E.R.O. Awards campaign.

The finalists for the 2017 H.E.R.O. Awards are all exceptional individuals and organizations from around the world who go above and beyond in maritime search and rescue (SAR).

To vote - just visit the Facebook page and 'like' the original 'story' of the finalist chosen.

The finalist whose original 'story' on the IMRF Facebook page has the most 'likes' at 1700hrs UTC on Thursday, November 2, 2017 will be awarded the People's Choice H.E.R.O. Award at the presentation ceremony, which takes place that evening.

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World War II: Ultra — The Misunderstood Allied Secret Weapon

The full contribution of intelligence to the winning of World War II is clear only now, nearly sixty years after that conflict. Over the intervening decades it has been discovered that throughout the war the intelligence services of the Western powers (particularly the British) intercepted, broke, and read significant portions of the German military’s top-secret message traffic. That cryptographic intelligence, disseminated to Allied commanders under the code name Ultra, played a significant role in the effort to defeat the Germans and achieve an Allied victory.

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U/W Bike Race

eventsiconJoin us on July 4th for this annual event benefitting the Children's Mile of Hope.

Lionfish Tournament

eventsiconWe need your help to make Carteret County's 6th Annual "If you Can't Beat 'em, Eat 'em" Spearfishing Tournament a success! This Tournament is a joint effort between Discovery Diving and Eastern Carolina Artificial Reef Association (ECARA).

Treasure Hunt

eventsiconFood, prizes, diving, and fun! Proceeds benefit the Mile Hope Children's Cancer Fund and DAN's research in diving safety.


2013Join us in support of the East Carolina Artificial Reef Association.  Click here for more info on this great event and how you can help to bring more Wrecks to the Graveyard of the Atlantic.