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Here's a question that often sparks debate like few others can. It also brings back both good and bad diving memories AND (more importantly for those newer members of the forum and those that are not either moderators or those members of the hard-core YD that dive with each other regularly) allows the whole forum to revel in some of the funniest stories ever told.

It also has the benefit of allowing divers that might not yet have dived or visited any given site in question to get a potential heads-up before making a decision of whether to go there or not. YD providing another service to its users if you like.

OK, here goes:

Q1. What is the best (I know it's subjective, but that's the whole point) diving venue (globally, inc. UK) you've ever dived and why? Give reasons and cite examples.


If you don't feel like answering in the positive, change the rules and write about the worst (giving reasons) gig you've been on.

So, just reading aloud off the box:

"Light blue touch-paper and stand well back..........."

(Edited by Bren Tierney at 6:29 pm on July 7, 2002)
 

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Good post Bren

Pity you didn't start us off though, what with you being a man so well travelled... never mind, I'll start with one.

I'm still relatively new and so my array of various dive sites is still a little limited, altho I've been very impressed with lots of them but I may be very easy to please... who knows..... Anyway, without doubt one of the best sites that I've dived would have to be the Zenobia RO-RO Ferry in Cyprus.

This ferry sank on it's maiden voyage, it was full of passengers, articulated lorries, and other vehicles when its ballast computers went belly up and the whole ship started to list, it was sailed into Larnaca bay where all of the passengers disembarked and then they backed it out into the bay where it turned on it's side and sank leaving a spectacular wreck for we rubber clad individuals who like to breath underwater.

The wreck sits on its side in 43m of water but the first part you hit at the bottom of the shot line is the side of the ship which is pretty wierd cos its so big you kinda feel that your swimming along on the seabed as you watch all of little fish picking at the algae growing on this predominantly white base, then as you swim over the side theres a moment of vertigo as the whole things drops away below you and you can see all of the way down to the sea bed at 43m....
Now as this holiday was my first time in waters this clear I got the strangest momentary sensation of I was going to fall to the bed and my stomach flipped, but of course that was gone in a second and we just hovered over the edge and slowly exhaled drifting slowly down and down to 35m.

It felt fantastic... I could see so far in all directions that I felt that I was hovering stationary beside a large building, it stretched away in both directions, the actual sea bed littered with wagons that had fallen from the top of the ship as the chains had rusted and become too weak to hold the weight of the mammoth artic units and trailers

Our guide just hovered and watched over his brood as we buzzed around taking in the mass of this whole bloody thing before he led us off on a bit of a penetration thru the wreck, its a good job he did cos I was so tempted to swim down and grab one of the eggs that filled the back of a trailer on the sea floor.... woulda got my wrist slapped for that one.

Swimming thru the Zenobia was very cool and exiting out of a side door which was now the top of the ship meant my head came up out of what I first descibed as looking like the seabed... it was the white side of the ship... with just my head sticking out it was like I was buried in sand upto my neck and able to do 360s.... lol!! very cool..

We did two dives on this magnificent wreck and my only regret is that I didn't book another two.

If you ever go to Cyprus, no matter where you are on the island you MUST book at least two dives off a nice h/boat onto the Zenobia

Here's a link to a site I've found, I'm sure looking at some of these pics that this is the boat I dived from, Hubert is the guy who's dive centre I used so I imagine it is.

http://www.herbiesdiving.com/english/11-wreck-dives/frameunten.htm
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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Hey Dave,

Top post mate, you've made me quite jealous!! Not done the Zenobia yet, but will do at some stage. There's plenty of Med diving I want to do, including the old French Navy Sub (the 'Rubis') off St Tropez. She was put down deliberately in 1958 (if memory serves) so that Franch Navy divers could learn their craft. She's still got her deck cannons and torpedoes on the deck and she's about 38 - 40 metres down. She served under Royal Navy command during WW2 and saw action in the Western Approaches, Norway and the North Sea. The pictures of her look amazing.

You're right about the vertigo-like feeling you get when glancing over the side of a big ship to the sea-bed - as I'm doing my DM a the moment, I often tell my students on their 1st wreck dive (which can be the lowly Podsnap) that they might feel one of two sensations as they descend the shot-line and the wreck hoves into view through the gloom: either that they might feel that they are going to drop like a stone on to the wreck or, conversely, that they might feel that the wreck is gonna rush up and meet them!

You mentioned that you'd have liked me to have kicked off proceedings with a piece of my own. OK, let's make a deal, I'll write at least one piece on dive sites global for every one piece from any member of the forum for any site they want to write about. Fair?
 

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My best dive site and why? would have to be the local lake back in 1980, my first open water dive! muddy, cold, not much vis but, what an experience, I will never forget that day, my introduction to diving the outside world! the feeling of freedom, excitement, the buzz of breathing underwater for the first time in my life! seeing things like a fish for the first time in their natural habitats! wonderful.
 

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Good idea - just a reminder from our extensive legal time to please ensure that any 'bad' experiences are factual and as objective as possible. Cheers!

And my best dive? I haven't got one yet - had lots of good dives but not experienced a GREAT one (yet - in Ireland for a week in August and Red Sea in September so will hopefully find at least one to tell you about.)
 

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Do you know James Bond Island in Thailand? Not that I dived it, but imagine the sheer sides dropping down into the sea...and what's beneath? Well, Ko Dok Mai off Phuket is like that. We approached as near as the skipper of the dive boat dared to the cliffs, and then (in what I thought was a very organised fashion for a bunch of day boat divers who didn't know each other) jumped and descended immediately to minimise the effects of a gentle (1/2 to 1 kt) current.
The waters were clear, vis 8m (according to my log book, but that's a minimum, seems like more than that now in hindisght) and it was possible to descend the completely vertical wall to 22m where about 8-10m below you could see the cliffs just disappear into the sandy bottom...quite bizarre. The wall was studded with morays of all sizes and the usual lionfish etc were about. As we swam round the island the sun came out (well, you know what I mean) enhancing the vis and making for a pleasant ascent to the other side of the island where the switched on skipper was not far off waiting on our SMB's (yes, a bunch of warm water divers with SMB's! Impressive eh?) What a great dive and the beers in Patong that night were nearly as good!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Sorry Guys,

Forgot and posted my Tobago gig on the Recent Trip Reports forum.
 

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O.K. Surprisingly enough its in the uk and its ST KILDA,
Clear Blue oceanic water,dramatic volcano like peaks, underwater arches at 30m. Fantastic life sea birds swimming by underwater at 30m. Night diving at 1 am and its daylight.

Went to the Seychelles the week after, you've seen one brain coral you've seen them all, not very impressed.:biggrin:
 

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ST KILDA sounds interesting, is that the isle of St Kilda? on the Scotish west coast?
 

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It's a difficult choice to choose one as I sort-of have a top 6 which are nearly all equal in stature for one reason or another. Heck, I'll be greedy;
They are;

"Sandbar" (Feeding Stingrays), Grand Cayman.
Hand Feeding Stingrays has to be one of the best experiences of my life so far. They are such amazing creatures, so graceful.

"The Wreck of the Wreck of the Ora Verde", Grand Cayman.
I dove this twice - one during the day and once at night. We saw a blue parrotfish which was about a foot long on the night dive, sleeping in it's protective cocoon.

"Dosthill Quarry" Early January 2000, Tamworth.
All I need to say with this one is that it was the middle of winter, the sun was out, the ground was frosty, and the place hadn't been dived for a fortnight. The viz was about 20m. Truly stunning.

"Pont D'En Gil Caves", Menorca.
Most recent 'amazing' dive I've been on. Twas quite stunning. First ever 'cave' dive too, although not quite to Ammers' standards!

"The Rozy" tugboat, Malta.
One of the first dives I did in Malta. It was feb so it was cool in the water, but vis was amazing, and also was just the two of us on the wreck. It is so intact and sits upright, so it's quite weird - especially seeing as it's in 30m so you get a little narked too.

The Breda, Sound of Mull.
Dived this twice too - the first time we did a penetration and went through the decks - amazing stuff on there (although took nothing..) and the second time we went round the top side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Update

Anyone like to add anything on this topic? :)
 

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Oban

There are a number of wrecks off Oban, Rhondo, Hispania, Breda etc.

IMHO this is about as good as it gets - most stuff at less than 30m so long bottom times, good viz and a great little seaside town with a mega fish resturant.

Stuff here in Italy and nearby France just don't cut it. Wanna go home...

Too poor to have done any far-away stuff.

Chris
 

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One of my most exciting dives took place in Thailand. My wife and I were doing a semi backpacking thing (semi as in we had backpacks but stayed in decent accomodation, to old for hostels etc) around Thailand. After travelling for 12 hours from Hua Hin via coach and minibus we ended up in on West Raillee Beach in Krabi. As I had carted my dive kit halfway around the world I thought I better get some diving in. I booked a two dive outing with Phra Nang Divers, unfortunately these were to be my last dives in Thailand as I had an ear problem. The morning of the dives arrived and we waded throught he surf to a decent sized hardboat. Our guide was a Thai named Sonny who was so laid back he was nearly horizontal. On both dives there were four of us, two newbies and an experience diver and Sonny. The first dive was enjoyable with lots of coral and numerous fish and the viz was at least 20m. On the second dive we were poodling along a wall with pretty much the same topography and marine creatures as before when Sonny stops and points to a crack in the rockface gesturing that we should go through single file. As this was probably only my 10th open water dive the adrenalin certainly started to flow. We all agreed to go through and my plan was to be about an inch behind the dive guide. In we go single file me sticking to Sonny like sh*t to a blanket which is a good job as ten feet in it goes pitch black I can just about make out the Sonny's fins I follow for what feels like an hour and a half but was probably only 10 secs until we come out into the light with my heart thudding ever so slightly. We were still in the swimthrough but could now see the exit which we fin towards. A couple of metres from the exit myself and the guide are dragged out of the swimthrough and hurled around the coral bommie and more or less spat out into the open ocean closely followed by the other two. Apparently it was a current that fed through the top half of the swimthrough. It was an excellent way to end the days diving and I suppose I found it so exciting as being a newbie I had not experienced anything like that before.
Hopefully I have not bored you all to death.
Cheers
Neil
 

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The Poor Knights in New Zealand for me, great viz, loads of life and warm water all year. I dived Northern Arch which is a wall dive dropping away to 70m, and Rikoriko cave, which you park the RIB inside, loads of life, less colour but awesome viz.

Andrew
 

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Sipadan

Baraccuda point on Sipadan Island in Malaysia is my favourite. Without going all teary eyed and talking rubbish for ages, just imagine this example of one of the many features on this dive:

You are laying on your back, it's bright above, you can clearly see the sunlight glisten in tiny shafts of luminesance from 20m above. The regs drag a little at the strange position and you fight to keep calm and slow breaths so not to disturm the tranquility. There are about 4 to 5 "thousand" Sheveron Baraccuda rotating slowly in a tornado above you, some almost on the surface, others only inches from your face. You know the stories, hell, you can see the teeth! but they just keep moving. you slowly put a bit of air in your BC, then another, you start to move with a few scrapes as you tank lifts off the rocky bottom. You exhale the breath you wear holding to get you going and still continue upwards, but only at a crawl. You go vertical, unable to maintain the awkward position without the bottoms help and gently let a little out of the now filling BC. Bit by bit you rise gently through the cloud of Baraccuda, still paying you no attention whatsoever yet each looking you right in the eye. There's a current, nothing to notice, but enough to take you out the rotating mass after about 10m of lift. You slowly break the ranks of fish and they have to swim round you, not looking too impressed at the deviation. Turning back you can see a wall of movement, it's taking more shape as you drift away and get to see the whole thing in perspective as you get further and further away. Then, quite suddenly, you find it hard to focus on the single creatures and it becomes movement in the glistening light before being - just glistening light.

James
 

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narkedat50 said:
Baraccuda point on Sipadan Island in Malaysia is my favourite. Without going all teary eyed and talking rubbish for ages, just imagine this example of one of the many features on this dive:

You are laying on your back, it's bright above, you can clearly see the sunlight glisten in tiny shafts of luminesance from 20m above. The regs drag a little at the strange position and you fight to keep calm and slow breaths so not to disturm the tranquility. There are about 4 to 5 "thousand" Sheveron Baraccuda rotating slowly in a tornado above you, some almost on the surface, others only inches from your face. You know the stories, hell, you can see the teeth! but they just keep moving. you slowly put a bit of air in your BC, then another, you start to move with a few scrapes as you tank lifts off the rocky bottom. You exhale the breath you wear holding to get you going and still continue upwards, but only at a crawl. You go vertical, unable to maintain the awkward position without the bottoms help and gently let a little out of the now filling BC. Bit by bit you rise gently through the cloud of Baraccuda, still paying you no attention whatsoever yet each looking you right in the eye. There's a current, nothing to notice, but enough to take you out the rotating mass after about 10m of lift. You slowly break the ranks of fish and they have to swim round you, not looking too impressed at the deviation. Turning back you can see a wall of movement, it's taking more shape as you drift away and get to see the whole thing in perspective as you get further and further away. Then, quite suddenly, you find it hard to focus on the single creatures and it becomes movement in the glistening light before being - just glistening light.

James
Someone quick, cut up my credit card!
 

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I would have to say that my favorite overall location would have to be Malta and Gozo.
Easy and fairly cheap to get to.
I think that the diving is a lot more relaxed than say the red sea. For one you can do most of the dives from the shore and just hire a boat for the odd day.
There is easily enough diving to occupy a whole week and some superb wrecks.
The visibilty is generally pretty good, probably on a par with scotland.
Some of the wrecks are The Tugboat Rozi, a cracking little wreck usually covered in life, best dived using the transits which any dive shop will give you, so that you can maximise your bottom time.
The El Ferouh (probably spely wrong) which is about 100yds out of the blue grotto. this wreck is bloody amazing, a full size cargo ship(oil tanker shaped) that sits on a 40m bed with the bridge at the top of the completely intact accomadation block at 18m!! there had been a couple of topside accidents on this ship so they did a strip of anything valuable and sunk it as a reef. If you pay the little motor boat guys a quid they will take you out to the wreck. if you don't fancy the swim.
The imperial eagle is an old ferry and is sunk completely intact out in st pauls bay. you will need a boat for this one but it is worth it. I use Mel Dives in Mellhia Bay, sound bloke.
And also as a bit of a Wrekie I must confess that there are some superb scenic dives over there. On Malta Anchor bay is good, (there is also a pirate village there, forgot which film they built it for?), the anchor is in the middle of the bay, never found it yet!! but on the left side of the bay is a cave that will take 3 divers abreast, it starts at 12m, and about 40m in, it surfaces in a bell cavern. well cool.
On Gozo are 2 of the best dives I have ever done, the Blue Hole, which is an 18m shaft which opens out on to the sea bed and a cliff, plenty of life and as for the cliff, as deep as you dare!! the inland sea is pretty much the same but you swim out through a cave/crevice in the rocks.

Overall i can't fault the place, what i like most is that the dive shops are just happy to loan you out tanks and let you get on with it. As they are not pushing dive boats they will happily give out info on good sites, transits etc.

If any one is thinking of going Mel Dives are very helpfull as one of his relations is a travel agnet in malta and will arrange your flight and one of his relatives also own a guest house/B+B in Melhia bay (Which also has a Bar!)

Thats me done, could start on scotland but thats the most i ever wrote need a beer!:cocktail: :teeth:
 
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