Sat. Jul 13th, 2024
scuba divingscuba diving

Whether you’re an experienced diver or just getting started, the best dive sites are where you can find the most diversity and adventure. Taking your dive beyond the reef is the best way to immerse yourself in the underwater world.

During your diving adventures, you’ll come across a variety of marine life including barracudas, eagle rays, sea lions, dolphins and green turtles. You can also see hammerhead cleaning stations where sharks sit outside of the current while reef fish clean their mouths.

1. Blue Heron Bridge

If you’re looking for a place to explore underwater life in South Florida, the Blue Heron Bridge is one of the top places to go. With its unique location in the protected Lake Worth Lagoon, it’s a popular spot for snorkeling and diving with a lot of exotic marine life.

The Blue Heron Bridge is a great spot for beginners and seasoned divers alike. It’s easy to get into the water and the shallow depth means a one tank dive is usually about 90 minutes long. The site is also a great option for underwater photography, with its variety of critters and macro subjects.

There are two main dive sites: the East and West sides of the Blue Heron Bridge. The East side is generally free from boat traffic and offers a great snorkeling trail with rock formations, reef balls, mini wrecks and statues of hammerhead sharks.

Under the East bridge, you can expect to find arrow crabs and banded coral shrimp, along with angelfish, cuttlefish, bat fish and barracuda. If you’re interested in learning how to identify these creatures, the best resource is Paul Humann and Ned Deloach’s Reef Creature Identification book for Florida, the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

While the area is a target for poaching, local divers and conservationists have been working to make it a safe destination for the marine life that lives here. In 2013, PADI voted Blue Heron Bridge the number one shore dive site in the nation, so it’s no surprise that the site sees a lot of visitors.

Another good reason to visit the Blue Heron Bridge is that it’s a great spot for night diving. However, the park closes at 10pm, so if you plan to dive during the day, you’ll need to leave before that time.

It’s a very popular dive spot, and you’ll want to make sure to get there early if you’re planning on diving during the weekend. The park’s parking lot gets busy around the weekends, and it fills up fast.

If you’re looking for a great place to take your family on a dive, the Blue Heron Bridge is a perfect choice. It’s easy to get to, and it’s a fun family-friendly spot with an array of different wildlife.

2. Barracuda Point

For scuba divers, there are few dive sites that can compete with the beauty and diversity of Barracuda Point. Located on the island of Sipadan, this site is home to some of the best diving in the world and can be reached by boat from Semporna.

Barracuda Point is renowned for its congregation of hundreds and sometimes thousands of Great Barracudas, which create what’s known as a “barracuda tornado”—a swirling vortex that’s a sight to behold. You’ll often see these creatures circling around and above divers and it can be one of the most amazing experiences in your logbook.

You’ll also be able to spot other barracudas as well, including the chevron or blacktail barracuda (Sphyraena genie). This species is more famous for its appearance than its brutality, but it is definitely an interesting fish that you should keep an eye out for at Barracuda Point.

There are many other types of coral in this area, so you’ll also be able to find a wide variety of marine life. You can find frogfish, leaf scorpionfish, and pygmy seahorses amongst the coral, along with schools of bumphead parrotfish.

This is a fantastic dive site for photographers, as you can easily take pictures of the colorful coral without having to worry about other divers invading your shot. The wall extends down hundreds of feet, and you’ll be able to take photos from all sides of the reef.

The wall at this site is alive with vibrant soft and hard corals that provide a host of shelter for crab, shrimp, and crustaceans. You’ll also be able to find an impressive diversity of other reef fish, and many nudibranchs.

Another feature of this site is the Turtle Cave, a massive cavern that opens 20 meters down. It’s not easy to get into, but once you do, you may be able to spot a resident, solitary giant barracuda called George.

Whether you’re looking for a deep drift dive or just want to enjoy a spectacular wall, this site is a must-dive. You’ll be able to swim along the sheer wall and watch the ocean sweep by, all while taking in beautiful corals and wildlife.

3. Blue Hole

The Great Blue Hole in Belize is an incredible place to dive. Back in 1971, renowned underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau deemed it one of the world’s top dive sites and in 2012 Discovery Channel ranked it number 1 on its list of “The 10 Most Amazing Places on Earth”.

The sinkhole is 1,000 feet wide and over 400 feet deep and was formed during the last ice age when the polar ice caps froze and sea levels dropped. As limestone rocks and coral reefs were exposed to the elements, they collapsed and flooded – creating the Blue Hole.

While diving in a Blue Hole is a mind-blowing experience, there are certain precautions you should take before attempting this extreme dive. First and foremost, don’t attempt it if you’re not a certified diver. This is a dangerous site and it can be fatal for untrained divers.

Second, make sure you’re accompanied by a certified dive master and follow their instructions closely. They will help you to safely ascend and descend the incredibly deep waters of this site.

Third, be aware of the fact that nitrogen narcosis can occur at depths beyond 110 feet and can affect your judgment, making it difficult to breathe effectively. Add to this the danger of suffocation in this environment and you’ll understand why this is not a site for beginners.

Fourth, keep in mind that even experienced scuba divers should only attempt the depths of the Blue Hole if they have a certified diving guide on board with them. This is because the depths can seem imposing to seasoned divers and require good buoyancy control, as well as a calmness when faced with little light at depth.

Fifth, don’t expect to see any fish while deep diving at the Blue Hole unless you’re really lucky! There aren’t many creatures to see at this depth, so focus on the stunning geological formations that adorn the walls and ceiling of the Blue Hole.

Despite these drawbacks, the Blue Hole is an incredible site for advanced divers and should be on anyone’s bucket list. The sheer size and beauty of this sinkhole are truly breathtaking, and the experience will leave you feeling deeply moved and humbled by the majesty of the Blue Hole’s history.

4. Georgia Aquarium

Located in Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium is one of the largest aquatic centers in the world and is ranked as one of the top attractions in the state. It has more than 100,000 animals representing 500 species, including whale sharks and dolphins. It’s a family-friendly destination that’s fun, educational, and inspiring for children of all ages.

It’s also a great way to learn about different aquatic environments and their inhabitants. With a total of 7 galleries and exhibits, visitors can explore the underwater world like never before.

The Ocean Voyager exhibit is the centerpiece of the Aquarium and is home to a variety of sea creatures, including beluga whales and manta rays. This large indoor habitat contains 6 million gallons of water, which makes it an ideal place to see the beautiful underwater world up close.

You can see whale sharks, sea lions, and more in this impressive aquarium that has been designed to replicate the environment found in the open ocean. This tunnel is an incredible experience that can get very busy at peak times, so you’ll want to visit early in the day to enjoy it at its best.

Besides the amazing displays, you can also take in an exciting 4D theater with special effects that bring the animal displays to life. The dolphin show is a must-see as it’s an educational and fun way to experience marine animals up close.

Another excellent attraction is the River Scout gallery, which features a series of waterfalls and pools as well as a simulation of a North American river that meanders overhead. The attraction is a great way to get an up-close look at fish that live in rivers all over the world, and it’s a perfect opportunity to walk beneath the beautiful waterfalls and pools.

The aquarium is also known for its renowned scuba program, which offers an hour-plus try-dive rebreather experience that allows participants to dive with majestic whale sharks and manta rays. All you need to participate in this program is proof of autonomous Open Water SCUBA certification from a nationally or internationally recognized organization. The program also funnels proceeds towards PADI’s Project AWARE, which promotes the protection of marine life and helps divers build a strong conservation mindset.