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Strange Scuba Spots / SCUBA / Scuba Dives / Snorkeling / Active Travel / Texas Travel / Water Sports / → All Tags
For quite some time, Aquarena Springs was home to an amusement park in San Marcos, Texas, but unfortunately that’s no longer the case. However, the place is now run by Texas State University and they’re happy to show you all of the treasures found under the sea.
To keep things preserved for future divers you are not just allowed to jump right into the water here, as you need to take one of the monthly dive authorization courses. Hit the water with conservationists and dive experts to learn the dos and don’ts diving in this area—like when to keep your hands to yourself. Just be prepared to shell out around $230 for the pleasure to do so.
Strange Scuba Spots / SCUBA / Scuba Dives / Snorkeling / Active Travel / Alabama Travel / Water Sports / → All Tags
We understand that it’s hard to get the money together to head to the Caribbean to dive, but there’s always plenty of underwater options here in the good ol’ nifty fifty. If you’re looking for something a little more unique and affordable there’s always “The Pelham Keys” in Pelham, Alabama. It might be a strange scuba spot, but all that means is that the diving fun is just a little different.
The place is just around 20 minutes south of Birmingham, and it’s an over 26-acre limestone quarry that has now been filled in with over 850 million gallons of spring fed water. Expect clear waters as you swim through and explore some of the park’s undersea treasures. No coral reefs here, but there is a school bus, sailboat, and two different fire engines.
The weather outside might be frightful, but the water temperature within this strange scuba spot is always delightful. Homestead Resort and Spa is located in Midway—not too far from Salt Lake City—and that’s where you’ll find The Crater. It’s a beehive-shaped limestone formation which Mother Nature has sculpted throughout the years, and inside, a huge natural pool of water sits at a toasty 90-ish degrees year-round.
A tunnel takes adventurers inside the 55-foot tall mini-mountain, and that’s where you’ll be able to do a cannonball into the clear warm water. Local outfitters run all kinds of scuba classes, and some will even allow you to hone your skills or to finally get that dive certification that you’ve been putting off. Sure, there’s no fish or other underwater creatures, but you can head around 50-feet below the surface. Even better, there’s no need for a wetsuit.
The weather is getting warmer, and if there’s no room in the budget for a tropical vacation this year, you can always hit up one of our strange scuba spots. Lake Rawlings in Southern Virginia offers a full-service scuba solution—including non-strange diving trips—but they also have a spring-fed lake with crystal clear water. Visibility usually runs between 30 and 60 feet, but in the winter when the algae finally kicks the bucket, it can often exceed 100 feet.
There’s plenty of fish in the lake including large-mouth bass, and there’s even some freshwater clams that call the lake home sweet home. However, this underwater life isn’t worth a trip to the lake. It’s all the sunken junk that makes the lake famous.
It’s been a little bit since we last investigated a strange scuba spot, but there’s one in Illinois that deserves some attention. The folks at Mermet Springs Scuba will be happy to teach you all about underwater exploration, but the best thing that they offer is some of their underwater attractions.
The place is an abandoned quarry lake, but the owner has taken great care of the place and with a little planning has ensured things stay extra clean and clear. After all, it’s important to keep things clear in order to view the school bus, ambulance, and Boeing 727. That’s right they’ve got an airplane in the water, and it’s actually the one that was used in the movie US Marshals—if you’ve never seen the Tommy Lee Jones classic just watch TNT on any weekend afternoon. Divers can swim right through the main cabin and can sit in the cockpit to simulate the dreaded tarmac delay. And is that Pan Am livery we spy?
St Lucia Field Trip / SCUBA / Scuba Dives / Jetblue St Lucia Inaugural / St Lucia Travel / Caribbean Travel / Beach Travel / Water Sports / Amy Winehouse / → All Tags
Now that all the hubbub surround Jetblue's inaugural flight to Saint Lucia is over, we're free to focus on the important things, like getting on the beach and into the warm Caribbean waters, and that's exactly what we did yesterday afternoon during a scuba dive at the northern tip of the island, from the Cariblue Beach at the BodyHoliday LeSPORT resort.
It's weird to think that we've been diving for over 11 years now, and yet we learn new things each time we let out all the air and sink beneath the surface. And so for all you seasoned and wannabe divers, we'll let you in on a few things you've just got to know about diving here in the southern Caribbean, but specifically Saint Lucia because duhwe've got the recent firsthand experience.
Our top tips for free and easy SCUBA in Saint Lucia, after the jump.
If you’re still catching your breath after swimming with the sharks, you might want to consider a more low-key choice for your next underwater adventure. Nothing screams calm, cool, and collected than a trip below the water to swim with a manatee or two. We still don’t understand how sailors once mistook these creatures for mermaids, but maybe you can get close enough to figure it out for us.
American Pro Dive will be happy to help you have a close encounter with these big guys and gals. No need to know how to scuba dive, as there’s an option to snorkel with them in the Crystal River as well as in Homosassa, Florida. Instructors will hit the water with you to ensure that the manatees, and you, don’t get too frisky.
Tours run throughout the year in the Crystal River, but it’s winters only for the location in Homosassa. Don’t worry, they have heated and enclosed boats so you can stay comfy when above the water, and flattering wet suites will help you keep toasty when you enter the manatees’ home turf. If you want to turn your whole trip into a Discovery Channel special, you can even take a specialty class following your excursion to learn more about the cute critters.
Related Stories: [Photo: Smudgie's Ghost]
· American Pro Dive - Manatee Tours [Official Site]
· The One Seattle Place Where Starbucks Doesn't Rule: Underwater [Jaunted]
· Active Travel coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo: Smudgie's Ghost]
Waterespecially rainis one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of Seattle. Despite all this water, underwater activiies are not exactly as synonymous with Seattle. That’s slowly changing thanks to a local Scuba club and their shore dive adventures into Puget Sound.
The Scuba Schools Group has a location in Seattle, and they’d be happy to have you join them in one of their club dives. Don’t worry though, there’s no secret handshake or membership dues at this club, just a bunch of people enjoying the underwater universe. Best of all, the club dives are free, so just bring your gear and get going. Just make sure you have some experience doing cold water dives, because even though its summer, the water is a little chilly.
On August 29, the dive crew will be hitting up the Alki Junkpile. It’s kind of an artificial reef, Seattle-style, where they’ve seen some “cute” grunt sculpin on recent dives. If you can’t make it to that dive, there’s also one planned off the Keystone Jetty on September 27. You’ll be burning through your digital camera battery as you snap off pictures of rockfish and other critters. There’ll be a cookout after the dive, so be a pal and bring something to throw on the grill.
If so, UnrealDive has an extreme summer vacation for you. The South African expeditions company offers a series of one day outings and extended shark diving expeditions for adrenaline junkies and ecotourists alike. Great Whites are surface feeders so simple boat watching is always an option, but UnrealDive puts customers inside cages for eye-to-eye viewing.
The company boasts a 12 year track record without a single incident; no small achievement given that South Africa has some of the densest shark waters on the planet.
Chilling in an Aman Resort in some exotic location is already pretty enticing, but we've just heard that this hotel group has got a luxury cruiser happening too, based out of their Amanwana resort on Moyo Island, Indonesia. And we want to get on it.
The 105-foot cruiser, called Amanikan, looks a bit like a romantic old trading vessel, but is full of all the necessary luxury inside in its three cabins. They are running a trip called the Komodo Expedition which includes five nights of cruising (with days full of diving) and two final nights at the island resort. While you're on the boat you get to visit Komodo dragons and stop by the Komodo and Rinca Islands to see wild horses, deer and monkeys as well, not to mention all the sea life you'll discover while diving and snorkeling.
Exotic luxury doesn't come cheap, of course. It'll cost you upwards of $22,000 for you and a mate for the week, including everything except alcoholic drinks. But getting up close and personal with a dragon and then retreating to exotic luxury might just be worth it.
· All the Pretty Seahorses [Jaunted]
· Where to Find Komodo Dragons in Their Natural Habitat [Jaunted]
· Indonesia Travel Guide [Jaunted]
[Photo: Amre Ghiba]
There’s nothing more special than a bride’s big day, especially when that day takes place under the water. Pro Dive International, out of Ft. Lauderdale, is looking to get into the underwater wedding ceremony business. They’re recruiting priests and pastors to help facilitate their new service, but right now they are focusing on Jewish weddings—complete with the groom smashing a light bulb with his flipper.
The company is testing out using microphones underwater so that the bride and groom can clearly understand “I do.” Video is streamed back to the boat where friends and family can watch, and of course, wonder why their loved ones chose this unique kind of wedding. As long as there’s an open bar, we're sure an underwater wedding is just as good as any other.
For now the dive shop is getting everything ready, but they expect that full wedding packages will be available soon. They’re thinking that things will start at $1,500, and like most weddings, the price will go up from there depending on what you want. At least you can cut out the cost for flowers at a SCUBA wedding, but a nice bouquet of seaweed and algae should compliment any color wetsuit.
Related Stories: [Photo of a happy couple: vonlohmann]
· Pro Dive International [Official Site]
· Fort Lauderdale Scuba Shop to Perform Underwater Wedding Ceremonies [Sun Sentinel]
· Scuba coverage [Jaunted]
[Photo of a happy couple: vonlohmann]
Scuba Dives / SCUBA / Diving / Bonaire / → All Tags
If you’re into watching coral getting frisky, a resort in Bonaire should be on your short list for a summer diving trip. The Divi Flamingo Beach Resort has set up diving trips based on the prime periods for watching the coral do the nasty. The best chance of witnessing the coral spawning takes place four to eight nights following a full moon, and the resort is more than ready.
Scheduling these special dives for August, September, and October, the resort hopes that these will be the lucky days for both divers and the coral. Boulder Star, Brain, and Branching coral are just some of the varieties that will be getting busy under the waves. There’s Sea Rod coral too, but we’ll be mature and skip the obvious jokes about that species.
Packages for this trip start at $950 per person, and you’ll get seven nights at the resort, breakfast buffet daily, unlimited shore diving, and one free night dive during the spawning. If you’re more of a prude and would rather give the coral some privacy, the resort also allows you to create your own dive package. You’ll be able to avoid all the provocative behavior and just keep your eyes focused on the fish.