The team at UK-based Tour Operator Oonasdivers share their top hotspots for learning to dive. What are you waiting for?!?
The team at Oonasdivers all agree that learning to dive is one of the best decisions we have ever made. It has opened up our lives to countless opportunities, allowed us to travel to countries we would probably have never considered, and made lifelong friends simply because of this shared passion.
Diving brings people together, people that may never cross paths in normal day to day life, people that have an innate love of the ocean and understand how privileged they are to be able to experience the beauty of the underwater world and all of its treasures. So get diving and join us on this wonderful adventure!!
The first destinations in our Top Three is The Red Sea… Our resorts in the Red Sea are the perfect place to take your first breaths underwater. Enjoy incredible visibility and an abundance of marine life along with beautiful corals. Marsa Shagra and Marsa Nakari both have stunning house reefs giving you unlimited diving at your fingertips. They cater for everyone from beginners to the seasoned pro. The large sandy bottom bays offer pool like conditions which are excellent for teaching, the water is warm and there is so much to see even in the shallows. For an authentic experience stay in a Royal Tent on the beach under the stars!
And now onto our next choice, Malta… Malta has for many years been a firm favourite for the British diver! The destination boasts natural harbours, bays, sheltered creeks, cliffs, reefs and wrecks. Marine life flourishes here. There is a mixture of both shore and boat diving and the clear blue sea is perfect for those wanting to learn to dive as it offers calmness and excellent visibility. Grab a group of friends and come and stay in one of our self catering apartments. Maltaqua Dive School is close by and has an excellent reputation having trained thousands of divers and hundreds of highly skilled instructors.
And last, but by no means least, Cyprus… Cyprus is one of the best places to dive in the Med all year round, there is a lovely mix of shore diving, boat diving, a choice of wrecks, the Zenobia and wall and reef dives. Cyprus Diving Adventures are an established PADI 5-star Dive Centre that offers a full range of courses, lessons and daily trips to the top dive sites in Cyprus including the Zenobia, one of the best wreck dives in the world! There is a wide range of accommodation to choose from and close by Pissouri Bay has lively restaurants, bars and tavernas. The ‘blue flag’ beach is great for water sports and lazy days sunbathing.
Check out these destinations and more at www.oonasdivers.com.
Save £500 on Maldives liveaboard – but hurry, there’s only 2 spots left!
Join The Scuba Place on board the award-winning (Best Liveaboard, Maldives Tourism Awards for 2 consecutive years) Sachika for a week in the sun!
Taking in the very best dive sites of the ‘Best of Central Atolls’ itinerary, including manta cleaning stations, Whaleshark Alley, the Fish Factory and the legendary night dive with hundreds of nurse sharks, this is one trip not to be missed.
To make it even better, they have taken a big chunk of cash off the price to fill the last TWO SPACES (twin or double cabin) on each of the following sailings:
- Outbound 5 November, return 13 November
- Outbound 12 November, return 20 November
The Scuba Place team can arrange flights from any major UK airport, and the whole package will be ATOL Protected. Price includes flights, taxes, full board in a twin/double cabin based on 2 sharing, 17 dives with Nitrox included, all soft drinks and meals and snacks. Bar bill is extra and extra dives are available too!
The prices are based on flying with Emirates and include 30kgs of baggage per person.
Don’t miss out – get in touch today! Call 020 3515 9955 to find out more!
Brochure link: https://bit.ly/TSP_Maldives_Nov2021
Boat images by Top Class Cruising
Underwater images by Nigel Wade for The Scuba Place
The Scuba Genies head to Bonaire! Part 1 of 2
In the first of this two-part blog, The Scuba Genies share their trip report from the Come Dive with Us hosted trip to Bonaire in September 2021…
Travelling during the Covid pandemic has been challenging for some, impossible for most, and missed by all. We have been scanning the rules and regulations daily, and as soon as the UK Government allowed us, we were off!
What was supposed to be a trip to Mexico for a gang of 12 of us, just like most trips over the last 18 months, we were forced to change as the travel rules changed – we have been trying to get to Bonaire for ages, and this became the perfect opportunity – at last!
With our bags packed, negative test results and completed Bonaire health forms in hand – we made an early start for Heathrow, prepared for an 0630 departure. A quick flight and we landed in Amsterdam. As a Dutch Caribbean territory, all flights from the UK to Bonaire on KLM go via Amsterdam. In the airport, we met up with the rest of the gang who had travelled from Birmingham. After a quick layover we took off for Bonaire, where we arrived about 9 hours later. Our health documents were checked at the airport, and we grabbed our bags. It seems odd to have to fly East to then go West, but as we stepped out of the minibus at Buddy Dive Resort, only 10 minutes after leaving the airport, the sunshine and blue sky told us it was worth it!
Our accommodation for the group was made up of two 3-bedroom apartments, a stone’s throw from the water, dive shop, dock and Blennies, the main restaurant and bar. Buddy Dive also has 1- and 2-bedroom apartments along with studios, all comfortably furnished with either a garden or ocean view.
Each 3-bedroom apartment is spread over two floors – but a floor up from ground level. The ‘ground’ floor of each apartment offers a double bedroom (beds can be configured as twins or double in all rooms), a bathroom, lounge with balcony, and a very well-equipped kitchenette. Microwave, toaster, hob, fridge/freezer with ice-maker and enough pots, pans and utensils to satisfy the avid cook! On the upper floor, there are two further double rooms with ensuite bathrooms, both with balconies of their own. Each bedroom is air-conditioned, and the lounge and kitchen have celling fans. All in all, quite perfect for a home away from home for a fortnight!
The rules of group travel say we must unpack (empty bags onto floor or bed), sort kit out (look at dive bag and save it for later), put cameras together (er….NO!) and hit the bar – so being rule-abiding people that we are, this is what we did. Picking up the rental van for our stay would have to wait!
The next morning after breakfast, served in the Ingridients restaurant and right on the water, we attended the Buddy Dive orientation. The staff gave us a quick tour of the dock and resort including the famous drive thru tank shed offering both air and nitrox tanks ready and waiting to be loaded into your vehicle. Check in at the dive centre was easy… we all completed our diver forms online before arrival so with a quick hello we were handed locker keys for our kit storage. Time to head back to the room and get ready for our first dive!! That is why we’re here after all!
As with all trips, the first dive was a check dive, so we climbed down the steps into the water off the dock to go an explore Buddy Dive Reef. Finning over the sandy bottom, past the coral restoration project ‘trees’ and following well laid lines with directional markers we hit the reef after just a minute or two where you can drop to 35+ metres over simply stunning corals. This reef, just like the rest of the sites we dived, is super-healthy and teeming with juvenile fish wherever you look. Moray eels, turtles, octopi and HUGE tarpon on our first dive! What a great start!
The following day we decided it was time to explore the island. We picked up our 6-person minibus from Reception, pulled up to the drive thru tank station and grabbed 12 well filled Nitrox 12l aluminium (A-Clamp – not DIN) cylinders. With our guidebook in hand, off we went driving on the right of course, in search of marine life.
There are over 50 dive sites scattered around the coast of the main island, and even more on the island of Klein Bonaire accessible by boat. We chose a comfortable start by picking dive sites to the South where the entry seems to be a little easier on old knees and hips. We packed up sandwiches we made after a quick shop at the supermarket the day before, along with waters and a few essentials – towels, sunnies and bug spray.
I won’t bore you with every dive site name and description – the guidebook is the tool for that – but it is more than safe to say that we dived, dived and dived again! Every dive gave us far more than we expected, and the marine park surrounding the whole island delivered the goods without fail. Super healthy corals, plentiful marine life, warm and very clear water at 30 degrees made life easy. Parking the van up at the marked dive sites wasn’t difficult, and a few strides across the sand was far simpler than we had expected.
I will say that some sites are a little more challenging to get into the water from – anything more than three or four steps doesn’t float my boat! We adapted our entries for the group – some kitting up in the water, some not, but the rule of thumb quickly became step in up to thigh-depth, inflate bcd, fall flat on your back and paddle out before putting your fins on. Simple! Getting out of the water was pretty much the reverse of the above – stand up when you can, remove fins, and then navigate the rocks and sand channels before you walk up the beach. Nothing that an over-weight, under-tall chap in his mid-50’s with dodgy knees and even dodgier hips couldn’t cope with! (That is me by the way…..no offense to anyone else intended and no animals were harmed in the writing of this either).
We saw stuff – lots of it! Huge tarpon, French and Grey Angelfish, forests of Christmas Tree worms, anemones with Peterson, sexy and cleaner shrimp, clinging crabs, nudibranchs – especially lettuce-leaf slugs, coral-banded shrimp, lobster and so much more. Turtles everywhere, trumpet-fish in unbelievable numbers, and that was generally the story – all in very good visibility too! The corals and huge sponges were stunning with fascinating reef-structures offering all sorts of hidey-holes for critters!
There were some really special sited that we loved, and Salt Pier was one. The Cargill solar salt facility is easily found with its distinctive line of white salt pyramids.Each pyramid, roughly 50-feet high, can contain up to 10,000 metric tons of 99.6 percent pure salt. Even more noteworthy, in addition to the acres of salt ponds, the facility is also home to largest pink flamingo sanctuary in North America. Our very own Chloe has written an in-depth blog about Bonaire and its pure salt so be sure and check it out!
Back to the diving! We were given a hint to drive just past the pier to park where we would find an easy sand entry to the site. We kitted up and finned out through the shallows where we encountered three juvenile hawksbill turtles along with a few smooth pufferfish fighting to feed on patch of sponges, and then made our way under the immense structure of the pier. There are several platforms supporting the conveyor belts that move salt to the container ships and there wasn’t much diver-traffic to contend with. We were amazed by all things weird and wonderful – big scorpion fish hiding under the metal work, angelfish battling for food, schooling fish up above you, and frogfish! Barracuda, Caribbean reef squid, spotted drums, octopus, oh! and more frogfish! Even a flying gurnard in the shallows! What a dive! And as it is shallow, it can be a very long dive too, especially with the 200-210 bar fills the drive-thru often gave us.
Check back for Part Two of this Blog tomorrow!
Find out more about the worldwide dive itineraries that The Scuba Place offers at www.thescubaplace.co.uk.
Win copies of Action Camera Underwater Video Basics, a Paralenz Vaquita and more!
Dived Up Publications, Paralenz and Scubaverse have come together to celebrate the October 2021 release of Scubaverse Editor-at-Large Jeff Goodman’s Action...
Win a PADI Drift Diver eLearning Course – two to give away!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at PADI to give away a couple of their Drift Diver eLearning...
Win a Mares Magnetic Connector BCD Accessory!!!
For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed up with our good friends at Mares to give away a Magnetic Connector BCD Accessory as...
WIN an XDEEP Radical Frameless Mask!!!
THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED. Click here to enter one of our current competitions. For this week’s competition, we’ve teamed...
Egypt | Simply the Best Itinerary | 04 – 11 November 2021 | Emperor Echo
Jump on board the latest addition to the Emperor fleet and enjoy diving the famous sites of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer. Great value for money and perfect for small groups of buddies with a ‘Book 5 and 1 dives for FREE’ offer all year round.
Price NOW from just £1275 per person based on sharing a twin cabin/room including:
- Flights from Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
- 7 nights in shared cabin
- 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
- 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
- Free Nitrox
Subject to availability.
Alternative departure airports available at supplement.
Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email email@example.com.More Less
Competitions4 weeks ago
Win a PADI Drift Diver eLearning Course – two to give away!!!
Marine Life & Conservation2 months ago
UK Government to introduce ban on shark fin trade
Marine Life & Conservation3 months ago
Expedition on the Saba Bank to Enhance Tiger Shark Protection
News4 weeks ago
Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 announced
Winners - Underwater Photography Contests3 months ago
July 2021 Photo Contest Winner and Review
Dive Training Blogs3 months ago
PADI launches new job board to meet growing demand for PADI Professionals
Winners - Underwater Videography Contests3 months ago
July 2021 Video Contest Winner and Review
Gear Reviews1 month ago
Tried & Tested: OrcaTorch D630 Canister Dive Light