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Start Exploring: 7 Great Caribbean Dive Spots for New Divers

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The Caribbean, with its turquoise waters and abundant marine life, is a great place for new divers to start exploring the wonders of the ocean and build their dive confidence. From shallow coral reefs full of life to easy wreck dives, the region’s dive destinations offer plenty for new divers to tackle. Join us as we delve into eight great dive spots in the Caribbean.

Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, an island off Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, is a diver’s paradise boasting a designated marine sanctuary. Efforts to protect its marine life have contributed to a thriving underwater ecosystem there. Topside, there are white sand beaches to relax on, and the coral reefs are bustling with marine life.

Photo: Vlad Tchompalov

Diving in Cozumel offers exceptional visibility and calm water conditions, making it an excellent choice for beginners. With an abundance of shore diving sites, encountering Cozumel’s diverse marine life also couldn’t be easier. Among its marine residents, divers can encounter three species of sea turtles, plus plenty of reef fish.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

With a range of dive centers available, Grand Cayman is a great destination for new divers who want to explore world-class reefs whilst completing an advanced diver certification.

Photo: Kino

Vibrant coral gardens, such as Eden Rock and Devil’s Grotto, showcase Grand Cayman’s colorful corals and offer easy dives. And if there are seasoned divers in your group, Grand Cayman’s wall dives is a must. Every diver should also take a trip to Stingray City to go swimming with friendly southern stingrays in their natural habitat.

Roatán, Honduras

Tucked among the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Roatán boasts some of the Caribbean’s most diverse marine protected areas. Roatán’s warm waters and gentle currents make it a welcoming destination for new divers.

Photo: Angello Pro

As the first shark sanctuary in the Americas, Honduras takes pride in its commitment to shark conservation. Divers may encounter various harmless shark species there, including reef sharks and nurse sharks. There are also some accessible wrecks, making it a great place to try wreck diving.

Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is another top Caribbean destination for abundant marine life and has gently sloping reefs that provide an excellent starting point for new divers. You can work on your dive skills without the pressure of drop-offs and walls.

Photo: Hoodh Ahmed

Grace Bay sits in the Princess Alexandra National Park and has calm waters with a sandy seafloor, and it hosts beautiful spotted eagle rays. It is well worth a visit between your dives or for a day relaxing at the beach.

Bonaire

Bonaire is a new diver’s dream come true. With over 60 dive sites, most of which are easy shore dives, plus year-round coral reef diving, this Caribbean Island is hard to beat!

The people of Bonaire take marine conservation seriously and are famous for their conservation efforts. The Bonaire National Marine Park encompasses all of the island’s waters and is one of the oldest marine reserves in the world. Go Bonaire diving and you will be immersed in thriving underwater ecosystems with healthy corals, sea turtles, and plenty of reef fish.

Photo: Johnny Africa

Bonaire’s “Drive and Dive” concept allows divers to explore independently, adding a sense of freedom to every dive. Simply grab your gear and tanks with a buddy or dive guide, hire a car, and explore at your own pace. It’s a great way to boost your dive confidence and skills without the pressure of being part of a large dive group.

Dominica

Dominica, the Nature Island of the Caribbean, has reefs covered in vibrant sponges and corals that host plenty of macro life. Champagne Reef, named for its effervescent underwater springs, provides a magical experience diving among bubbling vents. If you want to try coral reef diving, this is a great spot to visit.

Photo: Ray Harrington

But swimming with sperm whales is surely the most sought-after experience in Dominica. This island is home to over 200 resident sperm whales, and it is the only place in the world where you can swim with these amazing whales year-round.

The British Virgin Islands

Last but not least, the British Virgin Islands are known as one of the top Caribbean destinations for all levels of diver. There is an array of reefs and wrecks to explore, and the waters are very clear.

Photo: Frogfish Photography

The British Virgin Islands’ reef and wreck dive sites are busy with small fish, plus snapper, bat fish, schooling pelagic fish, and stingrays. The Baths on the southwest coast of Virgin Gorda is perfect for new divers, offering soft sands, clear blue waters, and a stunning landscape of huge granite boulders and caves. Make sure you take your camera to capture all of the marine life and landscapes you will find at this impressive national park.

Kathryn Curzon, a conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.

Header Photo: Kris-Mikael Krister

Scuba Schools International (SSI) is the largest professional business-based training agency in the world. For over 50 years now, SSI has provided the ultimate training experience for millions of certified divers, not only in Recreational Scuba, but in every training category: Freediving, Extended Range, Rebreather Diving, Mermaid, Swim and Lifeguard.

Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Book Review: Plankton

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Plankton: A Worldwide Guide by Tom Jackson and Jennifer Parker

This is a book that jumps off the shelf at you. The striking front cover demands that you pick it up and delve further, even if you may not have known you wanted to learn more about the most diminutive life in our ocean, plankton!

Small it might be. Much of the imagery in the book has been taken under huge magnification. Revealing stunning beauty and diversity in each scoop of “soup”. There is lots to learn. Initial chapters include interesting facts about the different vertical zones they inhabit, from sunlight to midnight (the darkest and deepest areas). I loved finding out more about the stunning show that divers oft encounter on night dives – bioluminescence.

The black water images are wonderful. So this is a book you can have as a coffee table book to dip in and our of. But, these tiny organisms are also vital to our very survival and that of all the marine life we love. They provide half the oxygen produced on our planet. They are also responsible for regulating the planets climate. And for a shark lover like me – they are food for charismatic sharks and rays like the Basking Shark and Manta Ray, along with a huge number of other species. This book contains great insight into their biology, life cycles, migration, and how the changes in currents and sea temperatures affects them.

This is a book that is both beautiful and packed with information about possibly the most important group of organisms on our planet. Anyone interested in the ocean should have it one their shelves.

What the publisher says:

Plankton are the unsung heroes of planet Earth. Passive drifters through the world’s seas, oceans, and freshwater environments, most are invisible or very small, but some are longer than a whale. They are the global ocean’s foundation food, supporting almost all oceanic life, and they are also vitally important for land-based plants, animals, and other organisms. Plankton provides an incomparable look at these remarkable creatures, opening a window on the elegance and grace of microscopic marine life.

This engaging book reveals the amazing diversity of plankton, how they belong to a wide range of living groups, and how their ecology, lifestyles, and adaptations have evolved to suit an enormous range of conditions. It looks at plankton life cycles, the different ways plankton feed and grow, and the vast range of strategies they use for reproduction. It tracks where, how, and why plankton drift through the water; shares perspectives on migrations and population explosions or “blooms” and why they happen; and discusses the life-sustaining role of plankton in numerous intertwined food webs throughout the world.

Beautifully illustrated, Plankton sheds critical light on how global warming, pollution, diminishing resources, and overexploitation will adversely impact planktonic life, and how these effects will reverberate to every corner of our planet.

About the Authors:

Tom Jackson is a science writer whose many popular books include Strange Animals and Genetics in MinutesJennifer Parker is a zoology and conservation writer and the author of several books. Andrew Hirst is a leading expert on plankton whose research has taken him around the world, from the Antarctic to Greenland and the Great Barrier Reef.

Book Details

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Hardcover

Price: £25

ISBN: 9780691255996

Published: 9th April, 2024

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive with a Purpose: Shark Guardian’s Expedition Galapagos

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Shark Guardian has just unveiled their largest and most exciting expedition yet: a seven-night, eight-day adventure in August 2026 aboard the Galaxy Diver II, a state-of-the-art
vessel specifically designed for divers exploring the enchanting waters of the Galapagos
Islands. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to engage deeply with marine
conservation in one of the world’s most revered diving destinations.

Shark Guardian is a UK registered charity dedicated to protecting sharks and marine
ecosystems worldwide. Founded by marine biologists and conservationists, Brendon
Sing and Liz Ward-Sing, Shark Guardian leads educational programs, research projects,
campaigns and expeditions aimed at fostering a better understanding and respect for
marine life. Their work spans several continents and focuses on direct action,
education, and advocacy.

Shark Guardian’s ethos revolves around the concept of “diving with a purpose.” This
philosophy underscores the importance of not just experiencing the wonders of the
underwater world but actively learning and contributing to its preservation. Participants
in Shark Guardian expeditions engage in citizen science projects, which involve
collecting data that supports ongoing research and conservation efforts. These
activities empower divers to make a tangible difference, turning each dive into an act of
conservation.

One of the newer additions to the Galapagos diving scene, the Galaxy Diver II, is
specifically tailored for divers. Its design prioritises comfort, safety, and environmental
responsibility. The vessel boasts modern amenities, spacious dive decks, and the latest
navigational technology, ensuring that every dive is not only memorable but also has
minimal environmental impact.

A highlight of this expedition is the opportunity to dive at Wolf and Darwin islands,
renowned for their vibrant, untouched marine ecosystems and as a haven for large
pelagic species. These islands are famous for their schools of hammerhead sharks,
whale sharks, and manta rays, offering spectacular diving that attracts enthusiasts from
around the globe.

Shark Guardian have developed this trip to ensure a hassle-free experience. The
expedition package also includes internal flights from Quito, Ecuador, to the Galapagos,
plus accommodation in Quito before and after the trip. This allows divers to relax and
enjoy the experience without worrying about logistics.

Participants will join a diverse group of passionate divers and conservationists. This trip
offers a unique opportunity to network with like-minded individuals who are eager to
learn about and contribute to marine conservation. It’s a chance to share experiences,
knowledge, and a commitment to protecting the marine world.

sharks

Shark Guardian is offering an early bird price available until May 31st 2024. This special
rate provides a fantastic opportunity to secure a spot on this exclusive expedition at a
reduced cost. Availability is limited, so interested divers are encouraged to act quickly
to ensure they don’t miss out. All the details can be found on their WeTravel page, where
bookings can be made easily and payment instalments are available.

Expedition Galapagos, aboard the Galaxy Diver II offers more than just a diving
holiday—it is an investment in both personal and planetary well-being. By participating,
divers not only witness the majesty of one of the world’s premier diving locales but also
contribute to its preservation for future generations.

Find out more about Shark Guardian at www.sharkguardian.org.

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