The earth’s oceans hold many wondrous surprises – be they the small, colorful “critters” that abound in the muck off the coast of Papua New Guinea, opportunistic red demon squids haunting the depths of the Sea of Cortes or naval wrecks testifying to conflicts past in the lagoon of Bikini Atoll. With the advent of modern SCUBA equipment, more and more people are experiencing these underwater wonders first-hand. New animals, new reefs, new diving hot spots are constantly being discovered, and ardent divers long to see these destinations for themselves.
For these people, I was inspired to write Fifty Places To Dive Before You Die.
“What makes a destination a place you have to dive before you die?” you might ask. The presence of sharks, mantas and other charismatic species? Incredibly rich biomass and biodiversity? Healthy reefs? A rewarding ambiance on the liveaboard or adjoining land? The answer would be all of the above, and an abundance of other criteria. One thing I knew when I began this project – I was NOT the person to assemble this list. So I followed a recipe that served me well in my first four Fifty Places books – to seek the advice of some professionals. To write Fifty Places To Dive Before You Die, I interviewed a host of people closely connected with the diving world and asked them to share some of their favorite experiences. These experts range from filmmakers (like Stan Waterman) to photographers (like Stephen Frink and Ethan Gordon) to marine biologists (like Mike Beck) to equipment manufacturers (like Doug Toth), dive safety advocates (like Dan Orr) and adventurers (like Scott Cassell). Some spoke of venues that are near and dear to their hearts, places where they’ve built their professional reputations; others spoke of places they’ve only visited once, but that made a profound impression. People appreciate diving for many different reasons, and this range of attractions is evidenced here. (To give a sense of the breadth of the interviewees’ diving backgrounds, a bio of each individual is included after each essay.)
While this book collects fifty great diving experiences, it by no means attempts to rank the places discussed, or the quality of the experiences afforded there. Such ranking is, of course, largely subjective—an adventure to swim with great white shakrs might prove anathema for someone with a fondness for macro life! In this spirit, venues are listed alphabetically by state or country.
In the hope that a few readers might embark on their own adventures, I have provided brief “If You Go” information at the end of each chapter, including the names of reputable dive shops and dive travel companies that serve the regions in question. The “If You Go” information is by no means a comprehensive list, but should give would-be travelers a starting point for planning their trip. (Please note: for land-based dive venues, I have listed both lodging and dive shop information. For venues that are visited via live-aboards or from isolated resorts, I have listed only accommodations information.)
One needn’t travel to the ends of the earth to have a rewarding diving experience. Yet a trip to a dream venue can create memories for a lifetime. It’s my hope that this little book will inspire you to embark on some new diving adventures of your own.
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