Scuba diving allows divers to breathe underwater and experience underwater aquatic life up close. Other forms of diving rely on air pumped from the surface or for divers to hold their breath. Scuba diving, however, has the diver use a self contained underwater breathing apparatus, which allows them greater freedom of movement and allows them to stay underwater for much longer. Scuba divers wear wetsuits with fins attached to their feet allowing them to move underwater easily, although sometimes a diver propulsion vehicle may be used. Scuba diving is one of the most popular forms of adventure tourism.
Pros and Cons
Like any activity, there are pros and cons to scuba diving.
Many people are afraid of scuba diving, and while some fears may be irrational, there’s always the chance that something could go wrong.
The scuba equipment may not work, and there’s always the outside chance that you may run into a shark. Shark attacks are extremely rare, however, and scuba diving is considered fairly safe. You have to be able to swim to dive, and should be comfortable in the water. Diving is also expensive. Still, it allows you to explore the underwater world, and gives you a personal view of things you cannot find anywhere else. Diving is also a great way to meet new people who share similar hobbies, and offers a truly unique experience.
Barracuda Point, located on Sipadan Island in Malaysia, can be an intimidating experience but is truly rewarding for those brave enough to take it. Thousands of fish steam along and some divers may find themselves swimming next to flapping rays and hammerhead sharks, or even in the middle of a giant barracuda tornado. The sea turtles are over three meters in length, and you will see some fish here that you won’t find anywhere else. Yongala in Queensland, Australia, is another popular destination. It is considered the best wreck dive on the planet, as it is home to the 100 year old SS Yongala shipwreck, which sank after a cyclone in 1911. Giant groupers, eagle and manta rays, and tiger and bull sharks also make this shipwreck their home, and during the winter you may be able to see the 16-meter-long humpback whales.
The Road Less Travelled
One of the more underrated dive locations in the world is located in the UK. The Burroo Ned in the Isle of Man offers a unique experience unlike any other. You have to be willing to get into the chilly Irish Sea, but you’ll be able to see dangly octopi, grey seals, lobsters and dogfish. One of the two large basin-shaped gullies has an old wooden ship beam which is a popular attraction. The La Dania’s Leap to Karpata in Bonaire, Netherlands is another underrated destination. To enter this fun drift dive requires a leap from five feet up, but en route you will see an abundance of canyons, coral, and discarded anchors. There are plenty of branded butterfly fish, yellow goatfish, and mahogany snapper that call this place home.
Costs and Savings
While not as expensive as mountain climbing, scuba diving can quickly add up. Before you hit the water, you need to learn how to use the equipment and take an open water dive course, which generally costs around $150. It is also advisable to take lessons to learn how to manoeuvre in the water, which can cost around $500 (depending on how many lessons you take). The cost of diving itself is generally between $300 and $500, and when you add on travel and accommodation costs, the price may soar to well over $1000 for a diving vacation.