Best beginner dives

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by k374, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. k374

    k374 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Greater Los Angeles
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    What are the best beginner dive sites worldwide? By beginner I mean suited for someone just graduated with a OW cert and wanting to start out no deeper than 30ft. By "best" I mean lots of varied marine life (I mean octopus, sharks, eels and stuff like that not ordinary fish). I have heard that you do not need to go very deep to have a good dive experience unless you want to see wrecks.
     
  2. Louie

    Louie Scuba Instructor

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    So if the world is your diving oyster (I imagine though in real life, things like distance and cost will be determining factor):

    My first big dive holiday after doing OW was on a Red Sea liveaboard (out of Hurghada for a week) - I ended up doing the advanced course on the trip and was very glad I did. But even with just the OW, the selection was fantastic - lots of fish, coral and sharks, and oh, the Thistlegorm wreck!! The only down side was that it set the bar really high and left me a bit spoiled :D

    Others off the top of my head - Australia/Great Barrier Reef; lots to see, usually easy conditions
    - Fiji; great variety of sites, if you travel out to the islands, corals are in good condition
    - Gulf of Thailand; not as exciting as the Andaman side but many beginner-suited dives (in fact, it's a diving factory where hoards of backpackers do their OW). It's cheap and lots of fun.
     
  3. Pete Ve

    Pete Ve Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Statesville NC
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    I too have recently received my OW certification and was wrestling with the same question. I have chosen to make a trip to Key Largo in Florida . Since I live in NC it is an easy drive and, from what I read, the diving is quite good and can easily be geared to a new diver.
    Most of the reef dives are 60ft or less and the marine life is quite diverse. It also is affordable this time of year. Just my thoughts!

    Pete
     
  4. carobinsoniv

    carobinsoniv Deep South DIR

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Moultrie, Georgia
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    Key Largo and Islamorado have some great diving in the < 30 foot range.
     
  5. jnunn04

    jnunn04 Surface Interval Member

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Alabama
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    If you are in the Keys, I would suggest Alligator Reef. It's shallow (30 ft) and I saw more wildlife on that dive that I can possibly name.
     
  6. adurso

    adurso Blue Whale

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  7. BonaireDan

    BonaireDan Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ohio, retiring to Bonaire within 5 years
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    Keys would be great to start. Consider the middle keys as well. Better reefs closer in that Key Largo. Forget Key West for now.

    Best in my opinion is Bonaire. Shore diving freedom, great vis and reef. Many folks rave about Bonaire as their first intro to OW diving and love it tremendously.

    Belize is also fantastic with varied opportunities for newbies.

    Bahamas can be great as well, particularly if you get away from Freeport and Nassau but those can be decent as well. Better reefs elsewhere.

    Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras is wonderful, particulalry for Whale Sharks.

    Cayman's is good as well - might try Little Cayman or Cayman Brac even.

    Turks and Caicos is fantastic to start your diving career.

    Great Barrier Reef is only good (having been there) if you get out and away on a live aboard. But if you are going to the Pacific then French Polynesia, Thailand, Indonesia, Truk (Chukk), Palau, all are great diving. Many others too numerous to name. The Maldives is an option. The Red Sea is possible as well - great dive reports from there. Hawaii is good diving but not reef kind of stuff. Fantastic turtles in Hawaii and the chance to see Manta Rays.

    Whereever it is - have fun.
     
  8. spectrum

    spectrum Dive Bum Wannabe ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: The Atlantic Northeast (Maine)
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    Where do you live?

    As a freshly certified diver I would encourage you to start logging some local dives to develop you skills. Then when you start visiting destinations you will be better equipped for the diving and to absorb the sights. Just today I made 2 dives on a local sight that I have been enjoying for over 4 years. Mother nature managed to present some some stuff that made it all new to me. Max. depth 25 feet.

    Of course if you are blessed with lot's of discretionary time and money follow the advice of the more seasoned travelers.

    BTW, if you add some meat to your profile folks can better target answers to your questions.

    Pete
     
  9. oldschool

    oldschool Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Temple TX
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    I would say Oahu, specifically Shark's Cove at the North Shore. It's named that because from the air, the shape of the cove resembles a shark's dorsal fin. This spot is great from March through October. December through February, The North Shore is not the place to dive but definitely the place to surf. Shark's Cove has an easy entry. Tons of marine life and plenty of swim throughs thirty feet or less.
     
  10. paddler3d

    paddler3d Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baltimore, MD
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    Molasses Reef (John Pennekamp State Park) is awesome. IMO it competed with anything I dove in the Exumas.
     
  11. DevonDiver

    DevonDiver Tech Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Subic Bay, Philippines
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    Taba In Egypt (Red Sea) - very unspoilt, shallow and varied marine life in amazing viz.
     
  12. Blackwood

    Blackwood SoCal DIR

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Redondo Beach (SoCal, not Washington)
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    Cozumel.
    Hawaii.
    Andrea Doria.
     
  13. k374

    k374 Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Greater Los Angeles
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    Thanks, some great suggestions! I am located in Los Angeles area...updated my profile :D

    I searched google for "Andrea Doria dive" and the first link that came up was "Scuba Diver dead diving Andrea Dorea" :shocked2: that doesn't sound too encouraging to try for a beginner dive! :rofl3:
     
  14. k ellis

    k ellis Divemaster

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Oklahoma
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    Well I would agree the Keys are a great place to go but for the cost and time it takes to to drive there and what they want to charge for airfare I would say in your case it would be just about as cost effective to go to Hawaii. Its a water sports paradise and visibility is unbeleivable. Just my 2 cents
     
  15. roturner

    roturner ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands, Netherlands
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    What I suggest is Marsa Shagra (Egypt) or one of the resorts in the area around Marsa Alam. Shagra is one of my favorite places in the world to dive. It's all about diving (literally nothing else to do there). The house reef starts just under the surface and you can make nice shallow, long and interesting dives both day and night with lots to see and very little hindrance from tidal flows. Water temperatures vary from very warm in the summer to about 23-24C in the winter. Visibility is usually in the 20-40 metre range and the weather top-side is usually very good.

    There are also daily guided dives (going with the zodiac or with a truck) with possibilities to see, among other things (no guarantees), large sea turtles, a manatee, large sting rays, guitar sharks/rays, dolphins, small octopus, small reef sharks, large eels and at least one easily accessible wreck dive suitable for beginners. Some of the animals (eels, octopus and several other species) are nocturnal so you won't see them during the day except in exceptional circumstances. To see large sharks requires diving an offshore reef that really isn't suitable for beginners in terms of depth and current.

    Moreover, the location is perfect for doing your AOW (include night, deep, navigation, nitrox and naturalist) and there are instructors on site who teach well and can teach you in fluent English. The operator is called Red Sea Diving Safaris

    R..
     
  16. paddler3d

    paddler3d Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baltimore, MD
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    That and probably $20k worth of gear acquisition, training and diving to even contemplate it! I've had it described as the K2 of the wreck world.
     
  17. BonaireDan

    BonaireDan Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ohio, retiring to Bonaire within 5 years
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    k374 noted Andrea Doria - must have been totally tongue in cheek.
     
  18. BonaireDan

    BonaireDan Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Ohio, retiring to Bonaire within 5 years
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    Sorry Blackwood mentioned the Andrea Doria. A great starter dive NOT !!

    Even Cozumel I would suggest for the more experienced diver. Drifts can be easy in some ways but more difficult ins other ways. Patricularly if currents are not kind and they may not be very predictable on Cozumel.
     
  19. Blackwood

    Blackwood SoCal DIR

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Redondo Beach (SoCal, not Washington)
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    Yah, the doria was in jest.
     
  20. lmorin

    lmorin Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: New Hampshire
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    Upper Keys, definitely. Most reef dives are less than 35 ft. Abundant wildlife with a great variety. My wife and I did our first diving without a DM there and built a lot of confidence.
     

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