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k374
July 10th, 2009, 05:51 PM
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.

Louie
July 10th, 2009, 06:30 PM
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.

Pete Ve
July 10th, 2009, 07:03 PM
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

carobinsoniv
July 10th, 2009, 07:18 PM
Key Largo and Islamorado have some great diving in the < 30 foot range.

jnunn04
July 10th, 2009, 07:19 PM
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.

adurso
July 10th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Bonaire

BonaireDan
July 10th, 2009, 07:37 PM
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.

spectrum
July 10th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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.

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

oldschool
July 10th, 2009, 08:28 PM
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.

paddler3d
July 10th, 2009, 08:42 PM
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

Molasses Reef (John Pennekamp State Park) is awesome. IMO it competed with anything I dove in the Exumas.

DevonDiver
July 10th, 2009, 08:50 PM
Taba In Egypt (Red Sea) - very unspoilt, shallow and varied marine life in amazing viz.

Blackwood
July 10th, 2009, 10:59 PM
Cozumel.
Hawaii.
Andrea Doria.

k374
July 11th, 2009, 12:03 AM
Thanks, some great suggestions! I am located in Los Angeles area...updated my profile :D



Andrea Doria.

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:

k ellis
July 11th, 2009, 12:17 AM
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

roturner
July 11th, 2009, 06:49 AM
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..

paddler3d
July 11th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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:

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.

BonaireDan
July 11th, 2009, 09:42 AM
k374 noted Andrea Doria - must have been totally tongue in cheek.

BonaireDan
July 11th, 2009, 09:51 AM
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.

Blackwood
July 11th, 2009, 02:26 PM
Yah, the doria was in jest.

lmorin
July 11th, 2009, 02:46 PM
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.

Blackwood
July 11th, 2009, 05:31 PM
BTW, I just saw that you are from the Orange County area. Know that you have world class diving very close to home. It doesn't look like the stereotypical dive mag photoshoot in Micronesia, but the Channel Islands are remarkable in their own rights.

I suggest (seriously) hopping on some local charters (most of them cater to a wide range of skill sets), and grab the Express over to Catalina and dive the park at Casino Point (stairs literally leading into some of the most breathtaking scenery around).

NoVaScuba
July 11th, 2009, 06:22 PM
Molasses Reef (John Pennekamp State Park) is awesome. IMO it competed with anything I dove in the Exumas.

I second Molasses Reef. We dove it a couple of weeks ago as part of our first dive trip after OW. We saw several sharks and an Eagle Ray. We didn't see any eels but they're there. Tons of life everywhere, I'd go back in a heartbeat. In fact, since we still have a day left on our three day cards, we'll be going back sometime this year.

The dive was easy, mostly 20-25ft although there was a fair current. The current is not typical for inside the reef.

SoybeanQueen
July 11th, 2009, 06:45 PM
My husband and I did our first ocean dives at Key Largo. It was great for fairly new divers, in my opinion. Shallow dives, lots of fish, you can see Jesus under the water, there are a couple of old wrecks you can see that are shallow (City of Washington, for one) and you can chat up the other divers for helpful tips on the ride out to the reef.

We want to go back to do it again as not-so-new divers. There really was a lot to see.

Supershark
July 12th, 2009, 05:11 AM
Red Sea, Great Barrier Reef, Similan islands (thailand), Cozumel, Maldives etc etc etc. The list goes on and on! Just go and explore the world!


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