Diving the Great Blue Hole of Belize is not to be missed if you ever find yourself in Caye Caulker. It’s mysterious, eerie, and a unique experience that you’ll never forget.
I recently got a job as a divemaster on a liveaboard in Hawaii and one of my guests told me I absolutely had to dive in Cozumel when I told her about my upcoming trip to Playa del Carmen. Because she and I bonded overseeing dozens of dolphins together along the Kona coast and that she has over 2,000 logged dives – I felt her word could be trusted.
Diving the cenotes should be on your list of things to do in Playa del Carmen if you’re a diver. It’s a very unique experience to see the cave formations that have been around for thousands of years and Playa del Carmen (Riviera Maya) has some of the best in the world.
When you think of England, you think of the Royal Family, the Big Ben and the London Bridge. You also think of city tours, double decker buses, and other famous city landmarks that tourists frequently visit. What you probably don’t know is that England also has some of the greatest adventure tours that you have to experience.
The Coast to Coast walk/cycle/ride is an event that thousands of people from around the globe flock to England to participate in. Alfred Wainwright was the genius behind this exciting journey that takes you through the off beaten paths around England. Back then, Wainwright just walked around England.
Today, people take on Wainwright’s path by walking and cycling. The 5-day event meant that people had to use the path that Wainwright created long ago and stick to the path as closely as possible. This is a challenge because England isn’t the same as it was during Wainwright’s time. There are new buildings and new roads that have been created that could make following the original path a bit tougher. Participating in this event meant you get to go see the England that tourists don’t often see.
England doesn’t have a lot of diving spots, but there are some places that you can still go to in order to have your underwater adventure trip. At the Scapa Flow in the Orkneys, you can go on a diving expedition and explore the warships and destroyers that sank off this coast during the World War I. Marine life had taken over the sunken ships so you can see the beauty that sprung up after the devastation. There are beginner courses that you can take for less than £100. There are also longer expeditions that can set you back £500 or more.
If bungee jumping is your thing, you can go to the Transporter Bridge in Middlesborough to get your fix. This is the only bridge in the UK that allows bungee jumping. Satisfy your bungee jumping craving with this 200 feet high jump that lets you fall head first to the Tees. The freefall won’t lend you any picturesque views as you go down but it is still worth it. Not many people can say that they bungee jumped in England.
Sailing is another way that you can explore England from a different point of view. From the Tower Bridge you can sail through to Devon, north Cornwall, Isle of Man, the Scottish Islands, Edinburgh and then come on back to the Tower Bridge via the east coast. Sailing through all these places can take more than 2 weeks so plan your vacation accordingly. You can opt to sail through only a few of the 60 stops that this tour offers or you can go on a limb and go through all of them.
These and other lesser known adventure tours in England are steadily gaining popularity as people are recognizing the need to really discover what else England has to offer other than the city tours and normal tourist attractions. Let your wanderlust take over and book a tour and find out more about England’s hidden gems.
Diving with mantas is among one of the ultimate bucket lists for divers and why so many passionate divers come to Komodo Island, but how about swimming with 150 of them?
I started my morning with Wicked Diving on their boat, Charlie, with about a half dozen others who signed up for this full-day excursion. We were already off to a good start seeing dolphins playing in the water on our way to our first dive. We don’t always see a lot of dolphins around here so it was a nice surprise to see them from a close distance as they passed our boat.
We just finished up our second dive at Batu Balong, one of the best dive sites in the world, and were on our way to Makassar Reef (also nicknamed “Manta Point”), a dive site northwest of Komodo, known for finding mantas hence the nickname.
Our captain and some of our boat crew noticed something in the waters about 100 meters in the distance, and we notice there are about a dozen mantas. Our captain decided to turn the boat around, and that’s when we saw a long stretch of about 150 mantas. We watch the mantas from the second level deck of Charlie, and we are ecstatic. Everyone runs to grab their cameras and watch them in awe as they form a line behind each other looking like aquatic birds.
About ten minutes pass and we decide to keep going but continue to keep seeing mantas everywhere. I want to jump in! Everyone wants to jump in, so the captain and our dive instructor make the call to turn around and allow everyone to grab their mask and fins and hop in!
One of the Wicked staff members joined the boat trip today on her day off has never even seen a manta. This is someone grew up on this island, works in a dive shop, and barely snorkels. She escapes through travel books like the works of Paulo Coelho. Can you imagine the joy she felt not only seeing her first manta but hundreds let alone being able to go out and swim with them?? I’m pretty sure I can vouch for her by saying this is one epic moment in her lifetime.
Or could you imagine a couple who traveled from the other side of the world with only one dream to see a manta and then gets to see an entire sea full of them? Hell, even our dive instructor was ecstatic and said the last time he saw something like this was a year ago.
We all jumped in, and the captain was guiding us about the proper direction to go in, and once we found their path, it was craaaazy!! They were in every direction! On either side of me, below me, coming at me! There was one manta ray that was literally swimming 6 inches below me and so close to flapping it’s wings on me if I didn’t move. I remember coming manto y manto (er, I mean, mano y mano. hehe) with one manta ray with its mouth wide open. I’m thinking, “Oh sh#t! What if stay in place? Will we have a head-on collision?” Naturally my instinct was to get the hell out of its way.
After about twenty minutes of being able to snorkel with these beautiful creatures, we get on the boat and head to our last dive at Manta Point.
We gear up, take a giant stride into the water, and descend into a drift. Sure enough, mantas are passing by in several directions. Not quite as many as our impromptu snorkel session, but still incredible to see and a different experience. You get to study their bellies as they pass you from above in twos, fours, and sixes or lean close to the ocean ground steadily watching them circle around you.
After experiencing an epic day with nature’s playground, it was no surprise that at the end of our trip back to Labuan Bajo that we were gifted with a beautiful sunset and three eagles passing in the distance. Incredible day!