South Seas Scuba
April 12, 2005 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Divers of Metafilter, help us plan our honeymoon! We are taking three weeks this summer and plan to spend part of that time scuba diving, perhaps on a live-aboard. We are thinking South Pacific and/or Indonesia, but haven't managed to narrow it down any further than that. Tips, suggestions, and warnings welcomed.

We are both certified open water divers, but we've never done a live-aboard before. Can anyone share their experiences? Thumbs-up or thumbs down for a particular location or dive operator? Any tips for life on a live-aboard? (Motion sickness has been an issue for me on smaller launches, but I'm hoping it will be less of an issue on a larger boat.) Suggestions for land-based dive operators/sites or surface time things to see and do would be great also.
posted by ambrosia to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Okinawa and the rest of the Ryukyu Islands are some of the most biodiverse parts of the world, and I can't recommend diving there highly enough.

I can also recommend some solid diver operators if you are interested. E-mail is in my profile.
posted by jeffmshaw at 12:23 PM on April 12, 2005

I haven’t ever done a live aboard myself, but I have done a lot of diving in the Cozumel / Playa Del Carmen area of Mexico and highly recommend it. The Playa mainland side has a variety of non-dive things going for it such as Mayan ruins, great beaches, nightlife, the jungle, and cenotes (which are a must dive at least once in your lifetime type experience. I recommend Tank-Ha in that area.

I did just sit through a friend’s slide show of his live-aboard dive trip in Belize. It looked pretty amazing. I also have heard great things about the Red Sea for live-aboards. Have a great trip!
posted by Staggering Jack at 12:27 PM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: A few years back, I spent a week in Palau diving from the Big Blue Explorer. Lots of fun diving, lovely scenery, friendly and helpful staff, and turtles and sharks in the dozens. My travelog of the trip here. I highly recommend The Big Blue.
posted by brownpau at 12:29 PM on April 12, 2005

Philip Greenspun's liveaboard experience. Greenspun went diving in Australia and, in short, ended up suffering from decompression illness. It's a good read, and contains some generally good advice, though I don't necessarily agree with all of it (like his recommendation against dive computers). One of the essential lessons is that on a liveaboard you will be doing more and more frequent dives, being stressed out, not necessarily getting enough quality sleep, etc., all increasing the danger of getting DCI.
posted by gentle at 1:15 PM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: I spent a week diving in Moorea and had a wonderful time, though there are better places around -- Truk and Yap are high up on my list. Never did a live-aboard, though.

One thing you might want to consider: are your ears and nose hardy enough for repeated dives in a short time? (A week is about my limit; after that, I start getting nosebleeds and slight difficulty clearing my ears, and wouldn't want to be stuck on a dive boat in that condition.)
posted by cgs06 at 1:21 PM on April 12, 2005

If you go to Thailand, visit Koh Tao, it's pretty much the best diving spot there, the sole activity on the island is diving with about 15 different dive clubs to chose from. Great site to see whale sharks, schools of baracuda, etc, also has nice beachs and very very affordable (most of the people who visit are backpackers).

If you want to see some interesting stuff and avoid the popular areas, I quite enjoyed my stay at Chumphon and doing my dives in their national park. There's an Easy Divers in Chumphon that knows the area quite well.
posted by furtive at 2:17 PM on April 12, 2005

The Philippines has a number of good dive sites, but you really should read this list of dive reports from around the world before deciding (live-aboards can be extremely expensive).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:02 PM on April 12, 2005

Philippines - I don't dive but I hear that it has some of the best diving in the world. I can tell you that the people are exceptionally friendly and it's a relatively easy country for an American to navigate.
posted by nathan_teske at 3:34 PM on April 12, 2005

Pemba, north of Zanzibar, is supposedly incredible. Dive people in Zanzibar told me the diving in Pemba is mostly done by liveaboard. It's an incredible place, is Zanzibar.
posted by coelecanth at 4:36 PM on April 12, 2005

Best answer: Rudy Rucker just finished up a series of entries from his trip to Yap, Palau, and couple of other islands in micronesia on his blog. Plus, he's got a ton of pictures from his dives.

The first entry is here:
posted by AmaAyeRrsOonN at 5:32 PM on April 12, 2005

I just got back from a 10-dive liveaboard in Australia. It was about three days/nights. This seemed to be just about the right length as I never tired of the diving. We saw coral, sharks, turtles, rays, etc.

Here is the boat I was on:

It was some of the best scuba diving that I have ever done. I would recommend it highly to everyone. The price was about $500AUS, which is about $400US. This included the diving, gear, food, lodging, and everything was very professionally run.
posted by bagels at 6:09 PM on April 12, 2005

posted by yonation at 6:53 PM on April 12, 2005

I also did a liveaboard on a sailboat out of Airlie Beach on the Great Barrier Reef years ago. Great stuff.

Around the same time, I also dived in the Somosomo straits between Vanua Levu and Taveuni in Fiji. I love Fiji perhaps more than any other place in the world, and Taveuni is probably my favorite place there. Highly recommended. Here's one of the dive businesses there (I can't remember who I dived with, unfortunately. I just talked to people once I got there to arrange it).
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:54 PM on April 12, 2005

Hey, if you plan to do the Philippines, drop me a line. I can recommend a few places and dive operators. But personally, I think Palau diving is far superior. ;)
posted by brownpau at 7:58 AM on April 13, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great information everyone! We are leaning towards spending a week in Palau, and then doing some travel in Southeast Asia (possibly Angkor Wat) and then more diving/travel in Indonesia.
posted by ambrosia at 2:10 PM on April 18, 2005

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