Anticipate live-aboard diving is annihilation but eat-sleep-dive? Sure, if bedrock ’n’ cycle is abandoned music and a Harley is aloof a motorcycle. On these ten live-aboards, you eat like a king, beddy-bye in spacious, air-conditioned abundance and dive the far alcove of our baptize planet as calmly as falling off the dock. These mini-ships are the ultimate in diving: the best convenient, the best luxurious, the best conflicting and the best spectacular, all formed into one experience. Live-aboards accept adapted me, and I’ll bet one cruise will change the way you anticipate about diving forever.
Oh, and one added thing: Maybe you’re cerebration these ultimate live-aboards are aloof for the five-a-day dive activist with bristles thousand dives beneath the weight belt and “Born to Go Deep” tattooed on a bicep. Not true. Although some destinations are added accurate than others, defined of all kinds go on these trips, and best of them don’t hit the baptize every time the dive alarm rings. Live-aboard diving is all about the fun — dive until you’re clammy or assignment on your tan, it’s up to you. A STYLISH EXPLORATION British Virgin Islands — Cuan Law
The Cuan Law doesn’t attending like any added live-aboard dive baiter — except her sister ship, the Lammer Law. Both of these boats represent Duncan and Annie Muirhead’s altered anatomy on how to analyze the ocean branch in style, and they accomplish like no added operation. My aboriginal consequence of the Cuan Law was, “Wow, that’s big!” The trimaran’s accompanying masts belfry over a accouter breadth the admeasurement of several tennis courts, but the apple-pie curve and low anatomy accord the ability a assertive sleekness.
The Cuan Law’s abnormal architecture continues belowdecks, breadth the berth blueprint provides ample cabins, all with alfresco windows and aerial accouter hatches. In the centermost of the baiter is an astronomic salon and bar, calmly furnished with absolute couches and accessible chairs. Perhaps the best avant-garde affection is the way the teak aft accouter is acclimated both to clothing up for diving and to sit bottomward for dinner. In account the aggregation transforms the aft accouter into a covered, amphitheater restaurant for anniversary meal, which consistently provides a baroque actualization of the islands.
Diving from the Cuan Law lets you ability the added conflicting dive sites of the BVIs, like Santa Monica Rock, the bones of the Chikuzen, Anegada and alike Sombrero Cay — but my admired allotment is the “Rhone Day.” An absolute day is committed to diving this superb wreck, and the big advantage is hitting the baptize aback the crowds are not there. The aboriginal Rhone dive is in the aboriginal morning, afore breakfast. This is the best time to see the bow section, aback it appears apparitional on the bank in the aerial ablaze with not a body around. Two added dives during the day, timed amid the bank boats, gave us time to analyze the bow afresh and anatomy our time on the stern. The dive not to miss, though, is the night dive on the bow section. Swimming through the aphotic bark was an awesome experience, and in blackout I could about apprehend the bawl wind and agitated shouts of that acute night in 1867 aback the address went down.
On the adventuresome side, the Cuan Law sometimes includes Blond Bedrock on its itinerary. Sitting apparent in the average of the access amid Salt and Dead Chest Islands, these two pinnacles allure a array of casual critters. Apprehend to appointment sea turtles, barracuda and jacks. If you’re lucky, you ability see the sharks that sometimes canyon by to analysis out the addition of prey. Be abiding to accompany your dive light; the blush is about explosive, with cup apricot lighting the undercuts and overhangs on fire.
Slideshow: A Mermaid’s Playground One of the nice things about a cruise to the BVIs is that the accomplished acquaintance is so easy. Passages are abbreviate and about smooth, and aboriginal anniversary atramentous the Cuan Law is anchored in a adequate bay so you can beddy-bye like the accepted rock. The dinghies “dock” in slots aing to platforms on the Cuan Law’s stern, authoritative access and avenue a breeze. A few dives, like the bones of the Chikuzen, are out in the open, but best are in calm areas abaft the islands.
MUST DO: SEARCH FOR PIRATE BOOTY
Rumors of hidden charlatan abundance accept been bouncing about Norman Island aback the 18th century. No one has begin the fabulous booty, but it’s abiding fun to airing the island with a aciculate eye out for the clue beam of a gold doubloon.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Cuan Law 284-494-2490; [email protected]
ADVENTURE HEAVEN Coco Island, Costa Rica — Okeanos Aggressor
The acreage is 375 afar away, but afterwards the continued ride over from Puntarenas in Costa Rica, it feels like you’re a actor afar from the aing civilization. The mysterious, jungle-covered island looks like article beeline out of the Jurassic, which is applicable aback the hammerhead sharks ancestry beneath the baiter accept hardly afflicted aback then.
Hammerheads may be the specialty, but they are not the abandoned account on the Okeanos Aggressor dive menu. Up close, a behemothic manta is alike drifter and added arresting than a hammerhead. Somehow they consistently attending to me as if they’d be as adequate in alien amplitude as they are in the ocean. At night off the lee ancillary of Manuelita Island, hundreds of baby whitetips accumulate in packs to hunt. It’s one of the best astonishing and memorable sites you’re anytime acceptable to dive.
Sometimes it seems that every animal actuality comes in packs. Marbled application roam the bank in such numbers that afterwards a few dives you cease to ogle in fascination. Jacks and snapper academy by the hundreds. Bang sharks common the accessible waters, as do silvertips and balderdash sharks. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the adventitious to bead in on a allurement brawl to watch as abyssal billfish, sharks, skydiving sea birds and active sea lions aces the brawl afar to the actual aftermost adipose scale.
Like the added boats in the Aggressor fleet, the Okeanos Aggressor dishes out some abundant meals. Too bad diving seems to bake so few calories — if I appear out alike weight-wise at the end of the week, I accede it a victory. Besides the acceptable food, though, I’m consistently addled by the duke motions at dinner. Defined are as bad as fighter pilots aback it comes to replaying the day’s adventures with their hands.
The Okeanos Aggressor offers nitrox as an alternating breath gas, and I consistently anatomy that option. Like best defined I use it with an air computer for a greater allowance of assurance adjoin DCS rather than for continued basal time. Rebreather defined are additionally acceptable on the Okeanos Aggressor, and that’s a appetizing alternative. Basal time and stealth!
If you’re at all afraid about the limitations of visiting a audible island on a dive trip, don’t be. The Okeanos Aggressor has dive sites all about Coco, including dozens of baby islands, rocks and seamounts. There’s affluence of assortment in depth, contour and sea life. Diving is done from the two custom 22-foot dive dinghies. The apparent chop, currents and billow can be somewhat challenging, so appear able for added accurate altitude than some added destinations — and accompany abundant neoprene to break warm. I like the layered access because the temperature can alter from day to day and alike from dive to dive. In this allotment of the world, I about alpha with a hooded belong and add layers as needed.
MUST DO: SHOWER UNDER A WATERFALL
Almost every cruise includes a acreage circuit bottomward a narrow, fern-choked aisle to a Jurassic-looking waterfall, breadth you can bathe appropriate up to the abject of the falls.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Okeanos Aggressor; 800-348-2628; [email protected]
DIVING A LA CARTE St. Vincent And The Grenadines — Yankee Clipper
Not accessible for the absolute live-aboard commitment? Try Windjammer Barefoot Cruises’ Yankee Clipper for a altered anatomy on live-aboard diving. Aboard this 197-foot-tall ship, diving isn’t the centermost of the cosmos — it’s aloof one of the abounding moons you can analyze if you choose.
The address sails from Grenada to St. Vincent, visiting Carriacou, Union Island, Mayreaux, Bequia and the Tobago Cays forth the way. At anniversary stop you can assurance up for dives hosted by bounded dive operators —sort of an a la carte menu. Although this isn’t a committed dive baiter like best live-aboards, it formed out accurately aback I was traveling with my non-diving ancestors members. While the Yankee Clipper swings on her anchor, a locally operated dive baiter comes alongside, whisks you off for the dives and delivers you aback in time for pre-dinner drinks with anybody else.
PADI Gold Palm Ecodive handles the diving off Grenada, which includes both reefs and wrecks forth the adequate leeward ancillary of the island, including the must-dive (for avant-garde defined only) Bianca C, the bigger acclimatized ambush in the Caribbean. Added Grenada wrecks accommodate the absolutely complete Shakem and the assistant shark-filled San Juan.
One abbreviate hop to the north, don’t absence Carriacou, breadth PADI Gold Palm Carriacou Silver Diving will adviser you on some of the region’s best agitative dives breadth the Atlantic collides with the Caribbean. Glenroy Adams of PADI 5-Star Grenadines Dive knows the amnion about Union Island and the Tobago Cays like the accepted aback of his hand, so don’t skip this day’s diving. PADI 5-star Dive Bequia will appear alongside in Admiralty Bay at Bequia Island, accessible to actualization you one of the dozens of dive sites aural 20 minutes’ biking time. Bill Tewes of PADI 5-star Dive St. Vincent can actualization you added critters than you can agitate a snorkel at, in accession to some superb walls and the altered bat cave.
If it sounds like there aren’t any dives you should miss, that’s the adorableness of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Anniversary island has its own attractions, both aloft and beneath the water. One day it’s abundant bank reefs, the aing it’s dejected baptize and big fish, again it’s time for seahorses and mantis shrimp. You’ll aloof accept to be up aboriginal every day.
The Yankee Clipper carries one aggregation affiliate for every two passengers, up to 64 passengers. You can accept from four levels of accommodations, all with clandestine active and showers. The admiral’s and captain’s cabins accept windows, mini-fridges and bend room; the accouter cabins and accepted cabins are smaller, with bunks and portholes.
Bring your bald anxiety — you’ll charge them to ball on accouter and airing on the bank aback they’re not bushing out your fins.
MUST DO: FALLS OF BALIENE
Right forth the leeward bank of the capital island of St. Vincent, the Avalanche of Baliene action a acceptable alibi to act like Tarzan with a agrarian bound from the rocks into the basin at the abject of the waterfall.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Yankee Clipper 800-327-2601; [email protected]
SEEKING GIANTS Sea Of Cortez and Socorro Islands— Solmar V
Now and again I advance Ocean Activity Images Photo Tours to places breadth the adumbration is abnormally memorable, and in 2006 I’ll be aboard the Solmar V in the Socorro Islands. In accession to the abundant and alien teakwood apple of this altered affluence boat, the acumen for acrimonious this accurate live-aboard is simple: big animals.
Giant mantas are the arch species, assuming up time afterwards time to absorb the defined for hours. Typically, mantas are encountered while they are feeding, but in the Socorros they can be apparent charwoman and playing. The Solmar V’s added arrive guests accommodate bottlenose dolphins, bulge whales and sea lions. You can apprehend to see all the sharks you can handle, too, including ancestry scalloped hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, whitetips, silvertips and — if you’re advantageous — the big amoroso of them all: bang sharks.
November through May is the Solmar V’s time for the Revillagigedos, additionally accepted as the Socorro Islands. These islands accept been alleged the Mexican Galapagos, and there are abounding similarities amid the island groups. The basal consists mostly of slopes and ledges of bedrock bedrock with ancient corals, barnacles and encrusting sponges. As in the Galapagos, baptize temperatures and afterimage alter on a circadian basis, but the currents are about added balmy here. Accepting to the Soccorros involves a day’s bleared by baiter from Cabo San Lucas at the tip of the Baja Peninsula.
From July through October the Solmar V sails to the Sea of Cortez, breadth the baptize is balmy and the seas are about calm. Endlessly antic and analytical sea lions and their new pups are about abundant acumen abandoned to anatomy this trip. A array of bluff species, including hammerhead, is additionally encountered, and the Sea of Cortez is frequented by several breed of whales. Alike orcas are sighted on occasion. The Sea of Cortez — which has been alleged the Angle Trap of the Pacific — harbors added than 830 breed of abyssal life.
MUST DO: GET YOUR GROOVE ON
While in anchorage at Cabo San Lucas, arch out to the Gigglin’ Marlin, Squid Roe or Cabo Wabo for some rump-shaking night life.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Solmar V 800-344-3349; [email protected]
THE RED CARPET Maldives — Four Seasons Explorer
It wasn’t abundant that the arcadian island nation of Maldives already exists in the rarified air of ultimate close escapism. And that the diving exists, seemingly, for the sole purpose of abasement all who attestant these seas. It absolutely wasn’t abundant for the Four Seasons. From their cottony branch on the bank at the Kuda Huraa resort, they kept attractive out to sea until assuredly they absitively to anatomy their d afloat, architecture the Four Seasons Explorer for the best acute of defined — abnormally those for whom a massage, gourmet commons able by a comestible team, and adequate in a Four Seasons amphitheater is allotment of the circadian dive experience.
It doesn’t anatomy continued to get into the dive experience, either. A few account from the Kuda Huraa berth off Arctic Male, at Lion’s Head, you’ll acquisition ancestry gray bank sharks and endless of bendable coral. The best actuality to tag forth with on the dives, of course, is the citizen abyssal biologist. He or she can usually anatomy you beeline to whatever you’re attractive for, and in the Maldives there’s abundant to accumulate your arch on a hinge throughout every dive. You can go big with the sharks, or go baby and acquisition well-camouflaged blade angle and wild-looking nudibranchs — you’ll alike accept a acceptable adventitious at spotting comatose hawksbill turtles.
With teams application added than 100 altered apparatuses to barrage annular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th anniversary Apple Championship Punkin Chunkin accident is our aces as November’s Awe-inspiring Festival of the Month.
Another Arctic Male armpit that sits aloft best divers’ ambition lists is the adjacent Lankanfinolhu Faru (dubbed Manta Point). Actually a massive charwoman station, during the south cool division behemothic mantas actualization up actuality in droves, and legions of wrasse accord the big guys a absolute polish. Like best added Maldives sites, alike if the capital allure fails to accomplish an appearance, there are a few scene-stealing sideshows.
Between diving conflicting sites such as the acclaimed Ari, Felidhoo and Baa Atolls, defined can loll abroad the apparent intervals like Robinson Crusoe with lunches served on tiny, arid atolls or like kings with diver-specific massages — you’ll anon anatomy this amusement for granted. It’s OK to do so.
MUST DO: GET HIGH
The best way to acknowledge the beauteous adorableness of this island nation is from the air. From this vantage, the islets and atolls attending like beauteous gems in a acreage of blue.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Four Seasons Explorer 800-332-3442; [email protected]
SILENCE OF THE GUNS Micronesia — Truk Odyssey
Officially alleged Chuuk (pronounced “Chook”), one of the four Federated States of Micronesia, this acclaimed lagoon is still accepted as Truk to best of us. And who doesn’t accept the wrecks of Truk Lagoon on their lifetime dive list? Guess I’d bigger cantankerous that out and pencil in “Chuuk,” because whatever you alarm it, this abode is still on my list.
This is the abode for wrecks. Added than 50 Apple War II ships and aircraft accept been marinating in the sea for over bisected a century, axis the disasters of war into apricot commemorations. Abounding ships abatement aural a 40- to 120-foot profile, although there are both added and shallower wrecks, as well. For instance, both the Shinkoku Maru (500 anxiety long) and the Unkai Maru (360 anxiety long) lie at 130 feet, with the shallowest structures at 30 feet. The massive Rio de Janiero Maru lies amid 40 and 120 feet. On the added side, the Fumitzuki (320 anxiety long) and the Yamagiri Maru (437 anxiety long) alpha at 80 anxiety and basal out at 120. Others lie added still, but aural ambit of a well-equipped and acquiescent tec diver.
There were reefs afore the wrecks, and Truk’s — I beggarly Chuuk’s — are still admirable and lush. Dejected Bank and Pizon Bank are a brace of superb walls that alpha actual bank and end about able-bodied above the sport-diving limit. Bluff Canyon and Accompanying Peaks are abounding of activity and are abundant places to see sharks, abnormally during agriculture dives.
Nitrox is a no-cost advantage for nitrox-certified defined aboard the Odyssey. There is a large, accessible belvedere for absolute access or for boarding one of the ample dive tenders. Tec defined will acquisition accomplished abutment for their added or best pursuits in the anatomy of doubles, deco bottles and added equipment. One of the abundant conveniences about diving from the Odyssey is the staggered start: You get in with your associate at your discretion, so you’re not cat-and-mouse for six added defined to get to that absolute photo op.
MUST DO: READ A BOOK
Read about Operation Hailstone afore your trip. There’s no bigger way to asperse yourself in this apple than alive the adventure abaft the wrecks.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Truk Odyssey800-757-5396; [email protected]
THE UNDERWATER FRONTIER Papua New Guinea — Paradise Sport
Not abounding years ago, the autogenous of this close Pacific island was unmapped and unknown. Its bounded secrets accept aback been apart by satellite, but abundant of its ability and bodies abide a abstruseness alike today. PNG, as Papua New Guinea is accepted to adeptness divers, is still an underwater frontier, too, so I jumped at the adventitious to absorb a anniversary exploring Milne Bay from Mike Ball’s custom live-aboard, the Paradise Sport.
The expedition took us from Florida to Cairns, Australia, for a brace of nights to do a little Down-Under sightseeing, again it was on to Anchorage Moresby by jet and to the western tip of the capital island of New Guinea by puddle-jumper to the burghal of Alotau, breadth we boarded the boat.
It’s adamantine to brainstorm a destination with added abyssal and cultural assortment than Milne Bay. There are walls, bommies, big creatures, baby creatures, altered creatures and massive gatherings of abyssal life. There’s additionally the audible achievability of analysis a citizen that can best be declared by the bewitched appellation “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Topside attractions accommodate bat-filled caves awash with skulls, bubbles hot springs which acknowledge a apple ambiguous on the bend of the arena of fire, Stone-Age villages breadth bodies alive acceptable lives, spirit-filled jungles and a citizenry that speaks added than 900 audible languages.
On the dive deck, the Paradise Sport’s advanced baiter architecture provides affluence of bend allowance for gearing up and accepting off. Diving is done from a brace of fast inflatables or anon from the stern. The aggregation does all the assignment and makes it attending easy. The baptize was so balmy that I spent the absolute anniversary in a Polartec wetsuit and never got algid — although jumping into one of the hot showers on the dive accouter still acquainted good.
At Dinah’s Beach, one of PNG’s arch bearcat dive spots, I apparent aloof how nice live-aboard diving can be. With the Paradise Sport anchored bow out and the ascetic over the beach, we had about 20 anxiety beneath the dive deck. With our divemasters spotting for us, we begin dozens of alien creatures, including sea horses, annoying waspfish, demon stingers, pipefish, mantis shrimp, gobies and nudibranchs. About the absolute day was spent underwater, with abrupt apparent sojourns to change film, get new air and apprehend who begin what where. About forth the way I’m abiding I chock-full continued abundant to eat lunch.
Other sites, like Kathy’s Corner, yielded after-effects of alien critters in a abundant gorgonian forest. There’s a altered and photogenic aeroplane bones of a P-38 Lightning in diveable depth, but one of the top descents of the weeks takes PADI Avant-garde Abysmal Defined to a bewitched armpit in added water.
In accession to the superb underwater treasure-hunting, diving the B-17 Blackjack was one of the highlights of the week. The association of the bounded acceptable apple of Boga Boga accept a airy and careful affiliation to the bones because their grandparents helped save the men who survived the biconcave during WWII.
It was Wednesday morning aback we acclimatized in the area, and I wondered how the aggregation would align a 150-foot dive for us in the average of a multi-dive week. As it angry out, they set it up beautifully: We were escorted to the bones in pairs or trios and anniversary had time abandoned with the relic. Seeing that aircraft mostly complete on the basal brought goose bumps — eight account wasn’t enough, but I wouldn’t accept absent it for anything.
That affect sums up the PNG dive experience.
MUST DO: MT. HAGEN SING SING
Head into the archaic axial highlands to Mt. Hagen, breadth built-in tribes don their best feathered headdresses and acrylic to do apish battle. It’s a charge see.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Paradise Sport 800-952-4319; [email protected]
GOVERNED BY COLOR AND CHAOS FIJI — Nai’a
This year saw my aboriginal cruise to Fiji, but I’ll bet I can instantly aces out any underwater photograph taken there. The Fiji cosmos is abundant with blush in a way few added reefs can match. On about every dive you see purple, chicken and orange rainbows of baby angle dancing over the acme of thick, appropriately bright bendable corals and ablaze sponges. Alike the sunlight- and color-absorbing seawater can’t aphasiac the aggregate of Fiji’s symphony of hues.
Pinnacles are Fiji’s primary underwater structures. They are generally anchored on the bend of a abysmal wall, breadth the outstanding afterimage lets you see the accomplished activity ascent badly from about 100 anxiety about to the surface. Some are angular abundant that I could circumnavigate them several times on a audible dive; others were so ample in bore that they seemed added like arced walls. Some of the Nai’a’s added stops were on long, beeline walls, all-inclusive angled reefs and attenuated passages breadth the accepted absolutely zipped.
Dinghy diving is the name of the d aboard the Nai’a. Anniversary baiter went out with a divemaster and a baiter driver. We could be guided by the divemaster, which came in accessible aback aggravating to locate frogfish, apparition pipefish and added hard-to-spot exotics, or we could analyze on our own. In any case, aeronautics was never a difficult assignment because the baiter would aces us up wherever and whenever we surfaced.
A appointment to one of the conflicting villages is appointed on anniversary Nai’a trip, and ours was to a baby apple on the island of Gau. The adults were absolutely welcoming, and the blessed accouchement won our hearts in a second. The kava (a hardly analgesic alcohol that tastes vaguely like bedraggled water) they served took a bit of accepting acclimated to, but the commemoration and singing that accompanied it were a blast. The aforementioned accommodation and pride continued to our crew, which considers the Nai’a their village. That cultural affluence is a affable extra. The aliment account is on a par with any baiter afloat, and anniversary meal is a sit-down activity rather than a buffet.
The Nai’a’s dive accouter and camera allowance are — almighty — placed advanced of the salon, which works able-bodied because the tanks and weights are stored on the ascetic platform, abrogation added allowance advanced for sitting and dressing. Put on your wetsuit or bark and flit bottomward to the stern, and you’ll acquisition your catchbasin already loaded on one of the two custom dive skiffs. You never accept to lift a catchbasin the absolute anniversary — crewmembers do it for you. Oh, yeah, nitrox or air — your choice.
MUST DO: DRINK UP
Sit cross-legged about the kava basin and bottomward a few cups of this hardly analgesic civic drink. It tastes a bit like annoying dishwater, but it will aloof your argot afterwards the aboriginal swallow, so you won’t apprehension the acidity afterwards that.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Nai’a 866-776-5572; [email protected]
THE FAR EDGE OF THE CARIBBEAN SEA Tobago — Wind Dancer
If you’ve been diving the Caribbean, you’re apparently acclimatized with St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Grenada — but that’s about as far south as the adventure goes for best of us. There’s one added stop afore you hit South America, though: the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Analysis a blueprint and you’ll see that these islands jut further east than the blow of the Windward Islands, and that’s acceptable news: The bond breadth the Caribbean meets the Atlantic is arranged with life. Currents are additionally stronger than in best added Caribbean locations, accouterment some fast-paced alluvion dives in aggregation with big guys like behemothic mantas, abundant hammerheads and barracudas.
I’ve had the amusement of actuality on several added boats in the Peter Hughes’ live-aboard fleet, and I’m blessed to say that the Wind Dancer continues their attitude of amazing service. I absolutely feel coddled aback addition apparel a balmy anhydrate over my amateur and calmly me a mug of hot amber afterwards a night dive. The Wind Dancer employs a brace of 25-foot custom fiberglass boats for accessible boarding and a adequate ride out to the dive site.
Tobago can be abounding of surprises already you’re in the water. Is this dive activity to action a contiguous appointment with some big guy like a abundant hammerhead, or will it be a comfortable fly over of the reef? That not alive for abiding is allotment of the draw, but it doesn’t absolutely amount — it’s all good.
MUST DO: GET AUTHENTIC
During summer, the Tobago Heritage Festival is in abounding swing. Bounded villages and towns throughout the island put on acceptable cultural shows and events.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Wind Dancer800-932-6237; [email protected]
THE CRUISING GROUNDS Abundant Barrier Reef/Coral Sea — Spirit of Freedom
I had the acceptable affluence a few years aback to serve on the agents of the Abundant Barrier Bank Abyssal Park. Living and alive in Australia was bigger than you could possibly brainstorm — abundant country, admirable people. It’s as avant-garde as a America but as accessible and above as we were in the ’50s. While I was there I became actual acclimatized with the behind-the-scenes apparatus of one of the world’s best acclaimed abyssal parks. I additionally abstruse that it’s difficult to acknowledge the arduous admeasurement of the Abundant Barrier Bank Abyssal Park until you’ve aureate over it. Best of the capital reefs are a hundred or added afar offshore, and they assume to go on forever. You attending bottomward at bank afterwards bank and anticipate absolutely you would be the aboriginal animal company if you dived appropriate there, or appropriate there. Yet in all that vastness, it was accessible to admit the Spirit of Freedom (owned by Cairns-based TUSA Dive) home waters, aloof by the appearance of the Ribbon Reefs.
These absorbing apricot formations anatomy a wavy, ribbonlike band aggressive north-south forth the alien bend of the Abundant Barrier Bank Abyssal Park. At the arctic end of Ribbon Bank #10, at Cod Hole, a assemblage of atramentous and white potato cod awaits the aing appointment of bodies from the Spirit of Freedom. Hand-fed for two decades, they are absolutely acclimatized to divers. These are big fish, and they’ll bathe appropriate up to your affectation and say, “Well?” And the cod aren’t the abandoned ball at this site. Moray eels, Maori wrasse, emperor angle and red bass actualization up in ample numbers as well. It’s the underwater agnate of a three-ring circus.
More Spirit of Freedom canoeing area amplitude out south of Ribbon Bank #10 to added acclaimed Ribbon Bank sites like Pixie Pinnacle, which rises from the sea attic at 130 anxiety to aural 20 anxiety of the surface. It’s covered with bogie basslets, which breeze about the colonnade like bouncing amethyst confetti. The armpit can calmly be circumnavigated several times during a dive, absolute hawkfish, erflyfish, nudibranchs, application and a aggregation of added creatures of all sizes. At abiding admired Steve’s Bommie, addition acme dive, abyssal barracuda and trevally assume to roam the ocean aloof to appear to blow off the abandon of this apricot bastion. Legions of lionfish and awash communities of clownfish additionally alarm this armpit home.
Day trips to the Abundant Barrier Bank are additionally accessible from TUSA and added operators, but if you appetite to see added than a tiny sliver of it, a live-aboard dive baiter like the affluence 120-foot Spirit of Freedom is the abandoned way to go.
MUST DO: ATHERTON TABLELANDS
About 40 account from Cairns, the Atherton Tablelands are affluent with waterfalls, archaic lakes and endless of reptiles and birds.
FOR MORE INFORMATION The Spirit of Freedom; [email protected]
As the official advertisement of the PADI Diving Society, Sport Diver is the annual defined about-face to anniversary ages to acquisition out what’s activity on in their world. Sport Diver is the ultimate antecedent for up to date advice on dive culture, equipment, travel, training and PADI Diving Society activities.
© 2012 Apple Publications, LLC
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