Dream dives, a bucket list of special dive sites

16th July 2015   |   Charles W Davis

My top five bucket list dive sites

I am been a scuba diver for over 18 years and while I have had a few short lapses, I have been actively diving since I was certified. While the majority of my dives has been around my home in Subic Bay Philippines, I have dived in a number of different locations worldwide. My normal vacation is centered around diving. Like most divers, I have my list of dream dives, a bucket list of dives that I want to do. Maybe my list might give you a suggestion or two for your next dive vacation or an entry to your scuba diving bucket list. My bucket list priorities change from time to time so I will just make this list grouped by regions.

Pacific dream dives

Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon Federated States of Micronesia.

The majority of my dives are on wrecks, sometimes penetration dives but mostly just exterior diving. I am currently researching two wrecks trying to identify them, and am searching for three others. So it is almost embarrassing to still have Chuuk Lagoon on my bucket list. Chuuk Lagoon has one of the largest concentrations of wrecks in the world, Twelve Japanese warships, thirty-two merchant ships and 249 aircraft at last count. It is not that they are adding more, but a few planes and even a ship has been recently found hidden under another. All in crystal clear water.

Chuuk (Truck) Lagoon

Photo credit: Matt Kieffer

Australia dream dive trips

Nautilus Expeditions from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef

I have dived the Great Barrier Reef and really enjoyed my diving. My diving experiences included having been on a liveaboard in the Whitsundays and one along the Ribbon Reefs including the famous Cod Hole dive site and some dives from resorts. My bucket list item is a Nautilus Expedition to the Osprey reef. Central Queensland University research department and Mike Ball's Liveaboard Spoilsport have an annual capture and release program for the rare Nautilus. Divers set special traps in the evening and they are retrieved the next morning. Scientist make observations and catalog the Nautilus that are captured. When the scientist are finish, these ancient creatures are released back to the sea. Osprey reef in the Coral Sea is the only place that Nautilus are found within divers range.

Ningaloo Reef

Ningaloo Commonwealth Marine Reserve (formerly Ningaloo Marine Park) contains one of the largest fringing reefs in the world. The reef starts about 1,200 km north of the city of Perth, Red Bluff is at the southern edge of the reef. 300 kilometers north, Exmouth Gulf and the Bundegi Reef are the northern most portion of Ningaloo Reef. Coral Bay is in the middle and along with Exmouth are the major diving destinations on the reef. There are no other major settlements along the reef except these three. Ningaloo Reef is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, that is cited for both the reef and dramatic landscapes. The remoteness of the west coast from human development has protected the pristine nature of the reef. Adding the protection of a marine reserve keeps the commercial fisherman away. The reef attracts the largest concentration of whale sharks in the world each year as well as humpback whales and a range of other migratory species. Divers who have dived both the Ningaloo reef and the Great Barrier Reef generally agree that Ningaloo has a greater diversity of marine life and a healthier Eco-system.

Ningaloo Reef in Australia

Photo credit: Sylke Rohrlach

European bucket list of great diving

Grüner See (Green Lake) is a park area of a Styria, Austria village named Tragöß

I would love to visit this park in the winter time and enjoy hiking along the trails and being taken in by the scenery while cross country skiing. The little village and the park sits near the base of the Hochschwab mountains and is mostly a wilderness area. In the winter, I would be lucky to see the Green Lake. Depending on how hot the summer was, the lake would only be about 150 meters across and at most two meters deep. Some winters it is less than a meter with portions of the lake bed dry. The coming of spring changes the landscape of the park. Run off from the melting snow on the majestic mountains find their way into the little basin where green lake sits. Expanding its modest 150 meters width to over 250 meters wide and it shallow water increases until the lake reaches a depth of about 10 meters. The vegetation that comes alive at the first thaw is soon underwater giving the lake a green floor that reflects and gives the lake its name. Now instead of hiking or cross country skiing the trails, you dive them. Follow the park trails, sit on the park benches and glide over the picnic tables. You may see flowers still in bloom and trees with new leaves. I have often said I have no desire for cold water diving (6-8°c), but this site will be the exception. The water depth is greatest in June and by August the lake is too shallow to dive.

The Grüner See in Austria

Photo credit: Florian Orthaber

Mexican dream dives

MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte), Cancun Mexico

While this is an very popular dive site, I have not had the opportunity to dive it yet. There are over 500 statues on the sandy bottom that makes up this underwater art gallery. The museum was designed with the intention of relieving pressure on the natural reefs. It has become one of the most dived and recognized dive sites in the world.

Museo Subacuático de Arte

Photo credit: William González

What would your bucket list look like?

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