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Scuba Diving

Friday, February 12, 2016

5 Adventures on a Shoestring, Diving in Fiji

Taveuni, Fiji, is one of those places like Palau or the Red Sea that is discussed only in clandestine conversations between avid scuba divers. They come here to dive the renowned Rainbow Reef, whose intricate corals and myriad fish provide divers with a kaleidoscopic view of the sea. Add white-tip sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays to the equation and you have one of the finest diving experiences in the world. Taveuni Ocean Sports offers a 7-night dive resort package that starts at $1450 per person. The package includes five days of two–tank dives (including guided tour for certified divers, tanks and weights), lodging at Taveuni’s lone eco-resort, Nakia, three meals a day and afternoon tea with freshly-baked goodies at Nakia's Cliffhouse Restaurant. 

 
In your spare time, skip the hike to Lake Tagimaucia. Here’s my story in the Boston Globe about that painful experience. It’s been fun reliving some of my favorite adventures this week! Next week, I’ll be in Florida visiting family. I’ll be back on February 22nd. In the meantime, happy travels and keep active! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/12/16 at 06:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Five Favorite Adventures in the Caribbean, Diving Bonaire

A mere decade ago, Bonaire was known only to scuba enthusiasts—a coveted gem discussed in hushed conversations with other serious ocean lovers (types who come out of the water with seaweed in their hair). Now that the secret is out, travelers are learning that nature thrives here both above and below the water. The reef’s proximity to shore is ideal for divers and snorkelers who want to swim with blue and yellow queen angelfish and orange trumpetfish in waters with visibility of 100 feet or more. Bonaire’s semi-arid landscape is home to some 200 types of birds, including one of the world’s largest colonies of pink flamingoes, numbering some 15,000. Overlooking one of the island’s loveliest beaches is the Harbour Village Beach Club. Heinekens and gouda are the sustenance of choice on this Dutch colony, but if you prefer gourmet, go with the resort’s La Balandra Beach Bar and Grill.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/03/15 at 06:00 AM
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Urban Adventures: Dive Casa Cove, San Diego

Of the thousands of people who take the quarter-mile walk from the cliffs of La Jolla Cove to Casa Cove, few take the plunge. Twenty feet below the surface, you’ll be hanging with harbor seals and 3-foot horn sharks (harmless) inspecting clumps of bright yellow sulphur sponges that cling to the wall. La Jolla Dive will lead you away from the masses.  
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/12/14 at 10:00 AM
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Monday, March 03, 2014

A Four Seasons Cruise in the Maldives

In my last blog, I mentioned how the new Emirates non-stop from Boston to Dubai will save New Englanders six hours of travel time if they wanted to continue onward to the nearby Maldives. I don’t think many people realize that Four Seasons Resorts operates a 129-foot three-deck catamaran in the Maldives called the Four Seasons Explorer. 22 lucky guests can opt for the three-night cruise northern cruise or four night southern cruise. Since the Maldives is known as one of the top dive sites in the world, it’s no surprise that the Four Seasons Explorer has a PADI Five-Star Dive Centre on-board. You can also simply relax with spa treatments, sea kayaking jaunts, beach picnics, and remote island excursions. Best yet, the cruise connects two of the Four Seasons Resorts in the Maldives, Kuda Huraa and Landaa Giraavaru. Combine all three and you get 7 to 10 days of luxury pampering on a memorable beach vacation. For avid scuba divers and honeymooners, this is hard to top! 

 

 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 03/03/14 at 11:00 AM
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Friday, February 07, 2014

My Top 5 Places to Scuba Dive, Heron Island, Australia

Looking forward to seeing an ockie (octopus) in the bommie (coral head)? Then Heron Island, on the Great Barrier’s southern reef, is the place for you, mate. You might also dive with giant sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs between late October and March, or with humpback whales that skirt the island from June through October. Heron Island Resort, the island’s lone accommodation, has room for 250 nature lovers. The Point Suites offer unobstructed views of the harbor and bay. Part resort, part wildlife sanctuary, the island is large enough for couples to follow their own trail to a nesting spot among the white herons.  

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/07/14 at 11:00 AM
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Thursday, February 06, 2014

My Top 5 Places to Scuba Dive, Rangiroa, French Polynesia

When the words “requin, requin” (French for shark) are shouted in Rangiroa, swimmers here do not run to shore fearing for their lives. On the contrary, most of the snorkelers and divers who come to this oval-shaped coral atoll in the Tuamotus stay in the water to relish a face-to-face encounter with one of these mesmerizing creatures. Grey reef, white- and black-tipped, lemon sharks, and hammerheads peer at divers in the renowned Tiputa Pass, a 60-foot deep channel that connects the island’s lagoon with the open sea. It was here that I dove down 40 feet only to be surrounded by at least 20 hammerheads in a matter of minutes. I guess they didn’t find me tasty. The perfect place to recover after your snorkeling adventure with Jaws is the Kia Ora Village, Rangiroa’s premier hotel. If you’re looking for that Robinson Crusoe experience, retreat to Kia Ora Sauvage, a small island about an hour away by boat from the main hotel. The island has just five basic bungalows and two cooks who prepare all the meals.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/06/14 at 11:00 AM
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Wednesday, February 05, 2014

My Top 5 Places to Scuba Dive, Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos

The Turks & Caicos are an archipelago of eight islands and forty relatively flat limestone and coral cays, some of which are little more than dusty specks in the aquamarine waters. The relative anonymity of these islands stem from their location. They are south of the Bahamas, yet not part of the Bahamas; north of the Caribbean, yet not technically part of the Caribbean. Indeed, the Turks & Caicos are a British Crown Colony whose 15,000 inhabitants or Belongers, as locals like to call themselves, slip through the pages of most guidebooks. This is especially true of Grand Turk, a sleepy 6-mile long island where you stroll past the Victorian homes on Front Street in a matter of minutes. Nestled amongst the homes are a handful of inconspicuous hotels, restaurants, dive shops, and government offices that seem to add to the British charm. 

 
Underwater, Grand Turk is home to the Wall, where without warning the reef plummets to a mind-boggling 7,000 feet to mark the edge of the Turks Island Passage. On the rim of this great blue abyss, it’s not uncommon to see humpback whales migrating in winter, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles swimming gracefully, and herds of spotted eagle rays, with wingspans upward of eight feet, their thick black tails churning behind. Researching a scuba diving story for Islands magazine, I was 45 feet below the surface with excellent light and visibility, when suddenly it turned to darkness. I looked up and spotted six massive eagle rays swimming above me, one of the highlights of my scuba diving life. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/05/14 at 11:00 AM
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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

My Top 5 Places to Scuba Dive, Rarotonga, The Cook Islands

You can get your scuba diving certification at the neighborhood indoor pool over the course of 3 months or you can do it in the South Pacific over the course of three days. Cook Island Divers is where I learned to scuba dive and it resulted in one of my first travel stories back in 1991. Perhaps I’m feeling nostalgic, but it’s hard not to praise Greg Wilson, one of the finest instructors in the business. It also don’t hurt that the surrounding ocean offers visibility over 100 feet and water temperatures in the 75 to 85 degree range. If you’re thinking about obtaining your scuba diving certification, this would be my top choice. Then continue onward to the pristine waters of Aitutaki, Taveuni’s Rainbow Reef, and Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Stay at the Sunset Resort, where you can recline on the beach.

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/04/14 at 11:00 AM
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Monday, February 03, 2014

My Top 5 Places to Scuba Dive, Taveuni, Fiji

To get my mind off the cold in Boston and another snowstorm headed our way on Wednesday, I’m going to discuss my favorite places to scuba dive this week. I first dove off Taveuni, Fiji, on the way to the Great Barrier Reef after recently being certified in the Cook Islands. It would end up being far more memorable than any of my dives on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s not just the multi-colored coral they dub the Rainbow Reef or the myriad of neon-colored fish that provide divers with a kaleidoscopic view of the sea. No, it’s the big boys like white-tip sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays that make you feel like Jacques Cousteau. No wonder Jacques’ son, Jean-Michel, has his own resort in nearby Savusavu. He’s no fool. 

 
Northwest of Taveuni, Matangi is one of the many small offshore islands with a limited amount of bures (thatched huts), perfect for romance, not so great for writers traveling solo. I was hired by Bride’s Magazine to write a story on the resort and ended up on Matagi with four other couples, all celebrating their honeymoon! At dinner, I remember trying to act comfortable while everyone around me was kissing, wrapped arm-in-arm, feeding each other. I begged them to please get me off the island within 24 hours or I’d be dangling from a noose from that Treehouse Suite. 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/03/14 at 11:00 AM
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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Adventures in the Florida Keys, Snorkeling Grecian Rocks in Key Largo

Escaping the snow of the northeast, I’m hiding out in the Florida Keys this week. My first stop is always Captain Slate’s Atlantis Dive Center just over the bridge in Key Largo. In operation since 1978, Slate is the premier snorkel and dive operator in the region. In 2004, he received the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame Award for his early work on diver and boater safety. Slate took a group of eight of us 7 miles out to sea to Grecian Rocks, a coral reef located in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Surrounded by aquamarine waters, the vibrant reef is easily one of the premiere snorkeling spots in America. Before we snorkeled, Slate took advantage of his glass bottom boat to show us the Christ of the Abyss statue, a 9-foot tall bronze statue attached to a concrete base and placed in 25 feet of water back in 1965. Then we were off the boat watching a stingray swim gracefully above the sand. Purple fan coral way swaying with the current attracting barracudas, while I spotted a very cool midnight parrotfish with her neon blue lips poking at the brain coral. Visibility was outstanding and all was bliss for the next hour. 

 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 12/17/13 at 11:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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