Activities/Trips Information

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This section lets you have the benefit of my knowledge on where to dive in these regions and how best to get there.
  1. Bahamas

  2. Bora Bora

  3. Belize

  4. California 

  5. Cayman Islands 

  6. Florida Keys 

  7. Hawaii 

  8. Honduras

  9. Iceland

  10. Malta & Gozo 

  11. Tenerife, Canary Islands

  12. Turkey 

  13. Turks & Caicos Islands

  14. Truk Lagoon (Trip postponed)

  15. Vancouver, Canada

  16. UK Diving

Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, Scotland

Stoney Cove, Leicestershire, UK

James Egan Layne, Plymouth, UK

The Scylla, Plymouth, UK

The Persia, Plymouth, UK

The Baygitano, Lyme Regis, UK

The Kyarra, Swanage, UK

M2 Submarine, Portland, UK

Many movie clips are available on the GrevNet video server best way to get there is back to the home page and select video server from the options on the left.

More later......


The full Story

Bahamas (1998,1999,2001,2003,2005)

As you can see have made 5 trips to the Bahamas over the last 10 years. Two have been with Stuart Coves at the South Ocean resort on New Providence Island, Nassau and three trips with DiveDiveDive in Coral Harbour on the same Island. The last trip was direct to Nassau on Virgin Atlantic. This Island has three main diving attractions, Sharks, Walls (6000ft) and the James Bond Wrecks. 

The first two visits were to the main Shark specialist on the Island - Stuart Cove. He has been feeding sharks and running diving operations for 30 years. He has been involved with many of the James Bond movies which have been made in the Bahamas over the years. He even taught Sean Connery and Kim Basinger to dive.

The second operation I tried was the DiveDiveDive outfit in Coral harbour. A much smaller outfit, only 2 boats, and self catering apartments and a generally laid back group of people. After 1 day I felt relaxed and was settled in. Stuarts is a bigger operation and with many boats it takes longer to settle in.

Unfortunately DiveDiveDive has closed down and the only choice of Dive Operation is Stuart Coves. I dived with them for 6 days in July 2005 and had a great time.

Visit our video server to see some video clips of some of the sights.

Bora Bora (2000)

I had the great fortune to be able to visit the French Polynesian Islands in 2000, we flew to Tahiti from Los Angeles (a 7 hour flight) and then took a short flight to BoraBora. This scenic Island is right out of Pacific Island story books. There is a tall volcano surrounded by a beautiful deep blue lagoon and then ringed by an outer reef. On this reef lay the various luxurious hotels and the inner Island remains relatively untouched.

The main diving attraction is in the inner lagoon which hosts some large Manta Rays 3-4 Metres across. Over two dives in the lagoon I encountered 9 Manta Rays which swooped over our heads on several occasions. The depths here range from 25M up to 5M and the visibility can vary from 10M to 25M. I also did a Shark Dive on the outer reef and saw Black Tip Reef Sharks and Lemon Sharks.

I dived in a couple of other Polynesian Islands, Raiatea and Moorea but the major sight at Raiatea was a close encounter with a 300lb Napoleon Wrasse which was accustomed to divers. While the dive leader fed the fish whole boiled eggs I was able to stroke the fish along its whole length.

Maybe not the best for diving but I rate BoraBora as the best place on earth to have a holiday !

Belize (2002)

We were booked on the Belize Aggressor in March 2002 and travelled there via Huston. Belize has the 2nd longest barrier reef in the world together with the famous Blue Hole it was a pretty good trip. Most of the reefs were typical reef dives with lots of colour and small fish life. We did not see much big stuff a few Turtles, Morays and Groupers. No sharks, Eagle Rays and no close encounters with Whale Sharks. Although one Whale Shark swam past the boat but we were diving at 30Metres at the time so did not see it. A photo album of surface pictures is available here

California (1996-2001)

I lived in California for 5 years ('96-01) and dived several times in Monterey Bay and enjoyed the diving very much. Northern Californian diving is cold (8-12 deg C), rough, poor viz on bad days and limited on what you get to see. The big attraction is the kelp forests which grow all along the coastline and can range from 15M to 30M in height. In amongst the kelp forest are many types of fish life, Lingcod, Wrasse, Sea Lions, Seals and of course Great White Sharks cruising on the outside of the kelp. 

Cayman Islands (1998, 1999)

I dived Grand Cayman twice and the other Islands once. The first trip was in a time share hotel complex on the east end of Grand Cayman. The diving was pretty good and I enjoyed the excellent walls, reefs and fish life.

The second trip was to board the Cayman Aggressor live aboard and this was the best dive trip so far in my experience, the diving was up to standard and in addition the live aboard conditions were superb. Definitely the only way to really dive your heart out. We did 25 dives in 1 week.

Florida Keys (1995, 1996, 1997,1998)

I have dived Key Largo seven times in total and all of the trips have been to Amy Slates Dive resort. I highly recommend them as its a laid back but professional outfit. The accommodation is pretty good and local food variety lives up to US standards. The diving is easy and most of the dives are around the reef system in the Pennekamp reserve are shallow and long. A couple of dives are deeper like the wreck of the coastguard cutter the Duane which lies in 31M. On the reef I have encountered Large Turtles, Barracuda, Nurse Sharks, Moray Eels, Stingrays, Lobster and many other Caribbean fish.

Hawaii (1996)

We went to the Island of Maui in '96 and had a great time. I dived with a couple of operations while I was there and found one that suited my tastes. We visited Molokini which is a partially sunken Volcano which you can dive inside or outside. The dive inside is pretty boring but the outside dive is deeper and more interesting. I reached 40M on the outside, whilst 15M was typical inside. We also dived cathedral caves which is a series of pretty big caverns which you can easily swim through. Another tourist attraction is Turtle town. When you visit you can watch pretty large Turtles approach cleaning stations and wait while they are cleaned by waiting Wrasse. After this some of them fall asleep nearby. I feel privileged to have been able to watch that so closely. On our dives we sometimes heard whales singing underwater although we never saw any.

Honduras, Roatan Islands (2004)

Spent a week in March 2004 on the Bay Island Aggressor. This boat tours the Roatan Islands off the coast of Honduras in Central America. The main reason for going was to have the opportunity to dive with Whale Sharks. Due to the poor weather conditions, wind and rain, no encounters were had with Whale Sharks. This was a very big disappointment for me and coloured the rest of the trip. Overall Bay Islands are a great place to go if you like close up macro shots of small stuff. But I had my fill of small stuff in Belize and the lack of big animals was a shame. There were a couple of memorable dives, Aguilar wreck and Mary's place, and I saw my first Sea Horse and Toad Fish, but it was hard to get over the Whale Shark disappointment.

Iceland (2002)

Excellent! Did only 2 dives while on a short holiday to Iceland in August 2002. It's an incredible place to visit and the diving is breath taking with 50M + viz. I dived in the Pingvallavatn lake. Iceland is on both the European and American tectonic plates. They are moving apart 2 cm a year and the place where this can be seen is Pingvellir where a large valley has been formed over the years and a lake is at the bottom. The movement has create a crack in the bottom of the valley which has filled with ice cold water. This water is gin clear. The first dive was in a cave and cavern complex where we descended to 30M and penetrated caves and tunnels formed by rocks falling into the crack. Some entrances were a little tight but mostly its an easy path through. When your shoulders touch the sides you are touching Europe and America at the same time!. The second dive was more open and the viz increased to as far as the eye could see under water. Water temp was 1-2 Deg C. Make sure you go prepared for the cold. But its worth it. For information on diving in Iceland contact Matti Bjarnason at info@arcticdiving.com thanks Matti I had a great time.

Malta & Gozo (1994)

Have dived both Malta and Gozo on separate trips. First was Malta where we dived with Maltaqua and visited many of the sites around the island. It was February and we were in Dry Suits and some of the dives were good and some were pretty bad. A later trip was to the sister island of Gozo and I dived with Calypso Diving center and had a pretty good time. Most of the dives were better than Malta, but this second trip was in June.

Tenerife, Canary Islands (2003)

Visited Tenerife in the Canary Islands, off the coast of Africa in March 2003. I booked a package of 6 dives with Island Divers in Playa de las Americas. The diving is RIB based and they dive once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The operation is pretty relaxed and friendly. At this time of year the water is cool at 19 Deg C but still diveable in a thin wet suit. The first dive was at Pariso which is home to some big Atlantic Stingray's and Bat Ray's. Others were at Palm Mar wall, and The Steps. These sites are more interesting for their rock and wall formations than the fish life. But all worth seeing.

Turkey (1995)

This trip to Turkey we stayed in a local hotel in Fethieye and I dived with the European diving center. These guys seemed to be friendly when I walked into their shop, they had 4 boats, one claimed to be an advanced diver boat and I booked on this immediately. The diving day in Turkey is very slow, boring and inefficient it takes the whole day to do 2 dives ! You board the boat 8:30-8:45am and the boat leaves at 9am. The trip out to the dive site takes extra time as they fanny around and transfer passengers between their boats. Then we finally get there for a dive at 10am. After the dive the crew fall asleep under a white sheet on the bow. When they wake up its time for lunch which they make in a surprisingly efficient manor. Then its time for another sleep ! Later in the afternoon we get another dive around 3pm. We finally make it back to port at 5:30pm. For all this effort there's not much fish life to see. A few memorable caves, tunnels and some broken pottery on the sea bed.

Turks & Caicos Islands (2000, 2001)

Another Aggressor Live aboard only this time four of us shared a 4 bed cabin to save money. We flew to Miami and then onto Provodentiales the main town in the Caicos Islands. We dived for a couple of days before boarding the boat and then enjoyed pretty good diving all week. We saw Eagle Rays, Sharks, excellent walls (not as good as Cayman), lots of swim throughs and some good reefs.

In March 2001 we went back to the Turks Aggressor and this time boarded in Grand Turk for a trip to the Silverbanks to See and swim with Humpback Whales. The trip included a few dives (8 in my case) but most of the time (4 days) were spent in small inflatables searching out Whales and snorkeling with them. This was an incredible experience (see the Photo Album) and one I highly recommend. I have inserted a short underwater movie taken with a low quality Camcorder inside a plastic bag ! Apologies for the quality. But you will get the idea.

Truk Lagoon (November 2006)

This is a trip only in the planning stages. Its an expensive location to get to and the trip we are investigating is a Live aboard or a land based venue.

Vancouver, Canada (1993)

This was an opportunistic dive. We were in Vancouver and I was offered a local dive in a place called WhiteCliff which is a shore dive on the coast near Vancouver. I rented all the gear and we swam out from a rocky shoreline to a pinnacle which has a steep drop off on the seaward side. The temperature was 8 deg C and the viz was pretty poor down to about 10 M then it opened out. The was a Thermal layer at 15M which seemed to suddenly drop the water temp a couple of degrees. On the dive we saw giant Anemone, Star fish and Large Cod. The second dive was pretty much the same.

UK Diving

James Egan Layne

One of my favourite UK dives out of Plymouth. Large wreck at 25 M. It is one of the famous "Liberty Ships" of WWII. It was sunk by a German U-boat in March 1945. The crew kept her afloat and tried to beach her but the ship sunk before reaching land. No lives were lost. I took a video while on a BS-AC training course. You can see it under UK diving on the video server. More info on the wreck's history

The Scylla

We dived the Scylla 1 month after her sinking as a artificial reef about 500M away from The James Egan Layne above. At that time the wreck looked nice and clean and we penetrated most of the way along the wreck inside. The wreck has been made safe by extra exits and warning signs at every entrance. Later trips have shown that it is beginning to develop a life of its own. A video can be found on the video server.

The Persier

Dived this in July 2005 for the first time. Big boilers are the main feature of the wreck and lots of fish life. A 30M dive and pretty straight forward as wreck dives go. Made a movie which can be found on the video server. The Persia,  a supply ship on its way to Belgium in February 1944 was torpedoed and sunk by UB-1017. 44 survived out of 63. The wreck was discovered by Pymouth Sound BS-AC in 1969.

The Baygitano

The "Baggie" as its now to UK divers is only 1.5 Miles offshore from Lyme Regis harbour and sits in 18M of water and is an easy dive on a good day. She was a steam driven and the boilers remain her best feature. The ship was torpedoed by UC-77 in March 1918 and 2 crew were killed instantly when the torpedo impacted. The rest of the crew made it to shore in lifeboats. You can see the video on the video server under UK diving.

The Kyarra

Dived many times but most recent in August 2005. Like the Persia the wreck has big boilers and pretty good fish life. Built in 1903 and over 100 M in length and was a trade ship which traveled between England and Australia. She was a hospital ship in WW1 and was torpedoed by UB57 in May 1918. It was rediscovered by accident in the 1960s and sits in 30M of water. As usual you can find a short video on the video server under UK diving.

M2 Submarine

A 30M dive on the M2 is not to be missed. It still looks like a submarine. One of the most popular boat dives from Portland this submarine is an official War Grave. She was built in 1918 as a K-boat and in 1927 she was converted to carry a light sea plane in a hangar in front of the conning tower. It is generally accepted that she sunk after diving with
the hangar doors open (as they are today). The M2 is not far west round the Bill, is about 300'  and all hands were lost on her when she sunk in January 1932.
You can see the video on the video server under UK diving.

Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, Scotland, (2002, 2004)

These were BS-AC Swindon dive holidays. Some 20+ members of the Swindon branch traveled in convoy to Thurso in Northern Scotland and caught a ferry to Stromness in the Orkney Islands. We had chartered 2 dive boats to take us each day to the Famous German ship wrecks located in Scapa Flow. Scapa is a natural harbour North of Scotland where the German fleet was held after the 1st World War. Some 74 ships were scuttled by the German Navy to prevent the Allies taking them after the surrender in 1919. Of the 74 ships only seven remain. We dived all the wrecks and a few other ships. The big Battleships (Dreadnaught Class) sit in deep water and as they sank turned over to sink upside down. These typically sit in 45 M of water and are 25-30 M to the hull. I found them great dives. Then we dived the cruisers. These sit in 30-35M of water and make good second dives. Finally there are the block ships. These wrecks were sunk in the approach channels to Scapa to prevent submarines penetrating the inner harbour of Scapa. The diving was great. A significant number were decompression dives. But overall very safe. The fish life and vegetation were abundant and colourful. Following the 2004 trip I have added movie clips of some of the wreck dives on the GrevNet Video-server

Stoney Cove, Leicestershire, UK

It may not deserve to be here as an exciting dive location in the world but having dived here many times I believe it has a place in this dive trip record. The photos in the album show a club outing with about 12 divers exploring what cold water diving has to offer. A video clip of the Nautilus Submarine at Stoner Cove is available on the video-server.


 

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Last revised on 14 August, 2005