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Freedive vaction options

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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chojan

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2004
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Freedive vacation options?

Hi --

As my wedding is coming closer, I would like to decide on a good honeymoon trip that can offer decent tropical freediving / snorkeling.

Preferably, some place that has good reef diving off from accessible beaches, although I guess boat charters could be OK.

We're intending to go sometime immediately after the World's (2nd week in August).

So far, places that come to mind:

  • Maui
  • Oahu (went to Hanauma Bay last time, quite easy & nice)
  • Belize
  • Cuba (diving?)
  • ANY IDEAS?

Although I usually love adventurous trips (staying with a tribe in the Amazon, etc.), I think for once it might be best to find something more relaxing! So, I do hope to spend a fair amount of time in the water, if possible, and the rest doing a little exploring or relaxing. We have no problem with very basic living, though (ie. not interested in 5-star!).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

PS> If you're reeeaally bored and are into the sappy stuff: http://www.calvinandsharon.com :)
 
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efattah

Well-Known Member
Mar 2, 2001
3,294
487
173
I did some nice shore diving off of Rhodos (Greece), although I hear Cayman is spectacular. The mediterranean, in general, is quite devoid of life though. Turkey has nice water but very little life, south of France is similar. I never saw much interesting stuff in Hawaii although I was probably in the wrong spots.


Eric Fattah
BC, Canada
 

Erik

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2001
4,731
753
218
Bali! Cheap packages available due to the usual over-reaction to the odd loony incident. Probably 2500$ Can with airfare, 14 days, 5 star hotel(since you want to relax), breakfasts, tours in small 4 passenger vans and a night or 2 in Singapore. Surfing, temples, bargains, great snorkelling and diving.
Let me know if you want more info,
Erik Y.
 

Baur

Spearomania Desperata
Apr 10, 2004
201
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Eric

If the med is devoid of life, then the UK waters are comparable to a crater on Mars!! Agreed Rhodos does not have the fish congregating in masses or diversity like in Bali or Hawaii but there are locations bursting with life if you know where to look :D.

Chojan, Belize was great for me only disadvantage is its usually very windy + wavy. As a cant lose option Id recommend Bali for the guaranteed diving quality, fantastic nature, low prices, and generally great time.

Baur
 

ADR

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2004
655
62
118
Vanuatu is awesome and there are some nice honeymoon resorts to hang out at. Apart from the obvious choice of the President Coolidge which is great freediving there are also some much shallower and just as interesting wrecks and reefs to explore....and it's dirt cheap. Here is a pic of me there in January…Note: I don't condone or recommend entering wrecks while freediving.:) :duh

Andy
 

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ivan

looking for deeper water
Jan 26, 2002
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hi

Andy that is a sick pic mate, what depth is that wreck in ?? What sort of vis did you find in vanuatu

cheers
 

ADR

Well-Known Member
Jan 21, 2004
655
62
118
That boat was at "million dollar point"which is where the Americans pushed Millions of dollars worth of equipment into the ocean. The bottom is quite steep as you can see from the angle of the boat. The boat is also sitting on top of a bulldozer which is a whole story in itself. Tip of the bow would be 18m and the sand at the stern would be a little over 30m. The vis ranged from 20m-40m and the water temp was over 30celcius each day! 3hr sessions in a lycra top was fine and the hood was lycra as well and only there to stop getting burnt on the surface.

Ivan - we will be organising another trip back (probably early next year) there and loopy and Walrus will probably be there as well so I'll let you know the dates

The place we stay at is called the deco stop here is a pic from there (note the great static pool)

The place was really friendly to freedivers and as it is a scuba mecca we were a real novelty....lot's of "your those freediver guys we saw you at ......"

Andy
 

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portinfer

Aquatic shopper...
Jul 3, 2003
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Not too sure about the other locations but Cuba is an interesting place.

From my experience there are the cities and villages and then the international resorts. I never went to the international resorts but heard that they had everything that you would expect but might be a bit bland - ie you could be anywhere. Also you won't get to meet the locals as they restrict who can work there and who can travel there (if you are a local Cuban). If you are not travelling to a resort the travel is hard - unless you have cash for taxis etc

The land around the south east was interesting and although I went swimming there I never did any diving. Plenty of fish coming in off small boats around Baracoa and that is a sweet place. Going north from there towards Guardalavaca the coast is really unspoilt but you may have problems finding places to stay and certainly no resorts. Half way between is a heavy mining area pretty devoid of life - land all bare and striped. But I think from Santiago de Cuba to Baracoa would be a very cool place to go freediving.

The other area which might be better set up would be the north west. This has the advantage of being closer to Havanna and easier to get to. There is a marine national park I beleive right at the end of the peninsula past Pinar del Rio - I can't remember the name but you can see it on a map no doubt.
Also Isla de la Juventud is meant to be a good place - I think there are some travel restrictions - I never made it that far. But I know for sure that the north west of Cuba has some good diving / freediving. Couldn't tell you about the marine life health tho'

Good luck choosing !
Ed
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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I've been to Belize, but the boat rides were a bit much for my wife- which means that there are no nice reeefs that you can jump in and swim to.

I 've also dove Roatan and Utilia, which had some ok reefs, but the fish and been fished out and not as much marine life as I would have liked- except for the whale sharks!:D Utila had this aweful coral bleaching which killed everything off above 40' when I was down there.

One of the best places I've been, and probably my first trip where I spent more time freedivng than scuba diving, is Bonaire. THh reefs start right off shore, it's almost always calm and warm and you can just rent a car to go divng- no boats needed unless you want to go dive Klein Bonaire. It was also pretty laid back. I have been to Curacou as well, but they were a bit more built up and had more current to deal with at the south end of the island. Bonaire was a much easier, read "fun", location for do-it-yourslef Freediving.

Never been to Cayman, too much money, but they have some very nice shore dives form what I understand.

I've dove other places, but they were all colder, or needed boats to get you out to the dive sites.

Jon
 

icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
2,880
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Been there...

1. Palau, though you'll be going off boats and the accomodations can get pretty ghetto for 'weds. ;)

2. Bali, can't miss and I'd go back just for the people. The land is just unreal, the ocean even moreso. Double cool points. :cool: :cool:

3. If you spearo, head to Mexico to the Aztec club. Boats, knowlegable capts and fish. The missus stays in the spas and then tans 'em on the beach. Can you say, "Honey, I'm home?? :p

4. Belize.

5. Moorea. C'mon, it's freakin' Tahiti! Put on parea and jam a flower in your hair.

6. Mendocino. Bring your stones and a 7 mil. Manly, but filled w/ B&B's that cater to you recently shackled types. :head

999. Wisconsin. :yack
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
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999. Wisconsin.

Ok funny boy, not that I wouldn't choose to go south for a trip, but things aren't as bad around here as you make them out to be.

First, we border TWO Great lakes which represent a little over 10% of the worlds freshwater supply- something you'll be begging us for a a couple more decades out where you are.;)

Second, we have better vis here in the Great lakes than in you costal waters where you dive, plus many of your outer islands as well- depending upon the day. Best vis I've ad in Lake Michigna is 85'- measured. I've also had dives in Superior with 70'+ vis @ 190' with some nice strong sunlight to brighten things up- no lights needed.:D

Third, water does warm up in the summer time. I've had 82 degree water in out inland lakes and 69 degree water, at 110', in Lake Michigan.

We also have sailing, commercial fishing, surfing (that's right, I said surfing) and some of the best sea kayaking this side of Baha. Not to mention some ofthe best wreck diving in the world and a growing number of freedivers.:D

Here's a shot from just one of our 100's of miles of lakeshore:
 
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Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
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Another shot from one of our beaches, which you can see are no where near as crowded as your average Claifronia variety.;)

There's a reason they call Wisconsin "Illinois's largest park".;)
 
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icarus pacific

Human-in-training
Nov 7, 2001
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brought to you by the Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce...

yeah, but we have the cheese! :king

I will admit though that some of the biggest abs I've seen were back there. Of course they were on some of those grain-fed Midwest gals, though calling them wrecks is a bit harsh. :ban And I did enjoy taking a few lbs off my weight belt to do that freshwater thing as well.
 

chojan

Well-Known Member
Feb 22, 2004
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Thank you everyone for the great suggestions... You gave me lots of ideas. (BTW, great photo, Andy!)

After lots of frantic searching around on the internet and discovering how booked up things were, I am now booked to Bonaire (with some time at Jamaica first and possibly day or two in Venezuela). Bonaire doesn't seem to offer much other than the diving / activities / relaxing, so some time in Jamaica might be a nice change.

When it came down to it, Bonaire sounds like a good fit, especially with the focus on accessible freediving/snorkeling and less tourism. I just recently dove Grand Cayman and can vouch for it being a great place to dive [SCUBA & snorkel] (but I didn't find it particularly culturally-interesting). I also SCUBA'd Cozumel and certainly liked that, but I didn't really feel that you could do much shore snorkeling -- ended up mostly boat dives.

Hopefully, I'll find a way to rent an underwater video camera! Probably wishful thinking, I guess :)

Thanks again and I'll be sure to keep all of the other suggestionses for the future!

BTW, it looks like there is a place that caters to freedivers in Bonaire (Jon, do you know anything about them?)
http://www.infobonaire.com/freedive/information.html

What's more, they appear to offer an excursion to freedive with the dolphins? :) Wow, that would be a dream come true (can you say Big Blue? :) )
http://www.infobonaire.com/freedive/expeditions.html
 

Jason Billows

New Member
Sep 17, 2002
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I stayed in Cayo Guillermo and Cayo Coco in Cuba. Both had some amazing dive locations, but I didn't have a buddy with me so I was restricted to scuba.

The dive charters told me that if I returned in the future with a buddy they'd be happy to have us tag along with the scuba divers on the boats and go freediving while they're diving at the cost of only a few divers. This would probably be the case everywhere.

The charters usually did morning dives at reefs around 5 to 20 meters and afternoon dives with the reefs between 20 and 40 meters. Fish and reefs were amazing!

I used to do quite a bit of snorkeling in Aruba and loved it, but that was in the mid 90's and I don't know what it's like now. I think Arashi Reef is pretty busy there.

Snorkeling in Grand Cayman was out of this world, but I never went deep.

Cozumel has some great dive locations.

Have fun deciding where to go. See you at the Worlds.

Jason
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
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Cal,

Sorry I can't help you out with that freedive operator, he started on the island after my last trip there.

I will tell you that if you swim out form the beach about 20 yards, if that, you'll find the "wall" starting at about 25' and sloping down to around 150'. That should give you plenty of areas to explore. THere are reefs starting much shallower than that and it is worth the boat ride out to Klien Bonarie.

Due to the underwater topography you could just jump on a snorkel boat and pick your depth. Or, you could do what everyone else does and rent a car to drive to your favorite dive spot. The sides of the Road in Bonaire are lined with number yellow painted rocks. These numbers match up the dive sites to the map and you can find any place to dive very easily.

There are also a couple of wrecks that you can dive. The "Hilma Hooker" starts around 50' and drops down to around 100'. THere is also another wreck on the north side, by the oil terminal, that I tried to dive but couldn't find a day when the port was open up there. It's called the "Windjammer", although I think her name is really the Maria Bahn. She starts at 150' and drops to a little over 200'. More of a scuba dive unless your one of the really deep boys and girls.;)

It is quiet and there's not a ton of night life like on other islands. I was always able to find a nice beach bar to settle into at the end of every night dive while I was there.:cool:

Jon
 

Jon

Dairyland diver
Supporter
Apr 7, 2001
4,080
473
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It's actually a topic that comes up every couple of years in our state politics.

The western states have been lobbying our Governors to build a freshwater pipline from our Great Lakes to their regions to support their rapid growth. Our last Governor, Tommy Thompson, told them that if they needed water for buisness growth then they can move their buisnesses here.;)

Of course, he was the same guy who made a closed-door deal with Perrie to pump our water for their bottled water and the local farmers had a fit. They caused such an uproar that they were forced to cancel the bid. It was the lead local news story for a whole summer.

Up until the last 2 weeks the lakes had been down quite a bit for the past few years. I believe Lake Michigan runs on a 60 year cycle and we were getting to the bottom of it. With all of the recent rain our local lakes are up 2 feet! I heard that Lake Michigan is up too, but haven't been in there lately to see.


I've read sutff about the Florida water problems in the past- rapid growth, poor planning, and huge dairy farms all adding up to cause run off pollution in the Florida cave system, where everyone draws their freshwater from.

I must say that it is pretty nice to be hanging at 100', starting your deco from a deep wreck dive, and being able to pull out your regulator and take a BIG drink of cold fresh water. Of course, this works better if your a good 10 miles out and away from any city.:D

Jon
 
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