The Big Little Island in Diving……………

BonaireBonaire, if you are a diver you certainly know where it is but to the rest of the world it is unknown.  When asked “Where is your favorite place to dive?” I usually answer with Bonaire.   Which more often than not is followed with “Where is that?”.  By mentioning Aruba or Curacao they usually figure out quickly where Bonaire is, part of the ABC islands in the Dutch Caribbean.  It was just voted for the 10th year in a row as the best dive location in the world.  This tiny little island 50 miles north of Venezuela that is only 24 miles long and 3-5 miles wide reigns supreme in the dive community.  It is a right of passage for a diver to dive in Bonaire.  Dry and arid it could be said that it is not a very pretty island with cactus and scrub brush, but those of us that flock to the island know that the beauty of Bonaire is underwater.  The entire island is one big dive site to explore to our hearts content 24 hours a day.  Squid, turtles, stingrays, and even a manta ray will greet you as you play in the aqua blue waters off Bonaire.  As the dive center heads off to Bonaire the first week of March, I truly don’t know how many times I have been there but I do know it will never be enough.  The call of the little yellow rocks that line the road with the name of the dive site printed by hand on them is so strong that I have to go.  It’s like going home again.  Look for our photos on the website mid-March and share our experience with us.

Better yet go to Bonaire yourself and experience what diving freedom is all about.

Happy Diving…………..from all of us at Aquatic Realm

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Twenty Shades of Blue……..Dive Travel

Have you ever wondered when or why we started using colors to describe feelings, emotions or attitudes?  If we say a person is black and white it usually means rigid, non-flexible.  We associate red with anger, gray with indifference and blue with sad.  When we start adding in the “shades” of a color then we are trying to infer that different people will have varying degrees of that emotion.

And so for group dive travel we have twenty shades of blue.   The reasons divers do or don’t participate in group dive travel are as varied as the locations we travel to.  For some it just goes against their nature.  After all we are explorers of the earth’s last uncharted frontier.  That doesn’t mesh with structured group travel or does it?

By definition scuba diving is a solitary activity that we always do with someone else.  Once we step off the back of the boat and dissolve into the shades of blue tranquility of our world whether we are part of a group or not doesn’t have much impact on the dive itself.  As a person that has gone on solitary dive trips, joined other group trips and for the last twelve years organized and run group dive travel, I have experienced the pros and cons of all of them.  My opinion is there are no cons to organized group dive travel.

So here are ten shades of why Aquatic Realm group dive travel just makes sense……………

  1. The divers in our group are the family we choose.  They get us and what we love to do.  Some of us only see each other once a year but the bond runs deep and is everlasting.  Some of us aren’t even divers but that doesn’t matter around the dinner table with family.
  2. Unlimited dive buddies.  This takes the pressure off when one buddy wants to do more diving than the other, no problem with unlimited buddies.
  3. It is much more fun to share your photos, sightings and stories with people that really care about you and your adventures.
  4. As a brand new diver, joining group travel offers you the opportunity to dive with more experienced and seasoned divers.  Being good buddies is what we do so taking a new diver under our wings and guiding them is expected.
  5. As a seasoned experience diver, group travel usually has professional and seasoned advanced  divers ready to offer diving to any level you desire.
  6. Specialty training is usually part of group travel.  What a great way to experience new diving situations like deep, drift, night or even boat for the first time.  Divers introduced to a new dive activity with the proper techniques enjoy the dive more.  Training often means no stress or worry about what to expect and you will find that you will more than likely do that type of dive again.
  7. Safety in numbers.  Planes wait for you when you have the majority of the flight.  Resorts give special considerations to groups.  Having the whole dive boat means diving the sites you want and diving with people that share your attitudes about safety.  Someone is always watching out for you.
  8. For our group travel, we always include a scuba refresher.  Make sure the equipment is up to speed and if anything goes wrong on the trip you have an entire boat full of people ready to help out.  I went on a trip where my clothing luggage did not arrive.  I was supplied with clothes, bathing suits and all my needs before the sun set on that day.
  9. We always have a trip meeting.  Here you get to meet the travelers and find out all the details about the upcoming trip.  We do all the research for group travel and there are usually no surprises when you get there.  You know what to pack and what to expect.
  10. We respect each others privacy and don’t intrude on quiet time.  We celebrate milestones together even if it’s just logging your 20th dive.  We celebrate who we are and what we love to do.

2012 will see us in San Salvador to dive with the Sharks and Cozumel to drift our dives away.  2013 is our year to return to Little Cayman, the ultimate in pampered diving, and the exotic location of the Philippines for unparalleled diving. Visit our website for more information about our travels past and future.

Regardless of your thoughts about group travel remember, the world is just one big beautiful ocean with twenty shades of blue and it belongs to us.  Let’s go diving!