Top Wreck Diving Destinations

I'm not much of a wreck diver, and my experience is quite limited. Nevertheless, a recent article in the PADI publication The Undersea Journal caught my attention.

The article is about wreck diving, and an insert gives what author Ty Sawyer calls "15 hot wreck diving destinations." I thought I'd share them here with you, in case you are looking for travel inspiration:

  • Truk Lagoon, Chuuk
  • Scapa Flow, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Great Lakes, USA / Canada
  • Iron Bottom Sound, Solomon Islands
  • Espirito Santo, Vanuatu
  • Kwajalein Atoll
  • South Florida and Florida Keys, USA
  • Palawan / Coron / Cebu region, Philippines
  • Bermuda
  • Bikini Atoll
  • Grenada, Lesser Antilles
  • Vancouver Island, Canada
  • Labuan, Malaysia
  • United States Virgin Islands
  • North Carolina, USA

I like this list for its variety---it has something for everyone, no matter where you live.

The article highlights a few noteworthy wrecks. These are the SS Yongala in Queensland, Australia, the Fujikawa Maru in Truk Lagoon, Chuuk, the SS President Coolidge in Vanuatu, the Antilla in Aruba, The Zenobia in Cyprus, and the USS Saratoga in Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands.

Check out the article for a longer list of "other wrecks not to miss."

Photo by Misserion

Volunteering for REEF

If you've taken a Fish Identification specialty, you've probably heard of REEF, the Reef Environmental Education Foundation. REEF tackles an interesting problem, understanding and protecting marine life, by allowing recreational divers the opportunity to get involved.

REEF was founded in 1990 when its founders realized the increasing threats faced by marine populations. Despite these threats, the scientific community lacked the resources to collect the data needed to combat the problem. By tapping into recreational divers' affinity for sea life, REEF vastly increases the available amount of resources.

The primary way in which divers help is by surveying fish populations. During …

How Many Active Divers Are There?

A few weeks ago I posed the question, "How many certified divers are there?" As we saw, the question is tricky and there really is no straightforward answer. I did my best and used some questionable extrapolation to get a very rough number, but the error in such a measure is extremely high.

This week we're going to ask a similar question: "How many active divers are there?" Not only is this question interesting for its own sake, but it's also also important for many scuba businesses to know the size of their customer base. It also gives us an …

Fish Identification: Mola Mola (Sunfish)

The ocean sunfish, or mola mola, as it is most often called, is a fascinating sea creature. Their odd appearance and enormous size makes them a popular attraction at aquariums around the world.

Physical description

Mola mola are big. Really big. In fact, it's the heaviest known bony fish in the world. Sunfish, on average, weigh well over a ton (1,000 kg), and are almost 6 feet (2 m) in length. There have been sightings of mola mola over twice these sizes, though.

Sunfish look like some kind of freak accident. Their bodies resemble a lump of poorly molded …

California Artificial Reefs

Last week, California Governor Schwarzenegger signed the California artificial reef bill, laying the ground work for artificial reefing projects in California.

This bill limits the government's liability for scuba diving and fishing accidents on artificial reefs. This was a huge impediment to laying artificial reefs in the California waters.

There are already a large number of artificial reefs off California, as most west coast divers know. Surprisingly, most of these are composed of quarry rock, rather than ships and barges. Others are made of light poles, pier pilings, concrete chimneys, and old streetcars. Here is a list of artificial reefs …

Bluefin Tuna

Oceana, the organization tasked with protecting the world's oceans, has recently launched a new ad campaign to preserve bluefin tuna.

The 30-second spot features Adrian Grenier (Entourage, The Devil Wears Prada) free-diving with schools of bluefin tuna, while his voiceover informs us of their plight.

Atlantic bluefin tuna
Eating sustainable seafood may sound like a full-time job, but it doesn't have to be that difficult. True, there are a lot of middle-of-the-road fish---those where it would be better to avoid, but its not quite as imperative. If you're just starting, ignore those for now. Focus on eliminating the fish truly in danger of …

Fish Identification: Dolphins (Part II)

In Part I one of this series we covered the more common kinds of dolphins. These included the common dolphin, the bottlenose, the right whale, and the killer whale (orca).

Today brings us to the less common families. They're not necessarily endangered, but these families tend to be more localized to specific regions.

Humpback dolphin

Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin
Surprise, surprise. Humpback dolphins are distinguished by the noticeable hump along their backs. Additionally, they have an elongated dorsal fin.

The location of the humpback depends on the individual species. The Pacific humpback dolphin has a range throughout the Indo-Pacific region around China and Australia …

Multilevel Dive Planning

Traditional dive planning, the kind you learn as a beginning diver, has you following tables rather than using a dive computer. Even if you use a computer now, it's a good idea to pre-plan your dives using tables to give yourself plenty of buffer and avoid decompression sickness.

That's understandable, but the discrepancy between a square profile from a table and a dive computer can be quite large, costing you precious bottom time. One solution to give yourself more bottom time in the pre-planning stage is to use multilevel dive planning.

The problem

When dive planning with a table, you …

Fish Identification: Humphead Wrasse

The humphead wrasse is also called the Maori wrasse, Napoleon wrasse, and even Napoleon fish. You can call yourself lucky if you run into one of these relatively rare fish underwater.

Physical description

Humphead Wrasse
Humphead wrasse are the largest members of the wrasse family, with males reaching over 6 feet (2 meters) and females over 3 feet (1 meter) in length.

It has two distinguishing characteristics. The first, of course, is the large hump on its head, above the eyes. This protrusion becomes more noticeable as the fish ages. The other characteristics is the fish's thick, Charles Laughton lips. Angelina Jolie …

White Balance Slate

On Tuesday we talked about underwater white balance, what it is and how you can do it. If you recall Step 2 of the process,

Dive slate

Point your camera at something you know is white and "take" a picture or press the appropriate button. The camera will record your settings.

This is potentially a problem. How many pure white objects are there in the ocean? Much less one that is a nice flat surface for setting white balance.

If you're even semi-serious about getting good underwater pictures with your point-and-shoot, I recommend picking up a dive slate. Usually used for communicating …