Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Inexpensive dive locations


  • Please log in to reply
37 replies to this topic

#21 diggy

diggy

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 470 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Mumbai, India
  • Interests:U/W Photography

Posted 05 May 2009 - 01:10 AM

Hi Gus,

I have not been to bonaire or coz, but definately second the Bali option subject to airfare. You CAN really stretch the dollar there and the diving is fantastic.. Tulamben has many choices of good cheap stay and fantastic diving. Ellen mentioned Jeff Mullins and i do believe he also has accomodation facilities and you could learn loads of stuff diving with him. Other places that i have dived include Amed (Kembali Beach Bungalows are 10 mtrs from the ocean and for as low as 26 Eur's with b/fast. Other interesting places include Pemuteran and Menjangan. If you decide to do Bali there are many posts on wetpixel and you could even send a pm and i could give you more info.

Cheers and good luck,

Diggy

SERENE I FOLD MY HANDS AND WAIT,    FOR WHAT IS MINE WILL KNOW MY FACE

Diggy          http://www.scubadiggy.com/

Canon7D, Nauticam housing, mini and large dome, canon 100mm, canon 60mm, 10-17 tokina, macro ports, extensions, two inon Z240, Nauticam SMC converter, +3, +5 diopters. Two Sola 2000, One Sola 1200, Go Pro hero 3 Black 


#22 eyu

eyu

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wilmington, DE

Posted 05 May 2009 - 03:38 AM

I agree that in Indonesia/Bali the dollar goes far and the diving is far better than either Cozumel or Bonaire, but Gus lives on the East Coast of the US as I. Got great air last year to Indonesia but it was still like four times the cost of air to Bonaire or Cozumel. To make the costs comparable to the Caribbean I went to Indonesia for almost a month. That way the costs are about equal, but you need to have the time to dive a month...... such a hardship that I had to bare.

Elmer

Edited by eyu, 05 May 2009 - 03:39 AM.

Nikon D800E, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS & Carbon Arms


#23 kitty

kitty

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 64 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Miami

Posted 05 May 2009 - 05:57 PM

Key Largo is having a bad spring. The winds have been bad. I was just there last month. In fact we were getting a lot of green water instead of the nice blue water due to the high winds.


I wouldn't necessarily say that we are having a "bad spring." Winter-Spring is ALWAYS hit or miss. I live here, and we generally do have a lot of long, windy spells in the winter and early spring. The dive "season" is starting now in earnest as this is the time the winds begin to calm down and the water warms up.

I am a little chicken right now to travel to Bali. My overseas choice for economics & dive freedom & especially macro photography would be Bonaire - I went there years ago, liked it alot and will go back. Its fabulous for what it sounds like you are looking for - on your own schedule and unstructured. If you go, look for a "dive 'n drive" package with maybe a rental condo instead of hotel so you can do some meals in to save money instead of eating out all the time. Skip the boat dives, they are totally unnecessary - unless you feel the need to dive Klein Bonaire, then you're going to need a boat. and make sure you make at least 1 trip into Slaagbaai Nat Park to dive, I thought the diving was better in the Park, but its a bit of a haul to go up there but was really interesting. There's great snorkeling at a place called Playa Funchi. If you go, pick up a "dive guidebook" and a good map for Bonaire too, they should be available in your local dive shop or on-line. just my 2 centavos. and best wishes for a great dive trip where ever you wind up at.

#24 davephdv

davephdv

    Doc Eyeballs

  • Senior Moderator
  • 2359 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Goleta CA

Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:26 PM

Santa Barbara,

Book a trip on Truth Aquatics. They have several 4 to 6 day trips in the summer that go to the southern Channel islands.

Great diving and photography and within your price range.

Truth Aquatics
Dave Burroughs, Nikon D300, D2X, Subal housing, DS160 strobes

Life is a beach and then you dive.

My Website


#25 Searcaigh

Searcaigh

    Triggerfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 36 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UAE
  • Interests:Diving, photography, 4x4 desert driving

Posted 15 May 2009 - 05:01 AM

I second those who mentioned Bali, shore diving at Tulumben is amazing with black volcanic sand as a background underwater. Very cheap to live there too.

There are also other Indonesian sites worth visiting such as Manado in Sulawesi and not to forget the Malaysian islands such as Redang and Perhentian
Gordon T. Smith
Diver and Desert Explorer

#26 cozumeldogs

cozumeldogs

    Clownfish

  • Member
  • Pip
  • 28 posts

Posted 15 May 2009 - 05:13 AM

[quote name='Gus_Smedstad' date='May 3 2009, 10:00 AM' post='210741']
No, I'm not at all concerned about the swine flu. Aside from Steve's points in the Cozumel thread, mainly what bugs me is the requirement to dive as a group rather than as pairs, and strong currents which make macro photography difficult. As I said in that thread, currents don't bother me as a diver, but as a photographer I'm concerned. And I really prefer more freedom to go at my own pace than I experienced in Belize.

- Gus

Many dive sites on Cozumel are not normally exposed to big current. As to diving as a group and with your buddy that is the law so to speak but you likely can find an opearator who will cut you some slack if they know you. I normally dive with a float so if I get seperated its no big deal and I use the float to mark my position (and avoid being run over by boats). Right now with the paranoia of swine flu the islands real slow and peacefull with no cruise boats. Its like it was 20-30 years ago. Great time to come. PM if you want some recomendations on operators.

#27 Gus_Smedstad

Gus_Smedstad

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Location:Boston

Posted 15 May 2009 - 05:57 AM

At this point I have plane and dive reservations for Bonaire. I find the idea of being on my own schedule appealing. The only thing I miss right now is that the two dive guides I've purchased - Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy and Lonely Planet Diving and Snorkeling Bonaire - don't have sketches of the dive sites. I'm used to seeing a rough underwater map with a dive briefing.

For example, "Diving and Snorkeling Bonaire" says that at the Aquarius dive site, the second reef is "out of sight" of the first reef, and "must be navigated," but doesn't say anything further about relative positions.

- Gus
My Flickr Dive Photos
Canon 40D, Ikelite housing, 10-22, 60mm, 100mm, Ikelite strobes


#28 eyu

eyu

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 970 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Wilmington, DE

Posted 15 May 2009 - 12:57 PM

At this point I have plane and dive reservations for Bonaire. I find the idea of being on my own schedule appealing. The only thing I miss right now is that the two dive guides I've purchased - Bonaire Shore Diving Made Easy and Lonely Planet Diving and Snorkeling Bonaire - don't have sketches of the dive sites. I'm used to seeing a rough underwater map with a dive briefing.

For example, "Diving and Snorkeling Bonaire" says that at the Aquarius dive site, the second reef is "out of sight" of the first reef, and "must be navigated," but doesn't say anything further about relative positions.

- Gus


The second reef on the western side of Bonaire varies in proximity to the first reef. For example at Angel City it touches in one spot and joins further south, at 18th palms the second is visible from the first, but as you work your way up north it is not very apparent. You should do a few boat dives so you can get to Klein Bonaire and to pick the brains of the divemasters on where to dive for what creatures. I usually do a boat dive with Toucan to find out where the sea horses and frog fish are. Still don't have the perfect sea horse pic.

Elmer

Nikon D800E, Subal ND800, Inon Z240, ULCS & Carbon Arms


#29 JBriggs

JBriggs

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 103 posts

Posted 16 May 2009 - 06:21 AM

Most if not all dive sites on Bonaire have markers on the road and floating in the water. Get in the water go left, go right after checking for current. No navigation issues. The double reefs are cool. We usually surface swim to the second marker, drop down on the outer reef and then make our way back in. Great stuff. With numerous resorts having free or seriously discounted breakfast included in some of their packages you can hit the Warehouse or another market and get food to prepare in your room. There are also inexpensive restaurants for other meals. The dining experience is part of why we like Bonaire so much. We plan a good meal out every other day or two.

Jeff

Canon 450D, Seatool housing, 60mm macro, Tokina 10-17, Inon D2000 x2

 


#30 Gus_Smedstad

Gus_Smedstad

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Location:Boston

Posted 16 May 2009 - 06:59 AM

You seem to have a lot of squid photos from Bonaire - I gather they're common? I haven't seen any to date. Turtles, sharks, and mantas, but no squid. You also have a few banded shrimp, it'd be cool to get some photos of those - I had a couple of shrimp photos from Hawaii, but they were hiding in rocks / coral so they're partially obscured.

- Gus
My Flickr Dive Photos
Canon 40D, Ikelite housing, 10-22, 60mm, 100mm, Ikelite strobes


#31 JBriggs

JBriggs

    Wolf Eel

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 103 posts

Posted 16 May 2009 - 09:14 AM

We have friends who live on Bonaire. We get a good scouting report on arrival! The 07', 08' squid images are all from the same dive site (Buddies house reef). Aug, Sept may be a good time of year for them? We had several days of diving with them. I loaded up my card every time. Frogfish were around too. Buddies is a great reef. We hit it several times during a trip even though we haven't stayed there in a couple years. You will have a great time.

Canon 450D, Seatool housing, 60mm macro, Tokina 10-17, Inon D2000 x2

 


#32 laz217

laz217

    Salty Pirate

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 635 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:N. Palm Beach, FL

Posted 17 May 2009 - 06:29 PM

I'd add Palm Beach, FL to the mix of inexpensive trips. There is an amazing diversity of marine life and diving that can be done in this area during different times of the year. During the winter this is a great place for sharks (lemon, bulls). During the spring the turtles nesting season is out of this world with chances of photographing at least 3 if not 4 different species (leatherbacks if you're lucky). Summer is still great for turtles as well as mantas in the shallows. Of course, there are the tons of tropicals you'll get throughout the Caribbean. The reefs are beautiful with lots of colors and a bunch of great wrecks.

Oh.. and did I mention Poor Man's Lembeh (Blue Heron)? Up to 3 hours (per day) of the greatest muck diving on this side of the planet is a simple "free" beach dive away - seahorses, frog fish, octopus, squids, you name it. The beaches here also great (as is the shopping -- take that as a warning). There's also the Everglades/Big Cypress nearby...and if the kids commit mutiny on your dive vacation there's always Disney World.

Check out the Palm Beach Captain's Blog where I work for a video perspective of Palm Beach: http://www.scuba-adv...com/blog/?cat=4

Edited by laz217, 17 May 2009 - 06:35 PM.

Lazaro Ruda
Soap box: TheLivingSea.com

#33 CompuDude

CompuDude

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 346 posts
  • Location:Studio City, CA

Posted 18 May 2009 - 09:18 AM

I'd add Palm Beach, FL to the mix of inexpensive trips. There is an amazing diversity of marine life and diving that can be done in this area during different times of the year. During the winter this is a great place for sharks (lemon, bulls). During the spring the turtles nesting season is out of this world with chances of photographing at least 3 if not 4 different species (leatherbacks if you're lucky). Summer is still great for turtles as well as mantas in the shallows. Of course, there are the tons of tropicals you'll get throughout the Caribbean. The reefs are beautiful with lots of colors and a bunch of great wrecks.

Oh.. and did I mention Poor Man's Lembeh (Blue Heron)? Up to 3 hours (per day) of the greatest muck diving on this side of the planet is a simple "free" beach dive away - seahorses, frog fish, octopus, squids, you name it. The beaches here also great (as is the shopping -- take that as a warning). There's also the Everglades/Big Cypress nearby...and if the kids commit mutiny on your dive vacation there's always Disney World.

Check out the Palm Beach Captain's Blog where I work for a video perspective of Palm Beach: http://www.scuba-adv...com/blog/?cat=4

Florida certainly offers some great diving, but every time I try to put a trip together there it ends up costing either more, or within a couple hundred bucks of the more exotic locations. Cost of US-based accommodations, costs of food, and costs of boats generally drive the costs up to the point where it's not truly competitive, even though the flights are cheaper.

On the other hand, you can drink the water. :P

#34 rtrski

rtrski

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1019 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Texas, USA
  • Interests:Slowly learning digital photography and underwater digital photography. Like drinking from a salt-water firehose... ;-)

Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:15 PM

Well, a big part of 'cheap' is where you start from, certainly. Starting from CA, get the biggest delta on flights further west (or 'far east' :P ) as compared to someone on the east coast.

It stands to reason that even though the flights to FL from CA are cheaper than from CA to Bali or whatever, they are still substantial costs, and enough to kick the total dive trip cost over some desirable threshold for you vs. someone coming 'down coast' from the NE seaboard.

You'd think being in TX I'd get my choice of either - instead I get screwed either way. (Flights from DFW are still on average kind of high, even though American's dominance in the market is on a bit of a downward slide).

I still find the biggest discriminators for me (personally) are the timezone change, and dives/day. Sure, I could probably afford a 10 day trip to Bali with the cheaper costs once there vs. the higher daily cost / lower airfare to stay in the Carribean...I'm willing to bet they'd end up almost equal, at least within 10-20%. But 3-4 timezones I can shrug off as just being tired my first day, and the travel itself usually can be done in the same day each way. A 10-12 hour change equates to me being useless for a day after arrival and ditto on the return, plus the actual transit time. So the trip needs to be LONGER if its further for me to feel like it "equates", since I end up dividing everything by dollars/dive in the end. And liveaboards automatically seem cheaper than doing 2-3 tank dayboats, in general.

Of course it also depends on your ideal diving/nondiving activity distribution for the trip. I definitely am way hard over to one extreme on what I want - but have a wife to make sure I have to compromise. ;)

Edited by rtrski, 18 May 2009 - 01:17 PM.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.

 

Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...


#35 Gus_Smedstad

Gus_Smedstad

    Lionfish

  • Member
  • PipPip
  • 74 posts
  • Location:Boston

Posted 18 May 2009 - 01:53 PM

If by "extreme" you mean 5 dives / day, one of which is a night dive, I'm at that end as well. I get a bit tired after 4-5 days on that schedule, but on a 2 dive, even 3 dive schedule I feel there's too much dead time.

- Gus
My Flickr Dive Photos
Canon 40D, Ikelite housing, 10-22, 60mm, 100mm, Ikelite strobes


#36 CompuDude

CompuDude

    Eagle Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 346 posts
  • Location:Studio City, CA

Posted 18 May 2009 - 02:00 PM

Well, a big part of 'cheap' is where you start from, certainly. Starting from CA, get the biggest delta on flights further west (or 'far east' :P ) as compared to someone on the east coast.

I actually priced out a "bare bones" trip to Fl. and compared it to a bare bones trip to Coz. I believe Coz won, or was about $100 more, even figuring in a FREE flight to Florida. (I have miles I can use for a free domestic flight, but I think merely discounted Coz ticket cost me about $300?). Cost of dives per day (boat dive costs add up), plus food and lodging, pushed Florida into the same price range as Cozumel, even eliminating the flight cost as a factor. (Had I been able to score free tix to Coz, it would have been cheaper still.)

Biggest issue for me is boat dive costs, and availability. I want to dive 4-5x per day when I'm on a DIVE trip. (as opposed to a vacation with my wife, who does not dive) That's often not feasibly in Florida, or when it is, the cost of the boat dives (2x per day) quickly add up until Florida is just out of the running.

I WANT to go dive Florida. (Esp. Spiegel Grove, Duane and the Mighty O... probably have to be different trips, of course) But from a pure cost perspective, it gets tough to justify, at least, everytime I've tried to do so it has been.

Edited by CompuDude, 18 May 2009 - 02:02 PM.


#37 Marjo

Marjo

    Manta Ray

  • Member
  • PipPipPip
  • 483 posts
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:St. Croix USVI
  • Interests:Conservation photography, climate change resilience, species and habitat conservation

Posted 20 May 2009 - 02:30 AM

The pinned thread on Puerto Rico camera thefts makes me a little leery.


Hi Gus,

I travle through Puerto Rico a lot with my gear and also otherwise due to my location. I have NEVER had anything stolen. I see that you have a 40D in an Ikelite housing. When the probelms were happening it appeared that the thieves were mainly interested in SEACAM housings and high end video housings. Snobby thieves, but good for those of us who has less flashy gear!

Also, with alldue respect, I'd like to make a motion to remove the PR thread or a least amend it somehow. The threadis really old. I am not sure the alleged crime ring exists anymore. Form having alotof experience travelling through that airport, I can say that I feel no less or more safe than with other airports. I never had anything stolen from my baggage there. From working 11 years at a very large resort here, I have heard of very few incidents of anything missing from a tourists baggage. Though I can understand that idea of the thread, I think it is unnecessarily and unjustly "demonizing" this one airport and in effect unnecessarily and unfairly scaring off potential visitors to destinations that require a stop in SJU in order to reach it. This is a shame both for the destination, but also for those wetpixelites who unnecessarily miss out on some great diving/shooting/vacationing. The thread is a bit like landmines left over from a war. The war might be ;ong over a long time ago but the uncleared landmines keeps on doing damage. Perhaps its time to clear this landmine thread, or at least UN-PIN it?

BTW, Last year I lost ALL my baggage (except carryon), yet I don't feel there is a need to start a thread about the airport in question (not SJU). Neither do I think we shoudl start a thread warning about destinations that might be dangerous due to swineflue or any other "Axis if Evil" listings.

#38 diver dave1

diver dave1

    Great White

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 967 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Interests:chess, u/w photography

Posted 20 May 2009 - 04:27 AM

Just back from Roatan.
You can stay at the Seagrape for a week by the ocean and dive 3 times a day for very low rates. I will be putting together a trip report soon but overall had a great time. During the current off season, often it was just the dive guide, me and the boat driver.

The 2 dive guides, Wendall and Tony, were great. I let them know what structures lead to better photo op's and they took me to those exact types of structures. I asked for pics of certain creatures and they found them for me. Hard to ask for more.

Two can stay for 6 nights, do 12 boat dives all for $1000 total for both people and that includes tax.
You can walk to town in a few minutes for a variety of eating locations or get your food at the grocery in town.
At the Lighthouse rest. in town, 4 can eat for under $60 if you avoid the alcohol.

Wishing I was still there.

Nauticam D7000, Inon Z-240's, 60 micro, 105 micro, Tokina 10-17

www.shiningseastudio.com