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#1 orionquest

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:27 PM

Hi all,

I'm trying to figure out where I should go next. . was hoping to solicit some opinions.

I've been to Cozumel and French Polynesia (Bora Bora and Rangiroa). . . I want to go to a "serious" type of dive destination, hopefully with lots of pelagics, but one that isn't too far from the US East Coast (I'm from NYC). . . obviously the Carribean is still a consideration but I feel that after Rangiroa I would be bored there. . is this an unfair assumption?

I also have a non-diving wife, which rather limits my choices . . (otherwise my instant choice would be Palau). . . . therefore, liveaboards are out of the question. . . from what I hear, Palau should be dived only via liveaboard.. and there are no top-side activities to speak of.

I'm considering either:

Cayman . .i've snorkeled here and loved it. . want to do Bloody Bay wall but it's a bit off the beaten path for person with a non-diving spouse. . plus we've been here before. . . can anybody comment on Cayman vs. Cozumel?

Maui and possibly Molokini (based on Eric's very nice Maui picts) . question: is it true that Hawaii diving is inferior to the rest of the Pacific. . bec. the picts sure look nice enough.

Bonaire or Belize or Roatan. . . .again it's the carribean but i'm worried about topside activities for the wife.

otherwise, I stil want to do something in the Pacific. . any help that you can provide is greatly appreciated!!

thanks . . great site Eric. . . JOHN TENG (jsyteng@hotmail.com)

#2 bobjarman

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:37 PM

I can relate to the non-diving spouse issue. :D

Bonaire is great for macro. Stinks for big pelagics. Not a lot to do but dive.

Hawaii is perfect for a non diving spouse They can spend a fortune in the shops or spa while you are diving. :) From what I have seen and remember, Main diff between that and the south pacific is a lack of soft coral. There are plenty of sharks around.

Cayman is really nice, I would dive Little Cayman, which will limit your wifes activities since there is nothing to do but lay around in Little Cayman

Im going to Belize in June, let you know than :unsure:

I enjoyed Fiji, nice color, lots of life, and you can get to a nice resort and dive from shore for your wife.

For big pelagics, you might consider Galapagos Aggressor. Great trip and if you go on the one that doesn't go north to wolf and darwin, there will be one shore excursion every day. Naturalists dream trip.

I haven't been to the pacific other than to Fij and Hawaii, but I hear that Tahiti is wonderful for high energy big fish action. And I can't imagine anyone hating Tahiti. We are planning to go next year for our 20'th

#3 TedJ

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 01:51 PM

I've been going to Cayman in March for the last ten years. There are a couple of large hotels on the beach and then plenty of other choices. The beach is great and the diving is great, provided you get away from the west side of the island. It's just too overdived (sp?). Diving the East End is much nicer but then you're in the middle of nowhere if you stay out there. We stay at Indies Suites at the north end of Seven Mile Beach and dive with Ocean Frontiers in the East End. Generally do afternoon dives so we don't have to deal with traffic. The island has plenty of restaurants and is very Americanized. Where else can you eat at Burger King overlooking "Cheesburger" reef. There are at least dozen good restaurants on the island, including the restaurant at the golf course which has great jazz dinners once a week.

Bonaire, on the other hand, has very little else to do but diving. Three years ago they had 60,000 visitors of which 40,000 were divers. There are a couple of nice restaurants on the island but it has virtually no night life. The diving is, of course, great. The Plaza Resort is nice and has a good beach and there is another place near the Lighthouse that has a beach (don't remember the name, sorry), otherwise there's not really a beach at most places.

Hope this helps and if you have any other questions about Cayman, ask away.

Ted Janssen

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#4 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 02:24 PM

Sounds like you need Seychelles or Maldives. A little bit further for Sangalaki's Manta population and island trips.

Much Closer to home JDR - See posts.

#5 Reefkeep

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 06:19 PM

Bermuda...Thats my favorite. not the cheapest by far!

#6 donauw

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 06:29 PM

I'd second the Galapagos Aggressor. My wife (also nondiving) went with us on the trip (we did do Wolf and Darwin and so should you if you go...) and she had a great time. She saw lots from the boat, got lots of sun, read a lot and got pampered by the crew while the rest of us dove - and did all the land trips, also (one each day, at least). If you want great pelagics, this is the place. Did a 4 day side trip to Machu Pichu on the way home...

Some photos - both topside and underwater - from the trip are on my website.

Regards,

#7 davephdv

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 06:52 PM

If I couldn't go on a liveaboard I would go to Fiji. Beautiful place. Great people. Great, Great diving. Not too expensive.

If I could go on a liveaboard (which I much prefer) I would say Cocos blows away any place I've ever been. Last place to consider is Tobamory Canada. Great wrecks. Very well preserved.
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#8 scottyb

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Posted 18 February 2003 - 07:16 PM

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. Great wall diving, beautiful beaches. Grand Cayman 30 years ago. About the same price range. I believe AA has a direct flight from NYC because we joined a friend from Manhattan. She had a much easier itinerary than we did from Texas. Provo.net

#9 Simon K.

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 12:50 AM

As far as I know the is a very reputable Diving Bas on Palau named Fish 'n Fins on Palau. It is run by germans. I wasn't there but it was just voted as Base of the year in Southsea/Pacific on the Boot by the readers of a big german diving magazin.

So it has to be at least not bad.

Simon

#10 donauw

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Posted 19 February 2003 - 06:14 AM

Sam's Tours is another shore based operation in Palau with an excellent reputation. The problem with shore based diving in Palau is the distance to the dive sites from any one point. Boat rides of an hour are not unusual. Additionally, shore based activities for the non-diver are limited. Palau is truely awesome. The expense of a live-aboard, relative to travel, is only a bit more and gives you up to 5 dives per day instead of 2.

Regards,

#11 sethgold

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Posted 20 February 2003 - 09:54 PM

I'll see your non-diving wife and raise you 2 kids, ages 6 and 11.

Maui is great for non-divers, but I didn't find the diving that great. Molokini was very crowded with divers but sparse on marine life. Lanai was shallow and also sparse on marine life.

There's really nothing to do in Roatan except dive, but the diving was good (I went there alone).

My family and I are spending a week in Curacao this summer, primarily because Curacao is supposed have good top-side diversions, unlike Bonaire.

Club Med - Thailand is high on my radar, but its not exactly close to NYC. Good luck.

#12 TedJ

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 04:16 AM

[quote]I'll see your non-diving wife and raise you 2 kids, ages 6 and 11.

Maui is great for non-divers, but I didn't find the diving that great. Molokini was very crowded with divers but sparse on marine life. Lanai was shallow and also sparse on marine life.

There's really nothing to do in Roatan except dive, but the diving was good (I went there alone).

My family and I are spending a week in Curacao this summer, primarily because Curacao is supposed have good top-side diversions, unlike Bonaire.

Club Med - Thailand is high on my radar, but its not exactly close to NYC. Good luck.[/quote]
[QUOTE]My family and I are spending a week in Curacao this summer[QUOTE]
I'll be interested in hearing about Curacao. My wife ( a diver since 1970) and I are going over Labor Day week. We've been going to Bonaire every year at this time but decided we needed a change.

Ted Janssen

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#13 orionquest

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 02:11 PM

thank you all for your great and informative responses (!) I obviously have alot of thinking to do but I knew that this was the place to ask for advice.

TedJ, I fold. . you definitely win. :D

Hawaii is quite far and expensive to go to from NYC, but it seems like a safe bet for gettin' some dives in while the wife does something else. I would rather spend that kind of money to goto Palau, though. The good news is there is a slight chance the wife's friend in Korea is getting married this Fall, for which we'll be required to go. . this means I can lay on a massive guilt trip about going across the world just for a friend's wedding, and see if I can finagle a Palau stopover. :D

wish me luck! best regards, JOHN

#14 TedJ

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 05:52 PM

John,
Since you got this far, I'll go out on a limb and ask: What does your wife like to do on vacation? Then we might be able to give you more suggestions. My suggestion at this point would be Grand Cayman.

Ted Janssen

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#15 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 05:58 PM

The Dutch Antilles Rock!

#16 davephdv

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Posted 21 February 2003 - 06:28 PM

When I'm in HI I dive. But I don't think of it as a dive destination. Not a lot of corals or varieties of corals. Not that many fish varieties. I like going there, but the diving is a pleasant diversion.

If it doesn't cost you a lot more I would still advocate Fiji. Great diving. Especially soft corals. Excellent land resorts that non divers will love. I went to a remote one that doesn't exist anymore. Great, Great diving. But the highlight was the Sunday Village roast pig dinner. Even if the rest the party did maneuver me into giving the greetings speech at the Church service.
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#17 TedJ

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 04:19 AM

My wife's brother lives on Taveuni, Fiji. They got really blasted last month by the cyclone that went through so check carefully if you're going there about the diving conditions, not only the living conditions.

BTW I don't have any kids to raise, but I do have outdoor fish.

Ted Janssen

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#18 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 22 February 2003 - 04:45 AM

05.45 Sangalaki Island...

"Oh no, not diving again!"

#19 orionquest

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 10:18 AM

TedJ,

my wife likes to shop and lay out on the beach quite a bit. . but I think a variety of excursions is always good, too. . . Tahiti was perfect in that sense, because we always could find a tour of the island we were on, or some sort of island picnic, etc. etc.

I've been thinkin 'about Cayman quite a bit, but again, we were there just 2 years ago. . . that was when I first snorkeled, and decided to pursue scuba (which we did in Cozumel). Although i didn't "dive" at Cayman, I'm hesistant to go back only because we were there before. I would like to go back but would make Bloody Bay Wall a requirement next time around.

Another reason why I hesistate is because from what I understand, Cayman is low on pelagics. I've only done about 14 dives in my lifetime, but after all that big fish action in Tahiti, I would really rather be diving with sharks, napoleons, mantas, etc. etc. . . maybe I'm already spoiled, who knows. . I don't mean to thumb my nose at the Carribean bec. I know it's great, but I just can't see it comparing to the Pacific. The biggest motivating factor for the Carribean, at least for my wife and me, would be proximity to NYC and cost. Both are important but certainly not overriding factors.

I know there is a famous manta ray nite dive on the big island in Hawaii, which has piqued my interest as well. Although I had a great manta dive on Bora Bora, I still would like to see them again. . absolutely magnificent creatures.

I would love to goto Fiji, but it's REALLLLLLY far. . it's farther than even Tahiti so that'd be a tough one. . . .for me to even consider Palau, I'd have to fold it in as part of a larger vacation, such as to Asia or something.

is there a separate discussion in these forums on How to Get Your Spouse to Dive (and love it?) I feel my wife's first experience was ruined in Cozumel; as a result, she's been uninterested in diving since. (to make a long story short, the diving conditions that day in Cozumel were less than ideal, with the boat pitching back on forth on waves that were cresting white. The boat almost came down on her head as she tried to board the boat). . . been very scared since (!)

It's so difficult to choose from so many options! and with so many different criteria. I guess that's part of the fun with planning a dive vacation, though. . .but I just want to make it WORTHWHILE!

again, all your suggestions are greatly appreciated. . . great discussion so far.

JOHN

:D

#20 scottyb

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Posted 23 February 2003 - 11:18 AM

On my second trip to Turks and Caicos, we went to the Island of Salt Cay. It's not a touristy place but has a very good feel about it. By the end of a week, you actually feel like you blend in. There are only 60+ residents and everyone is friendly. The main watering hole is Island Thyme where Porter, a US native prepares delicious meals by request. You simply inform the restauraunt of your choice what you want for breakfast lunch or dinner and tell them when you want it.

The bonus is the easy diving. Little to no current and walls on every dive. Grand Turk is just a short boat ride and offers even more impressive walls. Whale watching is a large part of their business Jan - March. They have the types of up close encounters (snorkelling only) that you see on documentaries. You have to book ahead for that time of year, it might be a good combo for you and your wife.