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Posts posted by qwimjim

  1. I am also planning a similar trip this year in July.


    4-5 days in Isla Mujeres (3 days swim with WS)

    4-5 days in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen (3 days diving Cenotes)

    Few days topside travel


    This is a big trip for me , travelling from Oz.


    I have a few questions.

    1. Is it worth travelling to Cuba/Havana for 2 -3 days (UK passport). Would i be able to arrange travel package to Havana from a travel agent in cancun for this trip.

    2. What is best place to stay for 3 days diving Cenotes (Cancun or PDC?)

    3.For topside attractions is it better being based in Cancun or PDC , e.g for day trip to Chichen Itza

    ​4. Any hotel recommendations for PDC/Cancun or IM?


    1. Cuba has some beautiful postcard beaches, almost everyone stays at all inclusive resorts. Lots of Canadian's as it's the cheapest "Caribbean" destination. Havana is a cool town to wander around in. Food is awful though, they have limited imports. It's a pretty big detour and the diving is allegedly not great save for Jardins de la Reine but that will require a week of your time.


    2. Almost all of the cenotes you will dive are south of Playa Del Carmen, as far south as Tulum. So I wouldn't stay in Cancun, plus Cancun sucks imo. Big hotels and resorts and nothing else. Might be your style though. PDC has an awesome 2km pedestrian mall down the main drag by the beach if you want to go out at night and try different restaurants. And there's resorts there too so you can get the best of both worlds. I recommend Dave at Abyss for cenotes, Canadian guy in PDC. Knows what he's doing. You could also stay around Tulum which is beautiful and quiet in an all inclusive, just check with dive ops about logistics (picks ups, etc). Unless you're renting a car. Between Playa and Tulum there's Akumal and some other little resort beach areas.


    3. For Chichen Itza it doesn't matter if you're doing an organized day trip, you should be able to find tours out of either. Both are about 2hrs away. Check out Tulum as well since you're so close, also mayan ruins but smaller but on the water, very scenic. If you have people in your group that aren't diving the cenotes with you, they would probably enjoy Rio Secreto. Also some cenotes are really cool just to swim in


    4. If you're going all this way and it's your first time I really think you should add a day trip to Cozumel. It's easy to do as a day trip from PDC on a calm day so you don't have to change hotel, etc.. you might as well see what it's like for a day. Ask for one of the Palancar or Columbia dives, they have nice pinnacles, I enjoyed them the most. Cozumel has lots of great restaurants as well. Though having been where you've been lower your expectations as far as sea life and soft coral is concerned :) But the water can be crystal clear.

  2. As someone who has spent at least 2 years working in each of those locations the one I am most drawn to visit again is Fakarava (and Toau if they can take you there for a day trip)

    Best time for French Poly is Nov-April, try to do full or new moon in Dec/Jan/Feb for the schooling eagle rays in Rangi which can bring in the hammers.


    However, as you will be diving with a CMAS organization, they are very strict on your dive experience, when inquiring tell them what your qualifications are and ask about depth limits, because they will limit you.


    Is the flying the pass dive the only 30m+ deep dive that you would need Rescue cert for? I'm just wondering if our AOW certification will mean we'll miss out on a lot?

  3. Few points here:


    - Love diving the Big Island (dive it every year), but Niihau is as good or better than on a really good dive on the Big Island. Diving Niihau (you actually dive Lehua Rock, just off of Niihau) you have a pretty good chance of seeing a Monk Seal (or two) underwater (if there is one around they usually come check out divers). It's also one of the best places to dive in Hawaii with sharks - good chance to see grey reefies and white tips, a few hammerheads, and the occasional Galapagos shark (and there was a unconfirmed sighting of a great white underwater several years ago).


    - Underwater topography is unlike anywhere else you can dive in Hawaii. The underwater arches are amazing, and several of the walls are very deep. It feels very different than diving any of the other islands.


    - More fish, more of the time... given the remote location Niihau hasn't suffered from fish collecting (or fishing) nearly as much as the other islands. You'll see more fish here than virtually anywhere else as well (although most of the dives are open to potentially strong currents, so these really aren't typical coral garden dives either).


    One thing to keep in mind - you can find a number of reviews of snorkeling Lehua Rock where it's described as "deep and dark" and a little bit "spooky." That is actually a pretty good description of the feeling you have diving there - which is one of the attractions. It's still fairly wild - not great for snorkeling, but much better for diving.


    I've been 4 times, and I'll head back again either this summer or next. Kauai diving is (at best) average, so it does make it hard to plan a dive trip around Niihau.


    I'm assuming you know this - but during the summer they make the trip about 70%-80% of the time it's scheduled. During other times of the year it drops below 50% (too rough to make the trip). The trip out there is usually not that rough (actually pretty calm), but the trip back can be (and usually is) fairly "hellish." As an example, one way I've seen experienced divers ride it out is to leave their wetsuit on, put their mask on, put their snorkel in their mouth and lie down on the back deck (the whole way home). It's a multiple hour trip back, and usually very rough & wet (just the nature of that channel where your fighting the prevailing seas the whole way home).


    - Matt



    Thanks, my concern is I can shore dive the big island for free (two step, puako) which from everything i've read is as good as it gets in hawaii outside of the specialty night dives. So just want to make sure I don't regret spending $400 for on day of diving on Ni'ihau, that could pay for a return flight to Cozumel plus day of diving after I get back home :) We'll be in Kauai for 12 days, mostly to hike, so if I decide to go I'm sure it won't be difficult to find a day with calm seas.

  4. Going to Kauai later this month and debating whether to dive Ni'ihau or not. It's an expensive dive, will cost me nearly $400 for the day. I've read on forums and one person said it was better than his dives in Palau and another said it was no better than the regular diving around Kauai and that he preferred Big Island shore diving to anything in Kauai. So two polar opposite opinions.


    Anyone else have anything to add? We'll be spending a few days on Kauai and two weeks on the Big Island. We're going to do 4-5 days of shore diving on the BI as well as the Manta night dive and black water dive. I wasn't planning on doing any diving on Kauai because I read that it's nothing special and the visibility is not great, but I'm on the fence about Ni'ihau and whether it's worth it. Thanks!

  5. Definitely recommend Fakarava/Rangiroa.


    I am just back from a 2 week trip and it was the best land base diving i have done.

    So many sharks, i saw a Tiger shark, great hammerhead, several silver tips, marlin, manta and hundreds and hundreds of reef sharks.


    Palau is good and offers more variety. i.e caverns, wrecks , jellyfish lake, mantas , but its not as sharky. However topside is beautiful and has interesting war history. However Palau is very busy these days. Seems like the Chinese are starting to visit and a lot of the hotels were book solid when i tried to visit this year.


    Maldives was ok. I did not see many sharks , rays but its a nice place.


    Komodo is amazing for macro and general fishlife/reefs, however not sharky.


    Fakarava is very nice topside,S Pacific paradise.


    Rangiroa not quite as nice topside? Just curious, if Rangi/Fakarava is the best land based diving you've done, what's the best liveaboard diving you've done?

  6. Hi everyone, I'm planning my first big dive trip with my wife and having trouble deciding, unfortunately with kids on the horizon this will likely be it for a long while. We've been to Zanzibar, Hawaii and Cozumel. Anywhere we go will likely blow us away but I'd still like to get the best possible experience for this trip. We're looking at Palau, Rangiroa/Fakarava, Komodo and I guess also Fiji and Maldives. If you've been to any of these places please feel free to give us your opinion on which was best and why.


    We'd ideally like to do land based. We're not really interested in macro/critters/muck, we're more interested in the wide angle.. colourful coral, big schools of fish, big stuff like sharks/manta's/etc, interesting topography.. we want to be wow'ed :) Here's what I have gathered from reading threads, could be inaccurate:


    Palau: Lots of current, lots of sharks, TONS of divers. Bit of a gong show underwater? Stay in Koror, not especially charming town, lots of budget hotels but $$$ to stay somewhere with a beach like PRR or PPR.


    Rangiroa/Fakarava: Lots of current, TONS of sharks, not many divers. Can stay in affordable pensions on a quiet beautiful? beach, charming location. Seems the diving is similar style to Palau but looking at youtube videos, the Rangiroa/Fakarava videos are much more impressive? Walls of sharks, incredibly visibility, etc..?


    Komodo: Lots of current, not many sharks but gets rave reviews from everyone, is top of everyone's list along with Raja Ampat so it must be great? More variety than Palau/FP? Cheapest of the 3 options, would cost us 6K for week of diving (inc. airfare, food, accommodation) vs 8K for Palau or FP.


    Then there's the deep blue liveaboards: Galapogos, Cocos, Socorros.. but we're not ready for that. I've seen Maldives mentioned a lot but that seems to require a liveaboard for the best results since it's so spread out. And Fiji gets mentioned a lot but also gets a lot of mixed reviews. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  7. Hi,


    We're off to mexico in july and looking to do a couple of days with whale sharks and also a couple of days photography in the cenotes.


    Could any advise on photography friendly day boats for the whale sharks and also cenotes with good photo opportunities.



    We are staying in cancun. Any help greatly appreciated.


    All I can say is I did Chac Mool and Kukulkan with Abyss Diving, they are considered "beginner" cenotes and are right beside each other. They were -amazing-. Beautiful turquoise openings with light shafts. I only had time for one day of cenotes but plan to go back for 3-4 days of cenotes. Whale shark snorkeling season is June 1st to Sept 15. Bull sharks are in the winter. Sailfish snorkeling also winter I believe.

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