Now that you're a certified technical diver - where should you go?
Courtesy Dave Ross
Partner, Instructor Trainer, and Manager
TechAsia Divers Institute - Puerto Galera, Philippines
In the Federated States of Micronesia and more correctly known as Chuuk, this was the Japanese Empire’s main South Pacific base during World War II. In February 1944 the Americans launched Operation Hailstone against the base which resulted in the sinking of over 40 Japanese ships and 275 aircraft destroyed mostly on the ground. These ships sank in depths from very shallow, to over 60m/200ft of water and lay undisturbed for decades after WWII before being opened up to divers and recognised as probably the most fascinating concentration of shipwrecks anywhere in the world. You can technical dive here year round, both land based and by liveaboard.
South China Sea
Probably best accessed by liveaboard from Singapore, the South China Sea has countless shipwrecks scattered around it, ranging from huge warships such as the HMS Repulse, and HMS Prince of Wales, which is the most modern diveable battleship in the world, to submarines, destroyers, and countless merchant ships that have been the victims of peacetime maritime disasters. The best seasons to be out here are the transitions between the monsoons in April-May time, and again in October. Fantastic opportunities with some knowledgeable operators.
Way out in the Marshall Islands in the middle of the Pacific, Bikini was made famous for divers post WWII when the Baker test, part of the Operation Crossroads nuclear testing program, was conducted on assembled obsolete US, and captured Japanese warships. Resultant wrecks such as the Japanese battleship Nagato, submarine Apogon, and the huge aircraft carrier USS Saratoga are amongst the victims of this test. Because of it’s remote location, diving has always been difficult here but liveaboard opportunities do now exist for those with time and a sense of adventure.
Scapa Flow is in the Scottish Orkney Islands, a former British Naval base and the scene of the scuttling of 52 of 74 impounded German ships at the end of the First World War. Although many have been salvaged, some very impressive ships remain, including three sister battleships, the SMS Koenig, Kronprinz, and Markgraf. The HMS Royal Oak also lies in Scapa but is a war grave and protected site. During British summertime a number of simple liveaboards operate taking divers to these wrecks.
North Florida Caves
North-Central Florida is another of the world’s leading cave diving regions, with many of it’s most famous springs located in the Suwannee River Valley. Their character is different to those of Mexico, the water cooler and generally stronger currents are encountered. The infrastructure in the region makes this a tremendously popular area to learn to cave dive and the variety can keep people coming back time after time for more.
The Yucatan Peninsula
In South Eastern Mexico, this area is home to undoubtedly the most beautiful , and extensive, underwater caves and cenotes in the world. Diving can be found in developed areas such as Riviera Maya, Tulum, Akumal or Playa del Carmen, or pushed into almost unexplored inland areas of the central peninsula. High quality technical dive facilities exist here both for training, and to support experienced cave divers and explorers.