There’s something thrilling about shore diving, isn’t there?
No need to follow a set agenda or spend an hour or two cruising off to a remote site in the middle of of the ocean — with shore diving, you can just grab your gear, hop in your vehicle and jet off to some remarkable diving sites that are just a quick wade or swim away from the sand. We’ve talked about the benefits of shore diving in a previous post.
Never tried it before, or not sure where to go? Then check out these shore diving Meccas first to get a taste of why diving on your own steam and schedule is hard to beat.
Bonaire always ranks high on a number of international scuba diving lists, and it has a top spot when it comes to shore diving as well. With lots of semi-deserted roads to explore, all you’ll need to do is rent a pickup truck, throw the tanks in the back, and start looking for the tell-tale yellow stones that indicate one of Bonaire’s dozens of shore diving sites.
Must-see destinations include the easy-to-reach and 235’ ft. long Hilma Hooker, the aptly named “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Pink Beach.” Be prepared to see a host of species regardless of where you go on this amazing island, including angelfish, yellowtail snappers, butterflyfish, and plenty of colorful, dense corals. On land, you can see one of the largest wild flamingo flocks in the world, a variety of tropical birds and plenty of wild donkeys! Click to read more about diving in Bonaire.
Check out this short video of a sharptail eel in Bonaire!
Considering that there’s more than 7,000 islands that comprise this country’s interior borders, it should come as no surprise that the dive sites — including shore diving destinations — are virtually endless. New visitors who aren’t sure where to go first can head to Mindoro Island’s Sabang Beach, which is an easy swim away from the reef shark hang-out, “Coral Garden,” or Bas Diot, which is located just off of western Cebu, and which boasts a stairstep drop-off where clownfish, anthias, and lionfish congregate. Want to learn more about diving in the Philippines?
The reefs off of Roatan may garner most of the diving community’s attention, but head to the local dive resorts, and you’ll find plenty of shore diving sites that are just yards away from the on-site docks. Check out the Prince Albert, a 140’ ft. long freighter that’s located close to shore on the southern coast, or the “Spooky Channel,” a giant (and yes, spooky) underwater tunnel that begins just off of Sunnyside Pier. Read more about diving in Roatan and nearby island Utila – considered the “whale shark capitol of the Caribbean.”
You gotta love a tropical destination with no passport (or long customs lines) required, and the trio of the U.S. Virgin Islands — St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas — are also a prime destination for shore divers to go exploring. Tear yourself away from a lazy day on the white sand beaches, and wade out to a network of reefs that are found just offshore, like the eye-popping sponge and coral-lined wall that’s found just off of St. Croix’s Cane Bay Beach. Read more about St. Croix here!
Like many sites where boat diving is popular, the shore diving gems off of Grand Cayman are often overlooked, even by frequent visitors. Spend a day close to the beach, however, and you’ll find plenty of jewels to uncover, like the west end’s “Eden Rock” and “Devil’s Grotto” – a maze of caverns where the local silver tarpon and silversides and plentiful.
Ready to try something new? Then ask the locals, or the local dive resorts, where the diving beaches are, and set out on your own adventure that’s close to shore, but still feels miles away.
Where are your favorite shore diving spots? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/acullador/
Video attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mister_tee/