Summer is in full swing, and I bet you’re dreaming of making an escape to an ice-cold destination with no air conditioning required.
If so, it might be time to take a break from your favorite tropical diving locales, and check out a new global cold-water destination where the diving is always refreshing.
With incredible underwater landscapes, unique species that can only be found in cold waters, and temps so cold a dry suit may be required, these locales are the ultimate destinations for really cooling off when the summer heat in your hometown is just too much.
Summer is an ideal time to make a once-in-a-lifetime trek to Greenland/the Artic, as the midnight sun provides plenty of extra daylight from May through July.
The vast area has a hefty supply of corals, kelp forests and large critters. But it’s most famed for its iceberg dives and wreck dives, which includes a visit to an ancient Portuguese prison ship that’s perfectly preserved at roughly 25 meters deep.
The waters off of British Columbia may be icy, but the surrounding landscape can look like it was plucked from a tropical coral landscape.
As a result, the area is easily one of the most diverse diving sites in the world, with a mess of shipwrecks, grand walls, and meandering canyons.
Start with Browning Wall, which is considered one of the best wall diving sites in British Columbia, (and even North America).
Be prepared to see incredible colorful marine life, which includes urchins, sponges and giant king crabs.
Depending on the season, harbor seals, orcas, octopus and wolf eels also make appearances in the BC waters, so get ready for some exceptionally cool and unexpected encounters.
There’re some colorful sites to explore around New Zealand’s South Island, but newcomers will want to start with Fiordland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Within the Fiordland National Park, divers will find the unique Milford Sound, a body of water that’s completely blocked by the sun by surrounding mountains, and which is subject to huge amounts of rainfall.
As a result, a permanent layer of freshwater rests on top of clear but noticeably dark saltwater, which in turn has inspired typically deep-water species like black coral to rise to shallower, and accessible, waters.
A must dive site for history buffs, the ancient relics of Britain’s former chief naval base is found at the bottom of Scapa Flow, a natural harbor that’s situated among the northernmost islands of Scotland.
Here, wreck divers will find an eerie collection of abandoned vessels of all sizes and war graves from WWII, (which includes flags flying deep underwater), presenting an incredible and undeniably unique diving experience
You can’t have a list of icy cold diving destinations without including Antarctica, although diving beneath sheets of ice so thick that commercial drilling is required is an adventure that should only be tackled by the very brave, and the very experienced.
Most dive guides recommend that divers have completed at least 20-50 dives before an Antarctica trip, but once you’ve done your homework, you’ll be rewarded with a surprisingly wide variety of sea life, including speedy Penguins and massively intimidating (but passive) leopard seals.
No matter where you go, a cold-water diving adventure can freshen up any annual diving itinerary, and can be a new experience that will provide a gateway to an entirely unique world.
Best of all, if you can tackle some of these adventures, (Antarctica anyone?) you’ll be rewarded with bragging rights for decades to come.
Want to learn how to find the perfect icy location?! Check out our website to contact us. If you live in the Dallas area, swing by our shop in Carrollton, and we’ll be happy to chat with you about scuba!