Whew!!!! We’re back online but our Orange County scuba club has dispersed to other clubs in the OC area. Please check the Orange County Scuba link to go to a page where you can find other scuba clubs in orange county. While we had a lot of fun together over the years we found it was just easier to join other larger clubs who are using their size to get better deals on scuba trips. We’re going to use this page to highlight some of the scuba diving trips we’re all taking here in southern california and will update the page with some really cool photos as Bob, Henry and Sean upload them!
We thank everyone who helped to keep ScubaMonster.com . We want to give a special shout out to a few of those who made contributions which keep our underwater lights on:
PADI – certifications for all levels of divers
Beach Cities Dive Shop – our favorite dive shop in Orange County
Buddy Johnson Charters – Buddy has organized many trips for our club in the past and we thought we would mention him here. Look up Buddy Johnson Charters if you’re interested in diving out of Dana Point.
Jarus & Co CPA – If you are looking for an Orange County small business CPA check out Jarus & Co. They have been our business tax return CPA since 2006 and when we formed our non profit also filed all of our non profit returns.
August 2013 Random Thoughts by us Scuba Monsters:
When the waters are clear, the marine life’s abundant and the temperatures are ideal, nothing comes close to the thrill scuba diving provides. The ability to explore the mysterious sea entices many travelers to visit some of the world’s most accessible and picturesque coasts. That’s why, with summer nearly here, it’s worth checking out the 10 best scuba diving sites.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or are strapping on a wetsuit and oxygen tank for the first time, these destinations will be unforgettable. They have been chosen for their consistently great diving conditions and the unique experiences they offer.
Beqa Lagoon, Fiji
Approximately an hour’s boat ride from the main island of Viti Levu, Beqa Lagoon is a world-renowned diving spot. Its colorful soft corals and unique underwater topography make it an exciting experience even for the most seasoned divers. Boat tours leave daily from Viti Levu and give visitors the freedom of at least two long dives during a trip to Beqa Lagoon.
Ask your tour guide to take you through Caesar’s Rocks, Nisici Rocks and Side Streets, three especially prime areas filled with cool formations, tropical fish and blue ribbon eels. The best time to visit these spots is during the Fijian “winter,” from May to October.
Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles
Instead of offering the gratification that sister islands Aruba and Curacao are known for, Bonaire is mainly designed for one activity: scuba diving, of course. A marine park encompasses the island and boasts over 100 diving opportunities. Designating the waters as a “park” means the wonders that lie within are protected, leaving divers with an unspoiled look at the underwater ecosystem.
Once accustomed to the Caribbean waters, visitors can move from the shore to the deeper sea. Several local companies will ferry you out to prime spots, where you can explore the reef and search for sea turtles, parrot fish and nurse sharks. This activity is best experienced between September and December, when the sea is calmest.
You may have never heard of this little island, but ask any true scuba diver or Animal Planet-loving dude about Yap and he’ll surely respond approvingly. The island (located only 6,000 miles from Los Angeles; an hour’s flight from Guam) is known for its pristine water and abundant marine life. In fact, ecologists, explorers and general nature enthusiasts visit because it’s the best location to spot the mysterious manta ray.
Best visited during the December through April dry season, this spot’s simple purity makes it unique; no resort hotel or loud pub can be seen on its beaches. Instead, all you get is some of the world’s best diving opportunities, replete with underwater caverns, and shark and sea turtle sightings, in addition to the numerous rays.
Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique
Four secluded islands just off of Mozambique’s coast await jet-setting scuba divers. In addition to the reefs and clear waters that divers expect, the Marine National Park also offers supreme night diving and wreck exploration. You can swim through these sunken ships or, as is more common, make friends with grazing manatees and curious dolphins.
The diving is mostly done in open waters, within view of the islands. The best time to go is in June, July and August, when the heat becomes bearable. If you’re interested in visiting the Barazuto Archipelago, however, make sure to check government travel advisories, as Mozambique still suffers from unrest following a long civil war.
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Known as the king of all Caribbean diving sites (and there are many), the Caymans boast all the features scuba divers demand. First, the weather is pretty much beautiful year round, with rain occurring only in spurts during the summer months. Second, the water is warm and clear, ideal for exploring Grand Cayman’s reefs and watching stingrays and angelfish in their habitat. Third, visitors have access to both well-known and untouched scuba areas. A little research will lead you to operators who are willing to take you to the most secluded spots… if you’re into that.
Peak tourist times — when you’re likely to kick another diver with your flipper — are mid-December to mid-April. The summer months are quieter, but rain and hurricane threats tend to scare visitors away.
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos
An increasingly popular tourist spot, the islands of Turks & Caicos offer just as much fun under the water as they do above it. Located north of the island of Hispaniola and considered part of the Bahamas, T&C’s central point is Grand Turk, truly a scuba diver’s wet dream.
Thanks to the government’s goal of protecting its prized natural environment — preventing large-scale development of the Grand Turk bays impeding access to prime spots — divers simply get to swim around untouched reefs, dunes and drop-offs.
A 15-minute boat ride by one of three tour operators brings you to the best areas, where batfish, dolphins and eels abound. Peak tourist season (mid-December to mid-April) makes the cost of these tours skyrocket, so your best bet is to visit between April and July, just before the weather becomes unbearably hot.
Ambergris Caye, Belize
You’ll feel like a real explorer while swimming through the warm Caribbean waters of Belize. It’s an underrated vacation spot and most people don’t even know that Belize is in Central America, just south of Mexico.
This all works in the favor of scuba divers, who can enjoy the depths in peace before resting on the beach. The prime diving sites are located around San Pedro, Belize’s busiest tourist spot. There you can swim alongside nurse sharks and stingrays in Shark Ray Alley, glide through the coral of the Barrier Reef, and take underwater photos of eye-catching marine life. A guide brings you through all these attractions, which are encompassed by the Hol Chan Marine Reserve. If you’d rather explore on your own, boat trips bring you to neighboring keys, which feature caverns, wrecks and lots of freedom.
Best visited during the dry season of November to May, the Ambergris Caye has all you could ask for when it comes to scuba diving.
There’s a reason Phuket is known as the “Pearl of the South.” The waters off its coast are teeming with life and there’s a range of diving opportunities to take part in, from coral fields to shipwrecks and caves.
To experience this amazing spot properly, hard-core divers opt for a “live-aboard” cruise, where, as the name indicates, you board a boat and dive for days on end without setting foot on land. It’s on these trips that you’re most likely to pet a docile whale shark, swim with manta rays and explore grottos.
Those who want to remain near land can take advantage of numerous day trips that bring you to one or two out of more than 15 great diving spots in the Andaman Sea. Either way, head to Phuket between October and May, once monsoon season dies down.
Ras Mohammed National Park, Red Sea, Egypt
One of the busiest and most exhilarating places to scuba-dive in the world, the Red Sea, and the Ras Mohammed National Park in particular, offers sites to match every skill level. The deep reefs and occasional strong current make exploration a challenge, but once you’ve gotten used to the environment, diving in the Red Sea becomes a blast.
At Ras Mohammed, six autonomous areas can be explored, often on a two- or three-day trip. Reachable only by boat, each spot is memorable: Shark Reef boasts a steep drop and loads of groupers and stingrays; Yolanda Reef holds the remains of a shipwreck; Anemone City has more anemone and small fish than you’ll ever see on the Discovery Channel; The Shark Observatory boasts great visibility and several caves; and Jackfish Alley and Ras Zatar provide great photo ops and more cave exploration.
All this is best explored from March to August (the hottest month), when the water temperatures hit the low 80s (°F).
Heron Island, Queensland, Australia
This island may be unknown to you, but surely you’ve heard of the Great Barrier Reef. The king of all scuba diving sites, the Reef is the world’s largest and houses thousands of species of fish, great white sharks and many other natural treasures. At the heart of it all is Heron Island, a small, unassuming place with arguably the best scuba diving you’ll ever experience.
A coral cay, Heron offers more than 20 true diving sites, most of them less than 15 minutes from your small resort hotel. Those looking to pick it up a notch can partake in adventure or night diving as well.
You’ll find these activities available year round, but the conditions are particularly great between April and September. Watch out for poisonous box jellyfish from October to May.
dive & explore
Novice or pro, fish lover or not, these places will bring out the Jacques Cousteau in you. Though each destination boasts great beaches as well, it’s the scuba diving that will make you want to lengthen your stay. Just make sure your oxygen tank is properly fastened…