Australia, Queensland, Cairns Colonial Club Resort
By Johan Boshoff
Queensland, Australia – a paradise in the middle of a rain forest.
Queensland, Australia is an ideal stop over or a perfect destination for a holiday if you want to experience Cairns or the Great Barrier Reef. The Cairns Colonial Club Resort is set within 11 acres (4,5 hectares) of tropical gardens, with three lagoon swimming pools and three resort restaurants. Combining the tranquility of a tropical resort with the advantages of a mainstream hotel, the resort is one of the most popular resorts in tropical North Queensland.
By Jeanne Liebetrau and Peter Pinncock
The distinctive shape of a flight deck materializes as I descend to 30m.I imagine a fighter plane returning - mission complete. The pilot negotiates the approach, the deck crew ready for the landing, the fire fighting crews on standby and gunners scanning the skies for stray enemy aircraft. I fin over the vast deck from which hundreds of planes taken offand landed on. A fine layer of silt stirs to reveal the rivets that once held the teak planks together.
By Fiona McIntosh
“If you can’t dive Chuuk, you can’t dive anywhere,” insisted Captain Lance Higgs. “It’s warm, there’s no current and the viz is 90ft – like diving in a bath tub.” The almost entirely British group looked somewhat confused, having never fathomed the North American preference for imperial measures, but we got the gist.
The tiny archipelago of Chuuk in Micronesia is a wreck diving mecca that you will return to again and again.
By Fiona McIntoshThose seeking remote dive adventures and ocean-bound escapes will be familiar with the freedom a liveaboard trip offers. Liveaboards are popular in the Red Sea, throughout the Caribbean and Pacific islands and of course around the Galapagos and Barrier Reef – in fact, just about anywhere where there’s fun to be had on the ocean without the crowds. And there has recently been an upsurge in interest in liveaboard yachts plying the waters of east Africa and the Indian Ocean – when it comes to exploring a nation composed of 1 192 beautiful coral islands you need to be mobile. So if you’re heading for Maldives then a liveaboard is the way to go. So too with the scattered outer islands of the Seychelles, the Quirimbas archipelago of northern Mozambique and particularly the Comores, which are, shall we say, less than luxurious by land. Not that being cooped up in a boat is for everyone.
Diving Bassas de India
Discovered by European merchant ships passing the Cape of Good Hope on their way to India, these islands were once the shelter for pirates trying to escape the French Royal Navy. Europa and Bassas de India are now part of the Scattered Islands, French territories in the Indian Ocean, scattered from north to south of the Mozambique channel, unknown jewels jealously looked after by France. Registered as marine reserves as early as 1975, they are today priceless ecological sanctuaries and their access is strictly limited in order to preserve these virgin spaces. Thanks to this privileged status, these islands have been able to escape intensive fishing campaigns currently organised in the Indian Ocean, thus preserving the pelagic species in the area. This particular abundance is also due to especially favourable biogeographical and stream factors.
For the very first time these islands are open to eco-tourism: The Kairos Company, in agreement with the French authorities and in exclusive partnership with the tour operator, Abyss World, will organise two unique diving expeditions in these exceptional islands in 2008.
For more information, visit www.thekairoscompany.com
By Fiona McIntosh
For years I had looked at glossy posters of picture-perfect little islands floating in a turquoise sea and dreamed of being there. Photographs of Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast epitomise the perfect holiday, and friends that had been there all came back raving about the experience. But expectation breeds disappointment, so I admit that when I finally headed to Croatia this year it was with some apprehension. Could it really be as good at it looked? To be honest, it was even better and I had ten glorious days diving, sight-seeing and soaking up the sun. Sure, the diving in Croatia is not that of the Red Sea so you probably wouldn’t choose the Dalmatian Coast for a dedicated dive holiday, but if you want a week or two of diving, paddling, island hopping, culture, good food and friendly people then Croatia is hard to beat.
Diving Easter Island
by Fiona McIntosh“You come from South Africa?” enquired the big burly Russian as we stood in Easter Island’s little dive shop. “I have dived in South Africa. You know Duncan Pattenden? He is my friend. He has dive school in South Africa. It is also called Orca – same as the one here.” It was strange to be thousands of miles from home, on the most remote inhabited island in the world and be talking about a local dive shop! But Val, my new acquaintance, was no ordinary diver. An ex-commercial diver turned dive instructor from the Russian port of Vladivostok, he spends three quarters of the year working in his home town, and the other three months touring the world’s top sites. This year’s little sojourn had taken him around his current favourites – New Caledonia, Bora Bora and finally a six week stay on Easter Island. I couldn’t help but wonder what interests he has in Russia that allow him to escape the winter chill for so long.
Pangs of nausea suddenly hit me as I realised that it had been a while since high school math. I had been quite pleased with my discovery of a cheap excursion relative to the baseline $100 to see a puffin, irritate a whale or stare at some geologic anomaly. With my rudimentary arithmetic I quickly converted the 24 000 Icelandic krona to the equivalent of $35. I was wrong and I had just noticed the mistake. I was standing at the tourist information in Reykjavik, having just paid $350 for a two tank dive. Inside I was laughing – hilarious... I wanted to vomit. This had better be good diving was my only thought. By Fiona McIntosh and Evan
Diving in the Antarctic
We are within the Southern Polar circle “ below 66Ëš 33' 38" S degrees. The water was just above freezing, at 0,5°C, the air was still outside and air temperature was zero at midday. The sky was clear blue, the water crystal blue. Even the ice was blue, the sort of a blue that is opaque “ almost too translucent to be real. This is truly the blue planet! By Don and Andre Shirley
Amidst all this blue was I who am allergic to water colder than 24 degrees â“ arm twisted right back by Don to actually venture into the freezing Antarctic waters! I told him in no uncertain terms that we're going to be lugging all this excess dive gear around the world, and I'm not going to be using it.
It seems like the twisting of the arm did not stop, and I found myself in my cabin kitting up one day. The kitting up was probably the hardest part. There's the physical side of getting all the gear on “ I cannot get my mask on with these cumbersome dry gloves, never mind getting my long hair which wants to go all over the place out of said mask “ then let's not forget the mental stateâ€¦ what am I thinking? Its freezing out there, will I be able to press the power inflator with frozen hands in the cold water gloves? Then there's the waiting for the zodiacs to come alongside the ship. I'm sure they take their time to make us quit beforehand so they can go back to their cabins and drink hot chocolate.
I was rather surprised when I was phoned and asked if I would be willing to go on a trip to Kenya. My first thought was that the last time I checked, we were a dive magazine, so what would I be doing in Kenya? By Gerrit Maritz
I felt much like the American Grade School students who, according to reports, are rather useless when it comes to matters not directly involving their country. I was later informed that Kenya in fact does have some shoreline... 536km of shoreline to be exact. I had always thought of myself as a person with better than average general knowledge, but this put me in my place.