‘My top five dives to date’ is written by Guest Blogger Lowri James
Like most divers, Oli and I are just happy being in the water. We feel privileged to share the underwater world with the incredible marine life which exists below the surface, and to us every dive is an adventure. We have been lucky enough to experience some wonderful diving so far. So, even though we are hoping our diving career will take us to many more new and exciting places…
Here are my top five dives to date:
5 Chumphon Pinnacle – Koh Tao, Thailand
A special dive for us; not only was it our honeymoon, it was our first time diving outside the UK, and in crystal clear 30 degree waters. Chumphon Pinnacle is located northwest of the island of Koh Tao and is considered one of the best dive sites in the area. This site is made up from one huge granite pinnacle and a series of smaller ones, the pinnacle itself starts at 14 meters below the surface and drops off to over 36 meters. The marine life here is abundant and, even though we didn’t see a whale shark on this occasion, what we did see didn’t disappoint.
4 Bells to Blue Hole – Dahab, Egypt
We completed our PADI Advanced Open Water course in Dahab and experienced some fantastic diving. ‘Bells’ is an enclosed chimney in the reef where you descend to 30 meters, you then exit the chimney to a sheer wall drop off (to 800m+) with forming cavities, which are bell shaped, as well as some beautiful table coral. The dive then leads you up the wall and over the ‘saddle’ to the famous Blue Hole. Here we watched free divers disappearing into the blue during our safety stop.
3 The Zenobia Wreck – Larnaca, Cyprus
Our first dive on this wreck was a surprise for Oli’s 30th birthday in January 2014 during our first visit to Cyprus, and what a day it was. Our first large scale wreck dive; the 172-meter-long Zenobia is a roll on-roll-off Swedish Ferry which sunk in 1980 on her maiden voyage due to a computer ballasting problem. It is the best wreck dive in the Mediterranean and one of the best dive sites in the world. We have been lucky enough to dive her many times, including looking up at her from 40 meters during our PADI Deep Diver course in 2015. I’m sure that our Cyprus adventure will enable us to explore her further.
2 Manta Point – Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Manta Point is positioned in the middle of the biggest channel connecting two different Oceanic Climates; the Indian Ocean to the South, and the South West Pacific to the North. Therefore, it is one of the richest feeding grounds in the World for manta rays. It was a dream of ours to dive with these majestic animals and we must have seen over 20 during this single dive. Witnessing their grace and serenity as they flew through the water, sometimes as close as a matter of inches above our heads, as we positioned ourselves on the ocean floor, holding on to rocks in the current, was an absolute dream come true.
And my top dive to date?
1 St George’s Island – Akamas National Park, Latchi, Cyprus
Even though I am lucky enough to dive this site regularly, every dive offers something new and surprising to see, from giant shoals of barracuda, large nudibranch, octopus, trumpet fish and turtles to jellies of all shapes and sizes which have risen to mate in the nutrient rich and crystal clear waters. There is an abundance of sea life and the island offers incredible underwater features which includes swim throughs, walls up to 33 meters, caves, ancient amphorae and beautiful topography.