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Abyss Scuba Diving
My Dream Scuba Diving Adventure: Around the World in 80 Dives
As a 71-year-old, mad, keen scuba diver, I've always dreamed of embarking on an adventure that would take me around the world to explore the best diving destinations. Inspired by Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days," I've planned my dream itinerary, starting and ending in Sydney, Australia, and focusing on the thrill of scuba diving and the wonders we'll encounter along the way.
Starting Point: Sydney, Australia
1. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Take a domestic flight from Sydney to Cairns, where we embark on this dream adventure; our first stop is the magnificent Great Barrier Reef. I've always been captivated by the idea of exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site, teeming with vibrant coral reefs and an incredible array of marine life. I'm particularly excited to dive alongside colourful clownfish, majestic manta rays, and graceful sea turtles.
To make the most of my time at the Great Barrier Reef, I'll stay on a liveaboard, allowing me to wake up each morning at a new dive site and maximize my underwater exploration. With 80 dives for our entire journey, these 10 dives will be just the beginning of our incredible adventure.
Of course, taking a break between dives and allowing our bodies to off-gas is essential. During these surface intervals, I look forward to soaking up the sun on the boat's deck, sharing stories with fellow divers, and enjoying the breathtaking views of the surrounding coral atolls.
On days when we can't dive or need a break, there are plenty of tourist attractions and activities to enjoy in the region. I'm eager to explore the lush Daintree Rainforest, where we can admire ancient ferns, towering trees, and native wildlife. A visit to the picturesque town of Port Douglas is also on my list, with its charming shops, art galleries, and a lively marina. And, of course, no trip to the Great Barrier Reef would be complete without relaxing on the pristine sandy beaches of Cairns or the Whitsunday Islands.
As we wrap up our time at the Great Barrier Reef and prepare to head to our next destination, I know that the memories and experiences from these incredible dives will remain with me forever. This is just the beginning of our dream scuba diving adventure, and I can't wait to see what wonders await us at our next stop!
2. Palau, Micronesia
After experiencing the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, we plan to embark on a new adventure by flying from Cairns to Koror, with possible layovers in Manila, Taipei, or Guam, before arriving at the captivating islands of Palau. The flight duration is around 15 hours. I've heard wonderful things about Palau, such as its pristine waters, abundant marine life, and the intriguing remains of WWII wrecks. The idea of snorkelling alongside barracudas, admiring colourful coral reefs, and discovering haunting underwater artifacts from the past fills me with anticipation.
To truly experience Palau's best, I plan to spend another week here and dedicate 10 dives to uncover the marvels hidden beneath the waves. Some of the must-visit dive sites on my list include Blue Corner, known for its exhilarating drift dives and teeming marine life; Jellyfish Lake, where we can snorkel with millions of harmless jellyfish; and Peleliu Wall, where we might encounter sharks patrolling the deep blue.
During our stay in Palau, we'll opt for a liveaboard once again, ensuring we can access the most remote and pristine dive sites while enjoying the camaraderie of fellow divers. These 10 dives will bring our total to 20, as we continue exploring the world's underwater wonders.
Between dives, we'll have plenty of opportunities to bond with our new dive buddies, share stories, and enjoy the stunning views of Palau's lush, green islands. I'm particularly looking forward to capturing some incredible underwater photos to remember these moments forever.
On days when diving isn't possible or when we need a break, Palau offers many tourist attractions and activities. I'm excited to visit the Belau National Museum, which showcases the rich cultural heritage of Palau, and learn about traditional customs, art, and history. For a more adventurous day out, a kayaking tour through the Rock Islands will leave us in awe of the breathtaking limestone formations, hidden lagoons, and turquoise waters.
As our time in Palau ends and we prepare for the next leg of our dream scuba diving adventure, I know that the memories created here will last a lifetime. With each new destination, our passion for exploring the underwater world only grows stronger, fueling our excitement for what awaits us at our next stop!
3. Belize Barrier Reef, Belize
We carry with us cherished memories of Palau as we embark on a new adventure to the Belize Barrier Reef, the world's second-largest barrier reef system. The journey from Koror to Belize City can be made via Houston or Los Angeles, followed by a short flight or boat ride to Ambergris Caye or other nearby islands, taking approximately 15 hours. I'm thrilled to immerse myself in the crystal-clear waters of Belize and discover its breathtaking underwater terrain, abounding with marine creatures like nurse sharks, turtles, and vibrant reef fish.
To truly immerse ourselves in the beauty of this stunning destination, we'll spend another week here, dedicating 10 more dives to our growing total. I've researched some of the most captivating dive sites in the area, and I can't wait to visit the Great Blue Hole, a massive underwater sinkhole that promises a thrilling and slightly mysterious diving experience; Hol Chan Marine Reserve, where we can glide through the Shark Ray Alley and watch these magnificent creatures up close; and Lighthouse Reef Atoll, boasting vibrant coral gardens and abundant marine life.
We'll choose a local dive resort for our accommodations during our stay in Belize, giving us the chance to mingle with fellow divers and adventurers. This will also allow us to explore the nearby islands and get a taste of the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle.
In between our dives, we'll have ample opportunity to relax on pristine sandy beaches, soak up the sun, and relive our favourite underwater moments with new friends. I'm particularly eager to capture more awe-inspiring photos of the marine life we encounter, adding to our growing collection of memories.
On days when diving isn't on the agenda, Belize offers a wealth of tourist attractions and activities to keep us entertained. I'm thrilled about the prospect of exploring ancient Mayan ruins at Altun Ha or Lamanai, delving into this fascinating civilisation's rich history and archaeological wonders. For a more leisurely day, we can stroll through the charming town of San Pedro, browsing local shops and indulging in delicious Caribbean cuisine.
As we bid farewell to Belize and prepare to embark on the next chapter of our dream scuba diving adventure, I'm filled with gratitude for the incredible experiences we've shared so far. With 30 dives now under our belt, we're well on our way to completing our goal of 80 dives around the world, and I can't wait to see what marvels await us at our next destination!
4. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Our journey takes us from the stunning Belize Barrier Reef to the awe-inspiring Raja Ampat, situated in the center of the Coral Triangle. To reach Raja Ampat, one can fly from Belize City to Jakarta, Indonesia, followed by a connecting flight to Sorong, the gateway to the region. The entire journey takes approximately 25 hours, after which a boat transfer will take you to your resort or liveaboard. I have always been fascinated by the stories of this secluded paradise, which boasts some of the world's most diverse marine life. The prospect of diving into unpolluted waters and encountering majestic manta rays, vibrant coral gardens, and countless fish species fills me with excitement.
To truly appreciate the wonders of Raja Ampat, we'll spend yet another week in this incredible destination, dedicating 10 more dives to our growing tally. Some of the must-visit dive sites on my list include Cape Kri, where we can witness an astonishing variety of marine life in a single dive; Misool, with its stunning coral formations and crystal-clear waters; and the Dampier Strait, known for its exhilarating drift dives and abundant marine life.
During our stay in Raja Ampat, we'll opt for a dive resort that offers a perfect blend of comfort and access to the best dive sites. This will give us the opportunity to meet like-minded divers, share stories from our underwater adventures, and immerse ourselves in the local culture.
Between dives, we'll have plenty of time to relax and unwind, taking in the breathtaking views of Raja Ampat's lush, green islands and turquoise waters. I'm particularly excited to practice my underwater photography skills, capturing the vivid colours and diverse marine life that make this destination so special.
On our non-diving days, Raja Ampat offers a wealth of activities and attractions to explore. I'm eager to trek through the lush jungles of Batanta Island, where we might spot the iconic birds of paradise or encounter other fascinating wildlife. Alternatively, we can embark on a traditional Indonesian sailing trip, exploring the idyllic islands and hidden lagoons that make Raja Ampat so unique.
As our time in Raja Ampat comes to a close and we prepare for the next leg of our dream scuba diving adventure, I know that the memories and experiences we've shared will remain with us forever. With 40 dives completed, we're now halfway through our journey, and I can't wait to see what underwater wonders await us at our next stop!
5. Red Sea, Egypt
Fly from Sorong to Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh via Istanbul or Cairo. Having experienced the wonders of Raja Ampat, we now set our sights on the renowned Red Sea in Egypt. I've always been fascinated by this legendary diving destination, with its crystal-clear waters, colourful coral reefs, and intriguing wrecks. The prospect of exploring vibrant coral gardens teeming with life and uncovering the secrets of sunken ships from times gone by truly ignites my passion for diving.
To fully appreciate the beauty of the Red Sea, we'll spend another week here, dedicating 10 more dives to our ever-growing total. Some of the iconic dive sites I'm eager to explore include Ras Mohammed National Park, home to the famous Shark and Yolanda Reefs; Thistlegorm, a WWII shipwreck that offers a hauntingly beautiful diving experience; and Elphinstone Reef, where we might encounter oceanic whitetip sharks and other pelagic species.
For our accommodations in Egypt, we'll choose a liveaboard that allows us to access remote dive sites while enjoying the company of fellow diving enthusiasts. This way, we can share our experiences and create lasting friendships as we continue our incredible journey.
In between dives, we'll have plenty of time to relax on the sun deck, sharing stories with our new friends and marvelling at the stunning views of the Red Sea's dramatic coastline. I'm excited to capture more amazing underwater photos, adding to my growing collection of memories from our dream adventure.
On our non-diving days, Egypt offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions to explore. I can't wait to visit the ancient city of Luxor, with its magnificent temples and tombs, or the legendary Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. We can also stroll through the bustling markets of Cairo, soaking up the vibrant atmosphere and sampling delicious Egyptian cuisine.
As we bid farewell to the Red Sea and prepare to continue our dream scuba diving adventure, I'm filled with gratitude for the unforgettable experiences we've shared so far. With 50 dives completed, we're well on our way to achieving our goal of 80 dives around the world, and I eagerly await the discoveries that lie ahead at our next destination!
Our next destination is the beautiful Maldives, an archipelago consisting of over 1,000 islands in the Indian Ocean. To get there, you can take a flight from Sharm El Sheik to Male, which takes around 10 hours and then take a domestic flight or speedboat transfer to your resort or liveaboard. The idea of diving into clear waters, discovering colourful coral reefs, and swimming with whale sharks, manta rays, and other reef fish fills me with enthusiasm and eagerness.
To truly appreciate the beauty of the Maldives, we'll spend another week in this tropical paradise, dedicating 10 more dives to our grand total. Some of the must-visit dive sites on my list include Maaya Thila, a pinnacle teeming with marine life such as white-tip reef sharks and moray eels; Manta Point, where we can witness graceful manta rays feeding in the currents; and the Fish Head Reef, renowned for its abundant fish population and beautiful coral formations.
For our stay in the Maldives, we'll choose a dive resort or liveaboard that offers easy access to the best dive sites while allowing us to relax in luxury and comfort. This will also give us the opportunity to connect with other divers and adventurers, sharing our experiences and forging new friendships.
In between our dives, we'll have plenty of time to unwind on the pristine sandy beaches of the Maldives, soaking up the sun and enjoying the picture-perfect surroundings. I'm particularly looking forward to practising my underwater photography skills, capturing the coral reefs' incredible marine life and vibrant colours.
As we conclude our time in the Maldives and prepare for the next chapter of our dream scuba diving adventure, I'm filled with deep gratitude for the unforgettable experiences we've shared. With 60 dives completed, we're now three-quarters of the way to our goal of 80 dives worldwide, and I can't wait to discover the underwater wonders that await us at our next destination!
7. Bonaire, Caribbean
Leaving behind the incredible Maldives, our dream adventure takes us to the captivating island of Bonaire in the Caribbean. After a 15-hour flight from Male, we'll arrive at this idyllic paradise, known as a diver's haven, boasting crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life. I'm beyond excited to explore the underwater world of Bonaire, swimming alongside turtles, and colourful fish, and perhaps even spotting a seahorse or two.
To fully appreciate the beauty of Bonaire, we'll spend another week in this tropical paradise, dedicating 10 more dives to our growing total. Some of the must-visit dive sites on my list include the famous Colourful, with its fascinating underwater structures and teeming marine life; Karpata, renowned for its pristine coral gardens and diverse fish species; and the Hilma Hooker wreck, an intriguing site that offers both history and mystery.
For our stay in Bonaire, we'll choose a dive resort that provides easy access to the island's shore diving sites while offering comfort and relaxation. This will also allow us to connect with other divers and adventurers, sharing our experiences and forging new friendships.
In between dives, we'll have plenty of time to unwind on the gorgeous sandy beaches of Bonaire, soaking up the sun and enjoying the laid-back island vibes. I'm particularly looking forward to practising my underwater photography skills, capturing the coral reefs' incredible marine life and vibrant colours.
On days when we're not diving, Bonaire offers a variety of activities and attractions to explore. I'm eager to try windsurfing or kitesurfing at Lac Bay, taking advantage of the island's ideal conditions for these exhilarating water sports. We can also visit the Washington Slagbaai National Park, where we can enjoy hiking, birdwatching, and admiring the beautiful landscapes.
8. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
As we conclude our time in Bonaire, we'll embark on a journey to our final destination: the extraordinary Galápagos Islands in Ecuador. The journey requires a 25-hour trip, including flying from Bonaire to Quito, Ecuador, connecting to Guayaquil, and boarding a boat to the Galápagos Islands.
We'll be spending another week exploring the diverse and exceptional ecosystem of the islands, with a focus on their underwater world. During our dives, we'll have the exciting opportunity to swim with marine iguanas, sea lions, and hammerhead sharks, while also experiencing the remarkable biodiversity that makes this archipelago truly unique. This will involve completing 10 more dives, bringing my total to 80 as I journey around the world.
For our stay in the Galápagos Islands, we'll choose a dive resort that offers easy access to the best dive sites and comfort on land. This will give us the chance to connect with fellow divers and adventurers, share stories from our journey around the world, and create lasting memories.
In between dives, we'll have plenty of time to relax on the beaches of Isabela Island or explore Santa Cruz Island's lush forests, discovering its unique flora and fauna. I'm particularly looking forward to capturing more incredible underwater photos to remember this adventure forever.
On days when diving isn't an option or when we need a break, many tourist attractions and activities can be enjoyed in the islands. We can visit the Darwin Research Centre, where we can learn about the incredible wildlife of the Galápagos Islands. We can also venture out on a boat to explore nearby islands or admire the rugged coastline from afar.
As our amazing journey around the world ends, and I look back on this once-in-a-lifetime experience, I'm filled with deep gratitude for all that I have seen and learned along the way. With 80 dives completed, I now have a lifetime of memories to cherish as my dream scuba diving adventure is finally complete!
Back to Sydney: Dive with the seadragons at Kurnell
Our adventure in the Galápagos Islands was unforgettable, but it's time to head back to Sydney, Australia. The journey will be a 20-hour flight from Guayaquil to Sydney.
Once back in Sydney, we'll dive with seadragons at Kurnell, a popular dive site famous for its unique underwater landscapes and fascinating marine life. This magical experience will be the perfect end to our dream scuba diving adventure, giving us memories to cherish forever and friendships formed along the way Colourful.
After completing 80 dives on this amazing scuba diving trip, we can reflect on our journey with gratitude and satisfaction. We had the opportunity to explore some of the most captivating dive sites in the world, where we encountered exceptional marine life and gained indelible experiences that will remain with us forever. Embarking on this scuba diving adventure was an immense privilege, and I'm thrilled to continue my journey towards 10,000 dives!
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