This year, I logged my 100th dive, and I had to commemorate the occasion on the blog!
Four years ago in 2015, in an indoor pool in Austin, I scuba dived for the first time. It was part of my open water certification class and a few days later, I dove in the “wild” at Lake Austin.
Nearly a year later in 2016, I got my advanced open water certification, again diving in Lake Austin. A few months later, I jumped into the Andaman Sea in Thailand and the rest is history! I was hooked.
We’ve taken almost every vacation opportunity to go diving in the last few years and we ended up in seven different places. Four of those trips were in the Caribbean. All of those trips included dive resorts, liveaboards, and multiple days of two-plus dives a day.
In Indonesia this year, I logged my 100th dive! That was 100 scary, exciting, and enriching dives in four years. In my 100 dives, I’ve seen hundreds of types of wildlife, from fish to coral. My favorites are the small, colorful nudibranchs (sea slugs). Yet, holding onto a rope and watching a manta ray twice your size is a breath-taking experience.
I wrote about how I started diving and some diving stories in this post, so I’ll keep the recap short!
Thailand will always be special to me because it was my first time in the ocean and my first liveaboard. We saw some incredible topography. It was tough as a newbie, and I can’t wait to go back one day and see it from a new perspective.
In Roatan, we stayed at a dive resort and dove four times a day. Two of those daily dives were self-led dives back to the resort shore. This trip was my first experience in the Caribbean, so all the wildlife, including pufferfish, eels, and squirrelfish, I saw was new to me.
In Belize, we dove deep – 130 feet at the Blue Hole. While it wasn’t the most exciting dive, diving in Belize was fun. I loved all the eagle rays. We stayed at a dive resort and loved exploring Belize above the water and celebrating my birthday.
In the Cayman Islands, I hit 50 dives and really felt like I wasn’t a beginner diver anymore. We dove the famous USS Kittiwake wreck and loved all the turtles, sharks, and squids.
In Egypt, we were on a liveaboard for seven days and saw so many sharks! Diving the USS Thistlegorm, a WW2 cargo ship was incredible. Of course, this trip was also special because we got engaged on our liveaboard.
In Bonaire, we enjoyed the ease of planning our own diving schedule and loved diving with friends. I also got to rent a fancy camera and try it out for a day.
I loved our Indonesia liveaboard because the diving was so memorable. From 12-ft manta rays to pygmy seahorses and every nudibranch in between, this trip reiterated that Asia’s wealth of wildlife makes it a top place to dive.
It has been a joy to learn and grow in this hobby. It’s given me an appreciation for the little things, a love of the ocean, and a sense of confidence and ambition. Living in the center of Texas, diving is usually a daydream, but at least twice a year, I’ve gotten the opportunity to blow some bubbles.
If I could, I would charter a boat and invite all of you to come experience diving with me! As you know from my stories, it takes patience and courage to dive, but with practice, diving is a rewarding activity. I hope if you get the chance, you take it! Here are 10 reasons why you should dive on your next trip.
It’s hard to pick a favorite place or trip because they are so different and special in unique ways. From experience, if you want to begin diving, try Roatan, Belize, or the Cayman Islands. I’ve also heard Mexico is good for beginners. Asian countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have incredible diving, but the currents suggest it is better for advanced divers and for us in the U.S., the trip there can be a headache.
For me, I’d love to dive in new places. Malaysia, the Philippines, the Maldives, and Galapagos are big trips I want to take one day. Closer to home, I want to dive in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Hawaii.
Where would you want to scuba dive?