….and now ….. long anticipated …… well, for my own part, at least ….. the next blog posting!!
“Where is the best diving spot?”
“What is the coolest place you have been diving?”
“What is the most exciting dive that you’ve made?”
Commonly heard questions. And questions we especially hear from our new students and even from some of our more advanced divers at the Toronto Scuba Centre. At this time of the year in Toronto (winter), when it is cold and gray, they are also totally understandable.
So, how do we answer them? Therein lies the problem. The main issue is that the questions are almost impossible to answer. Why the difficulty? Well, aside from the questions being inherently subjective, diving itself is an even more intensely subjective exercise. What thrills one person will not necessarily thrill the next.
Take, for instance, my personal dive favourites: wrecks and macro-marine life. I started with a passion for swimming around wrecks. I am still as giddy as an eight-year old at Christmas when I descend onto one. And outside of exploring wrecks, as my diving has evolved, I have become more and more mesmerized by tiny little forms of life that scurry around on reef and wreck. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy seeing large pelagic fish, but ever increasingly I seem to spend my time scrutinizing small cracks, crevices and surfaces. I could quite happily spend an entire 45-minute/one hour dive, moving less than 20 feet looking for tiny little guys minding their own business. Critters, for me now at any rate, are where it is at.
For brand new divers, however, the opposite is often true….as a new diver starts to get the chance to see a whole new underwater world, they usually start with wanting to see the big guys … the sharks, barracudas, Moray eels, swordfish, etc. Which is entirely natural.
Perhaps another example that easily illustrates why my opinion of what is cool could differ quite dramatically from another’s can be taken from a few blog postings below. Cenote diving. I LOVED it when I was there and thought that the experience was one of the most fantastic episodes of my entire diving career. Many others, however, might feel that the experience is a little too claustrophobic for them. Or perhaps cenote diving is simply too devoid of life to hold any fascination for them.
You can see, therefore, how answering the question as to where the best dive spot is can be a bit of a conundrum.
We still do our best, at the Toronto Scuba Centre, and when we do answer, we try our best to be objective, or at least to take into account the diver’s past diving history. We attempt to gauge what we think would best fit that diver’s personality, but it still comes down to being somewhat of a guessing game.
Between our instructors, we have had a huge wealth of experiences, so even if it isn’t our current dive focus, we are still able to impart some of what we have previously enjoyed. Despite my macro-focus these days, I still enjoy seeing a graceful shark fly by and I have STILL yet to capture a sight of the elusive whale shark (elusive apparently only to me, because every time I go to a whale shark hotspot, where sightings are plentiful, it seems that everyone else gets to see them, but me ….. commiserations accepted). So, if a student is new and has expressed a desire to see sharks or turtles or walls with gigantic drop-offs, I can still point them in the right direction or quickly find someone else who can.
Which leads to my next few blog postings … we have now determined that it is almost impossible to provide an answer that would satisfy everyone as to where the best dive spots are. My goal over the next few posts, however, will simply be to shine a bit of a spotlight on some of the dive spots that are on the top of my personal wish list … either to visit for the first time, or to revisit for a trip down memory lane.
First up …… Bonaire and Curacao ….