I have been sailing in the Caribbean full time for four years now. And scuba diving every chance I get! I have been fortunate to dive almost every island that you read about in the diving magazines. I thought I would share some of our insiders knowledge and report on our favorite spots.
If you are an avid scuba diver, I don't need to convince you the Caribbean is a great place to dive. If you have not become a certified diver, please consider giving it a try. The Caribbean is a terrific place to get your certification. Check out this great video of a beautiful Spotted Eagle Ray. You feel as if you are floating with him. And you feel the magic of the underwater world. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzlwRpV2IdU
Diving in the Caribbean is good year round. The water is almost always at least 80F, no matter how deep you go. A 3mm shorty is all that is needed for most of us. Topside, it is usually sunny and warm.
Many people want to travel during the winter to escape cold weather at home and the allure of the Caribbean is too hard to resist! However, if the Caribbean is going to get "bad" weather it is either during the winter months of December and January or, of course, during Hurricane Season.
My experience is that high winds and rough seas occur more often during December and January than any other time of year. They are called "The Christmas Winds" in the Eastern Caribbean because strong winds and whipped seas reliably show up in mid to late December. And then stay awhile. And that makes for poor visibility for diving.
Hurricane Season technically runs from June 1 to November 30. The majority of hurricanes hit in the hottest months of August, September and to a lesser extent October. Not that a hurricane can't hit at other times, it is just less common.
I find early spring, summer and into fall the best times of year to go diving in the Caribbean. The weather conditions usually match the brochure! The seas are calm and visibility is terrific.
Divers Alert Network (DAN) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the recreational divers' safety. They offer emergency medical assistance anywhere in the world and have saved many lives. Every diver should be a DAN member.
DAN also offers travel insurance, so if a hurricane decides to show up at your appointed island and time, you can get a refund or reschedule.
And since spring, summer and fall are considered either low season or shoulder season in the Caribbean, there are some terrific deals to be had out there. Unfortunately, tourism is still down in all islands. But that means you can negotiate some great deals.
Often the best deals are a package hotel and dive combination. On some islands a car is a necessity. Other islands have great public transportation and a car is an added expense you don't need.
I will be writing about some of my favorite islands for scuba diving and my top three are definitely Dominica in the Antilles Eastern Caribbean, Bonaire in the Dutch Antilles off the coast of Venezuela and our current home, Roatan, Honduras in Central America. We are going to Belize in a month or so, and might have to add that island to the favorites list!
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