When asked to tag along on a business trip to Florida in February, my answer was a resounding YES. Living in western PA, the prospect of a bit of sun, sand and warmer temperatures was appealing. After two previous dive experiences in Key largo, this was my chance to get to the Lower Keys – an area I have wanted to scuba dive since I was certified in 2007. After a Bonefish and Tarpon Trust Board Meeting in Key Biscayne, we drove the famed US Highway #1 to the Conch Republic of Key West. While Key West does have an eclectic, funky, “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” reputation, it is a wonderful place to vacation with world-class hotels, fantastic restaurants, abundant nightlife and a myriad of watersports, including great fishing and diving. We stayed at the Casa Marina Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property and it was perfect!
We decided to book a comprehensive refresher course through Dive Key West. This is an excellent idea for anyone who wants to get back into the sport or if it has been awhile since you have been in the water. There have been many advances in the technology and equipment used today with dive computers being far more common and new equipment designs which have led to some changes in the layout of your dive gear. For example, weight-integrated BCs are a common fixture these days, making weight belts less common. Even ascent rates have changed to a more conservative 30 feet per minute. Dive Key West did a terrific job. We would recommend them highly for anyone diving in the area.
The classroom session was completed in the morning reviewing materials from the certification class and getting reoriented with the gear, followed by some pool time brushing up on standard skills like mask and regulator clearing, buoyancy control and emergency procedures. After a break for lunch, we met at the dock for two open-water dives. The Florida Keys is home to the United States’ only living-coral barrier reef situated about five miles offshore with shallow reefs for snorkelers, as well as a range of deeper reefs for experienced divers. The reefs are famous for their healthy fish populations and ship wrecks like the Spiegel Grove, Vandenberg and Eagle.
For years, Frontiers has been sending our fishing clients to a number of great saltwater lodges around the globe. In addition to the mainline fishing offerings, a number of these locations have established diving programs making these great destinations with activities to meet everyone’s interests. You can dive the Blue Hole or Ambergris Caye while your partner lands a grand slam in Belize or swim with the tortoises and whales in the Seychelles while the anglers hunt for bonefish and trevally on the flats. The Bahamas and Mexico offer great fishing and diving combination trips as well!
Another destination to consider with excellent scuba diving is Amanwana (which means peaceful forest), the only resort on the Indonesian island of Moyo, a nature and marine reserve 15 kilometers off the coast of Sumbawa, east of Bali. Surrounded by the turquoise waters and untouched reefs of the Flores Sea, the island is blessed with a variety of animal and bird life, from deer to wild boar, macaque monkeys, sea eagles and osprey.
Clients have also enjoyed the magic of the Maldives aboard Four Seasons Explorer private catamaran. A floating PADI 5-Star Dive Centre, the live-aboard sails to virgin dive sites for an incomparable experience. Swim among manta rays with three dives a day then surface for a sand bar massage or a private beach picnic.
When planning your next trip, we would encourage you to consider adding a few days of scuba diving to the departure. Several resorts and lodges also offer introductory courses for those who just want to “dip their toe in the water” so to speak to determine if diving is an activity for them. Contact Kristene Matelan at 800-245-1950 or email@example.com for additional details about diving opportunities with Frontiers!
Image Courtesy of Amanresorts [img src=http://frontiersejblog.com/wp-content/flagallery/amanwana-peaceful-forest-indonesia/thumbs/thumbs_amanwana-boardwalk.jpg]1970Amanwana - Boardwalk
Image Courtesy of Amanresorts [img src=http://frontiersejblog.com/wp-content/flagallery/amanwana-peaceful-forest-indonesia/thumbs/thumbs_amanwana-jungle-cove-spa.jpg]1790Amanwana - Jungle Cove Spa
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Image Courtesy of Amanresorts [img src=http://frontiersejblog.com/wp-content/flagallery/amanwana-peaceful-forest-indonesia/thumbs/thumbs_amanwana-tent-interior-2.jpg]1630Amanwana - Tent Interior
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Four Seasons Explorer
© Four Seasons Resorts in the Maldives [img src=http://frontiersejblog.com/wp-content/flagallery/four-seasons-explorer/thumbs/thumbs_fs_2.jpg]3350Four Seasons Explorer, Maldives
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Casa Marina & The Reach Resort--Waldorf Astoria Hotel--Key West, FL
© Casa Marina & The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts [img src=http://frontiersejblog.com/wp-content/flagallery/casa-marina-amp-the-reach-resort-waldorf-astoria-hotel-key-west-fl/thumbs/thumbs_cm_2.jpg]7750Casa Marina & The Reach Resort, Key West, Florida
© Casa Marina & The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts [img src=http://frontiersejblog.com/wp-content/flagallery/casa-marina-amp-the-reach-resort-waldorf-astoria-hotel-key-west-fl/thumbs/thumbs_cm_3.jpg]7570Casa Marina & The Reach Resort, Key West, Florida
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