Depending on where you plan on traveling, there are loads of options to choose from when looking to incorporate diving into your holiday. With the exception of some specialized alternatives, there’s basically 3 categories of business that are gonna be able to get you underwater.
Over the past decade I have worked for all 3 types and have outline the few things that I have learned over the years. You can use this as a guide to help ask yourself questions and make a decision about what type of dive holiday best suits you for you next trip.
I've seen some pretty miserable divers hate their entire holiday because they botched choosing certain key features for their trip.
One of the best things about dive centers is the ability to weave scuba diving into your itinerary. Whether is just a single dive, or an entire day trip, dive centers are the best option if time is a factor.
A holiday centered around dive centers can possible get you in the water at a large variety of locations. If you're looking to do lots of diving, maybe instead of committing a weeks worth of time and money to one location, you spread that out over the duration of an entire trip. You can visit various dive centers in various locations. If you're planning to travel to many locations on your trip, maybe it would be a better allocation of resources.
Dive centers can always be a great choice if the amount of diving in an area is limited based upon your interests. Do the dives you want to do and don’t do the ones you don’t. It’s not always possible to please everyone at a resort or on a liveaboard.
Only you know how much diving you want to do. Think of it this way, if you want to have a sandwich, get a sandwich, don’t go for the buffet!
Things to consider
Scuba diving hot spots that get large numbers of traffic can sometimes have that dip em’ and drip em’ mentality. Get you in and out without giving 2 fucks if you’ve enjoyed yourself or not. NOT all dive centers are like this, so it is important to choose a dive center that fits your needs.
Not always, but often, the price will dictate what you're gonna get. If there is a company in town that is under cutting all the others, there is likely a reson! Don’t risk ruining your holiday or worse, putting yourself in danger just to save a few bucks.
If you are traveling with your own full set of scuba equipment, it can be a pain in the ass traveling around with. So if you opt for a dive center during your holiday, try and choose one that can accommodate all the diving your gonna want to do. Packing, unpacking, packing, unpacking then lugging dive gear around is fun for on one!
On the other hand, dive centers can be a great option for diving without traveling with your own gear. Borrow or rent theirs for the dives you want to do and then be hassle free for the parts of your trip where having an extra 20KG of gear is as useful as having a hole in the back of your head!
If you’ve only got one day to dive an area and the conditions are shit, you might not be able to dive. It happens all the time......that’s the risk you take when allocating minimal time.
I once had a guest who only wanted to photograph mandarin fish sperm inseminating the eggs. He didn’t give two shits about getting a photo of the fish mating, he just wanted close detail of the eggs and sperm coming into contact. He was super flexible with his schedule and were able to accommodate his request during his 5th consecutive night dive to the same dive site. Had he had only one day he wouldn;t have got to see what he wanted.
Resorts are fantastic way to getaway while being surrounded by services that allow you to get as much diving in as possible. The best choice if you plan on several days or more, diving in an area that has many varying dive sites near by.
Resorts are gonna take care of all your diving needs, so no need to figure out morning transportation and breakfast, that's there job to take care of. Minimal time needs to be spent organizing things throughout your stay, leaving you with loads of free surface interval time to enjoy your holiday.
Resorts can also be a great way to meet other travelers and divers. You’ve got the common bond of scuba diving, so resorts that have a great atmosphere and vibe can be perfect places to have not only great diving experience but memorable social ones. Even if you don’t socialize much, it can sometimes be entertaining having a beer or 2 and listen to others tell their “fisherman tale” style dive stories.
Things to consider
If you're all about a having diverse dive trip, be careful where you choose. Some resorts niche in one or another type of site, so do your homework before your book.
Just because a location is popular does not necessarily mean you’ll enjoy the diving!
The first time we went to Lembeh, one of the other divers came back from his first dive of his trip and said “What the fuck was that….. where the hell was the reef?”
He had no idea that Lembeh was all about muck diving …… hahahaha…..We had gone there specifically to dive in black sand for 10 days…. It was a milestone for us to be diving there, a place of legendary macro critters and to him he just assumed because it was booked within a package to dive Bunaken as well, it would be similar diving!
Do your homework folks! It’s 2021, you don’t need to spoil the surprise by watching every video on Youtube, but if you're not sure watch a video or two and read a blog.
Not always, but often dive resorts with the best diving are slightly further away from any town or village. If you want to head into town for dinner or drinks, it might not be possible based on the location of the resort. Some resorts don’t have anything else to do then what there is at the resort. That's not a bad thing, but it is if you want to do non resort things.
In my opinion, liveaboards are only worth considering if they visit an area that the other 2 options don’t. This is a a good thing! Liveaboard dive trips should be sought after for diving remote locations that often have some of the worlds best diving.
Liveaboards can bring you places that would otherwise be impossible to dive.
On top of that, traveling to remote locations is exciting. There is nothing adventurous about a boat parking somewhere and spending the night when you can see the glow of the lights from town not too far off in the distance. So choosing one that has an adventurous itinerary is key.
Things to Consider
Like I said, Liveaboards in my opinion, are only really worth it if they bring you somewhere that can’t be dove otherwise. There are companies with liveaboards that barely venture outside of easy to access dive sites that are littered all day long with boats from resorts and dive centers. If you are unsure, even a very generic web search should provide the answers to this question for most places in the world. In some cases you'd be wiser to stay at a resort or do day trips then take a liveaboard.
Same as in a resort, unless you are staying in a dorm room, there is gonna be a single supplement, it usually runs at about 30-40% surcharge….. However….don’t be afraid to ask. If you are flexible with your dates, you can sometimes find spots on boats that are less busy simply by going during low season when they have barely enough divers to make it worth while leaving port.
I’ve worked on boats with space for 24 guests that only sold spots to 6 guests for a week long trip. I guarantee you a company with a roster like this is gonna do anything to get more people on board…… not only will they usually waive the single supplement fee, you might even get a better deal!
There is absolutely no mystery or adventure turning up to dive sites that are crowded with day trip boats. A liveaboard can be used for so much more, going to places and dive site that are rarely ever dived, remote locations or even locations that are just outside of the reach of day trip boats.
The “IT” factor…..Sometimes, not always, but sometimes, you will get an “IT” onboard a liveaboard trip. No I am not talking about transexuals..... c'mon folks!!!!!
No an “IT” is that special person that seems to bring some type of negative, weird, fuckery, tainted mojo, social awkward vibe to the trip.
From complaining about everything to comparing every little detail of the current trip to another trip and beyond, the “IT” can come in all shapes and forms. I've seen a man shave another man's chest at the dinner table moments into service!!!! That kinda "IT"
On a boat that is only so big, it can be hard to avoid the “IT”…. There is a saying that if you haven’t figured out who “IT” is …….than “IT” is you!
Basically at the end of the day...
Unless you're chartering the boat, and even that isn’t guarantee, the cast of characters you share the experience can make or break a liveaboard dive trip.
When its all said and done, dive centers are great when you don’t want to dedicate your entire holiday to diving, resorts are great for diving an amazing area with loads of comfort and liveaboards should be used to get your ass out to the far off dive sites you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
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Thanks again for your time reading, we got loads more fun diving topics and stories for ya here -->> https://www.planetlenz.com/blog/categories/sea