In the age of the Internet, discovering interesting diving sites has become quite easy. Pages and social networks are full of information, beautiful photos and various records. However, the Internet is not the only source of information. Divers appreciate the recommendations and positive experience of other divers, they enter the programs of diving centers and browse through books with selected locations and wrecks. Diving clubs also play a significant role in deciding to visit certain destinations, because their suggestions for trips often make the choice easier. Of course, there are also divers who prefer undiscovered or even well-hidden locations more than popular ones. They prefer to dive in rivers and lakes where there are no diving centers and to explore less populated locations. Some dive more than once in the same locations or wrecks, and yet each time they discover something new. My diving companion Matjaž and I did two dives every summer on the wreck of Peltastis, called “the Greek”. First it was the late-afternoon dive, then Vlado refilled the tanks and a wonderful night dive followed. And we repeated the routine for several years in a row.
So how do you find interesting locations and dives? Here are a few ways!
There are numerous books on the market containing descriptions and beautiful photos of diving destinations, from local to various “Best of” collections, which describe the most beautiful locations worldwide. The locations of the Adriatic Sea are also listed in various books, three of which have found their way to my shelves. The first is Treasure of the Adriatic, a legendary collection of wrecks in the Adriatic Sea, by Danijel Frka and Jasen Mesić. The 2012 reprint contains 56 wrecks with plenty of data, drawings and photographs, and the book is a genuine little encyclopedia of the history of those ships and the events that led to the accidents. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys diving near shipwrecks and airplanes. Another excellent source of ideas is the book by Ivana Ostoić Dive in Croatia, which provides basic information, descriptions and sketches of 85 locations. In the guide you will find walls, reefs and wrecks, as well as tips and information about diving centers, weather conditions, relevant regulations, etc. The third book is Diving in Croatia by Miro Andrić, where 116 locations are compiled, with an extensive addition of useful data, the book also includes a DVD.
Profiles of divers, diving groups, clubs and centers are galleries of all possible locations that are updated in real time during the diving season. If you join them, in just a few weeks you will have enough ideas for a few seasons of diving and you will meet many more diving soulmates. Oh, of course – don’t forget to post your own photos from the most interesting locations. Agreed?
Membership in a diving club is a great way to dive in different locations. Well organized clubs have several diving trips or diving camps each year, where members get to know the locations of a certain area or enjoy a longer diving safari, visiting locations on various islands. On the club diving menu, everyone can pick something for themselves – actions of cleaning rivers, seas or lakes, as well as the Adriatic Sea in a thousand and one ways, and at some clubs even diving trips to Egypt, France, Italy and similar locations. Club members themselves are also a real treasure trove of ideas, so you can gain a lot from clicking on club sites or their profiles on social networks.
At nautical shows such as Boot Dusseldorf, in the days before Covid, diving centers from all over the world occupied almost an entire exhibition hall. Boot and similar events are a unique opportunity to get to know the destinations where you can spend a week or two of diving vacation and where the craziest experiences are offered – diving with whale sharks, discovering wrecks in the Scapa Flow warship cemetery, beautiful fauna of the Galapagos Islands, diving in the tropics, enjoying the deepest pool in the world and many more similar locations! At the fairs you get first-hand information, as well as a promotional discount when booking.
If you are among the divers who dedicate their entire vacation to diving, then you will carefully choose locations before departure. However, if you use dives only to spice up your vacation, then it is best to indulge in the offers and surprises of the diving center. However, even before a “non-diving” vacation, true divers do a little research of the diving offer and always bring with them some of the most important items of their diving gear. Just in case.
YOU HAVE FOUND A LOCATION! NOW WHAT?
Finally, let’s look at some of the basic, strongly intertwined factors that influence the choice of diving location. The main trio is – money, time and your diving category. Let’s see why merely choosing an interesting location is not enough.
Money – You don’t need a big budget to dive in local rivers or lakes, but when you cross the border there are transportation costs and paying for dives at the diving center, to start with. Diving prices vary depending on the type, and the total cost of diving increases with distance from home due to fuel, tolls, ferries and of course accommodation and food. If you are impressed by some of the exclusive locations on the other side of the globe, prepare a budget for air travel, diving organization and equipment rental.
Time – there are very few dives that take less than a day. You might succeed if you dive somewhere in your vicinity, because otherwise diving takes more time. Divers usually prefer to take two days off at the end of the week to dive from the diving center. If you go on a diving safari on the Adriatic for three, four or more days, you can make three dives a day, and on safaris in tropical seas even more – four or five. Of course, you can stay on these safaris for seven, ten or even fourteen days, because it makes no sense to travel to Egypt, the Philippines, the Maldives or Mauritius for a short time.
Diving Category – Most diving sites usually specify which diving category you need to dive there. Due to depth, flow, visibility and various local special conditions, you cannot visit some of the locations if you have only completed the initial OWD course. I would recommend that you complete the AOWD course (second level) with special skills such as night diving, deep diving, stress & rescue, navigation, nitrox and others, as this will give you access to the vast majority of the most interesting locations around the world. A special story are the wrecks of ships and planes. Most of them lie (too) deep, so only well-trained and equipped technical divers can dive to them. Similar conditions apply to diving in caves, submerged mines and similar attractions, where you will be prohibited from diving if you do not have the appropriate diving category, equipment and sufficient experience.
NO DIVES AND NO SELFIES ARE WORTH THE RISK
Finally, let’s add a few more words about safety. Always include common sense when posting on social media. Photographs of wrecks or corals that are too deep can impress you so much and encourage you to go on a dive for which you are not experienced enough, and the desire for take a photograph might cost you your life. If your maximum allowed depth is 40 m, then forget about everything that lies deeper! Of course, you can always opt for a technical diving course and then add wrecks to your wish list that lie at a depth of 50, 60 or more meters. Caution is necessary even in rivers and lakes, where vortices, currents, branches and trunks lie, as well as unexploded remnants of wars, poor visibility and the like. Rivers offer a wonderful and completely new dimension of diving, but only if you carefully check and study all the conditions and make sure that the selected locations are safe for diving. Good luck!
Text: Matej Ogorevc
Photos: Matej Ogorevc, Boštjan Bizjak, archive