Dive Travel is part of my J-O-B! (hee hee!)
How can you not feel gleeful about something like that?
We have just returned from a recent group trip to one of our favorite (and easy to get to from Hawaii) destinations – Fiji. Though we have taken groups of as many as 33 people, this was a nice intimate group, enabling us to gather quickly for activities and all share the same boat and dives. Fiji has a lot to offer (heck, there are over 300 Fiji islands!) above and below the water where I find one word to be a fitting description for both elevations: LUSH.
Before working in a dive shop, the idea of group travel never appealed to me. I like to venture off and explore on my own. Once we started traveling with other divers however, I realized how much more fun it is to share these adventures and new experiences with dive buddies. Divers are natural explorers and like to share what they’ve seen and learned. I can be totally immersed in taking my 1200th anemone fish picture when I catch a rapid movement out of the corner of my eye. What’s that? Is it something new? It’s Jo waving me over to check out a rare little nudibranch. Nudis rock, not just because of their surprising colors and patterns, but because they move veeerrrrrry slowly, increasing my chances of getting a nice photo!
Our next group trip this year will be to the Philippines, and after scouting it out last year, I am counting down the days until I can visit again in June. Living in Maui, I interact with Filipinos on a daily basis so I experience their hospitality and tasty food regularly. When visiting the Philippines though, this experience is magnified tenfold! Everyone is friendly and helpful (and wants you to try their chicken adobo).
When you arrive in the Philippines, the first thing you can’t help but notice is their most obvious form of national transportation, the jeepney (made from left over jeeps left behind after WWII). Though I was totally transfixed by what I saw underwater in the Philippines, on land, these jeepneys continued to fascinate me. They are individually decorated and a cheap way to get around.
But back to the fish! To me, the sea life in the Philippines seems like the best mix of what you can see in Fiji, Palau, and Indonesia. From the flamboyant cuttlefish to “nemo” to a blue ringed octopus, the range of critters is unreal. I was forced, time and again, to use the “my head’s going to explode!” signal (I’m sure you can imagine this signal and it’s what I do when I’ve seen so much, I just can’t take any more). One dive in the Philippines equals several dives somewhere else.
So, that said, we’d love to have you join us. Traveling with a dive shop group enables you to let someone else worry about the details and you can just come along and enjoy the fun. We prepare our travelers with what to expect during the journey and once we arrive, often in the form of a pre-trip party. We arrange for special side trips so that we can all enjoy the culture of the location we’re visiting. We also take care of all sorts of behind-the-scenes items that our travelers rarely know about but that make the trips all the more enjoyable. The rhythm of the day once we arrive goes something like this: eat, dive, snack, dive, eat, look at pictures, dive…you get the picture. One of the best parts of dive travel is what you take back home with you:a dive log full of new dive buddies!
The Philippines trip is probably the best travel deal we’ve ever offered, so if you’re interested visit our page for more trip details or just email the shop. Though this is a two week trip, we’ve had some folks express some interest in joining us for the second week only. If a one week option interests you, just let us know!
p.s. Stay tuned for a recent first time traveler’s blog on his experiences in Fiji!