Choosing A Dive Site - Part 3
Remember, you can dive only so much. Check into the topside features of a destination to see what's available for the nondiver in your family and for your own nondiving hours. Obviously a destination like the Red Sea, coupled with a tour of Egypt, offers a different experience topside than, say, a small Caribbean island. This should certainly have an impact on your plans.
Where to Stay
Accommodations for divers can be found in the full range, from top-notch luxury to camping on the beach. Many dive operators are based in a resort or manage their own hotels. In a dive-dedicated or dive-friendly resort, besides close proximity to the diving, you're likely to find simple rooms without lots of carpeting or fancy furniture — wet, sandy people are hard on rugs. Expect good food and lots of it; all that activity makes for a mean appetite. Many resorts offer dockside lockers to stow gear, so you don't need to lug it to the room. Near the lockers, look for rinse tanks and drying areas to clean the saltwater out of your equipment. These days, many dive-dedicated resorts offer special programs for children during the typical dive hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
A lovely thing about diving is meeting other divers. A good dive resort offers you the chance to encounter some of the most interesting people around. And you already have a natural launch point for the conversation — where have they been diving lately?
One more very important caveat: Before you leave whatever piece of paradise you finally settle on, remember the dive-fly rule. After diving, you've still got nitrogen in your body that needs to be released slowly. It takes a while before you'll be ready to go up in an airplane after diving. The waiting period is usually 12 to 24 hours, depending on the depth and duration of your last dives. In any case, take it easy that last day and night, and start savoring your farewell dive as a beautiful memory to carry home.
Think all of these are still too many factors to juggle? Let the experts get your act together. Finding the right destination with the right diving, the right dive operators, and the right accommodations is an art form. And there's an entire industry of people called dive travel specialists or dive travel wholesalers. Generally, these travel agents have a passion for diving and combine their expertise and dive experience to advise customers. They offer entire packages from airfare to rental gear, right on the phone or through the Internet, and they can tailor a trip to your level of diving or special marine interests. Many have decades of experience in destinations around the globe, even the most exotic dive sites available anywhere on this big blue ball of a planet. So watch for package deals in the areas that interest you, or call and schedule your dream vacation. Then get ready to kick back and dive in in order to have the best holiday ever.
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