It looks like Part One of the ‘Best Places to Learn to Dive’ series was very popular! Thank you to all who have and will read it; I hope it was of help. A special ‘thank you’ to Sykose Extreme Sports News for re-blogging the post.
While I did say that there would be two posts, I must confess that in the process of preparing Part Two, I found that I have yet even more to say on this topic. So, the series has now been increased to three! While that bit of news sinks in, let me continue with Part Two – The Mediterranean.
The Mediterranean is an obvious choice for many young families to get introduced to the world of Scuba Diving. Unlike the Red Sea, there are no coral drop-offs or exotic fish – in fact Britain could be a better option, but the sea is cold and, quite often, it rains…
So, over time, we have explored locations that still have abundant and interesting marine life, which are suitable to family holidays in the Sun with activities to hold the interest of all in the family. We are always looking for reliable dive centres offering safe diving with excellent instructors, in an environment that will make for a successful family holiday where there is much to interest those not engaged in Learn to Dive including culture, wildlife and history.
Remember: the better the marine life, the cleaner the sea!
Kas – Jeff Hogue / Bouganville Travel
Based on the Turquoise Coast, it is the perfect choice for a truly Mediterranean experience, as well as Learn to Dive.
Once the ancient capital of the Lyceum Empire, today Kaş has a rare charm as an attractive historical maritime town perched at the sea edge. Lively and interesting – there is a submerged city near Kekova Island, which you can kayak/canoe over.
For diving here, we use PADI 5* Bougainville Travel – an English-owned, leading Adventure Company based on the Turquoise Coast. They also provide a number of other activities including kayaking, cycling, trekking, canyoning, para-gliding and excursions.
Kaş has many advantages: warm water temperature, superb visibility and a wide range of dive sites including wrecks and ancient artefacts. Roman amphorae lie on the sea bed and the oldest shipwreck in the world, a 1400BC Phoenician trade boat, was discovered here.
Learn to Dive: £255.00pp / Diving: £194.00pp / Accommodation: £107.00pp
The island lies to the North of Palermo, Sicily. It has grottos, beaches, volcanoes and some extraordinary agriculture including their world-famous capers, lentils and vineyards. The tiny volcanic island of Ustica is an oasis of peace and tranquillity, yet is unspoilt by tourism, and the sea surrounding the island is a protected natural marine reserve, where there is an abundance of marine life in its clear waters. The island has a small, pretty town perched above the harbour and, along with small restaurants and cafés, it houses an underwater archaeological museum. One can find the presence of several ancient Mediterranean peoples, like Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians and Romans. For a long time Ustica was the base for Saracen pirates.
Profondo Blu – the premier dive centre here – is run by Paulo and Ann. They are PADI 5* and have a base in the port, as well as the best Dive Boat in the harbour. Being a small island, there is hardly a day they cannot dive ‘due to weather’, as they can change venues to other parts of the island. Nepaulozzo is their small, a purpose-built resort providing communal areas and quality guest accommodation.
Ann teaches diving, with the sea as her classroom – with instruction from the shore or the boat. Paulo and Ann are superb hosts, and are also passionate about the regional food and wine.
Ustica and Learn to Dive can be perfectly combined with a week’s stay in a villa, beach hotel or a self-drive in Sicily.
Learn to Dive: £364.00pp / Diving: £300.00pp / Accommodation: £220.00 per week, self-catering
San Vito Lo Capo, Sicily
A richly Italian resort located on mainland Sicily, and known for its seemingly endless stretch of glorious, white sandy beach against a backdrop of rough, jagged mountains. The town is refreshingly ‘low-rise’, with much of its streets being pedestrianised and lined with tempting cafés, bars, shops, and good restaurants and trattorias serving local specialties. Food is a passion here, with good quality at reasonable prices – the town holds the International Cous Cous Festival, which is currently in its 17th year from 23rd to 28th September 2014!
The town has its origins as an ancient Roman port – signs of this heritage can still be seen near the town’s old tuna fishery. The Lo Zingaro Nature Reserve is adjacent to the town; a visit to the reserve offers over 7km of stunning cliff-top walks through a staggering 700 varieties of fragrant Mediterranean trees, flowers and shrubs. For the bird watcher, there are a number of migrant and indigenous birds including eagles and peregrine falcons.
Diving here is done with PADI 5* Under Hundred – the dive centre and resort is very close to the Lo Zingaro National Park, and is run by husband-and-wife-team, Roberto and Marina and their experienced and professional staff. The base has a wonderful location facing the enticing sandy beach, and is shaded by pine trees that keep it cool even on the hottest days. Many of the dive sites can be reached quickly and conveniently from the jetty near the centre; the area can be considered a ‘Divers’ Paradise’ as it features walls; shoals; caves, and wrecks at different depths – for all levels of experience.
Learn to Dive: £245.00pp / Diving: £255.00pp / Accommodation: £210.00 per week, bed and breakfast
Malta, Maltese Archipelago
Malta, the main island, is less than a 3-hour flight from anywhere in Europe and has many regional UK departure points. It is a perfect destination for a week’s holiday or even a long weekend.
This small country has a long history, with early settlements estimated to have been from 5200 BC. You will find mysterious remains and megalithic temples of prehistoric ages beside military buildings and forts built by the Knights of the Order of Saint John – all beside beautiful examples of pure Maltese style found in the vast majority of houses.
PADI 5* dive centre, Maltaqua in St Paul’s Bay, has over 40-years’ experience in training divers, and is one of the leading schools in Europe. Over time, they too have built their own 2* accommodation: Sands, which is a complex of purpose-built, air-conditioned apartments and is a short walk from the dive centre and shop. As one of Europe’s premier dive centres, it trains divers from Junior Novice to the most advanced tech levels.
The neighbouring towns are steeped with history, bustling markets, bars and cafés to suit all.
Learn to Dive: £180.00pp / Diving: £296.00pp / Accommodation: £444.00 per week, self-catering apartment for four
Gozo, Maltese Archipelago
A regular helicopter and ferry service operates between Malta and Gozo, which is a small and enchanting island. Its 5000 years of history, and the pristine clear blue waters that wash its ancient shores, lure holiday-makers and divers from all over the world. The Blue Hole, Azure window, Inland sea, Cathedral cave and Reqqa reef are some of the brilliant and unforgettable dives on this tiny Mediterranean island, where time seems to stand still.
This charming island has something for everyone – idyllic scenery, imposing cliffs, open markets, fine restaurants, historical places, buzzing night clubs and, above all, friendly locals!
Blue Waters Dive Cove, the dive centre here, is in Qala Point – a village close to the ferry terminal and facing Comino Island and the Blue Hole. This PADI 5* centre is run by brothers Franco and Mario Bugeja, and their expert team of dive instructors. They use the bay – a short walk from the village – as their ‘pool’ for training.
A typical family could rent a ‘farmhouse with pool’ – a long established tradition in Gozo, located in the village. You can cater for yourself, or eat in the village, and or a week’s visit you don’t need a car. However, for extended stays of two weeks or more, it is recommended as this is a beautiful island and driving around it rich in local tradition, and there is excellent sea kayaking to be experienced.
Learn to Dive: £250.00pp / Diving: £178.00pp / Accommodation: £800.00 per week, villa with pool – sleeps four
Situated on the northern tip of Sardinia, Palau is a port town with a very different atmosphere and feel to the rest of the island. Here, you will get an authentic feel of Sardinian life – there are shops, cafés, restaurants and bars just a few steps away.
Palau is in a strategic position and is the gateway to the Maddalena Archipelago in the Straits of Bonifacio. From here, Corsica – the birthplace of Emperor of the French and King of Italy, Napoleon Bonaparte I – is a boat ride away, with access to the Lavezzi Marine Reserve. The water here is breathtakingly clear – offering up to 30m visibility – and very clean, which allows for an abundance of marine life to thrive. There are nearly 40 dive sites to choose from that, together, make for an unforgettable diving experience.
PADI 5* Gold Palm and BSAC Dive Resort: Nautilus Dive Centre is run by British and Swiss couple, Vincenzo and Stephanie. Having many years of experience teaching around the world, they will show you the best of this idyllic part of the Mediterranean and offer the full range of PADI courses available as well as speciality courses. At the dive centre, they also have facilities for Nitrox dive and Underwater Digital Photography.
Learn to Dive: £288.00pp / Diving: £160.00pp – some dives have distance tax / Accommodation: £23.00pp – bed and breakfast per night
Our next part in the series will look at exotic sites, such as Zanzibar, Kenya, Mauritius, Bonaire, the Far East and more! Well…not too much more…
See you in two weeks!