Located at Whale Harbor Marina in Islamorada, Paradise Hang Gliding operates daily, weather permitting. Up to six people can be accommodated on the towboat and flights usually are scheduled for 10 am, 1 pm, 2pm and 4pm.
One person at a time accompanies tandem instructor and owner Scot Trueblood during the flight, ascending to either the standard 1,500-foot height or to an upgraded 2,500 feet.
The glider is towed aloft by a custom aquagliding boat and the line is released at the selected altitude. Fliers then soar silently in a state-of-the-art glider fitted with pontoons just like a seaplane.
A GoPro Hero 2 HD glider-mounted camera catches all the action on film.
Afterward, Over/Under participants can enjoy a snorkel excursion to learn about reef ecology and fish identification. Fly-n-Dive participants join a two-tank dive trip with Florida Keys Dive Center to a local wreck or reef.
For information, visit www.paradisehanggliding.com
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk
The new Palau Adventure Park is located in a forest, surrounded by the Rock Islands. The park sits alongside a mangrove jungle river and the Pacific. The park features four zipline courses as well as a two-mile Mangrove Jungle River Boat Tour, which wends through mangroves viewing wildlife that includes mangrove crabs and crocodiles.
The park also offers an Ocean Historic Site Tour, which is a boat tour that takes passengers out to the Guinness Book of World Records’ “Largest Yapese Stone Money” as well as the Stalactite Bat Cave (an ancient burial grave).
The Land Historic Site Tour takes guests on a drive to the oldest original traditional chief’s meeting house, aka the traditional Palauan “Bai,” and several WWII monuments. Rates for Palau Adventure Park’s tours range from $85 to 130 for the Zipline Tour prices are $85 per person; for the Jungle River Boat Tour, it is $85 per person; for The Ocean Historic Site Tour it is $130; and for the Land Historic Tour it is $85.
In its Ultimate Diving Collection 2013, Dive Worldwide offers more varied diving to more destinations across the globe than any other dive operator. Introduced this year are some exciting destinations that have not been readily available to the UK diver before. They include snorkelling with humpback whales in Tahiti, some of the best muck-diving in Ambon, Indonesia and, nearer to home, the opportunity to dive up close and personal in the Azores with blue sharks. Also new for this season are two new liveaboard boats in the Maldives, another in the Andaman Sea, a learn-to-dive week in Thailand and tiger shark diving in the Bahamas – definitely one for the log book.
Whatever a diver’s passion – shark diving, wreck diving, muck-diving, underwater photography – and whether a complete beginner or a seasoned expert, there’s something for everyone. Unique to the UK dive market is Dive Worldwide’s extensive programme offering both small group departures and tailor-made holidays of a lifetime. Featuring remote and far-flung destinations, with liveaboards, resorts, and dive centres the world over, there is a choice of 50 destinations in Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and the islands of the Pacific.
UP & COMING
Commenting on what’s really hot in the diving world, Teresa Bennett, MD, Dive Worldwide, said, “The biggest new areas for diving are in Indonesia. While there used to be a major focus on Bali, we’re now going right the way down to Papua, and heading into much more remote areas of the country – the world’s largest archipelago which is at the heart of the Coral Triangle. There’s currently a huge fascination in whale sharks, mainly because research into their migration has been carried out only within the last few years and the difficulty in tracking them.”
FIVE BEST SELLERS
Like all forms of travel, destinations go in and out of fashion. These are currently the top five regions that divers can’t get enough of, according to Dive Worldwide: Indonesia, the Philippines (which would have been shunned five years’ ago), the Maldives, Malaysia and little-known Micronesia, made up of thousands of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean. On the other hand top photo destinations, whether for the quality of technology or visibility, include Lembeh – the birthplace of muck-diving, Walinde in Papua New Guinea, the Caribbean island of Bonaire, the Maldives and Bali.
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2013
Tahiti – Tahiti and her islands are the premier underwater destination for observing anything ‘big’ and abundant, especially when diving the ‘the passes’. Often known as the shark capital of the Pacific, these picture-perfect islands definitely live up to their rating: lemon, grey, black-tip, white-tip and hammerhead sharks all make the Tahitian waters their home.
Head to Fakarava, Rangiroa and Rurutu for humpbacks between June and November. Year-round diving from £4,095 inc. flights, transfers, 12 nights’ accommodation, some meals and 15-dive pack.
Maluku Divers in Ambon, Indonesia – Expect the unexpected at Maluku Divers Resort – a small, intimate and purpose-built diving resort in a wonderfully remote area. Introduced in response to increased demand for diving in Indonesia, macro life abounds here and photographers are well catered for, with individual editing desks and charging stations. From £2,175 inc. flights, 8 nights’ full board, transfers and dive pack.
Blue Shark Adventure, Azores – Diving around Pico is still relatively untouched, yet the Gulf Steam ensures a mild and humid climate year-round. Better still, it is also one of the best destinations in the world to dive with blue sharks in blue water and there are frequent mako shark sightings, which combine to make an unforgettable shark adventure. The chance to interact with these amazing species in open water and not be confined to a cage is a truly exhilarating experience. From £1,095 inc. flights, transfers, 7 nights’ accommodation, some meals and dive pack.
Learn to Dive in Thailand – Why do a PADI Open Water Course in a boring swimming pool when there’s a chance to learn with a small, professional team off Koh Tao in southern Thailand, with an average water temperature of 28°C. The diving around this small desert island is diverse and plentiful with a considerable number of dive sites to suit both beginners and experienced divers alike. It’s also a great place for would-be instructors to ‘go pro’.
An 11-day trip costs from £1,945 inc. flights, transfers, 8 nights’ B&B accommodation and PADI Open Water Course.
‘Boatique’ Diving with Tigers in the Bahamas – This is a rare mix of a world-class resort, historic fishing village, ecological treasures and shark encounters, all rolled into one. Thrill seekers stay at Old Bahama Bay, an all-suite beachfront resort on Grand Bahama, 55 miles east of Palm Beach in Florida. Three times a week this ‘boatique’ dive operation offers the all-day Tiger Beach Shark excursions, a unique way for eight divers to interact with these amazing creatures.
On non-shark diving days, there are plenty of dive sites off the west end including wrecks, reefs and walls, as well as wild dolphins with which to interact. A 9-day trip costs from £3195 inc. flights, transfers, 7 nights’ full board and dive pack.
Pampering Super Cruiser in the Maldives – The best way to experience the underwater scuba diving paradise of this archipelago is to join a luxurious liveaboard. Expect to see the best that the Maldives, and its 26 atolls, have to offer on board a choice of two boats introduced by Dive Worldwide: MV Orion and Carpe Diem. ‘Seize the day’, cruise in style and encounter large creatures like whale sharks and manta rays, as well as shrimps, ghost pipe fishes and much much more. From £2495 inc. flights, 7 nights on board with full board and dive pack.
Luxury Liveaboard in the Andaman Sea – Opening in March 2013 in southern Thailand is a luxury liveaboard vessel offering week-long itineraries focusing on the underwater highlights of the Andaman Sea, including the Similan Islands. For divers, the true treasures of the Andaman Sea are found at famous sites such as the Similan Islands, Phi Phi Islands, Richelieu Rock, Hin Daeng, Koh Raja and Shark Point, where the warm, clear water draws large schools of tropical fish, manta rays, and the awe-inspiring whale shark. From £2,875 including flights, transfers, 6 nights’ full board on board and dive pack.
By combining its passion for scuba diving in the most beautiful locations on the planet with a desire to protect our fragile eco-systems, Dive Worldwide raises money for shark and marine conservation through its 11 shark-infested trips to South Africa, Malaysia, Azores, Bahamas, Malpelo and Fiji. Funds raised go to the charity Bite-Back, whose latest campaign is to make Britain shark fin-free and already it has the support of Gordon Ramsay, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Bear Grylls, Monty Halls and Ben Fogle.
All prices are per person based on two sharing.
For further information visit www.diveworldwide.com or call 0845 1306980
Bonaire’s Divi Flamingo Beach is offering a Shore & Explore dive package featuring unlimited shore diving, rental of a four-passenger pick-up truck, and free breakfast daily beginning at $872 per person, double occupancy. Packages are available on the Divi Flamingo Beach website. Taxes, service charges and the Bonaire National Marine Park fee are not included.
Sail La Vie is the newest recruit to the Red Sea town of El Gouna offering sailing and windsurfing lessons to holidaymakers.
With the tag line “Real Boaters, Don’t Need Motors”, the school is based next to the Sheraton Miramar and teaches holidaymakers how to command the crystal clear warm waters on a range of water vessels.
Examples of the tuition courses include a two hour windsurfing course which costs just 30€ (£25) per person and a two hour sailing course costing just 60€ (£50) per person.
Families can also get out on the water as a group with sailing tuition for children aged seven and up starting from 30€ (£25) per hour.
Experienced windsurfers and sailors can rent a range of equipment and boats at competitive rates starting from just 15€ (£12.50) per hour.
If holidaymakers would prefer to chill-out, relax and let someone else do the sailing for them, Sail La Vie run trips which include soft drinks and snacks and start from just 25€ (£21) per person for a two hour trip, 35€ (£30) for a four hour trip and 60€ (£50) for a six hour sail.
Travellers can even book a four night sailing break directly with the company which includes a 10 hour tuition course and accommodation at the Ali Pasha hotel in El Gouna, on a bed & breakfast basis for 500€ (£419). The hotel is three star and is located a short walking distance from the sailing centre, right in the heart of the vibrant Abu Tig Marina.
Bookings and enquiries can be made to email@example.com or call +201001081505.
El Gouna is fast-becoming the Red Sea’s premier watersports town with a new watersports complex due to open in July 2013 for water skiers, wake boarders and wake skaters to hone their skills. It will include an Olympic-sized water ski cable with a slalom course and selection of obstacles.
Thanks to El Gouna’s warm climate and guaranteed sunshine, adrenalin junkies and water babies flock to El Gouna all year round. With spacious beaches, coastal winds and shallow waters, El Gouna attracts droves of kitesurfers to its five kitestations, while the clear waters, reefs and wrecks make it a diver’s paradise. Back on dry-land, there’s plenty of opportunities for holidaymakers to keep active, from golf and tennis to horseback and camel riding.
For more information on the resort, please visit www.elgouna.com
Cozumel Palace will be able to participate in dive excursions aboard one of the company’s fleet of fully equipped vessels.
Guests can also learn the basics of scuba diving via certified instructors by using the resort’s $1,500 resort credit.
Certified divers can take advantage of an excursion that includes two div sites around the Cozumel reefs.
“The partnership with Aqua Safari at Cozumel Palace will enhance our guest experience, by making it convenient for dive enthusiasts to have the best underwater experience Cozumel has to offer, while never leaving the resort,” said Gibran Chapur, executive vice president, Palace Resorts. “Reinforcing the brand’s commitment to providing the ultimate all-inclusive experience, Palace Resorts now offers its guests easy and convenient access to those waters with the experts at Aqua Safari.”
With more than forty-six years of dive experience in the region and being the oldest dive operator in all of Mexico, Aqua Safari boasts some of the safest dive boats in all of Cozumel.
The fleet includes Ocean II and Ocean III, two 38-foot Delta dive boats, and Ocean I, a 35-foot vessel. The Ocean boats are fiberglass V-hulls custom-built in the U.S.A. for the safety and comfort of scuba divers.
United Airlines Announces A New ‘Visit Micronesia’ Airfare Package
Discover The Magic of Micronesia’s Kosrae Village for less in 2013
KOSRAE, Micronesia –In the upcoming year, travelers can explore the magic of Kosrae Island and the secluded respite of Kosrae Village while taking advantage of United Airlines new Visit Micronesia reduced airfare package. Located halfway between Hawaii and Australia in the heart of the Tropical Pacific, Kosrae Island offers world travelers ample adventure, pristine paradise, and a peaceful escape from overcrowded tourist spots.
Kosrae Village, an eco-lodge and dive resort located on Kosrae Island offers guests a truly authentic island experience, and at an incredible value for those that take advantage of United Airlines new special airfare package. Guests of Kosrae Village enjoy accommodations in traditional Kosraen “lohms”, or cottages that were built by local craftsmen using sustainable building practices and materials.
Travelers sleep just steps from ocean’s edge in elevated, palm-thatched cottages.
Nestled beneath mangrove, pandanus, and palm trees, accommodations, a PADI 5-star dive center, and the island’s top restaurant are connected by candlelit pathways. In addition to world-class diving, guests can enjoy hiking to ancient ruins or through the island’s lush jungles, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, snorkeling and more.
The potential savings for travelers who choose to book United’s special Visit Micronesia fare are large. Details for booking the Visit Micronesia airfare are as follows:
· Visit Micronesia fare is available for ticketing Dec 1, 2012 – March 31, 2014
·It can be used for travel beginning February 14, 2013.
·Travelers cannot live in the Micronesia region. (i.e. The Commonwealth of the Marianas, Guam, Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands or Hawaii).
·The ticket must be purchased outside of the Micronesia region and must be purchased before the trip begins
·Travel on United or United Express must begin outside of the Micronesia region.
·The Visit Micronesia fare provides a discount fare with multiple stops (2 – 5 islands, depending on the ticket purchased) for travel to the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, CNMI and Palau.
The turnaround island is included in the number of stops.
·The first stop must be scheduled when the ticket is purchased, but the rest can be left open.
The traveler has 30 days to complete their travel on the Visit Micronesia ticket.
·There is a $250 fee for refunds and changes made by the issuing agency (United or your travel agent) before departure. After departure this fare is not refundable or changeable.
·These fares aren’t available online. Since these tickets have many possible combinations of routes and islands to be visited, travelers need to purchase the ticket through a travel agent or by calling a United reservations agent.
Scuba Dive Vacation Package Deal Boasts Spring Savings At A Top Turks & Caicos Resort -
Providenciales, Turks & Caicos – The Sands at Grace Bay has partnered with Ocean Vibes LTD – a leading PADI dive and snorkel facility in Providenciales – to offer a weeklong scuba dive vacation deal for travel beginning this spring 2013. This “Surf & Turf” themed travel package highlights Turks & Caicos’ adventures and beauty both on-land and undersea – featuring a discounted luxury resort stay and daily scuba dive excursions to explore some of the world’s most breathtaking underwater sites.
The “Surf & Turf” vacation package deal boasts more than $450 in per couple savings. Package rates start from $1,130 per person for a six-night stay, and from $1,338 per person for a seven-night stay (based on double occupancy) and include:
Studio Courtyard accommodations at The Sands at Grace Bay resort (room upgrades are available for an additional charge)
Resort taxes & fees
Two-tank scuba dive excursions for “two” offered through Ocean Vibes: The 6-night package includes 5 days of diving and the 7-night package includes 6 days of diving.
For the “turf” portion of this travel package, guests can enjoy a stay at The Sands at Grace Bay resort situated on Grace Bay Beach – named the Caribbean’s Leading Beach Destination by the 2012 World Travel Awards. This top-rated resort provides guests with free use of non-motorized watersports including snorkeling gear, Hobie Cats, kayaks, windsurfing equipment and stand-up paddleboards, as well as bicycles for island exploration. The resort also boasts three free-form swimming pools, lit tennis courts, Spa Tropique treatment rooms, the beachfront Hemingway’s Restaurant & Bar and more.
The “surf” portion of this vacation package allows travelers to experience the “#1 Diving Destination in the Caribbean/Atlantic Region” according to Scuba Diving magazine’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards. Guests will enjoy up to six days of two-tank scuba dive excursions with Ocean Vibes, that include the following: hotel pick-up and drop-off, a scenic 45-foot boat ride transporting guests to the best dive sites around the island, and a complimentary lunch and snacks/refreshments. Valid scuba dive certification is required and SCUBAPRO dive equipment rentals including regulators, wet suits and BCDs are available for an additional charge.
The Sands at Grace Bay’s “Surf & Turf” dive travel package is available for new bookings made for stays of six nights or more, for travel between April 15th through December 20, 2013. Package rates start from $1,130 per person for a six-night stay in a Studio Courtyard Suite, and rates vary based on room type, additional night add-on’s and hotel availability at the time of booking. Travelers may also customize a scuba/hotel vacation package to meet their needs. To book this offer, call the resort’s toll-free reservations line from the U.S. (877) 777-2637; or from Canada (800) 567-5327 and request the “SCUBA DIVE” travel package. For more information about this resort or package, visit www.thesandstc.com or the OceanVibes website.
About The Sands at Grace Bay
The Sands at Grace Bay is situated on the world-renowned 12-mile crescent of powdery white sand known as Grace Bay Beach. Named one of the, “Top 30 Hotels in the Caribbean & The Atlantic” by the Condé Nast Traveler’s 2012 Readers’ Choice Awards, this gracious, family-friendly 114-room resort offers accommodations in studios and 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom suites ranging from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet, all of which combine comfort-focused amenities and spectacular natural surroundings. Suites also come with fully equipped kitchens appointed with stainless appliances, granite countertops, coffee makers and more. The Sands at Grace Bay is the home of Hemingway’s Restaurant and Bar – a legendary beach-side venue and local favorite – where guests can enjoy gourmet selections and island specialties seven days a week. Spa treatments by Spa Tropique are also available by appointment.
Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort helps guests experience the best of Belize on and off-shore, from whale sharks to lionfish, jaguars to scarlet macaws.
As the full moon rises in March, April, May, and June, gentle giants appear off the Southern Belize coast at Gladden Spit.
Whale sharks are drawn by their favorite snack, mutton and cubera snapper spawn. With visibility often over 100 feet this is an incredible snorkeling and scuba diving experience.
The world’s only jaguar preserve, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to pumas, ocelots, tapirs, howler monkeys, margays, foxes, and more.
Day trips into the 128,000 acre park in deep tropical forest are popular, though night hikes are more likely to reveal these nocturnal cats. Knowledgeable local guides can point out flora and fauna along the way.
February and March bring a rare opportunity, when the scarlet macaw migration brings the magnificent birds to the foothills of the Maya Mountains.
While watching for the bright, yellow and blue plumage of the scarlet macaws, travelers should also keep an eye out for colorful parrots, toucans, and white eagles who share the hills. Belize has over 500 species of birds, a paradise for new and experienced birders alike.
While the Belize Barrier Reef and nearby Belizean atolls have scores of tropical fish and corals, one invasive species has recently attracted attention for its destructive appetite.
The lionfish, recognized by its bright stripes and venomous spines, is a recent resident of the Caribbean causing havoc with its voracious appetite and lack of natural predators.
Hamanasi has created a lionfish spear fishing adventure, allowing guests to help capture the culprits. A private divemaster leads the two tank trip, first demonstrating how to safely spear fish the animals and then allowing divers a try.
Divers are then able to avoid the local catch and release policy on this delicious, yet invasive species when they find it served up as the day’s catch on the dinner table.
Wildlife adventures can be paired with spacious beachfront or private tree house accommodations. Award-winning customer service, stunning scenery, and culinary delights await all guests at Hamanasi.
LONGWOOD, FL.—Switch gears this spring break and choose to lend a hand instead of taking that cookie-cutter resort vacation. Join volunteer wildlife conservation organization, Biosphere Expeditions, on an underwater diving volunteer vacation in beautiful Malaysia.
This SCUBA diving volunteer vacation takes a group of international divers to Tioman, the Malaysian island that was called “one of the world’s most beautiful islands” by Time Magazine.
Working in a very small group of five participants, one scientist and one expedition leader, volunteers assist the local researcher to study and protect the local marine park’s beautiful, but fragile coral reefs, as well as its marine megafauna such as sharks, dolphins and turtles.
The first five days of the expedition are spent learning the Reef Check research techniques while volunteers are based on a beach chalet resort on Tioman Island.
After this, volunteers move to a 45-foot sloop rig sailing yacht research vessel, which will take them to the most remote areas of the marine park.
The expedition includes training as a Reef Check EcoDiver; with this qualification volunteers are eligible to apply for PADI or NAUI Reef Check Speciality Course certification after the expedition.
Volunteers must be fully qualified divers to take part in this expedition (minimum PADI Open Water or equivalent) and they can obtain this qualification on site prior to the expedition (allow four to five extra days). March-April, 2013. $2330 pp.
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