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Juli’s Dive Bucket list

Juli’s Dive Bucket list

Written by Juli Cole, 20 February 2024.

So, I had an accident. I tore the Achilles tendon in my left leg resulting in surgery and incapacitation for 2-3 months. THREE MONTHS!! I was so upset – I don’t care about walking, but no diving for THREE MONTHS OR MORE!!!! I had a week in hospital to come to terms with it. Not happily. Calming to my nerves were the videos from our previous trips. I dream about being underwater again. I go to sleep at night imagining I am descending underwater. Yah its that bad.

I have been thinking then about where I would rather be than laying in bed with my leg propped up. I came up with my CRAZY over the top FABULOUS Bucket list of 5 destinations in the world I want to dive. And as a disclaimer, my dive buddy’s list does not necessarily match…

1. Soberanes Point, Big Sur, California. If I ever make this dive, I will consider myself at the top of the game. I actually want to see the kelp forests off the coast of California. They truly are forests comprised of massive lengths of brown algae such as Bull kelp or Giant kelp, forming strands 30m long from the ocean bed to the surface. They are home to many sea creatures, some only found in these forests. And of course, seal lions. Big Sur, just south of Monterey Bay area, is in the prime zone for California’s rich oceanic scenery and Soberanes Point is the top dive site in this area. However, it is not easy to get to. It requires a 4km hike with your gear to the beach. One website said for entering and exiting the ocean, you have to crawl on your hands and knees through the surf with your gear. And the water is about 7° But look at the reward!

2. Fiji. On a recent dive trip, we shared a boat with an experienced and entertaining dive couple from Australia. One of the stories they shared with us was their diving experience in Fiji. Their group was the two of them, another Fijian diver and the divemaster. They had approached an area comprised of a hub or drop off where several small canyons came out. Her dive buddy and the dive master were proceeding up one of these canyons. She and the other diver were on the exposed area when they saw this very big tiger shark – she said about 5-6 metres in length. The procedure for the tourist centers was to float a trolley full of fish heads and entrails on the surface, drop a load of tourists to this very shelf and then release the fish parts to attract the sharks – yah, not a brilliant plan. This shark, known in the area as Big Mama, is too used to this and went crazy even before the bucket was dropped. The shark went for her Fijian friend, grabbing on to his tank and mouthing it while he clung to the rocks on his stomach. She showed me a photo of the incident. The shark is so big compared to the diver, it looks unreal or like it’s been photoshopped. The diver was terrified but thankfully unhurt. Why, you may ask, do I want to go there? Well, I don’t want to meet Big Mama personally, but I would like to see a big shark. I am just perverse that way. And actually, outside of this, our new friends said the diving was really good and its easy to get to via Australia…3. Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique.  Another dive trip, another time-sharing stories. I had mentioned diving in the Red Sea and this fellow piped up, forget the Red Sea, go to Mozambique. I looked into it. Mozambique coastline in on the southern east side of the African continent, facing Madagascar. It has a rich diversity of sea life. Humpback whales cruise through July and August during migration. It is home to four types of sea turtles … you get the point. There are four main diving areas along the vast coast. All of them sound great but I chose Bazaruto for the diversity of dive terrain, lots of canyons and wall dives. There is another area I looked at and cannot name where there is this vast natural seawall extending out from the beach. One side is sand and the other side is protected reef. That’s on the list too if I can ever remember the name!

4. Tulum, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico  This area is riddled with underwater limestone caverns called Cenotes. 

Some are more touristy; some require more technical training. Many have spectacular lighting for underwater photography if you dive at the right time of the day. The system I aspire to is Nohoch Nah Chich or Giant Birdcage. It sits in the middle of a tangle of caves going off in all directions, and is one of the longest if not the longest cave system in the world. It starts from this unassuming small waterfilled hole which leads into the spectacular system. From there, it is an exciting exploration of caverns filled with very cool rock formations. Something very much out of the ordinary.

5. Deep Dive Dubai 
And talking about something out of the ordinary! Dubai is the king of manmade pleasures and they have not ignored the diving community. Deep Dive boasts the deepest swimming pool in the world at 60 meters. But what interests me is the underwater city. Its kitschy and overdone with cameras everywhere and lights and piped in music. Play a game of billiards underwater or foosball. Go through apartments and streets. Explore fake apartments. But hey, why not?!


I also have a more modest bucket list if I can ever get fins back on again. And these are places Flow is more likely to offer a trip to haha! Be sure to check it out

  1. Pulau Lembeh, Bitung, Indonesia. Every time we see a photo of some flamboyant nudibranch or fish, it is always from here. Need I say more?
  2. Pulau Hantu, SG. I just want to go, just to say I been there, maybe a night dive…
  3. Raja Ampat, Indonesia. This place of course has an amazing inventory of beautiful dive sites
  4. Palau – again! We had the great fortune to get cheap tickets over the New Year holiday – what I saw only whetted my desire to see more. Even the dive center’s house reef is worth revisiting.
  5. Malapascua, or Coron. Even a return to El Nido. Like Indonesia, there are many unique creatures that only seem to hang out here. I want to meet them!

What is on your bucket list?



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