Duisitzkarsee, Styria, Austria
(altitude 1648m). Lots of tree trunks provide a great view, especially along
the shore. The lake is private property. You need a special permit for
Weißensee, Styria, Austria (altitude
Accessible by helicopter only! Very clear water. Rocks along the
shore, fine white silt in the middle. Average depth of 9-10m, a crater close
to the NE shore goes down to 41m. Great landscape, unforgettable dive.
Private property, diving with special permit only.
Hohensee, Styria, Austria (altitude
Accessible by helicopter only! Fine silt and lots of trees and trunks
make a great scenery. Spooky, in a very special way. Private property,
diving with special permit only.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Sharks,
rays, turtles, sea lions. Great dives, great land visits on the islands too.
Zugersee, Switzerland (altitude 414m).
Together with the Uwatec development team I dived this lake. We were testing
new prototypes. Freezing cold, pitch dark, lots of high-tech stuff.
Eastern Tyrol, Austria (altitude 2580m).
Accessible by helicopter only! The annual event "Dive to the Top
2006" gave me the chance to dive this lake far above the timberline. The
bottom of the lake is covered with rocks of various size. Great visibility
and an unforgettable panorama make it a memorable dive. Diving with special
Geigensee, Eastern Tyrol, Austria
(altitude 2410m). Accessible by helicopter only!
Fine silt requires precise buoyancy. A great view and a dive hard to forget.
Diving with special permit only.
Obersee, Eastern Tyrol, Austria
(altitude 2016m). A rarely dived lake. Lying below the timberline it is full
of trees, branches and roots. A medieval dug-out boat has been found there
in the year 2000.
Coron Bay, Northern Palawan,
Philippines. Based at Sangat Island Resort
(N11° 57.805' E120° 04.205')
in the heart of the bay all the wrecks lie within a short trips distance. A
great collection of Japanese WW II wrecks and due to the sheltered place a
great collection of silt. Visibility depends on rain (soil washed in by a
couple of rivers), the pearl farms and current. In general it is rather poor
(5-10m) but may improve under optimal conditions. The bad visibility adds to
the atmosphere but prevents WA photos. I didn't take any because my new
housing wasn't ready in time so I enjoyed the dives without camera. Sangat
Island Resort offers best mix Nitrox so you may get as much bottom time as
possible. If you aren't into wrecks there's nothing else to see. Most of the
reefs in the area are blasted by dynamite fishing. There are some places where
you may find patches of living reef but there's much of dead and broken
space in between. Baracuda Lake (N11°
57.427' E120° 12.986') on Coron
Island is a nice freshwater dive. You get there by swimming to the shore with
all your equipment and climbing razor sharp rocks (there are a few wooden
planks and rails) to get to the lake. The temperature varies from 32°C at the
surface to 38°C further down towards the volcanic springs that feed the lake.
Another nice non-wreck site is Cathedral Cave
(N11° 49.370' E120° 15.999')
at the southern tip of Coron Island. The cave has a huge dome with a hole
where the sun casts nice patterns into the cave. Huge crabs and lobsters may
be found inside. Outside you may experience visibility up to 40m and sometimes
current. Dynamite and cyanide fishing also left their traces on the corals
around the cave entrance. Still, it's a nice dive worth the trip. It's such a
hard contrast to the visibility inside the bay.
Giglachsee, Styria, Austria (altitude
1980m). This lake usually is off limits. You need a 4WD to get there and a
special permit. Along the west shore there's a wall with great rock
formations. Traces of the glaciers wherever you look. One rock looks like a
real-size sofa. Nice but cold (2.4°C in mid-summer!).
Moaralmsee, Styria, Austria (altitude
1800m). This lake usually is off limits. It can be reached by helicopter only
and you need a special permit. Trees, rocks and small fish together with a
great landscape make this dive unforgettable. The 2.4°C too (semi-dry, of
course). Fine silt makes it tricky to get in without causing bad visibility.
Mondsee, Upper Austria, Austria
(altitude 481m). The uw-archaeological society
triton made up a show-excavation. A
video image of the working divers was transmitted into a tent at the shore.
Grundlsee, Styria, Austria (altitude
710m). Dive site: "The Bell" (N47° 38.430' E13° 53.862') in the north west corner of the lake. Nice
scenery, trees and branches, towards the shore grassy with lots of fish. No
pictures yet. I'm waiting for my new camera housing.
We finished the excavations of a medieval well in the city of Vienna. I
didn't dive in the well because I was the backup diver during the project
(there's only space for one diver at a time). There's no space left for
claustrophoby! Diameter 2m, total depth 34m, water 25–26m. Due to a
reconstruction in the late 1800's there were no findings than a thick layer
of silt. Nevertheless we learnt a lot about wells and diving in extreme
Weissensee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude
929m). This time we were looking for traces of early settlements in the
western part of the lake. We found out that there's a huge layer of silt (up
to 19m!) that covers all possible findings. The maximum depth of the western
part is about 5m. You need a boat to reach the sites. Mainly silt ground, some
patches of green with lots of shells, small fish and fresh water crabs.
North Sulawesi: There are some
places to stay around Lembeh Strait but my favourite is Divers Lodge
It's small and offers great service for a reasonable price. The guides are
trained to work with photographers and know the dive sites extremely well. You
name it, they show it. Even during high season there is a ratio of at least
one guide to two guests. The dive boats are traditional style and offer lots
of space. The kitchen staff is great too. You'll
feel like home after a few days. Lembeh means real muck diving most of the
time although there are a few spots where you may see walls and corals. There
are also 4 wrecks (for all levels) and even the possibility of great drift
dives (experienced divers only).You'll find the new photos here!
Beware of operators, who offer day trips to Lembeh from Manado. You'll sit in
the car for 1 1/2 hour and most probably you'll end up in a small water taxi
(nearly no headroom) with a ratio of one guide to nine or ten guests. We saw
lots of them and it didn't look comfy at all. If you really want to see Lembeh,
consider to stay there and enjoy it. It's worth more than two dives anyway. It
also pays to have experienced guides (diving there every day) or you risk to
miss most of the not so obvious treasures of the area.
Bunaken National Park, North
Sulawesi: Thalassa Dive Centre is located at
the Hotel Santika Manado. It offers the full range of PADI courses. They
provide good main stream
diving (up to about 4 guests per guide) at great dive sites. Visibility is
good to excellent, mostly drop-offs with nice reef-tops. Lots of fish, schools
and even napoleons and sharks. We once saw six turtles during a single dive!
If you want to stay
at a special place while diving there, you might consider Bahowo Lodge (4
rooms only). You'll love the small village (300 inhabitants) and the family
style accommodation. Transfer to the dive centre with a jeep is included.
Cyprus: places around Paphos: There
isn't much fish left in the area. The landscape consists of small hills,
sandy patches and sea grass meadows. Rocks are karst and therefore there are
a lot of caves and holes. Some of them are pretty tight. Visibility tends to
be brilliant if the sea is calm. Cydive
in Paphos offers a good service at a reasonable price. The wrecks (Achilleas
N34° 46.416' E32° 26.245', Vera K N34° 43.281' E32° 25.697') are
nice shallow dives suitable for beginners too. Cydive also offers day trips
to the wreck of the Zenobia (N34° 53.823' E33° 39.449') near
Lárnaka. This wreck is a must if you're in the area. Images
now on display!
Weissensee, Carinthia, Austria (altitude
929m).Places to go: "Kleine Steinwand", a drop off with green
algae dangling down. Lots of pikes, tree trunks and great landscape. You
reach the place with the regular ship. You get in at the station after the
boat left. "Strandbad" (public bath) is a nice place for a shallow
dive (evening or night). Depths between 6 and 15m, heavily overgrown. You
have to look carefully to find fresh water crabs. EasyDive
offer trips with a float. "Laka Wand" is a nice drop off with
scenic tree trunks and dangling algae carpets. "Große Steinwand"
is a long wall with varying angle and landscape. Drop offs and flat areas
covered with branches and huge tree trunks. Lots of fish (pikes, carps) and
thousands of little shells. An inversion layer at about 7m separates the
warm surface water (sometimes up to 24°C) from the cold (4-8°C).
During a trip organized by Coordinación
Subacuatica in Cuernavaca I visited Manantial de
la Media Luna (N21° 51.658', W100° 1.687') at Rio Verde and (a bit further to the east) Puente
de Dios (N21° 55.925', W99° 24.927'), both in the state of San Luis Potosi, México. The Manantial
de la Media Luna is a lake with five hot springs. Therefore, water
temperature is about 30°C. You may dive into the craters and there's a nice
cave where the sun shines through a few holes in the ceiling. A very mystic
and even historic place. Excavations led to a couple of stone knifes,
pottery and even a mammoot skull and tusks. Visibility is very good. There's
a dive operator close to the lake so you may fill tanks or rent equipment
there. Puente de Dios is a so called cold water dive (26°C!) in a river
about 100km towards Ciudad Valles. There's no infrastructure for diving
around so you have to carry all your equipment. You also have to carry it
down to the river. This means following a narrow footpath down (about 100m
difference in altitude) from the camp site where you may leave your car.
Temperature and humidity in the area is usually quite high. You enter the
river a few meters downstream of Puente de Dios. The dive leads you upstream
(west) through a tunnel into a pond. You may sit under a waterfall feeling
the "heartbeat" of the cascading water. There's a cave branching
(south bound) from the main tunnel where you may surface. The view is
amazing. Very good visibility. Photos here!.
A few days in Tuxpan, Ver., México. The only reliable operator in this
area is Aqua Sports (Carretera Tuxpan – La Barra km. 8.5, telephone:
70259, no email). They offer day trips to the reefs around Tuxpan (inner
reef, nice spot at N21° 1.470', W97° 11.781') and to the
Isla de Lobos further north (10+ persons only, because of the distance). A
bit off season we were the only divers most of the time and went out in a
small boat. The reefs are about 16km off shore. Along the western edge
(shore side) there's sometimes bad visibility but the spots are pretty and
you may see quite huge stingrays hidden in the sand. The east side has been
hit by hurricanes quite a lot and features a rough and wild landscape.
Schools of fish everywhere. Isla de Lobos are said to be even more beautiful
but I didn't get a chance to see them. Although Tuxpan is quite close to
México City, it's still a long trip. They're currently building a highway
which will bring these dive sites within a two hours trip from the City.
Photos will follow soon.
A week in Veracruz, Ver., México. There are four dive operators in the
area. I decided to go with Dorado
Divers. Nice staff. A basic knowledge of Spanish is very helpful. They
offer trips (2 dives per trip) to the reefs at Veracruz and Anton Lizardo.
Best season is between May and September. During high season and local
holidays you have to book in advance on weekends (I was there a bit off
season and my friend and I were the only divers most of the time). Water
temperature is about 23 to 26°C (in May) and the visibility was ok. There
are several wrecks in the area. The underwater landscape looks a bit like in
the Mediterranean Sea. There are lots of fish although you can see that the
area is hit by a hurricane every now and then. Beautiful rocks, amazing
landscape. A good place for scorpios, lobsters, murena (green and spotted)
and stonefish. Photos will follow soon.
2 weeks of cruising on the Aurora off
Port Sudan, Red
Sea. Seeing all the classic spots like the Umbria, Wingate Reef,
Sanganeb Reef, Sha'ab Rumi, Precontinent II, the Blue Belt (also known as
Toyota Wreck), Sha'ab Suedi, Gurna Reef, Merlo Reef, Angarosh. Thanks to the
Umbria and Blue Belt I avoided a ticket for wreck-less diving
The cruise is definitely not for beginners.
There's no guide on board. Briefings are like "the water is wet, the sea is deep, be back in about an hour, take care." and a few more or
less accurate drawings. Nevertheless, the sites are great, mostly drop-offs
with a ledge at 30 or 40m, then going down to around 600m. During October and
November warm southerly currents lead to bad visibility down to 30-35m. They
also cause water temperatures around 31-32°C above 40m which in turn keeps
pelargic fish in the "cold" (28° at 50+m) areas below 40m. It
wasn't possible to take wide angle photos because of the visibility and
because I didn't get my dome port in time. Thanks to the post office guys. I've
heard of other boats having a guide and some boats are better adopted for
diving. Whatever boat you choose, you're far off civilisation. That means,
that the crew and you yourself is all the help you'll get. If you
manage to fix it, ok - else it's broken and gone. Most boats run into
troubles within a week or two. This might be a broken engine, power failure,
compressor breakdown, what ever you imagine, it may happen. There is nearly no chance
for spare parts or a proper repair. I really enjoyed the two weeks, despite
(or maybe because of) the problems. It's a down to the roots sort of diving.
Best time to visit the Sudan is (as I've learned) March and April.
Visibility is great then (I've seen a nice video) and sharks, even hammer
head are quite common. If I manage to get there a second time, I'll do it in
Puckinger See, Upper Austria, Austria
(N48° 11.681', E14° 11.862', alt. 280m). This site is nearly a must! Depth
is said to be a maximum of 6m but I didn't get that far! Most of the ground
is covered by a thicket of plants. Throughout the year the plants grow up to
nearly reach the surface. When we were there, the "ground" was at
about 3m. The lake isn't big but you loose your buddie(s) pretty soon. You
feel like Dr. Livingstone, long for a machete and start to explore the
thicket. Every now and then you will spot one of your buddies, covered in
dangling plants, disappearing into another hole in the "ground".
There seems to be a system of tunnels used by fish to get around. Some are
big enough to let a diver pass along. I saw groups of carps (up to 60cm in
length) and pikes (lots of baby pikes, but one of about 1.5m!), fresh
water clam shells and lots of plants. The water is usually pretty warm
(around 21–24°C) and because of the shallow dives you get a lot of fun
out of a tank. Due to the broken
harddisk, nearly no
photos. Don't tip over your camera, even when it's lying on a carpet on
Fernsteinsee, Tyrol, Austria (Garten
II, N47° 20.857', E10° 49.518' alt. 934m). Samerangersee,
Tyrol, Austria (N47° 20.985' E10° 49.551', alt. 939m). Both the
Fernsteinsee and the Samerangersee are private property. You have to book a
room at the hotel
Fernsteinsee or check in at the camp site in order to be allowed to
dive. You also have to bring along your own equipment (including weight and
tank) and you should know how to operate a compressor. Good diving
experience is a must because lakes in this altitude are very sensitive to
stirring up the silt. We had a great dive in the Fernsteinsee ("Garten
II" is at the northern end) after which I smashed my microdrive during
backup. Nearly no photos from these holidays! To
round up the mess it started to rain. We decided to have a night dive in the
Samerangersee (which is close to the Fernsteinsee). This lake is famous for
the huge tree trunks piled up like a bunch of pencils. Visibility was great.
The tree trunks are overgrown with dangling seaweed. It looks unreal, like
those spooky illustrations you may find in old books of fairytales.
Especially during a night dive. It even looked great from the shore to see
the lights and the occassional flashlight, I've been told.
Plansee, Tyrol, Austria (Hotel Forelle, N47° 29.113', E10° 50.216', alt. 976, Plansee Camp, N47° 29.185,
E10° 50.580', alt. 976). You get dive permissions at the hotel
Forelle. When I saw this lake first time (during a
motorbike ride) I fell in love immediately. Absolutely great
visibility. Absolutely low temperature. The display on my ScubaPro
Splashlight said 0.77°C below 14m, I don't believe it but I had an intense
stinging feeling in my face and my fingers went stiff. Around 6–7m there's
lot of plants, fish, a nice wreck (wooden boat) and at the "Plansee
Camp" site we saw an awful lot of fresh water crabs.
Gallerie, Walchensee, Bavaria, Germany
(N47° 36.323' E11° 20.098', altitude 800m). Visibility in this lake varies
from great to horrible. It all depends on the fine silt swapped into the
lake by the power stations. We had a layer of nearly zero visibility down to
16m. After that it was pretty dim light but you could see well. The
"Galerie" is a nice drop-off, there is a car wreckage at about
40m I didn't visit because it was too dark and cold. The lake is at its best
in winter (if you prefer ice diving) or in early summer, I've heard. For
more info follow the link.
Klopeinersee, Carinthia, Austria
(N46° 36.003', E14° 34.962', altitude 446m). Recently there were two
archaeological findings of dugouts (boats cut out of a log), one of them
dating around 300AD. I had the chance to participate in taking it out of the
water. See the triton page for details
Coral Point Dive Resort,
Panglao, Visayas, Philippines. A small resort (9
double rooms only) at the north-west coast of Panglao island. Very nice
staff, good food, and the main point: absolutely great dive sites. I've seen
more different species during my first dive at Panglao than I've seen within
a week at other locations! See my picture
gallery for details (mostly macro photos ;-).
Coast around Fethye, Turkey. The European Diving Centre
Turkey offers day-trips with smaller boats and week-trips on board of
gulets. I spent a week along the coast south-east of Fethiye in October
2001. The staff is very caring. Most of the dives are above 25m and
suitable for beginners – no currents, no hazards – all nice and easy.
There's lots of fish in these parts. More than I saw in Croatia. There's
lots of silt too. Please don't stir it up. All together, nice dives, great
landscape – above and beyond sea level, excellent food.
Neptun Sub is a nice base in Vodice,
Croatia. They offer trips (1 dive) or day trips (2 dives) to a lot of good
locations south of Vodice. See lobsters, crabs, conger, octopus, snails of
all sizes, great walls and drop-offs. They visit a wreck ("Francesca da
Rimini", experienced divers only) between 39 and 55m. Sorry, no
coordinates. I promised to keep them to save the lobsters from getting
Denni Divers run boat trips to
the Kornati National Park, Croatia. The ships (MS
Junior and MS Polet) are complete crap! No warm water, smell of fuel
throughout the boat, running water inside the cabins when raining, canned
food only. Best to avoid. There are far better boats around in Croatia.
Grüner See, near Tragöß, Styria, Austria (N47º 32.461' E15º 03.335',
altitude 776m). The lake depends on the melting snow from the nearby
mountains. At about 2m throughout the year it may grow to about 12m depth
during May/June. Dive along the footpaths, take a rest on one of the benches
along the way. Have a flight across a real grass lawn between tree trunks.
Sight from end to end at good days. Trouts, small insects, lots of strange
landscape. Sorry, if the water is warm (whatever that means in a lake in the
mountains) it may reach up to 6.5ºC!
Weissensee, Carinthia, Austria (N46º 42.264' E13º 22.423', altitude 929m!). EasyDive
offer trips with a float. The better way is to take the regular ship to a
station along the narrow footpath going around the lake. Scenic tree-trunks,
SV. Marina, Croatia, located at a
camping site near Labin. Land based dives as well as boat trips.
Diving Cres is a nice base in Cres,
Isle of Cres, Croatia. They offer boat trips to locations round the isle of
Cres. Nice staff!
The Lavezzi Isles near Bonifacio, Corse guarantees great dives. Get on a
boat in Bonifacio (Sarl Kallisté, Atoll or Baracuda) and visit Les Grottes
(N41º 20.053' E9º 15.796'), Merouville (N41º 20.726' E9º 16.498') and
many more sites I didn't find time to see. Enjoy the heavily carved
limestone coastline with a lot of caves and recesses.
The peninsula of Revellata near Calvi, Isle of Corse, France (sort
of) is hard to reach. To get there you have to fight 4km of pretty bad road
(even for Corse standards). It's worth the effort. STARESO
is a department of the University of Liege, Belgium, located near the
lighthouse of Revellata (N42º 34.992' E8º 43.485'). Nice staff, lots of
scientific information. Granite boulders, lots of small fish and plants.
Atlantis Qualidive is
based at the river Traun in Upper-Austria, Austria (N48º 00.812' E13º 47.730').
Specialities:Scubing = going down the river in wetsuit, mask,
snorkel, fins only. A great experience, eye to eye with pikes, trouts,
sheat-fish and more. Maskerade = ice diving with costumes during the
Styria, Austria (N47º 47.414' E15º 16.425', altitude 835m). Great under water scenery, pikes.
Hallstättersee, Tauchbasis Gosauzwang, Upper-Austria, Austria (N47º 35.349' E13º 39.408',
altitude 530m). They've got no web site up to now. The great atmosphere is
worth a visit. Maximum temperature about 18ºC (optimistic).
Locations I haven't been yet
... but they're top of the list for future diving
"Top" of the list are Laguna de Luna and Laguna de Sol at Nevado
de Toluca, México. A place that's not easy to reach. First of all, because
it's at an altitude of 4632m. Second because you need a special permission
from the government. The place was used for offerings in pre-hispanic times.
There were some archaeological excavations. It's a shame, but visibility
isn't very good. In addition, you need at least one day to get accustomed to
the altitude and it's not a cheap trip. I spent quite some time for
investigation but decided that I will do this dive next time I visit México.
If you want to go there, contact Coordinación
Subacuatica in Cuernavaca and tell them that you got the link from my
site. They speak both Spanish and pretty good English too.