Scuba Diving in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

5 06 2009

 

Arraial do Cabo Marine Reserve is considered the best scuba diving on the southern coast of Brazil.

Located 2 hours by car from Rio de Janeiro, Arraial do Cabo is part of the Costa do Sol (Sunny Coast), which also includes Búzios and Cabo Frio.

The turquoise water of Arraial do Cabo is teeming with marine lifeturtles, sea horses, moray eels, colorful coral and some exotic tropical fish like the famous Holacanthus Ciliaris (Queen Angelfish).

Source: Rio Turismo Radical





12 of the World’s Most Deep & Dangerous Dive Sites

19 03 2009

Just outside Abilene, Texas is a nuclear missile silo where adventurous divers descend a rather frightening-looking set of stairs and brave water temperatures as cold as 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The facility was once used to house nuclear-tipped Atlas missiles, and after the U.S. government abandoned it, it was purchased and converted into a controlled-environment training facility for technical diving. The silo is 60 feet in diameter and the water is 130 feet deep.

Nemo 33, World Deepest Diving Pool

The world’s deepest diving pool is a recreational scuba center in Uccle, Belgium called ‘Nemo 33’. The pool is a giant submerged structure with flat platforms at varying depth levels, with two flat-bottomed areas at 16 feet and 32 feet. A large circular pit descends to a depth of 108 feet. It’s filled with non-chlorinated, highly filtered spring water and contains a few simulated underwater caves. Visitors can watch the divers from windows on the sides of the pools. The facility was designed for diving instruction, recreation and film production.

Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef, Belize

1,000 feet in diameter, the Belize Blue Hole is a perfectly circular pool of inky darkness, like a portal into the bizarre world of deep-sea life. Located about 60 miles from Belize City, the Blue Hole is 480 feet deep with the outer edge just a few feet underwater at high tide. It’s the result of repeated collapses of a limestone cave system formed during the last ice age. The walls surrounding the motionless column of water are sheer until a depth of 110 feet, when divers encounter stalactite formations. It’s one of the most popular and famous diving sites in the world.

Cliff Diving at Wolfgangsee, Austria

The annual Red Bull Cliff Diving Event happens every July on Lake Wolfgang in Austria, drawing thousands of visitors who watch as experienced divers make death-defying jumps from staggering heights. 27.5 meters separate the takeoff board from the surface of the water, and as each diver plunges downward, he accelerates from zero to 90 kilometers per hour in just 2.5 seconds and decelerates to zero just four meters after entering the water. It’s an extremely dangerous sport that requires total body control and concentration to pull off.  As diver Niki Stajkovic observed, “You might survive a minor mistake when you jump from a tower, but not when you dive off a cliff.”

Cenote Esqueleto Temple of Doom, Mexico

Just outside of Tulum, Mexico is Cenote Esqueleto, known rather ominously as the ‘Temple of Doom’. It’s difficult to reach, and there’s no ladder, so you’ll have to just jump in. Entering the cavern is said to be uncomfortable due to the mix of salt and fresh water.  It’s a 25-foot-diameter hole with a large undercut ledge. Divers are advised to stay within the daylight area, because it’s all too easy to get lost in the dark cave system.

Devil’s Cave System in Ginnie Springs, Florida

Little Devil, Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear in Ginnie Springs, Florida offer three very different cave diving experiences in a year-round water temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The currents are strong and at the Devil’s Ear, divers must take extra care because of the narrow vortex opening which can cause their gear to shift around.

Diepolder II Cave, Florida

What looks like a nondescript pond from above the surface is a stunning underwater cavern that reaches 360 feet into the ground – the deepest cave in the continental U.S. Named after the man who originally owned the land, the Diepolder II cave has a sister cave called the Diepolder III that, at 300 feet, is not quite as deep but still impressive. Both are located on the Sand Hill Boy Scout Reservation near Brooksville, Florida, and can only be seen on guided tours.

Dahab, Egypt Blue Hole

On the East Sinai Peninsula in Egypt on the coast of the Red Sea is The Blue Hole, a submarine pothole that reaches over 426 feet into the depths of the earth. It’s best known for the astonishing number of diving fatalities that have occurred there, having been deemed “The World’s Most Dangerous Diving Site” and earned the nickname of “Diver’s Cemetery”. Inexperienced or overconfident divers sometimes have trouble finding the tunnel connecting the Blue Hole and open water and end up descending too deep.

Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole

In another case of a very unimpressive, scummy-looking pond hiding wondrous depths, the Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole in Florida has chambers as large as gymnasiums and crystal-clear water. It contains a mile of marked passages and is up to 300 feet deep in some areas. Even experienced divers have died here – five since 1989. Extreme care must be taken to descend and ascend very slowly. Called “one of the Mount Everests of cave diving”, the Eagle’s Nest is definitely not for beginners.

La Quebrada Cliff Diving in Acapulco, Mexico

Copycats beware – the La Quebrada cliff divers are highly trained professionals that have made cliff diving into an art form through daily performances in Acapulco, Mexico. They plummet up into the ocean from up to 147 feet in the air and must time their dives with the waves below to avoid crashing into the rocks. Even more impressive, they dive at night holding torches. Nothing like hurtling yourself off a cliff into a shallow, rocky sea with fire in your hand.

Samaesan Hole, Thailand

Similar to Valhalla Missile Silo, the Samaesan Hole in Thailand is a 90-meter-deep former military ammunitions dump. Technical divers come here to practice on trimix. It’s called an ‘explosive dump ground’ on marine charts because it contains unexploded bombs. Ballsy divers have to bring multiple lights since sunlight doesn’t penetrate the depths, and the currents are extremely strong. It’s said to be fascinating but unfortunately, no one seems to have taken any photos.

Black Hole of Andros, Bahamas

Diver Steffi Schwabe descended into the depths of the Black Hole of Andros and lived to tell the tale, but even the most adventurous of divers won’t be able to replicate her experience because the Black Hole is open for scientific exploration only. The conditions inside replicate those of oceans billions of years ago when they were unable to support much life. Schwabe’s eerie account of what it was like to pass through layer after layer of hot, dangerous hydrogen sulfide and Technicolor mud that felt like jelly is bizarre and fascinating.

From: WebEcoist





Seven affordable, under-the-radar beach destinations

19 01 2009

Fernando de Noronha

Even in rough economic times, it’s important to take a break from the “real world” and treat yourself to some relaxation. At this time of year, it’s preferable to do so on a warm beach. You just have to look a little harder and a little off the beaten path to find affordable destinations. Luckily, I’ve started the research for you and found seven great, lesser-known beach destinations in the Caribbean and Atlantic that also go easy on your wallet.

Los Roques, Venezuela

There may be no better place in the Caribbean to live out your castaway fantasies than Los Roques, an archipelago of 42 sandy islands and about 300 mangrove islets and rocks located 80 miles off the coast of Caracas, Venezuela. Protected as a national park since 1972, the vast majority of Los Roques islands are uninhabited. Those that are inhibited have limited development—there are no cruise ports, and posadas (hotels) may have no more than 15 rooms.

The reefs surrounding the islands boast some of the best biodiversity in the Caribbean, including more than 60 species of coral and 280 species of fish. Above water, the islands give shelter to 92 bird species (such as red footed boobies and pink flamingos) and also host nesting sea turtles. Los Roques’ reliable tradewinds also make it a good spot for sailing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. As for deserted-island dreams, many posadas can arrange for a day trip or picnic lunch to one of Los Roques’ uninhabited islands.

There are a number of affordable posadas on the islands, including the six-room Posada Movida. Bed and breakfast rates start at $75 per person per night, but it’s a better value to book the all inclusive rate of $120 per person, which covers all meals, wine at dinner, and island boat tour.

Tobago

Unlike its metropolitan and party-hardy big brother Trinidad, little Tobago is content to be a laid-back and natural Caribbean beauty. With the western hemisphere’s oldest protected rainforest, marine parks, and secluded white sand beaches, Tobago has been recognized by World Travel Awards as the World’s Leading Green Destination, a status it was given in 2007. What’s more, whether you come here for a quiet beach honeymoon or an active adventure vacation, you can generally do it pretty cheaply.

Whatever your style, it’s worthwhile to experience both Tobago’s beaches and its wild interior. Tobago was purportedly the inspiration for “Robinson Crusoe,” and even though the deserted beaches described in the novel were based on observations made almost 300 years ago, you can still find such beaches on the island today. Try going to Pirate’s Bay, which was used in the 1954 film version of the novel. You should also plan on a snorkeling trip (25$) to Buccoo Reef, where you can swim with tropical fish in crystal-clear waist-deep water.

To see the rainforest and its many colorful bird species, stay in an eco-lodge or go on a day tour with a local guide. The Cuffie River Nature Retreat, an eco-lodge located on the edge of the rainforest, offers a variety of nature tours including birding walks and visits to secluded waterfalls and natural pools. All inclusive rates for two people start at $185 per night, which includes all meals and a nature walk. If you’d prefer to stay near the beach, try the intimate Hummingbird Hotel, where room-only rates start at $50 a night.

Roatan, Honduras

Roatan, a minnow-shaped island within Honduras’ Bay Islands, attracts divers who come to experience the world’s second-largest barrier reef and those looking for an affordable, laid-back beach vacation in the Caribbean. The island is one of Central America’s once-hidden-now-on-the-rise beach destinations, but thankfully it still lacks big chain resorts and some of the other trappings of mass tourism.

Most Roatan tourists come for the diving and snorkeling, which is among the best in the Caribbean. Besides the coral reefs, you can explore shipwrecks and go on dives specifically to swim with sharks and dolphins. You can also visit the Roatan Tropical Butterfly Garden ($7), go horse-back riding ($35) on the beach, shop at local art galleries, or just relax at one of several open-air seafood restaurants and bars.

The top-rated (according to Trip Advisor, our sister site), hotel on the island, West Bay Lodge, charges a mere $80 a night (based on a four-night stay) for private bungalows with kitchens. The rate includes daily breakfast, a welcome drink, and airport transfers for stays of four nights or longer.

Isla Bastimentos, Panama

Looking for the next Costa Rica? Just head down the coast a few miles to Panama and the Isla Bastimentos, part of the Bocas del Toro archipelago in the Caribbean Sea, a 20-square-mile island that’s a microcosm of some of Panama’s top tourism offerings. Here you’ll find virgin rainforests home to sloths and monkeys, offshore coral gardens and mangrove islands perfect for snorkeling, and stunning beaches pounded by Hawaii-sized waves.

The island’s Parque Nacional Marino Isla Bastimentos ($10 for admission), which encompasses rainforest, beaches, and coral reefs, is an essential stop for all visitors. Most people come to snorkel the coral gardens and Cayos Zapatillas, two little shoe-shaped islets off the main island. On the land, guides can take you on hikes through the forest to see animals like white-faced capuchin monkeys and poison dart frogs. For the best beaches, go to the northern part of the island. Big waves and strong currents make the beaches unfriendly to swimmers, but the sight of the waves and the lack of bathers makes for postcard-worthy strolls.

To really get away from it all, stay at the Al Natural Resort, a series of six open air bungalows set in the forest with views of the sea. Rates start at $180 for the first night and $130 for subsequent nights.

Grenada

Although many people still identify this volcanic Caribbean island with its political turbulence during the 1980s, the face Grenada presents today is one of a friendly, casual, and affordable island destination. The “Spice Island” has something for everyone, including an inviting Afro-Caribbean culture, one of the Caribbean’s prettiest colonial cities (St. George), fragrant spice plantations, dozens of beaches and bays, and a mountainous national park great for hiking.

In the capital of St. George, you can walk along narrow colonial streets lined with a rainbow of pastel-painted houses and shops and watch masted ships sail in and out of the harbor. While in town, browse the spice and food markets and visit the 18th-century French fortification Fort George. If you’re interested in learning more about spices, tour the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Station (Grenada produces a third of the world’s nutmeg supply) for $1.

Active visitors should try hiking in Grand Etang National Park, perhaps climbing to the top of Mt. Qua Qua, for a commanding view of the coast. For beachcombing, your first choice should be Grand Anse Beach, near St. George, a two-mile-long white sugar-white sand beach with protected waters safe for swimming.

Regarded as one of the best affordable hotels on the island, the English-country-house-style La Sagesse Nature Center is set on one of Grenada’s nicest beaches and offers easy access to nature trails. Prices start at $145 a night.

Staniel Cay, Bahamas

There are more than 700 islands in the Bahamas, but the vast majority of travelers never get beyond the mega resorts of New Providence (home to Nassau), Paradise, and Grand Bahama islands. That means there’s plenty of lightly trafficked “Out Islands” to choose from for an alternative beach getaway. For glassy, gem-colored water, condo-free beaches, affordable accommodations, and some the best sailing grounds in the world, head to Staniel Cay, a two-square-mile island within the Exuma Cays.

Most of the action on Staniel Cay centers around the friendly Staniel Cay Yacht Club, where yachters and landlubbers alike stay, dine, and congregate. Here you can rent 13- and 17-foot boats (from $95 per half day) which will allow you to cruise to some of the uninhabited islets nearby, see marine life like nurse sharks, and visit with the famous “swimming pigs” of Big Major Cay, which paddle out to sea in hopes of getting a handout from sailors. You can also rent snorkel gear ($20) to use at Thunderball Grotto, a natural fishbowl featured in the James Bond film “Thunderball.” Diving, kayaking, and bonefishing are other options.

The Yacht Club offers one-, two-, and three-bedroom waterfront cottages and suites from $145 a night, room only. All-inclusive prices that cover three meals per day, airport transfers, and use of a 13-foot boat, snorkel gear, kayaks, and bicycle start at $162 per person per night.

Fernando de Noronha, Brazil

While most Americans have never heard of it, Fernando de Noronha is regarded by many Brazilians as having the most beautiful beaches in the country—and that’s saying a lot coming from a nation full of sand and sun connoisseurs. With its steep bunny-ear hills that soar up from undeveloped white and gold beaches, Fernando de Noronha might look more at home alongside Bora Bora and the other islands of French Polynesia than it does hundreds of miles from mainland Brazil. But unlike those Pacific islands, Fernando de Noronha is cheaper and easier to get to, at least from the East Coast.

At only seven square miles, the island is easily explored by dune buggy. Pack some snorkel gear and head to beaches like Baia do Sancho and Baia dos Porcos, where you’ll see sting rays, sea turtles, and a wide variety of colorful fish just feet from the shore. Without a doubt, the water surrounding the island— a national marine park—is Fernando de Noronha’s top attraction. Besides snorkeling, you can experience Brazil’s best scuba diving with Atlantis Divers (from about $75 for two dives) and go boating (about $25) to spot spinner dolphins and see the island’s unusual rock formations up close.

In the evenings, head to Vila dos Remedios, the island’s historic heart, where you’ll dance the night away to traditional Brazilian music and eat seafood al fresco at the popular and cheap Bar do Cachorro. For affordable accommodations, stay at the simple but comfortable Pousada Paraiso do Atlantico, where prices for double rooms start around $78 a night.

Fonte: Smart Travel





Scuba Diving in Bonito-Brazil

8 07 2008

Know de subaquatic beauty of Bonito-MS/Brazil

www.scubadive.com.br/mergulho








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