Scuba diving in USA
The United States of America, the USA, is very very big country. Due to its size, the climate and nature are very diverse. Diving in USA is pretty diverse as well, there´s everything from exotic dives in Hawaii, to artificial Scuba Parks in Texas. Perhaps you´ll find a new favorite destination?
The Channel Island National Park includes five islands in the Pacific Ocean, Santa Cruz, Ancapa, Santa Rosa, San Miguel and Santa Barbara. Since the islands have been isolated from the mainland it has developed its own flora and fauna, not to be found anywhere else. On the south coast around the island of Santa Barbara diving is very popular due to the sea lions. In Monterey Bay in California there are a lot of shore dives, Monterey bay actually has one of the most diverse sea ecology not only in the USA, but actually in the whole world. See whales, sea otters, seals, orcas and many other species. Malibu is the frequently visited by celebrities so of you want to catch a glimpse of a real superstar, Malibu is your scuba destination. Malibu offers plenty of good dive spots, both for the beginner and the experienced diver. The most difficult place to dive in California is the Greyhound rock. So for you experienced divers, challenge the mudstone cliffs of Greyhound rocks.
In the northwest of USA, the Olympic Peninsula is the best diving in the state of Washington. Meet wolf eel, starfish, sea urchins, at the deeper waters there´s octopus, and out off shore there are whales and orcas. Outside the Olympic Peninsula, the strait of Juan the Fuca is. Due to the cold currents from the Pacific Ocean, big mammals and critters thrive here.
The US Virgin Islands consist of st John, st Thomas and st Croix. St Croix is a small island but still has a wide diversity in dive sites. Deep and shallow wrecks, macro dives, wall diving, swim-throughs and canyons, shore diving. The water is always warm and the visibility good. St John is full of life, 500species of fish, 40 types of corals, and hundreds of invertebrates. At a depth of 50 feet there´s a watercraft used by NASA a couple of years ago. St Thomas has barges with teeming marine life, lava tubes, wrecks and big rocks and reefs. St Thomas also has its recompression chamber.
On the west side, outside the coast of California, the Hawaiian Islands are. The Hawaiian islands exists because of the longest volcanic eruption in history. Hawaii, the Big Island or Orchiwhales and d Island still has active volcanos, its latest eruption being in 1801. Hawaii contains of eight main islands, Molokai, Kauai, Maui, Hawaii, Oahu, Lanai, Kahoolawe and hundreds of small islands, the most popular among tourists being Oahu.
The Orchid Island is twice the size all the other islands are together. Hawaii has over 100 species of marine life. Meet Sharks and turtles, discover reefs and coral gardens. If you´re lucky you might see the State fish of Hawaii, Humuhumunukunukuapua'a pronounced “who-moo-who-moo-noo-koo-noo-koo-ah-pooah-ah”.
Getting to the islands can be quite tricky, but while you´re on an island getting around is no problem. The least expensive airfare will cost you as much as the most expensive ferry ticket.
If you want to see some larger species like stingrays, eaglerays and whitetip reef sharks, the Oahu wrecks are amongst the best. There are both ships and planes lying on the bottom around the Ohau Island. The north side of Oahu is only divable june-september.
USA is famous for The Great Lakes, The Great Lakes consist of Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and Lake Superior. They are all freshwater lakes which makes the marine life and nature a bit different from diving in salt water. The great lakes are the perfect place for you scuba divers who like wrecks, they´re all over! In every lake there are wrecks for everyone, most of them from late 19th century. The wrecks are in good conditions since the water in the lake is kinder to the ships than salt water. It´s not like diving in an exotic place, it´s much colder, but it still is beautiful!
Another sweetwater dive is possible in Lake Mohave in Arizona. Dive by sunken boats, a bus and a van, this isn´t the coolest sites, the coolest site is a submerged town! There are not only vehicles down at the bottom, there´s also a teeming marine life, with bass and Bluegill. The most popular dive site in Arizona is Lake Pleasant, here there´s a great marine life, and many cool caves to discover.
In the USA, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida are known as the Gulf States. It is because of that the Gulf of Mexico is just outside their coast. Louisiana and Texas are quite alike when it comes to diving. Scuba diving is mostly inland scuba parks and lake dives. Athens Scuba Park in Texas is a lake where buses and planes have been placed at the bottom for you to scuba in, like an amusement park for scuba divers! Also situated in Texas is the Possum Kingdom Lake, an inland lake perfect for you who hasn´t got your scuba certificate yet but are eager to get it! Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary lies off the coast of both Louisiana and Texas. It is three reefs with hundreds of fish species, corals, sponges sharks, turtles, rays and skates. The corals and sponges might be mesmerizing but keep an eye up as well, or you might miss the occasional whale shark swimming by.
Scuba diving in Florida has something for everybody, the famous Florida Keys outside the coast of Miami in the southeast. Spearfishing and reefs in the northeast and cave diving for the experienced diver in the north. In the Panhandle of Florida you´ll find the largest boat ever brought down to make an artificial reef, the USS Oriskany. In Mississippi the diving is centered around the oil rigs and the Mississippi river, a couple of meters down the sight is better and you´ll see big fishes swimming around. Just like in Mississippi, diving around the oil rigs is common in Alabama. More popular though is quarry diving, and diving in scuba parks, where you can look at cars, boats and fire engines.
Outside North Carolina, the Hatteras Island is. It lies like a wall outside the North Carolina coast. Inside the wall there are a lot of interesting wrecks and the mythical Diamond shoals. When the Florida current hits the Labrador current, they tear up the sandy bottom and make sandbars that are very shallow, this is called the Diamond shoals. And due to the diamond shoals there are a lot of interesting wrecks here, in fact there are so many this place is sometimes called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Outside the coast of South Carolina there´s also a lot of wrecks. One big attraction is the Barracuda Alley Reef, an artificial reef home to many different species of life. Discover a barge, cars, and other boats at this beautiful reef!
Tourist Information in USA
You need a visa to get into America, the only except is for Canadian citizens. Your visa must be valid at least six months longer than your intended stay.
America uses 110V 60Hz power supply. The pins are flat, carry an adaptor and current converter if needed.
The best way to travel the long distances between cities in USA is by plane. Its time saving, relatively cheap and comfortable. An airfare that takes about five hours with plane will be for 3-4 days if going on a bus, and it won´t save you that much money. If you rent a car it will be as time consuming as if you´re going by bus and the gas and lodging money will make the trip even more expensive. Train is not the most popular way to travel in the USA. It is not even possible all over the country.
Buses are a good way to get around in the cities but not as reliable in the countryside. Taxis have a starting price and then charge by mile. An extra charge for waiting and luggage handling is common and the drivers also expect a 10-15 % tip. The Subway is a easy way of getting around in the big cities.
The currency in USA is United States Dollar (USD). ATM:s are available in many places, banks, grocery stores, malls and airports. Credit cards are accepted all over and if you want to hire a vehicle by phone you´ll be likely to leave your credit card number. It is possible to exchange in banks airports and tourist offices, the best rates you get at the banks or buy using an ATM.
The customs regulations in USA are pretty strict, you are not allowed to bring in high amounts of alcohol, cigarettes, and purchases over a 100 $. It is forbidden to bring in lottery tickets, drugs and you must declare all foods, vegetables and plants.
It is custom to tip in USA, in restaurants 15-20% is ok, but check the bill a service charge may already be included. In general, always leave a small tip. Don’t wait until late with your dinner plans. Americans usually eat early and it might be hard finding a place to eat after 9pm.
Public Holidays in USA
|New Years||Januari 1|
|Martin Luther King Jr. Day ||Third Monday in January|
|Presidents’ Day||Third Monday in February|
|Easter||Sunday in spring|
|Memorial day||Last Monday in May|
|Independence Day||July 4|
|Labor day||First Monday in September|
|Columbus Day||Second Monday in October|
|Veterans Day||November 11|
|Thanksgiving day||Forth Thursday in November|
|Hanukah and Kwanzaa||December|
|New Years Eve||December 31|