Some people absolutely love crowds: that’s why they attend Mardi Gras celebrations, grand parades and the Super Bowl. But it’s the rare diver who seeks a mob — unless it’s a crowd of fish. Here’s how to avoid, ditch or deal with crowds while diving.
1. Choose destinations less traveled. Instead of booking a trip to a popular destination, plan a dive vacation to a more remote or unusual locale.
2. Ask about secret spots. Even if you’re at a popular destination with scads of divers, ask your dive operator to take you to dive sites that are infrequently visited.
3. Dive from smaller boats. Six-packs aren’t for everyone — backward rolls are the most common entry, and getting back on board often requires Superman strength — but you dive with fewer, and usually more experienced, divers.
4. Pick your time. Divers tend to be early risers, so if the morning boat is crowded, sign up for the afternoon dives when the boat may be less jam-packed. Another way to avoid crowds may be to book a night dive.
5. Skip the boat. If shore diving is an option, you and your buddy could be totally alone on the reef, especially if the resort offers 24/7 tank checkouts.
6. Segregate yourself. Stuck on a cattle boat? Ask the divemaster whether you and your buddy can plan your own dive, rather than following the dive guide. Not permitted? Try diving slightly shallower or deeper than the group or lag behind to avoid the traffic jam.
Divers photo from Shutterstock.