Scuba Diving Photos
United States of Scuba: Diving the Country We Love
Manatee at Kings Bay, Florida
From sea to shining sea, manatees are just one reason Scuba Diving magazine loves diving in the U.S.A.
These local landmarks are essential bastions of our sporting culture. Go-to sites for training, they’re often filled with all manner of quirky attractions: submerged school buses, airplanes, fire trucks, wacky statuary — and the proverbial toilet, a must-snap photo op. Typically cold and often murky, the water of your average quarry is a complete about-face from the warm topside experience, where dedicated regional communities foster enough concentrated scuba stoke to light a small city.
Florida Springs and Caves
Florida is slowly eroding — and cave divers love it. Thanks to a substrate of soft, porous limestone shaped by eons of swift-flowing springs that transform into rivers, the Sunshine State is a magnet for advanced divers who flock to cave country in the central and northern parts of the state for some of the world’s best subterranean routes. The region also offers recreational divers compelling options, from cavern sites like Blue Grotto and Devil’s Den, manatee encounters at Crystal River, and a unique drift dive down Rainbow River.
For sheer wind-swept romance, it’s hard to beat the lovely, lonely Channel Islands of California, five of which comprise the Channel Islands National Park (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara); the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary encompasses the waters around all the national-park islands but Santa Rosa. Farther east and south, San Clemente, San Nicolas and Santa Catalina round out the group, which stretches more than 160 miles and offers divers playgrounds from majestic sunstruck kelp forests to walls to deep-sea pinnacles, home to sea lions, seals, sharks, eels, bass, wrasse, lobsters and more.
One of the world’s most challenging technical dives can be found off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. Felled by a collision in 1956 with the MS Stockholm, what’s left of the Italian-owned SS Andrea Doria now lies in a large debris field between 190 and 240 feet — the depth and frigid temperatures make this 700-foot former passenger liner the Mount Everest of wreck diving.
Controversial as they might be in our community, aquarium dives offer three attractions unique in the world of scuba: guaranteed perfect conditions, for-sure encounters with exotic marine life and the opportunity to turn nondivers on to our sport, not to mention create a sense of stewardship for our oceans in Americans who might never have the opportunity to enjoy them. One heart-melting encounter with a wide-eyed youngster on the other side of that thick glass will make you a believer.
Next Page: Blue Heron Bridge and Manatees