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Top 7 Best Places to Scuba Dive in the US



Across the globe, about 26 million people regularly enjoy the astonishing beauty of the underwater world.

It’s not difficult to learn scuba diving and snorkeling and it’s easy to find spectacular destinations to enjoy these skills.

So, if you’re thinking of taking up the art of aquatic exploration, or looking for new spots to investigate, keep reading. These are the best places to scuba dive in the USA today.

Best Places to Scuba Dive in the US

1. Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida

This secluded and remote destination is ideal for nature lovers. It’s also one of the top places to scuba dive and snorkel in the US.

Thanks to a wealth of shallow waters boasting interesting things to see, Dry Tortugas is ideal for those dipping their toes into the world of snorkeling for the first time too.

You don’t have to have the best snorkel gear for beginners to get started, but it will make it easier to learn the ropes.

Only one percent of this destination’s above water, so there’s plenty to see and do once you strap your flippers on. The shallow wrecks and lively reefs offer an abundance of fascinations for snorkellers, while scuba divers can venture deeper around Texas Rock and Long Reef Key.

2. Monterey Bay – California

This marine sanctuary is home to the Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area, which is one of California’s richest marine habitats.

Some sites, like Whaler’s Cover and Bluefish Cove, restrict diving activity to 30 people per day, so you’re assured of a crowd-free experience.

Here, you can look forward to seeing leopard sharks, rock cod, harbor seals, and abalone in their undisturbed natural habitats. Thanks to its sheltered coves and clear waters, divers of all levels can venture underwater at this pristine spot.

Water temperatures are around 50 to 60 F even in the summertime, so pack your drysuit for this excursion.

3. Flower Garden Banks – Texas

Texas may not be top of mind when you think of scuba diving in the US. Yet, the Lone Star State boasts several sites worthy of discovery, and Flower Garden Banks is one of the best. 

You’ll find Flower Garden Banks about 100 miles offshore from Freeport in the most northern part of America’s coral reef system. The site has three banks and is home to almost all the types of fish you’ll find in the Gulf of Mexico.

If you’re lucky, you could even catch a glimpse of spinner dolphins, whales, hammerhead sharks, silky sharks, and manta rays among the colorful small species.

After the first full moon in August, the site comes alive with spawning coral polyps, which attract hundreds of fish to feed.

Due to the distance from shore, it takes several hours to reach Flower Garden Banks by boat. It’s to a spur-of-the-moment destination but definitely one for the bucket list of avid divers.

4. Kona – Hawaii

Hawaii has plenty of picturesque spots to sink into the ocean, but the Manta Ray Night Dive on Koina has got to be one of the best.

This excursion sees you immersed in the fascinating world of these floating fish as they swoop after an algae dinner in the ocean waters.

Underwater lights on the ocean floor attract vast amounts of plankton, which in turn calls the rays to dinner. The sight of these beautiful creatures diving among the lights to scoop up their meal is a must-see attraction if you’re visiting the islands.

Some of the top spots for day time diving in Hawaii include:

  • The wrecks of USS YO-257 and San Pedro – Oahu
  • Black Rock and Molokini Wall – Maui
  • Lanai
  • Molokai
  • Underwater lava formations – Hawaii
  • Among the sea turtles of Kauai

Every island offers something for the avid scuba diver and snorkeller in this gorgeous island state.

5. Gulf Islands National Seashore – Mississippi

Mississippi might not be the first destination that springs to mind when you’re wondering where to scuba dive in the US. Yet, it offers some wonderful opportunities for underwater fun.

This pristine area’s filled with seagrass beds, sunken shipwrecks, and tropical fish, especially along the bayside of Santa Rosa Island. Here you’ll find masses of pipefish, pinfish, and seahorses drifting among the underwater vegetation.

Nearby you’ll find a downed tugboat and if you venture a little further to Pensacola Pass, you’ll discover the remains of the battleship, USS Massachusetts.

6. Homestead Crater – Utah

This unexpected inland destination also happens to be one of the most amazing places to scuba dive in the US.

The site itself is unique, created from a bizarre phenomenon resulting from years of snowmelt flowing off the Wasatch Mountains and heated deep beneath the Earth.

The result is a swimming hole concealed by a beehive-shaped mass on the surface.

You don’t need any special climbing skills to access this fascinating spot. There’s a tunnel through the side of the rock that takes you to the warm waters within. At 90 degrees, the water’s almost up to hot tub standards, so your comforts assured too.

Onsite, you can learn how to scuba dive, kayak, snorkel, and swim.

7. The Florida Keys – Florida

No mention of dive sites is complete without this top destination that attracts divers from around the world.

The area abounds with shipwrecks and reefs and forms part of the coastal Shipwreck Trail. With so many ships to choose from, there’s something for divers of every ability all the way from the advanced waters at USS Spiegel Grove to the easily accessible Vandenberg.

Measuring 524-foot long, the Vandenberg is a massive example of it’s kind. While in service during the Cold War, it served as a Russian missile tracker and today it’s the world’s largest purpose-sunk wreck.

These Best Places to Scuba Dive Are Great for Beginners

Many of these best places to scuba dive offer onsite instruction for beginners, so call ahead and make an appointment if you’re ready to take the plunge.

There’s no doubt that getting involved in sports adds immense value to your life and improves your health.

Keep reading our blog for more exciting news and information about sports activities and events.

The post Top 7 Best Places to Scuba Dive in the US appeared first on Travel Experta – Family Travel Blog.

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What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?




People have always liked to drink on board flights, especially people from Australia. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that there was an inflight bar offering in the 1970s.

Ansett Airlines were a major player in the Australian domestic market up until their demise in September 2001. For many years, there were two domestic airlines, Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) and Ansett.

Ansett’s Inflight Bar

At the time, Ansett operated Boeing 727s, Douglas DC-9s and Fokker F27 Friendships on domestic routes in the country. Airline tickets were quite expensive, with tariffs agreed upon by both airlines thanks to Australia’s weird two-airline policy at the time.

While tickets were expensive and food complimentary, you still had to pay for a drink at the bar. Here is an inflight bar menu from the era, showing the drinks available and their prices.

Clearly the pricing is astounding by today’s standards – 30 cents for a beer? I’ll have thirty-three please! I like how Australian gin is 35c while the imported gin is just 5c more. Which would you choose?

You can tell it is from another era as you can buy cigarettes on board. These price up at 45c, a far cry from the extortionate prices people in the west pay these days for a smoke!

Overall Thoughts

The on board offering is pretty comprehensive for internal flights, and I imagine you’d be hard pressed not to find something you might like. In those times, all payments would have been by cash as well, which would have meant a lot of coinage being handled on board.

Of course, things haven’t changed too much over the years. On many airlines you pay for your drinks just as they did back in the 1970s. Shame the prices aren’t the same of course!

Did you ever buy drinks on board flights from the inflight bar back in the day? Do you still? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by Daniel Tanner on via Wikimedia Commons.
Menu image by Ikara on Australian Frequent Flyer.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: What could you order from Ansett Airlines’ inflight bar in the early 1970s?
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Published Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2020 15:03:14 +0000

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These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?




The shrimp stop swimming at dusk and gather near the river’s edge. After sunset, they begin to climb out of the water. Then they march. All night long, the inch-long crustaceans parade along the rocks.

The parading shrimp of northeastern Thailand have inspired legends, dances and even a statue. (Locals also eat them.) During the rainy season, between late August and early October, tourists crowd the riverbanks with flashlights to watch the shrimp walk.

Watcharapong Hongjamrassilp first learned about the parading shrimp, and the hundred thousand or more tourists who come each year to see them, about 20 years ago. When he started studying biology, he returned to the topic. “I realized that we know nothing about this,” he said: What species are they? Why and how do they leave the safety of the water to walk upstream on dry land? Where are they going?

Mr. Hongjamrassilp, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, decided to answer those questions himself. His findings appeared this month in the Journal of Zoology.

Working with wildlife center staff members, Mr. Hongjamrassilp staked out nine sites along a river in Thailand’s Ubon Ratchathani province. They found shrimp parading at two of the sites — a stretch of rapids, and a low dam.

The videos they recorded revealed that the shrimp paraded from sundown to sunup. They traveled up to 65 feet upstream. Some individual shrimp stayed out of the water for 10 minutes or more.

“I was so surprised,” Mr. Hongjamrassilp said, “because I never thought that a shrimp can walk that long.” Staying in the river’s splash zone may help them keep their gills wet, so they can keep taking in oxygen. He also observed that the shells of the shrimp seem to trap a little water around their gills, like a reverse dive helmet.

DNA analysis from captured shrimp showed that nearly all belonged to the species Macrobrachium dienbienphuense, part of a genus of shrimp that live mostly or fully in freshwater. Many Macrobrachiumspecies spend part of their lives migrating upstream to their preferred habitats.

Most parading shrimp that Mr. Hongjamrassilp captured were young. Observations and lab experiments showed that these shrimp probably leave the water when the flow becomes too strong for them. Larger adult shrimp can handle a stronger current without washing away, so they’re less likely to leave the water.

Walking on land is dangerous for the little shrimp, even under cover of darkness. Predators including frogs, snakes and large spiders lurk nearby, Mr. Hongjamrassilp says. “Literally, they wait to eat them along the river.”

And the shrimp can survive on land for only so long. If the parading crustaceans lose their way, they may dry out and die before they get back to the river. A few times, Mr. Hongjamrassilp came across groups of lost shrimp dead on the rocks, their once-translucent bodies baked pink.

Yet most navigate upstream successfully, and scientists have spotted other freshwater shrimp around the world performing similar feats, scaling dams and even climbing waterfalls.

Leaving the water when the swimming gets tough may have helped these animals spread to new habitats over their evolutionary history, Mr. Hongjamrassilp said. Today, the number of parading shrimp in Thailand seems to be declining. He thinks tourist activity may be a factor, and learning more about the shrimp might help protect them.

The study’s authors made “some really excellent observations,” said Alan Covich, an ecologist at the University of Georgia who was not involved in the research. But understanding why the Ubon Ratchathani shrimp move upstream, and how far they travel, will require more research, he said.

“The most surprising thing to me was that it attracted so many tourists,” Dr. Covich said. He doesn’t know of any other example of people gathering to appreciate a crustacean in quite the same way.

“We have crayfish festivals, we have all kinds of things,” Dr. Covich said, “but generally it’s people eating them, not watching them move.”

By: Elizabeth Preston
Title: These Shrimp Leave the Safety of Water and Walk on Land. But Why?
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Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 17:02:07 +0000

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Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?




There are reports that Aer Lingus have applied for 1,500 slots at Manchester Airport for the Summer 2021 season. This will allow the airline to base four aircraft there and service flights to the United States.

At present, there have been no press releases from the airline stating what is going on. Even so, it probably makes sense for the Irish airline to do this in the current market.

Aer Lingus And Manchester

From what is known, there will be three Airbus A321LRs and an A330 based at Manchester. These will operate non-stop services to New York JFK, Boston, Chicago and Orlando, and the season starts on 28 March 2021.

With Thomas Cook having gone out of business, there is likely space for another competitor. New York and Orlando will see competition from Virgin Atlantic, while the other two routes have no airline flying at the moment.

Aer Lingus has been connecting passengers over Dublin very successfully from the UK regions for a while now. Due to this, they will have visibility on traffic patterns, potential yields and more, making this an informed decision.

I imagine they also hope to cream off some of the connecting traffic that routes through London Heathrow on British Airways and Amsterdam on KLM among others. It would prove to be quite successful.

Transatlantic Joint Venture Approval

The US Department of Transport has tentatively given its approval for Aer Lingus to join the oneworld transatlantic joint business. This is operated by American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia and Finnair.

These airlines coordinate schedules and pricing, share revenues and expenses. For the consumer, it means more choice – those making a booking on British Airways across the Atlantic will also see options on American Airlines on the BA web site as one example.

Theoretically, it would allow people seeking flights on the British Airways web site to automatically be given options to fly non-stop with Aer Lingus, along with the Manchester-London Heathrow-US city connecting itinerary.

Whether Aer Lingus will join the oneworld alliance, even in a oneworld connect capacity remains to be seen. Frequent flyers would welcome it, especially those in Ireland.

Overall Thoughts

No doubt the boffins have been working behind the scenes to see if the business case for transatlantic flights from Manchester stack up. As things have proceeded as far as a slot application, I would guess chances are good that it will go ahead.

Either way, let’s see if this happens and if it does, whether Aer Lingus will stay for the long haul. If they can make more money elsewhere, they’ll up sticks and leave. Regardless, it is an interesting development in European aviation.

What do you think of Aer Lingus starting transatlantic services from Manchester? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

To never miss a post, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
All my flight and lounge reviews are indexed here so check them out!

Featured image by N509FZ via Wikimedia Commons.
Aer Lingus A321neo LR by Pitmanaaron via Wikimedia Commons.
Business class cabin via One Mile At A Time.

By: The Flight Detective
Title: Will Aer Lingus launch transatlantic flights from Manchester?
Sourced From:
Published Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2020 18:03:48 +0000

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