The New Year is the perfect moment to look back at another year that passed. Last year, I was surprised of what I achieved in a year, but when I look back at 2017, 22 scuba diving locations in 8 different countries in 10 months, it makes me eager to know what will happen in 2018! From ice diving in the French Alps to inside lave tubes in Hawaii via finally swimming with whale sharks in Honduras, yes, 2017 was a fun year! Here are the top 10 highlights of my year:
1 – Lac du Lou, Val Thorens, France
I was so happy to go back ice diving in my home country 3 years after passing my ice diving specialty in Switzerland. The wild surroundings of Lac du Lou in Val Thorens made the experience even more special and adventurous. Knowing more what to expect, I enjoyed the magic of the glow under the ice way more than the first time. Read the full story “Ice diving above 2000 m in Val Thorens“.
2 – Izu Ocean Park, Japan
It has been a trip I long dreamed of but thought the opportunity would come much later. The language barrier is a sure thing when you want to dive in Mainland Japan, and my Japanese skills are still far from being sufficient to follow a dive briefing. But when you passionate enough about something, sometimes the universe will provide just what you need. Read the full story “Mission scuba diving from Tokyo to Izu.”
3 – The Maze, Utila, Honduras
For eight years, I was hoping to meet a whale shark underwater. Somehow, I felt that Utila was the place I could be lucky. I scuba dived all around Utila for 3 days before my luck finally turned. In all the dive sites, one was more special than the other thanks to its intricate topography with swim through and canyons. Read the full story “10 reasons to put Utila on your scuba diving bucket“.
4 – Medvedja Špilja, Bisevo, Croatia
When I prepared my trip to Croatia, the Blue Cave (Modra Spilja) was supposed to be the highlight of my island hopping tour in South Dalmatia. The beauty of travelling is that sometimes things just don’t happen the way they are supposed to, but on the road, you might find another fantastic spot. When I arrived in Vis Island, I was told it was now completely forbidden to dive, snorkel or even swim in the Blue Cave. When I found a way to scuba dive in Bisevo, I went diving in the “Seal Cave,” and it was incredible. Read the full story “2 weeks in Croatia: island hopping from Split to Dubrovnik“.
5 -Pozzo dei Salti, Verzasca Valley, Switzerland
Limited time available and limited budget but you still want to dive in one of the most expensive places in the world? Take a few friends as crazy as you are about scuba diving, plan an adventure and go on an express road trip crossing half of Switzerland to dive one of the best dive sites in Europe: the Verzasca Valley. Read the full story “Verzasca Express: adventurous river diving in Ticino.”
6 – The Gorgonian Gardens, Alonissos, Greece
Every adventurer needs some rest sometimes. I found the perfect place in the Sporades Islands, on the island of Alonissos for a summer retreat between scuba diving in the first marine protected area of Greece and delightful evenings tasting all the best Greek food. Read the full story “Diving in Greece best-kept secret: Alonissos, Northern Sporades.”
7 – The Grec, Porquerolles, France
I think I might suffer from a curse about this famous shipwreck of the south of France. On my first attempt in 2016, our car was blocked by another one, and my buddy and I just couldn’t go to the dive centre. In September, I could finally discover this beautiful wreck so full of life with massive groupers napping on the main deck, a wall of two banded seabreams and dentex hunting among them. The red and yellow gorgonians covering the wreck add to the majesty of the shipwreck. However, wrong settings and a faulty camera left me with too few good memories. I need to do it again in 2018. Never give up. Read my story “Porquerolles Island, the scuba diving gem of the French Riviera“.
8 – Mala Wharf, Lahaina, Hawaii
It was my best discovery of the year: Hawaii is also a shore diving destination, and Mala Wharf is my favourite spot! I could have completely missed it if a friend didn’t recommend it. With convenient access where a car is not necessary, a dive centre to rent tanks 2 minutes walking from the beach, showers and bathroom, warm water, a dozen of turtles and white-tip sharks, how not to fall in love with Mala Wharf in the pretty town of Lahaina, Maui? Every minute of the 70 I spent underwater there I was in total awe. Read the full story “Shore diving in Maui: Hawaii best-kept secret”
9 – Frog Rock, Kohala, Hawaii
It was by far the quirkiest dive I did during my scuba diving trip to Hawaii. Diving in a lava tube in the most active volcanic island in the world was something I was not expecting to do! While the Kohala Coast is the best way to scuba dive away from the crowd in Big Island, exploring these caverns hidden below the coral reef was full of incredible surprises. Read the full story “Diving in lava tubes in Hawaii: will you dare to do it?”
10 – Manta night dive, Kona, Hawaii
The famous manta night dive of Kona, Big Island, in Hawaii is not completely exempt from controversy. However, saying I didn’t like it would be a pure lie so after debating with myself for quite a while, this dive still has a place here as it was clearing a highlight of my year 2017. Read the full story “Manta Nigth Dive in Kona.”
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