I love to see fishes and corals and kelp and sponges underwater. But among the many dive sites I have dived there are also some which stand out through more than good marine life: they have very notable above-water features.
Scripps Canyon in La Jolla is a fantastic wall dive. It’s also a dive site not easy to reach. You need a key to the gate of the access road winding down the cliffs, and then you need a lot of motivation to walk, in temperate-water diving gear including a thick wet or dry suit, a good ten minutes along the beach. Black’s beach that is, a well known nude beach. Mostly nude dude-beach, that is, unfortunately. I have zero problems with nudity, but the contrast between the naked people and the divers, whole-body neoprene-clad with gloves and a hood, was funny. Probably funnier for the naked people watching us track along, since they weren’t sweating like hyperactive pigs in wetsuits!
Sunabe Seawall in Okinawa, Japan, is a dive site which will not leave you hungry after resurfacing – big bowls of “Okinawa Soba”, a pork broth with thick noodles and an interesting mix of spices are waiting post-dive.
When getting set up for a dive at Fly Point in Nelson Bay, Australia, you get to deluxe-birdwatch before you get wet. Several species of parrots, flocking and calling, crows, birds of prey high in the sky, and more of the unique Australian avifauna shows up to the naturalists’ delight.
A special dive site which I just recently discovered is the Anilao Pier. It offers top muck diving under water, and karaoke on land. Karaoke? Isn’t that an art form from another Asian archipelago? No, while it was indeed invented in Japan, it’s very popular in the Philippines. Interestingly, while the Japanese karaoke singers rent a “karaoke box” (a separate small room) all for themselves & friends, or in an act of musical autism for one person alone (!), Filipino karaoke is very social. So social that not merely one’s friends and neighbors get to hear the singing but also the divers on a nearby boat out in the bay. Hint: two songs sang at the same time in adjacent karaoke joints do not increase the listening pleasure by a factor of two.
At this point I have to confess: I like to sing karaoke. I am a man of many talents: I am good at reasoning about biology, diving, photography, computer programing powerlifting, and giving philosophical speeches after eight or more beers. If you read that list again, you will notice that singing is not among these talents. My voice has been compared to that of a carabao, a water buffalo:
I still sing. It’s fun.
Fortunately the karaokists active near the Anilao Pier have more blessed voices than I do. They sing all the classics: Sinatra, Queen, and the really cheesy stuff. When arriving at the Pier by boat from Aiyanar after a 20 minute glide over the dark, mirror-like ocean, song welcomes us divers.
Oh, yes, before I forget: underwater the Anilao Pier features stargazers, snake eels, octopi, Bobbitt worms, snails, flounders, plus many species of crabs and shrimp. And you get to listen to Filipino karaoke again when you come up to climb into the boat under the magnificent starry sky.