A far cry from the usual leisurely diving at tropical islands in the Caribbean or the coral reefs around the World, extreme diving is testing new waters to say the least. With many people looking to the sport for an adrenalin rush, divers are pushing the envelope of diving and challenging themselves with some pretty extreme conditions at the most unusual dive sites. Instead of heading to warmer waters they dive beneath the ice, from high visibility clear pristine waters they venture into murky dark caves and instead of avoiding the most feared creatures of the sea they’re swimming straight for the shark’s mouth.
Here’s our picks for the Top 3 Extreme Dives in the World:
Cave Diving at Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole, Florida
Considered the ‘Mount Everest’ or the ‘Grand Canyon’ of cave diving, the Eagle’s Nest is one of the most intricate and challenging dive sites one can dive. Located on the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area property, near Weeki Wachee, the sinkhole first appears to be a very unimpressive, scummy-looking pond. Hidden below it astounding depths of around 300 feet (91metres), the Eagle’s Nest Sinkhole in Florida has chambers as large as gymnasiums and crystal-clear water. Only for highly experienced cave divers and the technically sound, the descent the Eagle’s nest is similar to that of a chimney and hundreds of feet below it opens up into a large cavern called “the Main Ballroom”, beyond which are longer tunnels and crannies that go even deeper. While cave diving isn’t for everyone, a number of divers have perished attempting to explore this site in particular. The Sinkhole’s challenging caves and and harsh conditions are not to be taken lightly when considering to dive here. [*Above image- Times photo: Maurice Rivenbark]
Ice Diving at McMurdo Sound, Antarctica
Antarctica Scuba diving? Yes, in extreme temperatures that often drop below -40°C (-40°F), where no insects, plants nor major life exists here above the ground, people do the unthinkable and plunge into it’s icy waters! McMurdo Sound Antarctica is where divers break through the 1.3-3m (4-10ft) thick ice to enter the freezing cold waters, only to be rewarded by stunning visibility of about 300m (990 ft) and a rich marine life like no other anywhere else in the World. For more read: Extreme Diving: Ice Diving in Antarctica (*above image by high hat beaver moustache man on flickr)
Shark Diving in Nassau, the Bahamas
If you think you would pee in your wetsuit if you saw just one shark, then this dive destination is not for you. The warm Caribbean waters of the Bahama’s attracts plenty of sharks. Operators here offer a number of shark adventure dives including cage diving, watching professional shark wranglers hand-feed reef sharks on the ocean floor in front of you and even surface feeding. With dive sites such as ‘Shark Wall’, ‘Shark Arena’, ‘Runway Wall’ and ‘The Runway’ you will encounter dozens Caribbean Reef Sharks. Watching the sharks eat is amazing, but seeing them cruise by at arm’s length is incredible and and experience. Long Island (Southern Bahamas) is another such dive site for shark diving. Cage diving to feed swarms of mako, bull, and reef sharks is what draws adventurous divers here. The Bahamas is also home to the Tiger shark, Great Hammerhead shark, Lemon shark, Silky shark, Nurse shark and the notorious Bull shark all considered among the most dangerous sharks you can encounter.
(*above images by hankplank on flickr)