Diving the depths in the Pacific
Grab your air tank, wet suit and fins and explore some of the most breathtaking places Asia offers divers.
You can come face-to-face with lionfish in South Korean waters, coral reefs in Guam or a moray eel off Tokyo.
The Pacific offers divers, whether novice or advanced, the opportunity for awesome underwater adventures.
Not sure where to start? Many bases offer bubble clubs, as scuba clubs are commonly referred to.
Base clubs offer training, equipment and dive trips for beginners and experienced divers.
With almost 75 percent of the earth’s surface covered in water, diving is a great way to explore everything from marine life to ship wrecks to coral reefs.
Finatics Dive Club: Meets at Yokota Air Base at 6:30 p.m. the first Wednesday on every month in Building 909, known as the Dive Shack. A social gathering for club members is held once a month on Friday nights at the Dive Shack. The $35 basic yearly membership allows the member to rent club equipment and have a locker at the club. The $50 one-year gold membership includes 10 free equipment rentals (regulator, buoyancy compensator device — BC/BCD), tank, wet suit, mask, snorkel, fin, and weights and a locker. Lockers at the club are on a first-come-first-served basis. Contact http://groups.yahoo.com/group/finaticsdiveclubofyokotaab/ for more information.
Yokosuka Bubble Club: The Yokosuka Naval Base club is open to military, active-duty or retired, DoD civilians and Japanese military workers and their families. Annual membership — $100 for shore-based personnel and $60 for ship-based sailors — entitles the member to 24-hour access to the club to check out tanks. Meetings are at 6 p.m. the first and third Wednesdays of each month at the YBC clubhouse, building J208, next to Navy Lodge near the Main Child Development Center. Weekly dives are scheduled, along with an annual trip, usually to Izu Peninsula. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Samurai Divers Club: Club members meet about once a month at Camp Zama. Club activities include trip planning — usually to Izu Peninsula because of its proximity to the base — and the club covers the transportation cost for the members. Membership fee is $30 a year. The club plans overnight tours during holidays. For information, contact www.geocities.com/Yosemite/Forest/5521/side.htm.
Pacific Diver’s Club: Located at U.S. Naval Base Guam, membership in this club is open only to DOD civilians and U.S. military who possess an internationally-recognized scuba diving certification. The clubhouse is on the south side of Apra Harbor. Monthly meetings are the third Thursday of every month at Club Rumorse. The board meeting starts at 6 p.m.; the general membership meeting is at 7 p.m. All members are invited to attend the board meeting. The clubhouse is open from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 to 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. The club offers three membership options: $30 a month confers full membership, which entitles members to complete use of all club equipment. A “tanks” membership, $15 per month, lets members check out two tanks and one weighted belt. “Air only” is $10 per month, and allows members to fill personal tanks with air. Family members are given 50 percent off the monthly membership plans. Visit http://guampacificdivers.tripod.com/ for more information.
NEX Guam Dive Center: The center, on U.S. Naval Base, is open to all certified divers living in Guam only. For $60 a year, a 5-Star membership gives divers 54 free single-tank dives, free rentals and free air fills. Also included with the membership are reduced equipment prices and repairs; discounts at businesses on Guam; and reduced tour prices. Call (671) 564-6321 for more information.
Andersen Air Base: The club Down Under Dive is associated with the Guam Tropical Dive Store. The store sells equipment and offers certification classes. The main store is off base, but they have an on-base branch. Down Under Dive offers members six boat trips a year, advanced rental requests, equipment discounts, guided beach dives and more. Call the Andersen base shop at (671) 366-6975.
Osan Air Base: Osan’s club offers divers travel opportunities, dive training and certification by PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). Equipment rentals are available and members plan dive trips. Meetings are usually held once a month depending on membership levels. Call DSN 784-1048 or e-mail hardROKdiving@yahoo.com for contact information.
In Europe, many on-base organizations offer scuba classes and trips to good diving areas.
For example, the Navy Outdoor Recreation Program in Naples, Italy, offers classes through the Technical Scuba Service Napoli. The RTT office at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is offering a Red Sea scuba trip Oct. 5 to 12. The Outdoor Recreation office in Spangdahlem, Germany, is offering an Italy scuba certification course from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3. Outdoor Rec at Darmstadt, Germany, frequently offers trips to Costa Brava, Spain, and Hvar, Croatia. And Outdoor Rec at Baumholder, Germany, offers adventure packages at Rolling Hills Campground that include scuba.
For details, check your local Outdoor Rec and travel offices.