From the Publisher
100 Dives of a Lifetime
Oceans have historically been something that has separated us. An ocean apart. Across the sundering seas. The oceans between us. Now, more than ever before, we understand the sea connects us. It is our shared life support system, a borderless expanse linking one continent with the next. It is our collective history, witness to fledgling seafaring attempts that advanced to legendary voyages, ghastly battles, and staggering discoveries. Divers know the pang of disappointment reaching the half-tank mark when there’s still so much more to discover. Divers understand the rich wonder of seeing a different world—full of color and life—play out in front of their eyes, a world few people get to observe. This shared experience creates a community of fellow adventurers.
New Caledonia, Cathedral
Nature has been kind to New Caledonia. This French territory, located 750 miles northeast of Brisbane, Australia, has an immense barrier reef—about 990 miles wrapped around one of the world’s largest lagoons. For divers, New Caledonia offers an array of diverse explorations including shallow lagoon dives, night dives, reef dives, open sea and underwater drift dives.
This is the place where worlds collide. The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates run side by side in Thingvellir, and divers willing to brave cold fingers can touch geologic history, placing a hand on each continent. Diving the Silfra fissure in Thingvellir National Park isn’t difficult—just cold. After jumping in via a platform, the first thing that strikes divers is the unsurpassed clarity of the water. The visibility of this glacial spring extends hundreds of feet, providing an uninterrupted view of the channel walls, which seem to emanate a glowing blue light.
Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, is known for its spectacular sunsets, friendly locals, and white sand beaches. Once a former fishing village, it’s now known for one thing: the largest aggregation of whale sharks in the world. Although the experience is snorkel-only, it is unforgettable: Sharing the water with these distinctively patterned behemoths is both peaceful and exhilarating at the same time. Incredibly docile and agile, whale sharks are protected here by the establishment of the Whale Shark Biosphere Reserve in 2009, and whale shark tourism is highly regulated.
Norfolk Island is one of the most geographically isolated communities in Australia, which makes it one of the most geographically isolated communities on the planet. Located northwest of New Zealand and east of Brisbane, smack in the middle of the Tasman Sea, Norfolk Island is as unique, odd, and untouched as its volcanic neighbor, Lord Howe Island. The island’s underwater volcanic landscape is a playground for scuba enthusiasts: Caves, chimneys, tunnels, chasms, and reefs surround it, offering up more than 30 unique dive spots.
Known locally as Rejo te Kavachi (Kavachi’s Oven), it’s not a stretch to imagine a restless and willful ocean god fretting and fuming beneath the waves, chafing at mortal confinement. Divers would be unwise to venture too close to Kavachi’s Oven, but you can dive close enough to feel the sea god’s presence. Kavachi Corner is a spot 18 miles south of Kicha Island, northeast of the volcano, an open water dive frequented by spawning giant trevallies and mobula rays. The Solomon Islands are renowned for a wide variety of dive locations, from WWII wrecks, to mask-ripping current dives, to underwater volcanoes. Due to its spread-out nature and lack of infrastructure, liveaboards are a good way to explore what the Solomons have to offer, including Kavachi Corner.
One year after her maiden voyage, the M.S. Zenobia capsized and sank near Cyprus. Launched in 1979, this Swedish-built ferry now lies on her port side, in depths ranging from 52 to 141 feet (15.8 to 43 m). The M.S. Zenobia’s cavernlike hold offers an unusual penetration dive for those with the experience and training. When the ship sank, it slipped below the surface with more than 100 vehicles chained to its cargo deck. Conditions of the Zen are deteriorating, which is why—coupled with the depth and swim through opportunities for divers with experience—it’s classified as a more challenging dive. The ship is still holding together, but sooner is better than later if you’d like to dive the Zen.
Lake Titicaca is an ancient lake thought to be three million years old and a UNESCO World Heritage site. This is the world’s highest dive site within recreational limits. Divers who want to try their hand at this unique and ancient spot need to go through the Bolivian Navy’s high-altitude diving center to receive a diving brief, as well as a test in the center’s decompression chamber. The altitude makes this dive more challenging—that and the fact that it’s still a relatively unknown dive destination. However, for intrepid divers, this is an ancient place.
“Well, this book is more about scuba diving than snorkeling, but it’s not JUST for divers. The pictures inside are as glorious as you’d imagine from National Geographic…it made me feel wanderlust to visit all these places…Talk about a bucket list for travel!” –Jennifer – Tar Heel Reader
“Are you wondering where to #dive next? I want to go to every site in this book that I have not been to yet and go back to the ones I have. I might sleep with this book under my pillow!” –Instagram: @wesaidgotravel
“So you don’t have to be a diver to appreciate a book like this. The beautiful photos are impressive but the book also opened my eyes to many places I’ve never heard of… This was a great book to pore over and dream up travel plans with.” –Real Life Reading
“I swear that I’m going to take up diving because of this book.” –The Wayfaring Voyager
“Do you need a bucket list of breathtaking dive sites to visit? Do you need some new reading material? Look no further!!!” –Instagram: @vibesandhorizons
“Now National Geographic is giving all of us a glimpse into this aquatic wonderland in its breathtaking new book…So whether you have your scuba gear already packed and ready to go, simply love spectacular photography of nature’s eye candy, or have been contemplating investing in scuba lessons before taking your next vacation…this is better than escapist fiction, this volume provides authentic life-affirming real-world beauty that makes us appreciate this rock we call home all over again.” –Jathan & Heather
“This book, quite simply, takes my breath away.” –Instagram: @shereadswithcats
“Explore 100 breathtaking scuba diving sites across 60 countries and 6 continents through stunning National Geographic photography, expert tips, and cutting-edge travel advice.” –Insider
About the Author
BRIAN SKERRY (foreword) is a photojournalist specializing in marine wildlife and underwater environments. Since 1998 he has been a contract photographer for National Geographic magazine, covering a wide range of subjects and stories. He was named the Rolex National Geographic Explorer of the Year in 2017. His work has appeared in People, Sports Illustrated, U.S. News & World Report, Smithsonian, and Esquire, among other publications. The author/photographer of Shark, published in 2017, lives in Uxbridge, Massachusetts.