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Diving in Taiwan - Report

Discussion in 'Taiwan' started by GrumpyOldGuy, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. GrumpyOldGuy

    GrumpyOldGuy Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: West Texas/NH/CA
    I posted a few months ago asking for advice on diving in Taiwan and I thought an update was in order. I have been traveling to Taiwan on business for some time, generally regarding it as 2 very long rides (24hrs for me) in a tin can followed by a week in the urban jungle. I finally got smart and realized the water was a lot warmer than New England and maybe I could have some decent diving at the end of a business trip. I was right!

    I received advice from several friendly SB members and finally hooked up with Shellbackdiver1 for a trip to Little Okinawa (a small island 20KM offshore of Taiwan). I had such a good time, I followed up a few weeks later with a day of shore diving off Kenting on the next trip.

    I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the diving and the reasonable prices. With 7 dives in Taiwan I am NOT an expert, but saw enough good diving to keep bringing my gear with me on every business trip I schedule in the future. The visibility ranged from 35-70 feet, the water was low 70’s (I dived wet in an old 3/2 with no hood). While there are areas that have been affected by runoff, the water is remarkably clean and the good dive sites were fine. I saw more trash in the water off Maui than in Taiwan. In Kenting the variety of small to medium sea-life was good, the corals even better. The only real shortfall was a lack of larger sea life as the area has been fished hard.

    My advice to anyone thinking of diving in Taiwan is to hook up with knowledgeable local diver. The logistics are significant and difficult for an English speaker. There really appears to be no dive travel infrastructure. There are small dive shops that provide air/tanks/lead and sometimes other gear. They do not appear to advertise and even typical retails signs are missing from many shops. If you don’t know where it is, you will not find them nor tell what shops are decent and which ones are less desirable. However, once you get hooked up, its a pleasant surprise!:)
  2. Torontonian

    Torontonian Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Toronto, Ont., Canada
    Grumpy, thanks for your review.

    I'm also now hooked up with Shellbackdiver1 to go diving in Kending in mid-March.

    Taiwan is a fast moving place and people don't do long term booking. When I was searching in late Jan. some hotels were still not taking bookings for March, or had messages about specials coming in March-May timeframe. Well, the big (higher priced) hotels do take bookings well into the future, but not many of the small medium businesses.

    I also could only find a few dive ops with info on the web. Your experience in seeing shops not advertising and even missing retail signs, shows they are not quite established for diving. Up to 10 years ago Taiwan was under an authoritarian regime and there were strict military controls, especially at the shores. (also Green Island) That prevented the diving industry from developing. It's opened up now, but sounds like it'll still take a few years for diving to really catch on. Well, I'll be going to Kending and Green Island to dive. Hope the weather will cooperate.

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