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How many days to dive Green Island?

Discussion in 'Taiwan' started by Splint, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. Splint

    Splint Angel Fish

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    Hi All,

    I'm heading to Taiwan for my first time in January and I would like to dive Green Island. From the trip reports I've read so far it looks like a lot of people only stay for a few days. Is this enough to see most of the sites on the island?

    Thanks
    Splint
     
  2. Makhno

    Makhno Divemaster

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    Hi Splint, the answer is: it depends. I have been to Green Island a half-dozen times -- usually for 4-day weekend -- and I always feel like 4 days isn't enough when it's time to leave. I think it's got the best diving in Taiwan, overall. If you don't mind diving the same site a couple times, you could easily spend a happy week there. I think most people only stay for a few days because that's all the time they have available.

    However, it's a small island, and in January with the winds blowing out of the northeast and generating big waves, only the west side is easily diveable (I've heard there's a site on the east side that's sheltered enough for winter diving, but I don't know it). So there are only a number of sites available to dive at that time of the year. Nevertheless, it's my favorite time to dive Green Island.

    There are two main shore diving areas which are almost always diveable in the winter: Shihlang and Dabaisha. Both are big enough to dive a few times without having seen the whole area. There's also a site close to the little airport that is sometimes diveable in the winter months. Sites on the north coast are iffy but might be alright depending on the winds and consequent waves (Chaikou, and the Gonguangbi harbor). There are maybe 4 or 5 boat diving sites they'll go to on the west side in the winter months. The boat captains there seem quite risk-averse, and some of them seem to consider 1-meter swells to be dangerous, whereas that's considered a piece of cake in a lot of places I've been diving. So, their risk aversion might limit the available boat diving sites.

    In the winter, one dive center (not risk-averse!) will take divers to Gun Shui Bi at the southern end of the island to try to see some hammerheads, if enough qualified divers want them to go there. "Qualified" usually means at least AOW and proof of 100 logged dives if they don't know you, because of the big swells and strong currents. (Honestly, it truly is an advanced dive most of the time -- and by "advanced" I don't mean AOW.) Unless you go there with a group of folks who are going specifically to dive with the hammerheads, it is doubtful that there will happen to be enough qualified divers who want to go to that site. If you do go, there is no assurance that you'll see the sharks, which of course are fewer and fewer each year. I've done 12 or 14 dives at that site and seen the sharks on only 4 of those dives: only one lonesome shark on a couple of dives ... but there was one lucky day when I was surrounded by hammerheads circling around me on both dives, which was really amazing. A manta crossed paths with one of the sharks ... pretty cool. I've done a whole lot of dives with sharks over the years, but to be surrounded by a school of circling hammerheads is really something special. Don't count on it, though, because more often than not, divers at that site come up disappointed. Some years they don't see any sharks, from what I've heard.

    I digress ... yeah, you can enjoy more than a few days of diving there if you don't mind diving the same site more than once. Expect the water to be 23C or cooler, so 5mm is best -- and windy and rainy weather is common in January. Luckily, there's a salt water hot spring at the southern end of the island which is a great place to soak after a night dive.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014
    marijev likes this.

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