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Where to Dive

Discussion in 'Taiwan' started by m5tsai, Apr 5, 2011.

  1. m5tsai

    m5tsai Guest

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    Hi,

    I'm a Taiwanese that's living in USA right now. Plan to go back to Taiwan this summer, and wondering if there's good dive sites around that's suitable for my family. My daughter just got certified as open water junior diver, so would like mostly calm (no current, or very little current), max 40 feet dive sites with a lot of sea life to see and explore. My husband has been diving since 80s as open water recreational diver, mostly in the Caribbean, so would like to see different sea life in Pacific that hasn't seen before. Originally I'm thinking about going to Philippine, but if it works, why not introduce her to my native island instead? Will the weather cooperate?

    Would like to have places that's reasonably priced, with good night-life if it's going to be more than 3 days, a beach will be nice. I saw from the forum that Green Island, Orchid Island, Kenting, Little LioChiu are some diving destinations. Would really be interested in Green Island, but don't know if current will be an issue? Water temperature? Equipment rental? Lodging? Or if Kenting will be better since the shore diving could be a good option?

    Thanks for any advice given.
    May
     
  2. Wantonmien

    Wantonmien Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines (Ex Taiwan & Oz)
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    m5tsai,

    Where are you intending staying, as if in Taipei the diving at Longdong is only 45 mins from the city and perfectly OK for a junior open water and some pretty interesting dives, or if heading to Kenting ditto no problem, plus if adventurous from Kenting you could also jump the ferry to Orchid island, which is very laid back and about the best diving I've had in Taiwan (and better than some places I've been in Philippines) - came back from Orchid yesterday and will post a visit report and photos in next few days.

    Cheers
     
  3. m5tsai

    m5tsai Guest

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    Wantonmien,

    We'll be staying in Taipei prefecture, or New Taipei City, close to Shulin for the majority of the time. But probably will go to whichever place to do a bit of sightseeing and diving if it works out schedule-wise. Longdong (Dragon Hole) has something to see? I didn't know, could you elaborate? I'm looking forward to see your report on Orchid island.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Makhno

    Makhno Divemaster

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    m5tsai,

    In my experience, the best diving in Taiwan is Green Island. I've been there 3 times now. I prefer it in the winter when you can dive the west coast of the island. In the summer you might not be able to dive the west side (although there will still be some good diving). There are relatively easy shore diving sites there on both the north and west sides, and good boat diving, too.

    I've been to Orchid Island twice (I didn't go with Wantonmien this past weekend). The first time, I thought the visibility was amazing but was disappointed in the lack of fishes. I went back about a year later and it was great -- every bit as good as Green Island. Hit and miss, I suppose. I haven't been to Orchid in the summer when there are more shore diving sites available, so I'm looking forward to going there sometime this summer.

    Kenting is where I usually go for a weekend getaway. The diving isn't as good as at Green or Orchid Islands, but it's convenient and inexpensive. Some of the shore diving sites are a bit difficult -- the diving itself it easy, but getting in and out of the water over sharp rocks can be a challenge. There are a few easy ones, though. Boat diving can be quite good, but most boat diving sites will be deeper than 12 meters/40 feet.

    I've never been to Xiao Liuchiu but by all accounts it's about the same as Kenting in terms of quality, except for having more turtles. I've never dived the northeast coast.

    So in a nutshell, I'd say that for the best and most varied diving, you should go to Green or Orchid Island. Green Island consistently delivers excellent diving from shore or boat for divers of all levels of experience and training. And as I said above, the second of the two times I went to Orchid, it was fantastic. Post a follow-up or PM me for more info.

    Wantonmien, I'm looking forward to hearing about last weekend's Orchid trip.
     
  5. Wantonmien

    Wantonmien Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines (Ex Taiwan & Oz)
    1,777
    201
    63
    m5tsai,

    As Makhno says Green/Orchid are both good, if you want to make the boat trip (from Kenting for Orchid, or Taidung for Green) they are both worth the trip. Kentings a nice place for the beach and to stay a couple of days with excellent diving there, so meets your initial criteria for sure, though most good dives are deeper (say 30 m) than you said you were after.

    As for Longdong, and it's bay location, even if waves are too big to get in at the rocky areas close to the couple of dive shops there, heading around the bay it's normally easy to get in near the school. It's all pretty standard reefs just across the road from the dive shops, in shallow water (say less than 20 m), deeper and better walls just a few minutes up the road but personally I think the reef near the school is perfect for safe shallow interesting dives - with no current when I've dived there. Far side of the school reef/wall it drops off to a sandy area where typically shoals of snappers and other shoaling fish swim through. (Although unrecognisable, I think someone said the school reef/wall was originally a ship sunk a long time ago and is totally encrusted now).

    Generally in the bay I've seen plenty of varied life - squid, octopus, mimic octopus, frog fish, nudi's, small baracuda, morays, all types of fish, macro stuff etc etc. Nothing spectacular, but definitely worth diving and basically within an hour of leaving Taipei by road you can be in the blue clean waters there. In Longdong there is not much else however, so don't plan on staying there.

    Dive shop I use in Longdong is Welcome to Pioneer Diver - Home owner Ken is a very helpful guy, will maybe show you some 'secret garden' dive sites if you ask him nicely and dive with him ! I think he will occasionally arrange a pick up from Taipei for guys/gals wanting to dive, and if I'm around at the time I might even see you up there.

    Cheers
     
  6. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
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    m5tsai:

    I am a Taiwanese and living in USA. I also have a teenage daughter who dives.

    On the year we were certified, we dove in Cozumel for a week. Then we went to Kending last August. Before my trip, I also posted a thread on the board. Thanks to Makhno, Wantonmien, Ambertiger, and several other people. They gave me so much detail information and suggestions.

    We only did shore dives during our stay in Kending. Underwater scene is different than Cozumel. There are not as many fishes as in Cozumel, but the corals we saw are amazing and totally different. Clown fishes in anemone, sea slug, and fan shell are eye-opener, too.

    The only thing my daughter and I were having difficulty is the entry and exiting of shore dive. It is tough because current is pushing you onto coral rocks while your try to enter or exit water. We had to crawl out of water when exiting. On one dive, I lost grip of my daughter during exiting and she was swept several feet away from me immediately. Afterward, she decided that is all the diving she wants for the trip.

    Current underwater also is kind of strong, we can feel it pushing us. But we had experience with drift dive in Cozumel. Therefore it really doesn't bother us.

    Well, I hope this helps. Have fun in Taiwan. We are heading to Bonaire soon and I believe Kending shore diving experience can be very helpful for us in Bonaire.

    P.S. Wontonmien, it is nice to see Taiwan gets its own forum.
     
  7. Wantonmien

    Wantonmien Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Philippines (Ex Taiwan & Oz)
    1,777
    201
    63
    LoveOceanicGears,

    Did wonder the other week if you had made it out here, and glad to have helped. Sorry to hear the conditions were a bit difficult, I can guess that would probably have been the "outlet" site down by Hobihou harbor - as with waves the walk though the rocks can get a bit dodgy, but you survived and sounds like you enjoyed. If heading out here again, maybe worth checking out the N/E coast I mention above, as it's pretty good with easy entry most of the time, and in some areas it's full of schooling fish.

    Yep, glad we got the Taiwan forum - just need some of the other 'shy' divers to chuck in some info occasionally.

    Enjoy Bonaire, afraid your side of the world isn't on my travel plans just yet.

    Cheers
     
  8. m5tsai

    m5tsai Guest

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    Hi,

    Thanks for Wantonmien and LoveOceanicGears's advices.

    Based on Wantonmien said, I may try to put Longdong first just to get a feel. Especially if there's no current in areas that we can try and see stuff. How's the temperature? What kind of wetsuit will be good for a 11 years old? 2 3mms? I'll try to contact Ken when the time gets close. Still working on the flights (and tax returns, Ha!)

    And if Kenting's unerwater current is strong, how about Orchid Island? I know based on reading that South part of the Green Island has very strong currents (otherwise sharks probably won't like it), but how about North east part? What's the current condition in Orchid island? I remembered the first couple of times I was in Cozumel that I got a bit apprehensive about the drift diving. My daughter is a strong swimmer, so definitely will do better than I was at that time, but for first couple dives, still want to take it easy. The time we'll be there will be late June, July month, Typhoon season just started I think, how often Typhoon disrupt the trip?
    What's the temperature like?

    Sorry I may be repeating myself. The most important criteria will be no current, temperature manageable, easy of diving, and things to see. And whichever places we choose, do we need to bring our own gears? It's awefully heavy to bring all the gears from U.S. and maybe only do at most a week's diving. So if there's reputable places for rental, that will be great.

    And yes, I'm very glad Taiwan has its own forum. I was under the impression that Green Island only has snorkeling or there's only snorkeling to do but no support for diving. Glad I was wrong.

    Thanks again for all the replies, I learned a lot.
     
  9. Makhno

    Makhno Divemaster

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    Sometimes there are currents at some Kenting dive sites. and sometimes there aren't. Currents tend to be stronger close to a full moon or a new moon when the tides are bigger. Some sites tend to have strong currents, and some sites rarely do.


    Typhoon or just a big storm, there is risk of weather being a problem. But I would plan your trip anyway, and then if the forecast predicts bad weather, stay in Taipei or whatever.

    I don't know about the north. In Kenting or the islands the water temperature in June will probably be around 26 C, maybe 27 in July.

    That's almost impossible to guarantee. You can find some dive sites which are unlikely to have strong currents, though.

    Again, my recommendation would be Green Island, but Kenting and Orchid are also options. Shore diving is easiest at Green in my experience but I haven't been to Orchid at that time of year.

    Check with the airline; there's a chance that if you're flying all the way from the US, your dive equipment can go under the "sports equipment" exemption from the baggage weight limit. You can find rental gear, sure. But "reputable"? Maybe, maybe not. I'd bring my own gear if I were you.
     
  10. LoveOceanicGears

    LoveOceanicGears Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Physically: New Jersey, USA. Mentally: Cozumel, MX
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    When I was at Kending, both my daughter and I wear full 3 mm wetsuit, gloves and boots, too. Without those, we will be scratched by coral rock on entry and existing.

    Base on recommendation of Makhno and others, I brought back all my gears. I can see the surprise in people's eyes when I dragged 3 luggage and 3 carry-on into the hotel. I would suggest at least bring your own regulators at minimum.

    After we left Kending and arrived Taipei, we encountered a small typhoon, which caused weather to rain for two days. Then in Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Memorial, we were again surprised by a small earth quake. The only thing my daughter cannot stand is the humidity.

    Just returned from Bonaire. It was amazing.
     

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