Swimming Holes Ain’t What They Used to Be. They’re Better!

 
Swimming Holes Ain’t What They Used to Be. They’re Better!

by Amy Lignor

 

Oh, come now, you remember back when… The excitement that school was finally over for the year and you were getting that two month reprieve to go and have some fun, leaving those “books and teachers’ dirty looks” behind. Perhaps down the road in your small town there was a swimming hole where you would all gather. The tire swing hung from that old oak limb that looked as if it would break, even though it had held up under all kinds of weather for hundreds of years. Maybe you lived in a city and you longed for a swimming hole, but the only thing available was the community pool. It was okay but, let’s face it, it was confining and every time you wanted to go with you and your friends there were always a million others who had the same idea to do it before you got there.

 

You may not be aware of the numerous swimming holes just waiting to be explored, dotting the landscape of states that would make perfect vacation spots for you and the family this summer. There are always reports in regards to the ‘best of the best’ swimming holes out there, but let’s take a look at some true ‘paradises on earth’ that will give you the swimming, scuba diving, or snorkeling opportunity you just can’t find anywhere else.

Paradise, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, Havasu Falls, Homestead Crater, Devil’s Den, Dorset Quarry,

Havasu Falls Photo Credit: Andy Withers

It seems intelligent that one of the hottest states on the map provides one of the most amazing swimming holes in the world. In Arizona, Havasu Falls in located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. We are talking here about one of the most stunning waterfalls imaginable. Located in the Grand Canyon, it is a perfect spot for those who like to swim as well as trek. You see, in order to get to this breathtaking location, you must first hike ten miles. If you are a hiker or an adventurer, you can take this trek with a friend. If not, you can book a guided tour that will have an expert take you to the Falls. But book soon. This is one place, being that it is on the reservation, that you need a permit to see. And as more and more hear about this spot, less and less trips are available to book.

 

In the state of Utah people can enjoy one of the most amazing natural wonders of the world. Not only do visitors see it as a swimming hole, but it is also the only warm scuba diving destination in the continental U.S. People come from everywhere across the country to swim or snorkel in the 96-degree water. Hidden under a rock dome, with an opening at the top that allows for both sunlight and air, lies the Homestead Crater. At one time people would have to rappel down into the dome to enjoy the beauty inside. Now, of course, there is easy access through a side tunnel made for visitors who are craving to jump in to that mineral spring water just waiting to relax the bones.

 

Speaking of both swimming and scuba diving, Devil’s Den in the Sunshine State is an amazing place that will literally bring you back in time. Although the name seems a bit scary, all Floridians will tell you that the reason for this is actually very benign. The Den earned its name from the steam that rises up from the surface of the water, stemming from the underground spring that holds the water to 72-degrees at all times – even when the winter winds may be blowing. This spring calls out to snorkelers, offering gear to rent. And when it comes to history, artifacts as well as extinct animal fossils dating all the way back to the Pleistocene Age have been found inside Devil’s Den. But don’t worry, there’s no possibility that a dinosaur will raise its head out of that water…we assume.

 

The East Coast is home to one of the most amazing and, again, historical swimming spots you can possibly imagine. Called Dorset Quarry in the state of Vermont, just looking at pictures of this place on a computer will have your eyes grow wide. A marble quarry 6-feet deep, the smooth rock areas allow you a place to sit and watch the sun’s rays bring out the multitude of colors in the marble, or even give you the perfect place to jump from…into the water below, of course. This location is huge. Thirty yards across and approximately 125 yards long, the quarry allows swimmers the ultimate spot to have a good time while cooling off in the summer. A popular swimming hole since the 1920s, you do not want to miss this!

 

There are many to choose from spanning the Continental U.S. and going all the way to China. It all depends on just how far you’re willing to travel to experience that ultimate swimming hole.

 

 

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Prepare for the Perfect Plunge ‘Under the Sea’

 

 

Prepare for the Perfect Plunge ‘Under the Sea’

by Amy Lignor

 

Two thirds of the world lies under the sea. Hard to believe, isn’t it? Yes, there are massive skyscrapers, big cities to tour, historical landmarks and more up above, but under sea level you will discover hundreds of thousands of different animals and plants. Not to mention, more than a mystery or two when it comes to sunken pirate ships and even entire cities, Wonders of the World, and cultures that disappeared long ago…just waiting to be rediscovered by the avid scuba diver.

scuba diving, PADI, explore, important tips, gear, comfort, certification, open-water, wonders of the world

Gardens and white sandy beaches may be stunning, but being able to see and touch a brilliant coral reef is something that should be on absolutely everyone’s bucket list. Perhaps you have been one of those to avoid scuba diving, thinking that it would be far too hard to learn the ins and outs of how to begin. Maybe you’re one who believes that more bad things could happen under the sea than up above. Or maybe you’re like me and have just watched JAWS far too many times. Well…let’s get to the reality, here. JAWS was a book and a great movie by Spielberg, but that shark was awfully close to shore and wreaked way more havoc on the people there than some scuba diver out for a jaunt. In addition, bad things happen above sea level far more than under it (don’t believe me, just read the papers). And, third, it isn’t too hard to learn how to begin to scuba dive. In fact, below are very simple steps and tips on the road to becoming a diver who literally will never want to come up for air once they see the amazement that awaits them.

 

The very first step is to choose the learning style that best suits you. At the outset head to PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. At www.padi.com you will be given every resource imaginable. This is where you want to learn because PADI is the best of the best when it comes to aiding you on your way to becoming a scuba diver extraordinaire. You can attain PADI certification through a variety of different routes, such as; online, home study, or in the classroom, so you have the complete ability and freedom to choose which avenue best suits your schedule. When you’re ready for your confined and open-water dives, make sure the outfit you choose is sanctioned by PADI; then all that remains is deciding between private and group lessons – heading off to a major tropical location or even ones being held at a local dive center. PADI will have all the information available to you for your area.

 

Secondly, you must make sure to choose the equipment that best suits your needs. If you’re just beginning, it’s probably smarter to rent everything you need except for the “personal gear,” which would include your mask, fins and snorkel. For someone who will fall in love with scuba diving and never want to stop doing it (which is basically everyone who takes their first dive) you will want this personal gear to be all yours. Tons of brands in tons of price ranges exist for these items, so make sure to research wisely so that your choices are based on your fit and absolute comfort.

 

One of the most important things to note as well is never to dive alone. You must find and choose the right dive partner. If you don’t happen to have anyone you feel comfortable with, like a friend or family member, you don’t have to worry. Your instructor will never allow you to dive alone which means he or she will happily pair you up with someone who’s just as excited to become a scuba diver.

 

Other than never diving alone, there are two very important tips to remember at all times. One is absolutely the biggest rule in diving: Don’t hold your breath. Yes, this may sound silly and simplistic, however, many people forget to breathe through the mouth and not the nose while diving. Although taking that normal breath above sea level is a habit, below that stunning deep blue sea proper breathing, through the mouth, is necessary and will keep you both comfortable and calm.

 

Then…last but not least, get out there and DIVE! You do not need to be of Olympic gold medal stature to become an incredible scuba diver who just loves to be in that water. All you need is the willingness to delve into something new and the excitement to see that entirely new world that’s just waiting for you to arrive.

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If You Love Water Sports

 

If You Love Water Sports, Maybe it is Time to Love What is Beneath the Surface

By Darren Shepard

I became a Certified PADI Open Water Diver at the age of 18 years old while taking a P.E. Credit in college. I have always loved the water and the idea of becoming a certified diver to take off on a few adventures made a lot of sense to me.

Actually, my first experience scuba diving was with my family on a short vacation in the Ozarks on Gerry’s Ferry lake when I was 16 years old in 1982.  I was taught about the gear and actually made a couple of shallow dives with family members to just see what it was like. I do not recommend doing this today and certification is not only necessary but required.

Over the years, I have been fortunate to take a few trips, including in the Bahamas, Jamaica and certainly several areas in Florida. In addition, I have made many fresh water dives in several larger lakes and reservoirs at the right time of year as well.  My biggest problem is with so many outdoor interest from fishing, boating, hunting and more, I never seem to have enough time to make as many dive trips as I did when I was younger.  Plus, I need to keep current with my dive logs, practice and up keep of gear.

What I do know, is my wife and I have been planning a trip for some time and the opportunity to dive again is approaching. Interesting to me, I had to reach out to PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) to get another copy of my certification so I can begin getting things in order for a trip later in the year.

In addition, my son and step daughter expressed interest in learning to scuba dive as well. I found it interesting, but with our families love of the water and outdoors it only makes sense.  Plus, at the age of 15 years old or under, PADI offers a Junior Open Water Diver Certification as well.

With so many vacation options for so many of us that love the water, what an interesting idea to make sure that our kids learn about what is beneath the surface of the water instead of just fishing in it or tubing on top of it.

Some of the most brilliant colors, fish and adventures for me have been while diving. Especially in shallow water such as in the Florida Keys, where sunlight offers the brilliance of coral colors that everyone would be in awe of during the dive.

If you love the water and so does your family, maybe checking into scuba diving is a great option for you. It certainly beats having the kids playing video games or messing with their phones all of the time. Plus, getting started is easy and this is a great time to do so in order to get everyone certified for a great summer diving vacation.

Check out PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) website for more information and a list of instructors close to you. www.padi.com

 

Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

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