2011-05-22

Guam's Underwater Surprise

If you’re a diving enthusiast, you have to experience Guam’s majestic dive sites – magnificent waters with ship wrecks covered with sea flora and fauna that will stay in your mind forever, not to mention one of the world’s healthiest marine preserves!

Guam offers clear water with visibility well over 100 feet (30 meters) at many sites, allowing you to marvel at its wide array of colorful coral reefs even from afar – dazzling sea stars, anemones, fishes of all sizes and hues, and assorted plants and coral life. From the boat, you can even spot an occasional dolphin frolicking in the calm waters. In Guam, the surprises are never-ending.

One favorite dive site is the Blue Hole, a natural coral shaft with teaming marine life and visibility up to 100 feet (30 meters). The red-tooth triggerfish, titan triggerfish, crocodile needlefish and various butterfly fish will meet you here to amaze you. Along the wall plunging into the depths, larger fish such as Napoleons, barracudas, manta rays and turtles swim. Even though the Blue Hole is famous for its deep cavern, it can easily be done as a relatively shallow dive.

A few hundred meters south of the Blue Hole is the Crevice, again bustling with beautiful fish and turtles. Pyramid butterflyfish will swarm around you when you get here. There are beautiful Sea Fans along the walls of the Crevice.

Barracuda Rock is equally captivating. It features great visibility, as do all of the open ocean sites along Guam's west coast, and a boulder-strewn ocean floor, sometimes harboring colorful lobsters. Its caves are filled with red squirrelfish, hatchetfish, and big porcupine fish.

Another interesting dive site is the Gab Gab 2 reef, which the Atlantis tourist submarine circles. It is one place where you will most likely see big fish such as giant trevallies, batfish, a nurse shark and a moray eel. If you look closely, especially in the round concrete structures on the reef, you can even find big stonefish.

Besides the richness of its aquatic life, Guam’s diving sites are steeped in history. The ship wrecks tell many stories that wait to be discovered underwater, including that of a German ship from World War I, the SMS Cormoran, which came into contact with a Japanese ship, Tokai Maru, during World War II. The Japanese ship was actually sunk during battle, and damage from the bombing can be seen on the ship. This is the only place in the world where wrecks from both world wars touch beneath the surface.

Equally interesting is the American Tanker, a concrete barge sunk after WWII. There are a few open rooms along the ship deck, as well as the superstructure itself, which can be safely entered by divers without special shipwreck training. You can find an emperor angelfish hanging around the rudder, and there are red snappers, titan triggerfish and assorted fusillears, butterflyfish and parrotfish around the wreck.

Safety is an upmost priority for the diving community in Guam. In the event of any accidents, there are two fully staffed recompression chambers run by the U.S. Navy and two hospitals – one military and one private.

Guam has dive packages for divers of all ages and booking a dive package is easy and convenient. Moreover, its lodgings and hotels are destinations in their own right. Indeed, Guam is a diver’s paradise waiting to be discovered.

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