It’s time to start planning a warm winter timeshare getaway. Whether you use your own timeshare, do a timeshare exchange, or a timeshare rental, one way to escape from chilly winter is to head to warm waters and learn to scuba dive!
We all love to be by the sea. The fresh salty air, the sandy beaches, the wide sea views - there's a lot to enjoy, but most people never get to see many of the most interesting things the ocean has to offer because those are underneath the waves.
Sure, you can try snorkeling or go on a glass-bottom boat ride and see a little of what lives down there, but by far the best way to explore the underwater world is to scuba dive.
The best dive sites are rich with animal and plant life. Sometimes it's all about coral reefs. Take the Florida Keys for example. It's a beautiful place above the water line, but down below you'll find masses of brightly coloured tropical fish and, of course, the stunning and strange corals themselves.
The presence of a healthy reef brings in bigger animals too. Divers around the Florida Keys sometimes encounter manta rays - gigantic but gentle plankton feeders. They might be 25ft across but they're safe to dive with. A travelling manta is striking to look at, not only for its size but also for its grace, so they are real favorites with divers.
In other places there is less tropical coral, but still a great deal to explore. Much of the diving in places like the Mediterranean coast of Spain is dominated by caves and rocky walls (and the occasional wreck). The caves are an attraction in their own right but such places are also popular with fish. The Spanish Mediterranean is home to several species of grouper, and a variety of rays and wrasses.
Most beginner divers start in a swimming pool or even a classroom, before progressing to simple dives in open water. The Open Water Course is usually spread out over weeks rather than days. There's a lot to learn, but don't let that put you off. The learning is great fun, and even diving in a swimming pool is a very interesting experience. Being able to breathe underwater is a huge novelty and just moving around with flippers and scuba gear feels very different to ordinary swimming.
Diving is as close as most people will ever come to visiting outer space. It's a totally different environment where physics seems to work in a different way. The inhabitants may be familiar but seeing fish on their own reef is totally different to seeing them in an aquarium. You never know quite what you'll find under the surface, and it's a rare dive that doesn't bring the sight of something new and fascinating.
There are many timeshare rentals available where there are great diving opportunities, including the Florida Keys and the Costa del Sol of Spain.
Thank you to our guest author, Jess Spate, who has been a keen diver for many years. She began with her family on Australia's south-eastern coast and these days lives in Wales (where the water is clear but chilly) and works with the folks at Mozaik Underwater Cameras, suppliers of underwater camera and housing products.