US Destinations

North Carolina: Wrecks & Sharks

Sand tiger shark on wreck of the Atlas. Image by Olga Torrey

The waters off the coast of the US state of North Carolina are treacherous. Bad weather, rough seas, heavy current and inlets that are difficult to navigate are common. So why do underwater explorers consider this area to be a world-class dive destination? Because when you do get offshore, it is extraordinary.

Southern California's Market Squid Run

Most years, Southern California on the US west coast is the site of a special marine life aggregation, treating locals to one of the most unique dives in the world. Hundreds of thousands of market squid (<i>Doryteuthis opalescens</i>) swim into recreational dive depths to mate and lay an expansive canvas of egg baskets (collections of eggs) across the sandy substrate.

Great Lakes: Lake Michigan Shipwreck Mysteries

Explorer Capt. Jitka Hanakova at stern of EMBA wreck, Lake Michigan. Photo by Becky Kagan Schott.

My first dive in the Great Lakes was 20 years ago. I remember descending into dark green water and limited visibility. My joke for years was, “Do you know why they call it Lake Erie? Because it’s just that—it’s Erie.” Soon after that, I moved to Florida with my family and forgot all about the Great Lakes because I had warm, tropical reefs in my backyard. Fast-forward to five years ago and I had my next experience diving in Lake Superior.

Great Lakes: Shipwrecks of Presque Isle

The year is 1880, and you are working on a wooden schooner, one of the most dangerous jobs during the time. It is late November and it is the last run of the season. The ship is overloaded with coal and the seas start to pick up. It is now dark and the icy waves are crashing over the sides, and all you can do is work to keep the ship afloat. Ice is now forming on the rigging, and out of the fog, the bow of another ship suddenly appears.

Yellowstone

A volcano larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, Yellowstone National Park is a geothermal hot spot that attracts more than four million visitors a year. Wildlife roam the landscape freely in this caldera defined by ongoing thermal activity. In this unique landscape, opportunities for exploration above and below the water line abound.

Great American Journey

Whitemouth moray eel, Kona, Hawaii. Photo by Jennifer Idol.

Returning from the pristine reefs of Tobago, I flew over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Aghast, I set out on a journey that would help me illuminate waters of the United States to help people better understand their national treasure. I became the first woman to dive all 50 states at the end of last year.

Florida's Black Water Diving

Comb jelly. Photo by Tom Hayward.

As divers, we watch underwater documentaries from the BBC, National Geographic and other media with keen interest. Deep water explorations, or photos and video from exotic locales, hold us rapt. How many times have you wished you could sail on one of those research vessels, if only to catch a glimpse of a rarely seen species?

Florida's Palm Beaches

Goliath grouper at Palm Beaches. Photo by Walt Stearns.

When divers look to the horizon for destinations offering marine life of the large variety, they often look to such corners of the world like the Galapagos or Cocos Island, Isla Mujeres, Silver Banks, Tonga, Bahamas' Tiger Beach or Raja Ampat, to name a few.