Visit any outdoor adventure blog and you’ll find a wealth of articles and posts suggesting all kinds of places to go diving. USIA Blog is no exception. From local treasures where you can dive in warm water even in winter to far flung destinations with exotic underwater sights, if it’s a popular dive locale, it will have a web page devoted to it. However, from time to time here at USIA blog we like to strive for the unusual. Sure, we could tell you about some great dive site where tons of people have already been. Where’s the fun in that? What about some of the lesser known dives? What about the Forbidden Dives?
Divers have been warned, and still they come. In North Wales, UK, a “deep, dark & dangerous” abandoned slate quarry known as Dorothea draws them in like moths to a flame despite an unofficial ban by local training agencies. Maybe it’s the ban that makes them come. Maybe it’s the rawness, the sheer walls and underwater cliff faces, the rusty machinery that was left behind or the flooded petrified forest. The unique atmosphere and depth of Dorothea are what puts her on this list. It’s a place where divers are tempted to push themselves beyond their limits, which makes it a forbidden dive.
It’s one of America’s most sacred places in the world, and though visitors of the monument can view a small portion of it from topside, most of it still lay under the waves. The USS Arizona is one most restricted dive locations in the United States. And for good reason. It not only is a permanent tomb to the sailors who perished there on December 7, 1941, it also serves as a final resting place for many sailors who died later and chose to be buried at sea with their shipmates. Only a few select individuals get the privilege of diving the Arizona, making it a natural for our forbidden dive list.
Back in grade school I knew a girl who was a native of the Hawaiian Islands. She used to mesmerize me with stories of warm breezes and blue waters. One of her favorite tales was about the forbidden island, where only natives get to tread and the “haole” must stay away. That island is Ni‘ihau, and it is true that visitors are not allowed on the island. Not because of some ancient tribal law or anything like that. Ni‘ihau is simply a privately owned island, which makes setting foot on land forbidden. Diving in the waters surrounding the island is permitted, however.
Sometimes social media is too powerful. Sometimes a dive locale can become too popular. That’s what happened in Austria with Green Lake. The place was a kind of social media star, a Pinterest Queen, if you will. Divers who visit the popular website know what I mean. Images from the place look like scenes from a dream: lush underwater gardens complete with park benches and meandering walking trails. It’s like Alice in Wonderland underwater. With visibility up to 150 feet, it was a magical place to dive. Unfortunately that magic drew in too many people. Too much diving meant too much silt and other pollution. Local authorities feared the changes would spoil the natural beauty and banned diving indefinitely.