Stop Dreaming, Start Planning for 2022 & Beyond
Have you been looking for the next most exciting and adventurous place to dive? Or maybe you are looking for the inspiration to complete your dive certification. It’s never been a greater time to start or expand your diving. It’s time to explore the world below the surface with our top dive guides who are also the best in the business. So stop dreaming and start planning. Now is the time to get ready to dive the best spots on the planet, places that very few have been and seen.
Pete Szyszka “SCUBA Pete” as he’s known, has a gift for training, extensive experience across all areas of diving and has a passion for the sport and adventure that inspires everyone. Pete is among the top elite group of diving professionals globally and has dived all seven continents and 47 countries to depths exceeding 120 metres in all conditions and temperatures. He’s been leading divers on Aurora Expeditions voyages for over two decades.
He’s scoped, tested and explored all the Aurora Expeditions dive spots and loves being there as our guests plunge into the unknown. Pete says he can’t wait to get back out into the wild, especially with the new voyages planned for the next year.
We’ve asked Pete what makes his list of top dive spots in the world, luckily for us, some of those are on the new itineraries we’ve just published in our 2022|23 global brochure.
Like all adventures, it’s best to expect the unexpected, let go and let nature navigate, with the guidance and expertise of our expedition team of course.
“What we offer is the opportunity to become completely part of, literally immersed in our remote and wild expeditions, some of the best dive locations on the planet,” says Pete.
“What I love and what we tell our guests is to come expecting anything. Our dives are very dependent on weather, tides and currents that we never know exactly what location will be best until we are closer to the time. But this makes it exciting and gives us the flexibility to take you to both known and commonly dived locations as well as into the unknown. That’s the beauty of it though if conditions aren’t right in one area there’s always something special and sometimes undiscovered just around the corner.”
Below we’ll discover why Pete loves rates Iceland, Ireland and Antarctica.
Why Dive Iceland?
It’s known as the land of fire and ice and the presence of both elements can be experienced underwater on a dive in the form of geothermal waters, ancient glacial fjords, volcanos, harbours, and inlets.
Iceland is an incredible combination of ancient Norse Viking history, active geology with over 30 active volcanoes and unique native wildlife. It is rich, raw and alive.
The prominent geothermal activity adds a magical experience to many dive sites. From icy cold water, you could encounter the effects of active volcanic movements raising the water temperature close to tropical conditions.
Pete says that Iceland is in his top ten dive locations in the world because of its dramatic and everchanging landscapes that are extended well into the depths of the water.
“The beauty of Iceland is diving diversity,” says Pete. “There are ocean dives, shore dives and freshwater inland dives with the most incredible water visibility. The geothermal experience is the one that is unique to Iceland though. To know you’re so close to the movement and activity of the tectonic plates is quite a feeling.”
The nature of Iceland’s underwater wonderland means it also has a unique and delicately balanced ecosystem. Depending on conditions and the ship’s course you could be diving amongst flourishing kelp forests, coral reefs as well as boulders blocks, the rough edges of the earth’s crust that are home to anemones, colourful algae, Atlantic fish and even humpback and minke whales.
Dives in Iceland range from intermediate to advanced and require proven experience and documentation. A drysuit for diving is recommended but Pete says “there are dive specific wetsuits available now at 7mm thickness that are warm enough to dive in Iceland. What’s more important than the thickness in these suits is the lining on the inside, not the neoprene,” he says.
To join a dive in Iceland you must obtain an advanced PADI Open Water SCUBA Diver qualification.
The average water temperature for Iceland in August at the time of our voyage is 10 degrees Celsius (51 Fahrenheit).
Pete is most looking forward to taking divers to explore the fjords of the Northern Coast. “I’ve dived in the geothermal vents in the fjords of the Northern Coast which is an amazing experience,” he says.
“If circumstances and conditions align you could get the opportunity to experience this. But all of the fjords are simply beautiful to dive in. When the tides are flowing into them, you choose a side and follow the bubbles along. The beauty is in the depth and exploring walls and the life among them,” Pete says.
Plan your trip to Iceland now with the Iceland Circumnavigation expedition in August 2022.
Why Dive Ireland?
When you think of Ireland diving isn’t exactly the first activity that comes to mind, but the great expanse of water and deep-water currents of the Atlantic Ocean gives you the opportunity to see things that are completely unique.
On day 12 of our Ireland voyage we visit the Skellig Islands.
The Skellig Islands (Irish: Na Scealaga) archipelago located off the southwest coast of Ireland is one of Pete’s top dive locations. It is remote as you can get, commonly referred to as the edge of the earth and in the spectacular location from two Star Wars films as Luke Skywalker’s hideaway.
The World Heritage site may be known for its seabirds – with an abundance of Puffin and Northern Gannets – but its diving experience is equally as impressive with crystal clear water and visibility more than 30 metres.
Pete says the energy in the water diving around the Skellig Islands is amazing. “The feeling of being out in the open ocean with such unique towering pyramid-shaped islands above you and nothing else for miles is something else.”
Below the cliffs, the dive sites descend into the deep with boulders, caves and canyons and even the odd shipwreck worth exploring. Pete says the beauty of islands is that no matter where the wind is coming from you can find a perfect spot to launch.
As for the sea life, “the water is teeming with schools of deep-water fish that you don’t see on other coastal dives, then the grey seals mark the cliffs and happily greet visitors. If you’re lucky there is the chance to swim with dolphins and maybe even a minke whale.”
The water average water temperature for our time of voyage in May is 14 degrees Celsius (57 Fahrenheit).
Plan your trip to Ireland’s West Coast with us in May 2022.
Why Dive Antarctica?
Why dive Antarctica? Well, why not! If you’ve got the qualifications and experience you can’t bypass the chance to dive in Antarctica. It’s one thing to visit as part of an expedition but there’s nothing quite like seeing more than the tip of the iceberg.
Aurora Expeditions was the first to offer commercial dive trips in Antarctica back in 1998 and our SCUBA Pete was amongst the first guides enlisted by pioneer Greg Mortimer to lead these dive trips.
“By diving in Antarctica you’re joining a very exclusive club,” says Pete. “You need to be an experienced diver with a number of additional certifications and hours experience before your voyage*, but it’s worth it to have the once in a lifetime opportunity to pass below the surface in the most southern waters in the world.”
See what life below an iceberg is really like, the underwater ice sculptures and the life that thrives below, unique interactions that many won’t have the chance to witness on the surface.
The marine activity you’ll witness beneath the surface is enhanced by what you see above, and no two dives will ever be the same. You’ll have incidental interactions with seals, penguins and sometimes even a whale.
The average water temperature in our Antarctica dive locations is around 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit).
Pete’s fun fact – Did you know the average global sea temperature is 4 degrees Celsius. This average considers every single area of ocean in the world across all climates and depths. If the average was any colder, the whole ocean would freeze.
Pete’s pick to dive on our Antarctica expeditions is the Antarctic Peninsula. “The peninsula unfreezes in the summer,” he says. “All the marine life and nature blossoms after winter and comes to life and the water is a spectacular turquoise around the icebergs.
There are still cabins available on our Antarctica 20222 expeditions and the 2023 season. Plan your trip and get up to 25% off!