A small cluster of islands called the Ballestas lie off the Peruvian coast near the town of Paracas. Often touted as the “Peruvian Galapagos” or even the “poor man’s Galapagos” because of the low cost and ease to visit. A sanctuary rich with wildlife, there are over half a million birds making this their home. You’ll also pass by the Paracas Candelabra, a prehistoric geoglyph etched into sandy sloped hill. No one knows it’s true meaning or purpose. Then onto Paracas National reserve where vast golden desert meets blue ocean water.
The Mama Vina is a wreck of a shrimp or crab boat intentionally sunk in 1995.The wreck itself is not very big and lies at a depth of about 90ft. There is abundant marine life around the wreck. The wreck can be easily explored from the inside with enough space to move about. But watch out for the fire coral around the doors and windows!
Yal-Ku is a lagoon near Akumal where salt water meets fresh water. An ecosystem with mangroves, haloclines and salt water tropical fish. The water is shallow, with no waves and good visibility which makes this an ideal snorkeling spot. The fish think so too!
Blue Life in Playa Del Carmen is a dive shop located a couple blocks towards the beach from the end of Quinta Avenida. I reserved two reef dives ahead of time. To get there I just walked from my Airbnb and met my dive guide Pierre who will be my dive buddy as well. I meet two other divers from Houston that will be with us. We gear up and walk out with gear a couple blocks more to the shore where we wade into the ocean and hop onto a small boat.
Koh Bon is part of the Similan Islands Archipelago about 31 miles off the western coast of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. Advanced divers adore this spot because it is frequented by giant manta rays (Manta birostris) and occasionally Whale Sharks. The island is uninhabited and surrounded by turquoise waters. Getting there can be done via a day trip on a dive boat from the Phuket which I did via South Siam Divers from Thap Lamu.
As we approach Singapore in a Qantas flight I’m watching an eerily space-like image from the plane’s tail cam view. Remembering 10 years ago I visited Singapore briefly and I told myself I need to return someday. Back then, after a Tibet/Nepal Everest trip me and a fellow traveler had a long stopover in Singapore. We met up with my old friend and colleague who lives there to give us a tour. We had a delicious salt and pepper crab dinner and a night out. Such a fascinatingly modern and clean city I’m looking forward to exploring Singapore further.