Everyone is entitled to a binge watch from time to time and why not do it like a diver with these 20 ocean-related movies!
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
This might not be Bill Murray’s most revered movie but Wes Anderson’s story is certainly watchable. Plus, the film was dedicated to Jacques-Yves Cousteau. In the movie, fictional Oceanographer Zissou, plans to get revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, which leads to much offbeat humour. Did you know that Bill Murray even became a PADI Open Water Diver prior to making the movie?
Into The Blue (2005)
This film tells the entertaining story of a group of young divers who go looking for a legendary treasure ship in the Bahamas. While diving, they stumble upon an airplane-wreck full of drugs, leading to an underground storyline of mobs and underwater action. The movie has an abundance of shark footage, the majority of which was filmed using live, wild sharks. The movie stars Jessica Alba and Paul Walker and the exotic scenery will take you off your couch and into your next dive trip!
For Your Eyes Only (1981)
No movie list can ever be complete without a James Bond movie (or two). For Your Eyes Only includes up close, underwater footage of Roger Moore in Greece and the Bahamas. But what you might not have known is that most of the scenes were actually filmed on a soundstage, with special effects added later to give the impression of water moving around them.
Turning back the James Bond clock to the nineteen sixties when Sean Connery was the man of the moment in Thunderball. In this Bond classic, Connery dives with sharks in the Bahamas. During filming, clear plastic panels were placed in the water to separate the actor from the sharks. But, this didn’t work as intended and the sharks soon found their way around the panels and were swimming up to the cast – of course, aside from the odd fright, everyone lived to tell the tale.
Men of Honour (2000)
This Oscar winner movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. was a box office hit. Gooding plays Carl Brashear, the U.S. Navy’s first African-American Master Diver. Discouraged and driven by his instructor (Robert De Niro) in equal measure, Brashear overcomes the racism of the 1940s and his incomplete education to achieve his goal of becoming an operational diver in the Navy. A feel good movie with a message – and you might want to have tissues on hand for the multiple tear jerking moments in this scuba movie!
The Deep (1977)
This seventies hit movie was based on a novel by Peter Benchley andfollows a vacationing couple who stumble upon some mysterious artefacts while wreck diving off Bermuda. It is rumoured that the making of The Deep required 8,895 dives, 10,870 hours underwater and 1 million cubic feet of compressed air.
The Abyss (1989)
Aliens and deep sea diving rolled into one by James Cameron – what’s not to love about that? Did you know that James Cameron has a passion for the ocean, is an avid scuba diver himself, and was the third person ever to dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench? In “The Abyss” a US nuclear submarine sinks near a massive underwater trench after encountering a mystical underwater entity. If the storyline doesn’t wow you then the amazing special effects still make this a worthwhile watch!
The Big Blue (1988)
Released in Europe as “Le Grand Bleu” the storyline is around two lifelong friends who grow up to be free diving rivals in the Mediterranean Sea. This is a great movie to whisk you away to tropical locations and the dolphin scenes are bound to brighten up your day on lockdown!
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1954)
Despite numerous remakes over the years, the original Walt Disney Productions version is an all-time classic. From scenes of battling with giant squid through to Nautilus divers scouring the ocean floor for sea life to help feed the crew, it’s bound to keep you entertained – which explains why it won two Academy Awards!
Loosely based on a real life experience, Sanctum is a cave diving thriller produced by Jim Cameron. This tense and gripping movie is not suitable for those who are claustrophobic, or planning to take their open water certification!
Dark Tide (2011)
Halle Berry stars as a “Shark Whisperer” who is haunted by her memories of her shark attack – which she inevitably has to overcome and win the day. This is not one of Halle Berry’s most famous movies and it didn’t have a big impact at the box office but it’s still very watchable.
Open Water (2004)
Open Water is the story of two people being left behind in the open ocean by their dive boat. As expected, sharks appear and tensions rise as the couple’s holiday rapidly takes a nose dive. Very watchable but probably not one for new divers who are about to embark on their first boat diving experience!
Fool’s Gold (2008)
A must watch scuba movie for Matthew McConaughey fans. McConaughey’s character is a deep sea treasure hunter who rekindles his relationship with estranged wife Kate Hudson, during a quest to find a Spanish shipwreck full of treasure. This is great family entertainment, despite the questionable diving techniques, and the smattering of charm and humour make for easy and entertaining watching.
Finding Nemo (2003)
It’s impossible to be a scuba diver and not have some affinity with this movie. The fish ‘characters’ brilliantly display real-life characteristics which have been transplanted into their personalities. Perfect family entertainment and ideal for teaching kids some fish ID skills!
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
Deep Blue Sea stars Samual L. Jackson whose character takes on genetically modified sharks at an isolated research facility – from which the sharks are trying to escape into the open ocean. This one is packed with action and suspense, as Samual L. Jackson fights his way to victory over these fishy fiends.
Sphere is another Samuel L Jackson movie which also stars Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone as a crack team of scientists. The team are sent to investigate a 300 year old space ship 1,000 feet/304 meters underwater which turns out to be an American craft presumably from the future, sent back through time after a mission through space. The movie is based on a novel by Michael Crichton and with an all-star cast it’s worth a watch.
After years of waiting for an Aquaman movie, this did everything that was expected of it – non-stop action and adventure which spans the vast underwater world of the seven seas. The storyline is a rather predictable super hero affair but what’s not to love about that?
The Cave (2005)
While on a dig in a Romanian forest, a group of scientists find a huge abbey which was built over the entrance to a network of caves. They hire a team of divers who are armed with new high-tech scuba gear that allows them to stay under water for a full 24 hours. They soon discover they are not alone though, as scary creatures make their presence known.
You can’t talk about ocean movies without mentioning the famous Jaws movies. Despite there not being much scuba related content, this movie forever changed the perception of sharks for many people. This is often cited as one of the most ground breaking motion pictures of all time but it has undeniably contributed to the image of sharks as man eaters around the world.
Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)
Known for his crazy stunts, Tom Cruise learned freediving skills to prepare himself for the making of this MI movie. Cruise reportedly became a very competent freediver, achieving static breath holds of six minutes – very impressive!
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet there is no scuba diving, but some of the most memorable underwater scenes in cinema. James Cameron admitted he made the movie only so he could dive the Titanic himself – which he did, using the Mir submersibles and a Russian exploration vessel. The details contained in the movie are reportedly all accurate portrayals of the real vessel (even down to the crockery used in the restaurant) and when combined with a love story, it’s a gripping movie and a real feat of movie production.
Have you got your popcorn ready? After you’ve binge-watched all that you can, why not check out some of the awesome locations and their scuba guides so you can start planning your first ‘after-COVID’ dive trip!
To inspire others and to save the oceans, scuba divers must connect life above the water to the gorgeous beauty below the waves. Underwater photography is the key to this connection. Without it, landlubbers would have no idea of the intricacy of coral reefs or the oddities found on a sandy bottom.
As divers, we realize from day 1 that the underwater world is worth seeing. We wouldn’t keep diving if we didn’t think it was. But the only way to capture that feeling is on a digital camera. With today’s invention of compact cameras which can reach 50 feet (15 meters) or more, this process is easier than ever. In addition, editing software, dive cases, strobes and filters mean our underwater images keep getting better and better. So why not add underwater photography to your scuba diving hobby?
Whether you’re already a pro or are just starting out, the ten following sites are our favorites for underwater snaps. Of course, depending on conditions and your luck, any site can make a wonderful photograph.
1 Pelagic Magic – Kona, Hawaii
Nerve wracking yet beautiful, black-water diving was first invented in Hawaii. It involves being tied to the bottom of the boat and then being suspended in pitch black water. Pelagic Magic is the most common site for such diving and is located in the deep channel offshore from Kona where sea depths reach thousands of feet. However, divers are tied off at 50 feet (15 meter). As your eyes adjust to the dark, you’ll begin to see strange bioluminescent creatures like colorful jellies rise to the surface where they feed at night. With the right set-up, close photos of these rarely seen animals are possible and lead to stunning results.
Good For: Small Luminescent Creatures
When to Go: April to October
2. Breakwater Cove – Monterey Bay, California
Located in California’s famous marine hotspot, Breakwater Cove is a shore dive featuring kelp forest and a little something for everyone. The gently sloping shoreline provides a comfortable entry and exit for divers of any level. Conditions can vary significantly, and some days visibility may be no further than the end of your hand. On other days, you might be able to see 60+ feet (20 meters). Breakwater Cove has marine subjects for all types of photographer. For macro fans, the site has a nice population of nudibranchs, star fish, sun stars, octopus and anemones. Larger subjects on offer include sea lions, seals and if you are lucky mola mola, but sadly, visibility can often hinder pelagic photography.
Good For: Kelp Forest
When to Go: June to November
3. Blue Water – Vava’u Islands, Tonga
Recently, Tonga’s Vava’u Islands have become the unofficial hotspot for swimming with humpback whales. A still relatively undiscovered destination, Tonga offers you the chance to get in crystal clear water with these gentle giants. The cetaceans come to the islands to mate and give birth. Tonga affords wonderful opportunities to capture a variety of behaviors seen in the Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales. Participants in whale watching tours will often get to encounter male whales singing, mothers resting, mothers teaching breaching to their calves and also mating competition fighting between males. Please note that the tourism industry in Tonga has highly regulated these encounters, provided some of the best animal-friendly tours on the planet.
Good For: Humpback Whales
When to Go: July to October
4. Hammerhead Shark Dive – Bimini, Bahamas
Another site for pelagic lovers, Bimini has recently become known as hammerhead heaven. During the month of February, Great Hammerheads can be found to congregate just off the island of South Bimini in the northern Bahamas. Utilizing the area’s great visibility, you can expect an up-close encounter with these giant sharks, which can reach up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) in length. As an added bonus to your hammerhead snaps, the 20-foot (6-meter) deep dive site is also usually swimming with bull sharks and nurse sharks.
Good For: Sharks
When to Go: December to February
5. USS Kittiwake – West Bay, Cayman Islands
Sat in just 65 feet (20 meters) of water, the USS Kittiwake is a purpose sunk artificial reef ideal for wreck photographers. Thanks to the shallow depth, dives can last up to 60 minutes, allowing plenty of time to photograph every stunning angle of this once salvage and rescue vessel. The 251-foot (77-meter) wreck has open holes and hatches to add ambient light and allow access to all of her decks. With 100-foot (30-meter) visibility and calm conditions, the World War II navy ship has endless photo opportunities.
Good For: Wreck Photography
When to Go: December to May
6. Police Pier – Lembeh, Indonesia
Famous for its frogfish, pipefish and thorny seahorse populations, Police Pier is regarded as one of the top muck diving sites in Indonesia. While the sandy slope site may not be as beautiful as many others, the real prize is what can be found among the sponges and patches of rubble. Orange painted frogfish, harlequin shrimp, waspfish and Banggai cardinalfish are among some of the attractions, but every dive is likely to throw up something new. Police Pier is also a popular night dive site. With the chance of seeing the rare bobbit worm, many crabs, nudibranchs and shrimps, it really is a macro photographer’s dream.
Good For: Macro Critters
When to Go: October to March and July to August
7. Cenote Dos Ojos – Tulum, México
There are several cenotes (pronounced sen-o-tays) located throughout the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. This is because of the system of flooded freshwater caves found just below the surface. Of these, Cenote Dos Ojos (a.k.a. Cenote Two Eyes) is perfect for underwater photography. With two interconnected entrances, the light play from below the surface combined with crystal clear visibility produces professional quality photographs that are sure to make all your friends jealous. Don’t expect to be the only diver under water, but enjoy the addition of other divers within your photographs. Their size will only add to the unique impression of this underwater cave. At over 50 miles (80 kilometers) in length, there are several different dive paths available and therefore thousands of possible photographic opportunities for the keen underwater photographer.
Good For: Cave Photography
When to Go: May to September
8. Museo Atlantico – Lanzarote, Spain
Jason DeCaires has been busy since he designed MUSA off the coast of Cancun. His newest venture, and the first in Europe, is the Museo Atlantico in Lanzarote Spain. Of course, we had to feature one of his underwater sculpture parks on our list of the best underwater photography destinations. The statues found here are incredibly lifelike making great artistic pics or even funny selfies. This particular underwater museum is still quite new; it was only opened in March 2016. But as the years pass, coral will begin to grow on the statues. Distorting the body shapes of the models and making them even more beautiful. In addition to improving coral growth, the underwater parks also relieve pressure from over-dived areas nearby, making the whole underwater environment healthier. It’s a win-win for coral reefs and photographers!
Good For: Sculpture Photography
When to Go: June to October
9. E6 – Bligh Water, Fiji
E-6, a favorite dive among soft coral lovers, is located in the Bligh Waters of Fiji between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The area is ripe with nutrients, making a vibrant marine ecosystem and growing some of the best soft corals in the world. One side of the seamount is covered in sea fans, while a swim-through (called the Cathedral) can produce epic photos of your dive buddies. The light that filters through also creates ethereal images of massive gorgonians and every color of soft coral. Grab your wide angle lens and dive into Fiji, the Soft Coral Capital of the World.
Good For: Soft Corals
When to Go: April to December
10. Susan’s Reef – Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea
Frequented by liveaboards traveling the waters of Papua New Guinea, Susan’s Reef is one of the most popular dive sites in Kimbe Bay. And there’s good reason for it. It boasts opportunities for both macro photography and photos of huge schools of fish, but its true calling is wide angle photography. With a fisheye lens, you can capture the walls created by the site’s two seamounts as well as the ever present pink sea whips, anemones, sea fans, soft corals and even your dive buddy in the background. With shallow depths of between 50 and 70 feet (15 and 20 meters), the light is perfect for capturing the brilliant colors of PNG. Whether you shoot with a DSLR rig or a GoPro, Susan’s Reef shouldn’t be skipped!
Good For: Wide Angle Photography
When to Go: May to November
Have you been on any of these gorgeous dives? If so, check off the bucket list feature above and share your results with your friends and tag PADI on Facebook and Twitter!
Bad day for diving? Join the world’s greatest explorers for an underwater adventure from the comfort of your sofa. Check out some of our favorite books about the ocean, scuba diving and underwater exploration.
Headed to a faraway dive destination? These page-turners will make that long flight feel a lot shorter.
The Soul of an Octopus – learn about the remarkable superpowers of this cephalopod, this book is packed with fun facts and heartfelt stories and is also available in a special audio/visual edition for Kindle.
This is a tough, challenging time for everyone, but PADI Retail and Resort Dive Operators have been hit particularly hard. The impacts of social distancing, forced shutdowns and travel bans have kept most of us away from diving and dive centers. But, the problem for dive shops is their cash-flow and business levels are at an all-time low. Many are just trying to hang-on and survive through all of this, so they can reemerge and be there for all of us when this season passes.
PADI Dive Center and Resort operators are a spirited group of largely small specialty entrepreneurs who have devoted their lives and passion to servicing all of us in the diving community. It’s where we go for divingcommunity, gear sales, equipment service, air fills,local diving, dive travel, andtraining – in other words, connection, preparation and education, all essential to all divers and the diving community worldwide. It is difficult for small business operators to navigate this downturn and they need our support and help, so right now we need to go there for survival – theirs.
Connection. Diving is a people-centered pursuit. Staying plugged into your PADI Dive Shop is the best way to keep connected to your local dive community and what’s going on. Being in touch keeps you engaged with their social hub so you know who’s doing what, what’s happening where and most everything else centered on the sea and diving – and other divers. If you are thinking about getting your gear serviced, cylinders inspected, purchasing a class or diving equipment – do it now and please don’t wait. It may make the difference in whether your local dive shop is able to clear this downturn. Many dive shops are offering curbside drop-off and other accommodations based on local guidelines. Please help them now if you can.
Preparation. Your dive shop keeps (or gets you) ready to dive. Besides being the best place to get gear, it’s where you get it serviced (best timed for when you won’t be needing it for a spell). But, your local dive shop keeps you prepared in other ways: They book local and distant diving outings and trips. They can help you find a buddy when you need one, and if you don’t know where/when to dive, they’re your first stop. Whatever you need before you can actually pack your gear bag and head to the water, chances are they can help you with it.
Education. You already know your local PADI Dive Center or Resort is the place to keep learning and growing as a diver with traditional and eLearning courses. But, I’m speaking of “education” more broadly, integrated with connection and preparation. The PADI Pros are savvy to what’s up and what’s happening in diving – especially regionally – so make them your first stop for information. Whatever the local situation is, your local dive shop stays on top of what it takes to be diving right where you are.
Survival. Diving wouldn’t be possible without our community-based dive shops, and we want PADI Dive Shops there for us as divers when we are able to come back. But, right now they need our help. There are many things we can do to help them through this time, and the most basic is the easiest – support them now.
As the world begins transitioning from sheltering in place to less restrictive practices that let us get back to life that is “less unnormal,” go in person if you can, or reach out virtually with an email, Skype or FaceTime, post on their Facebook page or whatever connection you find on their webpage. Please just let them know you’re loyal and thinking about them and want to help. And, check out and share this video on social media to get other divers doing the same.
While many divers are satisfied within the limits of recreational scuba diving, some may feel the call to explore deeper into the underwater world. Technical diving allows scuba divers to do just that. While the definition of tec diving is constantly shifting due to the overlap of commercial and military diving with recreational diving, we offer the following definition for this article. We will define tec diving as any dive where a direct and safe ascent is not possible. This includes dives below 130 feet (40 meters), multiple mix gas diving, ice or cave diving where an overhead environment exists beyond 130 linear feet (40 meters) of the surface, and wreck diving with penetration.
If you’re a no-holds-barred tec diver, consider these ten dive sites for your next scuba diving adventure.
1. SMS Markgraf – Scapa Flow, Scotland
At the conclusion of World War I, 74 German vessels were scuttled off the Orkney Islands in Scotland to prevent the ships from falling into the hands of the British. After significant salvaging efforts between 1920 and 1945, only 7 ships remain. These massive battleships join British naval vessels and block ships to create a tec diving wonderland. The SMS Markgraf, in particular, is in pristine condition, demonstrating the impressive size of the German battleships. In 150 feet (45 meters) of water, the Markgraf requires a degree of technical diving to reach its iconic features.
Dive Type: Wreck
When to Go: April to October
2. The Gunilda – Rossport, Canada
The Great Lakes are home to untold numbers of shipwrecks. The depth of the lakes mean that many will never be discovered. However, those that are remain in perfect condition due to the cold, freshwater conditions. The Gunilda was reputed to be one of the most beautiful private ships of her day. Built in 1897, Lake Superior claimed the ship in 1911 while she was under ownership of affluent New Yorker William L. Harkness. The luxurious boat ran aground against a shoal. All of the passengers made it to safety, but left their possessions behind as they were sure the boat wasn’t really going to sink. But during attempts to save her, she fell off the shoal to a depth of 262 feet (80 meters). Few divers have ever been brave enough to dive the Gunilda, but those that do are astounded by the pristine ship that remains on the lake floor.
Dive Type: Wreck
When to Go: June to September
3. Andrea Doria
Often called the “Everest of Wreck Diving,” the Andrea Doria is known for its challenging conditions. An overly ornate, Italian luxury liner of the post World War II era, the Andrea Doria met her demise after colliding with another passenger liner. 1,660 of her passengers and crew were rescued, but the ship came to her rest in 1956 on her starboard side in 250 feet (72 meters) of water. The problem with diving the Doria is that conditions are highly variable. At times, the visibility can reach 100 feet (30 meters), but more than often, it sticks at 10 feet (3 meters). Currents can change at the blink of an eye, and while penetration is possible, the ship’s rapid deterioration makes this a risk. However, the willingness of divers to explore this wreck since the 1950s has pushed technological advances in tec diving equipment and furthered the sport without measure.
Dive Type: Wreck
When to Go: June to September
4. Biofilter Bay – White Sea, Russia
Ice diving attracts a certain type of diver – one who is ready for adventure, cold and ever-changing conditions. As the only sea in Europe that completely freezes, the White Sea regularly attracts these types of divers. One site in particular, Biofilter Bay, is known for its dramatic ice formations caused by the huge change between high and low water levels as well as the area’s currents. Do note that ice diving is only considered tec diving further than 130 linear feet (40 meters) from the opening in the ice.
Dive Type: Ice Dive
When to Go: January to April
5. The Pit – Tulum, Mexico
The deepest cenote in Quintana Roo, The Pit is ideal for tec divers who like the challenge of deep diving in a confined environment. Light penetrates the cenote down to 100 feet (30 meters) where a layer of hydrogen sulfate awaits. Below this cloud, an ancient yet unintended burial ground can be explored by divers with proper training. Animal and human remains were once found here.
Dive Type: Deep and Cave Dive
When to Go: May to September
6. Devil’s Den – Williston, Florida
Sometimes called Devil’s Den Cave or Devil’s Den Springs, this dive site has long attracted cave divers to its depths. The cave itself sits on private property, but divers are welcome during business hours. Inside, you’ll find a spring with an “inverted mushroom” shape which reaches 200 feet (61 meters) across. From the larger room of the cave, four underwater passages extend between 5 and 90 feet (1.5 and 27 meters) below the surface. Tec divers can explore these passages with proper training.
Dive Type: Cave Dive
When to Go: Year-round
7. Blue Hole – Dahab, Egypt
A beacon for tec divers around the world, the Blue Hole in the Red Sea drops to over 400 feet (100 meters). Inside you’ll find excellent visibility, plenty of marine life and coral-lined walls. The Arch, which connects the blue hole with the open water at 170 feet (52 meters) is often a goal of tec divers. But, remember that this can be a risky endeavor and only fully trained divers should try to dive so deep.
Dive Type: Blue Hole
When to Go: March to November
8. San Francisco Maru – Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia
Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon in Micronesia is known as the home of the “Ghost Fleet.” At the end of WWII, a concentration of Japanese ships made the natural harbor a target for Allied forces who bombed the area in 1944. 12 warships, 32 merchant ships and 275 aircraft were ultimately sunk. Today, the San Francisco Maru is one of the remaining wrecks. Sitting in 210 feet (64 meters) of water, the 385-foot (117-meter) passenger ship has holds that are filled with mines, torpedoes and even three tanks. The deck is located at 160 feet (49 meters), so tec diving is a requirement to explore this amazing wreck.
Dive Type: Wreck Dive
When to Go: December to April
9. HMS Hermes – Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
One of the very few aircraft carriers that can be dived, the HMS Hermes is found off the east coast of Sri Lanka. She was sunk in early 1942 by the Japanese, and despite obvious deterioration, several key areas of the wreck are still clearly visible including the control tower. Sitting on her port side between 137 and 173 feet (42 and 53 meters), this massive ship has only been explored since 2009 due to recent political instability in Sri Lanka.
Dive Type: Wreck Dive
When to Go: May to October
10. The Drop Off of Verde Island – Puerto Galera, Philippines
Puerto Galera is a scuba diving heaven for recreational and tec divers alike. Here the reefs and drop offs extend from shallow depths all the way down to around 250 feet (75 meters). In particular, the walls of Verde Island are worth exploring. At the Drop Off, you can expect to dive straight down a wall to the sloping sea floor. Looking up, you’ll see an underwater mountain towering above you. Current can be strong, but the site’s proximity to deep water means you’ll never be bored for big fish life.
Dive Type: Wall Dive
When to Go: November to June
Gear Up! Technical Diving Equipment
Diving beyond recreational limits certainly requires a different set of scuba gear. Tec divers typically use twin cylinders or rebreathers (CCRs). They may also carry additional tanks with a variety of gas blends. Plus, it’s vital to backup scuba equipment at such depths. These divers usually include two dive computers and independent regulators in their kit. Finally, an adequate exposure suit is absolutely necessary. Tec divers may own a dry suit as well as wetsuits in a variety of thicknesses.
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