Three Diving Adventures to Plan Today

Have Fins, Will Travel

Have Fins, Will Travel

Disappearing from the everyday grind into  world of underwater adventures, beachside resorts, and tropical dreams sounds like a pipe dream. it's not. Each of these diving adventures, whether near, far, or halfway across the world, comes with its own unique draw and entirely feasible set of essentials (stay, eat, do) for everyone from vets with vacation days to new divers with a long weekend free. Swimming with Caribbean reef sharks in the Bahamas, exploring the Northern Hemisphere's largest barrier reef, or crossing the thermocline boundary to explore ghostly WWII wrecks in Papua New Guinea might sound daunting, but whether you have three days or two weeks, there's time enough for one of these adventures.

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Umbrella Required in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea

Photo: Christina Erb 

Photo: Christina Erb 

Ash is as common as rain in Rabaul, a lava-encrusted, seaside town on Papua New Guinea's second-largest island. In 1994, Mt. Tavurvur, an ancient, active volcano to the southeast, erupted and blanketed much of the picturesque town and harbor in ash. Today, the some 20,000 people who call the Rabaul region home carry umbrellas to fend off the spitting, grumbling volcano. 

In September 2013, Rabaul's tiny airport opened its tarmac—with little to no fanfare—to direct flights from Cairns, Australia. Now, for the first time ever, adventure travelers can bypass the world's third worst city, Port Moresby, and head straight to Rabaul's black sand beaches and eerily barren streets.

It's a flight that's poised to change the way adventure travelers look at visiting PNG. The lush island country—home to some 700 Papuan and Melanesian tribes, each with their own indigenous language and customs—has long turned away pantophobic travelers who want to avoid spending a night in its notoriously gritty, raskol-ruled capital, Port Moresby. 

Go now. Rabaul is one of the world's last authentic escapes from modernity: Admiral Yamamoto's map-lined Japanese bunker is guarded by tow-headed local boys, an excavated bomber plane sits on a family's long-held land, and hikers can summit Mt. Tavurvur  and peer into its smoking crater.