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stekun
06-16-2009, 21:42
Hi everyone,

I will be traveling to Saipan in a few weeks and am wondering if anyone knows any good dive sites I should check out. I know it's a great place to dive, so I'm quite excited, and am wondering what recommendations people have.

Steve

chinacat46
06-17-2009, 06:38
Can't help you out but I hope you report back to us about the diving when you return.

navychop
06-17-2009, 19:25
Only dove in GUAM, stationed there twice in the NAVY. It was awesome day and night time diving. Only a hop and a skip to Saipan, sailed by it several times. And by the way, it's not in the South Pacific, its about 13 degrees North Latitude.

stekun
06-22-2009, 20:28
I will be sure to report back. Also, I understand the water temp there is around 80. I'm a midwest diver usually, so I'm used to diving cold fresh water lakes in 7mm wetsuits. Any recommendations on the type of wetsuit I should bring for 80 degrees? I have a 2/3 full suit, but I'm wondering if even that will be a little warm. I don't own a shorty or anything, so I'm trying to get away without having to buy another suit if I can...

chinacat46
06-22-2009, 20:33
Well how many dives a day are you going to be doing?

navychop
06-22-2009, 21:51
Wetsuit, never wore one in Guam

stekun
06-23-2009, 09:37
Probably doing quite a few dives. There's three of us, and we just connected with another guy who knows the area and is going to show us some spots. The three of us are avid divers though, and spend as much time in as we can. So I'm thinking we will need some protection.

chinacat46
06-23-2009, 10:11
Everybody has different tolerance to cold. I'd be using a 3 mm myself and probably be doing 4-5 dives a day. By the end of the week I'd probably have my 3 mm hooded vest on as well. Some would wear nothing all week but I think you would probably be fine with your 3/2.

navyhmc
06-23-2009, 14:56
Everybody has different tolerance to cold. I'd be using a 3 mm myself and probably be doing 4-5 dives a day. By the end of the week I'd probably have my 3 mm hooded vest on as well. Some would wear nothing all week but I think you would probably be fine with your 3/2.

As mentioned, I can do one dive in 70f water for an hour and be fine. Don't ask me to do another dive though. And no matter what, if you're doinga weeks worth of dives, some thermal layering is a good idea.

Geronimo
06-24-2009, 10:54
Steve,
I'm a PADI Instructor/Dive Guide in Saipan and I'm also a former midwest diver, originally from Iowa. Brrr...

Here the water is 80-84F, a lot of us 'locals' dive in swim trunks and a rashguard or t-shirt. tourists tend to wear wetsuits...but it's really not necessary. You can rent a shorty here for $4 a day.

I have a blog and a website that list a lot of info about diving here. The blog has a lot of photos of what you can expect here.
Blog --> www.scubablues.********.com (http://scubablues.********.com)
Website --> www.saipanscuba.com (http://saipanscuba.com)

I was first certified in rock quarries (cold waters) in Iowa, even dove the Mississippi once (0 visibility). Here the waters are warm, you see 100+ feet on a good day...and almost always find a turtle or an eagle ray if you know where to look.

Send me an email and I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have. The diving here is awesome. You won't be disappointed.

Brad

stekun
06-25-2009, 08:52
Brad,

Thanks... looks like you have a lot of good info there! Do you know about what I should expect for reg and computer rentals over there? I own about half of the equipment I eventually hope to have, but am still renting guages and regs. Also, my brothers will be renting full sets while we are there.

RikRaeder
07-04-2009, 11:12
Stekun,
I think you'll be pretty happy with Saipan diving. For multiple dives, I'm pretty comfortable in a 3mm full suit. Lau Lau and Obayan (Oh-ba-jon) are the two main beach dives. There are a few others, but you'll need to do some hiking.
My opinion is that the best Saipan diving is boat based. Ice Cream, Naftan Point, and Obayan are my favorites. Better yet, get on one of the boats heading over to Tinian (about an hour run) and hit Flemming Wall, Two Coral Head, or Hidden Cove (that last one right, Brad?).
Of course the signature dive is the Grotto, but you'll have to huff the hundred twenty-something stairs. It's well worth it. I've heard that all non-locals MUST hire a guide but that might not be. Still, it would be a good idea (I've never seen independant divers on the boats). I'd say a local guide is definitely mandatory for Grotto due to entry/exit procedures and navigation. In fact, all the beach dives have kind of tricky entry/exits so you'd be best off to bite the bullet and go with a pro.
It seems Brad has got some stuff together and I'm sure he'd be happy to fix you up. The only other Enlish speaking operation is Speedy Tertle. It's a Russian shop but they speak English. Their Filipino guide Eric is top notch and they have a full shop. I've heard that All American Divers (all Korean in fact) will rent gear without too many questions but again, that's just hearsay. If you want to use one of the other 41 shops on the island you'd better speak Japanese.
Most of the photos on this link are from Saipan, although there are others mixed in.
Leaving Facebook... | Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=46420841945&h=dxItK&u=jAPFF)

Safe diving and have fun. I shouldn't think you'll be disappointed.

PS-Brad, PM me your phone number on Scubaboard and let's hook up this winter around the holidays.

Geronimo
07-12-2009, 11:20
Hey, sorry about the delay. I guess I didn't have the email notification on.

I agree with everything RikRaeder said, except All American Divers (now officially "Dive Saipan") will NOT rent to anyone off island unless they have a guide. Mr. Lee, the owner, will send them to Speedy Tertle if they don't want to pay for a guide. He told me once it's not worth having something on his conscience. He's a sincere person....not a typical Korean businessman. My wife is Korean and she'll be the first to steer me away from most Korean businessmen because of the money first attitude. Mr. Lee is GOLDEN, in my book. English is NOT a problem with him.

If you go to Speedy Tertle, be sure you get Eric. He's also top notch. My competition also....but there is nothing I'd say negative about him. He's a good person and a great guide.

As I said, I do guide and I charge less than Speedy Tertle and Dive Saipan. I don't rent gear. Mr. Lee at Dive Saipan will rent each piece of equipment for about $4...so a complete set runs $20. When I take divers out, they pay the shop for their gear - $4 BCD rental/$4 gauge/$4 mask& snorkel, etc.

When I went to Speedy Tertle I paid $60 for a 1 tank dive, plus $25 for gear....so $85 total for a 1 tank dive. Mr. Lee charges basically the same rate for guiding though if you do two dives he knocks it down to $100 + gear rental.

I take people out for 2 dives for $60....$50 if you're in the military (+$8 to Dive Saipan for the 2 tanks and weights). As long as you have an Insured local DM/Instructor, Mr. Lee will rent tanks and gear to you. It doesn't have to be me.

Good luck on your Saipan diving. Let me know if you have any further questions. You won't be disappointed.

Brad

Zeagle Eagle
07-13-2009, 08:27
I will be sure to report back. Also, I understand the water temp there is around 80. I'm a midwest diver usually, so I'm used to diving cold fresh water lakes in 7mm wetsuits. Any recommendations on the type of wetsuit I should bring for 80 degrees? I have a 2/3 full suit, but I'm wondering if even that will be a little warm. I don't own a shorty or anything, so I'm trying to get away without having to buy another suit if I can...
When I dove Guam and Saipan 3- 4 dives a day. I just wore a bathing suit and a T shirt. I am a big guy so I have lots of insulation. Anymore than 2 dives a day and a 3 mil would be nice. If you don't plan on wearing a wetsuit consider a rash guard/hotskin...something 1 mil or less to protect you from brushes with fire coral. It's all over the place out there.
If you rent gear, check it out real well. I have rented some real crap out there on occasion. It used to be (back in the day) that there was only one place to service gear in the islands and that was MDA on Guam. Everything had to be shipped to Guam to get serviced (hydros, visuals, reg tunes etc). I hope that has changed since then.
If you rent make sure you check to see what your computer and SPG is set for. I saw a lot of SPG's calibrated in BAR instead of PSI and the computers were in meters not feet. It's not hard to use if you know ahead of time. I had a dive buddy hit 140 feet before he realized his computer was reading in meters not feet. His dive plan was for 60 feet. His computer was reading 42 meters which he thought was feet. I had to buddy breath with him to get him back to the hang bar. I had him do some deco stops just to play it safe.

gbrdiver
07-14-2009, 01:38
I read a bit of a spiel abot the Shoun Maru recently. Is it worth popping into Rota to see?

stekun
08-24-2009, 13:25
Finally decided to come back and report on diving in Saipan. Funny thing is, I just realized that Geronimo (Brad) IS one of the dive masters I went out with! Funny how that works. (This is Steve... Yari's friend). Anyways, for Brad-- Thanks, we had a blast! For everyone else on the board-- If you find yourself diving in Saipan, contact Brad. As he said, you will not be disappointed, and he's a great dive master for a very affordable price. While I was there, I made it to Lau Lau, Obayan, Wing Beach, and The Grotto. All were great dives! Didn't make it out on any boat dives, but I'm (hopefully) going to be able to make one more trip next year, in which case I'll be sure to hit some of the other places... although to be honest, Lau Lau was a great dive, you see a lot of great stuff, and it's safe and easy. The Grotto, however, is certainly worth seeing as well, as long as you're with someone who knows the area.