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The Pacific
  Australia, Fiji, Hawaii: Not the closest diving locations, but some of the best.






Dive Down Under: a gay liveaboard week on the Great Barrier Reef.



For advice about political stability, check the State Department's travel advisories.



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This happy diver's having a wonderful experience.

The Great Barrier Reef, off Australia's northeastern coast, is the world's biggest reef, home to 1500 species of fish and 400 varieties of coral, and a scuba diver's paradise. A live-aboard boat offers the best opportunity to explore this vast underwater Eden.

For those with just a few days, however, land-based diving is also a realistic option. In this case you'll have to choose between two possible bases. Cairns is larger and has some gay bars and visibility; Port Douglas is a smaller but more attractive town, with no gay life, but closer to the reef -- you'll save almost two hours of boat time each day.

Settled by convicts shipped down from England, Australia was never as conformist as its motherland. While many British colonies and former colonies have been all too slow to discard anti-gay attitudes, Australians were quicker. Soon after the 1969 Stonewall riots in the U.S., Australia also had a gay movement, and today the gay and lesbian community is big, active, visible, and largely accepted. A popular vacation for gay divers is to combine the festivities of Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, in late February or early March each year, with diving on the Great Barrier Reef.


Homosexuality is illegal on Fiji, which has little gay life or culture. However, we've had reliable reports of superb diving at Taveuni, an island about an hour from Fiji by plane. One gay couple stayed at Dive Taveuni, run by two Kiwis on an island bluff, where they stayed as a gay couple with no discomfort.


Rated by Rodale's as one of the world's ten best diving destinations, the islands of Hawaii offer the best diving of any state in the U.S.

Nudibranchs are everywhere.Oahu, Kauai, Hawai'i ("The Big Island"), Kaui, and Maui all offer good diving, and good snorkeling in many spots. The variety is terrific. To start with, there's an enormous variety of colorful reef fish, including parrotfish, Hawaiian squirrelfish, yellow tangs, and forceps fish. Larger sea life also abounds: spotted eagle rays, green sea turtles, rays, and white-tip sharks are common sights. On a smaller scale, many rare species of nudibranch can be found with proper guidance. The underwater terrain is equally varied, with lava tubes, pinnacles, sea caves, and an abundant variety of corals. Many dive sites in the 30 to 50 foot range, suitable for beginners.

Hawaii is gay-friendly, but not in a party-resort way. Honolulu, on Oahu, has some gay clubs and nightlife. Elsewhere, gay culture takes a different shape. Matthew Link, author of the Rainbow Hawaii Handbook, cautions that "Visitors are awfully disappointed if they expect a homo mecca like Key West or Palm Springs. In Hawaii emphasis is placed on the ohana, or family, aspects of the gay community. The queer communities are very grassroots. Especially on the outer islands, I found potlucks and beach gatherings and eco activities to be the norm. Hawaii's gay scene is more about camaraderie versus numbers."


    global gay diving | the caribbean | the mediterranean | southeast asia | the pacific  
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