Scott Bennett

Lesser Antilles: Dominica

August 24, 2016 - 15:23
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on page 26

“Not the Dominican Republic, Dominica,” I corrected my friends for the umpteenth time regarding my upcoming trip. Then again, it was easy to understand how the gaffe had come about. While the former is home to sprawling resorts and package tourism, the latter is a tropical gem in the Lesser Antilles which is a far cry from its similarly-named Caribbean cousin.

Make no bones about it—there is no quick and easy way to get there. Despite being in the same hemisphere as my home in Toronto, getting to Dominica proved to be a full-day expedition. Arriving at the airport at 5:30 a.m.

Papua New Guinea: Witu Islands & Fathers Reefs

June 07, 2015 - 18:54
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on page 59

When it comes to superlatives, diving and Papua New Guinea certainly go hand in hand. Sharing the world’s second largest island with Indonesian West Papua, the island nation is positioned at the easternmost extremity of the Pacific’s famed Coral Triangle—an undersea Eden boasting an unrivalled diversity of life.

Anchored off the east coast in the Bismarck Archipelago, New Britain is home to some of the country’s finest diving. At more than 500km in length, the country’s largest island is home to world-famous Kimbe Bay.

Lake Malawi

January 06, 2015 - 23:53
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on page 36

“I’ve heard of Malawi… Isn’t that where Madonna adopted one of her babies from?” queried one of my clients before my departure for Africa. I winced, but at least she had heard of it. Up to that point, all responses to my intent of visiting the small African nation consisted of confused looks or furrowed brows.

For some reason, many people attach an unwarranted stigma to Africa. Whenever there is trouble somewhere, be it political strife or Ebola, many assume the entire continent is hazardous by geographic association. However, as African nations go, Malawi remains refreshingly innocuous.

South Africa: Sardine Run & Cage Diving

February 17, 2014 - 17:20
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on page 16

The world in one country is an oft-used quote to describe South Africa and is not unwarranted. Along with dramatic scenery and a rich cultural heritage, it is a nation renowned for its diversity of ecosystems and wildlife.

However, its undersea environs rival the terrestrial abundance. From northern subtropical reefs to the chilly waters of the cape, South Africa offers a wealth of marine life few nations can rival.

I had a brief introduction several years earlier, visiting Aliwal Shoal and Protea Banks in KwaZulu-Natal and the Kruger National Park [see X-RAY MAG issue –ed].

Papua New Guinea: Walindi & Loloata

June 04, 2012 - 23:39
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Papua New Guinea. A name evocative of the exotic, this island nation is one of superlatives. Lying south of the equator some 450 miles north of Australia, it shares the world’s second largest island with the Indonesian province of West Papua.

The allure of this island nation has always beckoned, and as I was going to be in North Queensland, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

Mozambique: Zavora & Tofo

February 05, 2012 - 21:32
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Mention Africa to most divers and the Red Sea or South Africa usually springs to mind. To many travellers, let alone divers, Mozambique is not exactly high on most people’s bucket list. Less than 20 years ago, the very idea of visiting the country would have been regarded as a madman’s folly.

After the cessation of hostilities in 1994, the country was bequeathed with the unenviable tag as the world’s poorest by the United Nations. Since that time, it has made remarkable strides towards recovery and is rapidly gaining renown as the rising star of the African diving scene.

Utila - Jewel of Honduras

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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“If you’ve been to South East Asia, don’t bother with the Caribbean” is a phrase I’ve encountered many times over the last decade. Having done virtually all of my diving in Asia-Pacific, the region’s legendary diversity tends to leave one a tad spoilt. When you’ve dived exclusively in the world’s biodiversity hotspot, it’s all-too-easy to assume that other areas will suffer by comparison.

Getting there proved somewhat easier than anticipated. I discovered a non-stop service to Roatan from my home in Toronto on Sunwing, a charter airline that just started flights this past winter.

Gozo Island

October 13, 2011 - 23:36
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“Somehow, I can’t imagine lawnmowers being a high selling item here,” was one of my first thoughts while traversing the Maltese countryside. Dry and stark, the rocky landscape couldn’t be more different than the soft green of Denmark we had left behind a mere four hours earlier.

To be honest, Malta as a holiday destination, let alone a diving one, had never even crossed my mind. However, when X-RAY MAG’s very own Peter and Gunild Symes announced a weeklong dive trip and asked me along, I was immediately intrigued.

Ambon

October 13, 2011 - 23:34
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“Have a great time, but keep your head down!” This was the response I received from a diving friend after announcing I was planning a visit to Ambon. At least he knew where it was; my announcement to friends in Toronto drew blank stares. When I mentioned the Spice Islands, a dawn of recognition crept into their eyes. It was a place they’d vaguely heard of but had no idea whatsoever as to their location.


Bali: The Island of Gods

October 13, 2011 - 23:23
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on page 24

Bali. It’s a name synonymous with a tropical island paradise, conjuring up images of emerald rice terraces, an exotic, vibrant culture and friendly people. This jewel of the Indonesian Archipelago is also a magnet for scuba divers, drawn by a bevy of attractions ranging from to tiny jewel-like nudibranchs to enormous mola molas. Once you’ve been, you’re hooked!

Twenty hours and several stopovers after leaving snowy Toronto, I finally arrived in Bali on a sultry tropical evening. The heavy rains that delayed our departure in Singapore had given way to a vibrant sunset, and I was feeling cautiously optimistic about the weather.

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