Small island, big ocean: Explore the fun off Guam’s shore
Hafa Adai and welcome to my island! Having grown up on Guam, it didn’t take long for me and my friends to gravitate into the beautiful ocean that surrounds us and all the islands in the Pacific! And while it played a large part of my young life, from going reef walking, fishing, freediving, scuba diving, surfing and so much more, I had no idea at that time that it would develop into a career I still enjoy a half century later! During that time I have seen and done things few people are lucky to experience on the best of vacations in the remotest of places! But my favorite has always been introducing and teaching people how to enjoy the ocean themselves.
Unlike many destinations, Guam offers crystal clear warm water throughout the year, with visibility often exceeding 40 meters (130 ft.) and the average temperature around 30 Celsius (86F), you can get by with only minimal exposure protection for most entry level marine sports. Typically the deeper you go and longer you stay requires additional training and more equipment which translates in to more money invested. Here I am going to cover a few options both above and below the surface that are available so that you can see which one’s best for you.
Please keep in mind that coral is a living colony and should not be stood on, touched or otherwise harassed, and that includes the creatures that live among them. While some of the reefs on Guam are pristine others have been decimated for a variety of reasons so please do your part to protect them regardless of which marine sport you participate in.
Surface Marine Sports:
Snorkeling: Some of the most beautiful reefs on Guam are in less than 10 feet of water and can be enjoyed with minimal equipment to have a great time! With just a mask, snorkel, PFD (personal floatation device) and some bootees, a new world is there to explore.
Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP): If you want to get out and enjoy our ocean while getting some great exercise at the same time SUP is the way to go! While the boards are huge and an initial investment may seem quite high, the boards are available for rent and lessons are also available to get you started on the right track. Most boards have elastic straps to hold a bit of gear so it is easy to bring your snorkeling gear along for added fun.
Guam is lucky to have several resident pods of Spinner Dolphins that hang out in the shallow waters around the island. It has become a major attraction over the years and boats small and large are available for tours to go watch them! While dolphin watching in itself wouldn’t be considered a sport, it is a good way to get out on the water and have a good time with friends!
Below the Surface:
Sea TREK Helmet Diving: Helmet diving can be experienced by most anyone from 8-80+ years old! Walking over a sand bottom alongside a pristine reef allows you to see the wonders of the ocean without even getting your head wet, and you can wear your glasses if needed!
An easy way to experience Scuba Diving to see how you like it! All necessary gear and training is provided for you to go on a dive with a diving instructor in the shallow waters around Guam. You may be hooked once you are done and in many cases you can apply the training you received to your first lesson of diving class if you decide to continue to get certified as an Open Water Diver.
An Open Water Diver Class is the first step in becoming a certified diver and can be done in a private class or by joining a larger group for training, there are a variety of options available so choose the one that best fits your budget and your schedule.
Once completed you and your buddies will be able to explore Guam’s underwater world on your own, plan dive vacations to exotic destinations or you may go on to become a diving professional and get paid to teach people to enjoy the ocean as well!
Bob Odell operates Guam Ocean Adventures located at Family Beach in Apra Harbor.
Visit guamoceanadventures.com or call (671) 898-5194 for more information.
Discounted tour prices apply for military and dependents.