Diving in Danang, Vietnam
by Edwin Thomas
Source. USA Today Travel
Da Nang is a bustling city with a major port and Vietnam’s third-largest airport, but it is not among the country’s biggest tourist destinations. While some visitors are drawn to Da Nang’s famous China Beach, many more are there on business or looking for a cheaper alternative to staying in Hoi An. As a result, Da Nang is not a big Vietnamese dive destination, but that does not mean traveling divers won’t find options for underwater adventure.
Local Diving Centers
Although Da Nang is something of a boom town, it lacks a big scuba diving industry. One of the few diving centers in the immediate area is Dive Danang, the in-house dive center for the posh Furama Resort (furamavietnam.com) and newly opening * 2012 Temple Danang ( templedanang.com). Most diving focuses on sites around the Son Tra peninsula, which is about eight miles by boat from Da Nang’s port. Recreational dive operations in Da Nang typically close between October and January, due to rougher weather and poor water visibility.
Scuba Day Trips
Another option for divers visiting Da Nang is to take a day trip to the Cham Islands and dive from there. Cruises to the island from companies such as Cinnamon Cruises (chamislandtours.com) usually include pick-up from the patron’s hotel, and the earliest departures arrive on the island before 10 a.m. From there, a diver can book boat trips with the island’s handful of dive operators, including Rainbow Divers (divevietnam.com) and the Cham Island Diving Center (chamislanddiving.com), before returning to Da Nang at the end of the day.
The seas off Da Nang are subtropical, so divers should expect somewhat colder and murkier water than elsewhere in Southeast Asia. During the diving season, the water temperature peaks in the upper 70s Fahrenheit. The local conditions, therefore, require a 3 mm wetsuit, although wearing a hood is not necessary. Water visibility around the Son Tra Peninsula and the Cham Islands is usually in the 60- to 70-foot range.
The dive sites around Da Nang are decorated with soft corals, usually with sufficient density to create rich colorful coral gardens or heavily encrusted walls. These corals support a lively ecosystem, with spiny scorpion and lion fish, sea bass, tiny clownfish (“nemos”), big groupers and noisy coral-chomping parrotfish. Hidden away under rocks and overhangs and inside crevasses, divers might find crabs and lobsters. Prowling Da Nang’s reefs are predatory fish such as barracuda and sleek moray eels, and divers might even see the odd, elusive octopus.