Escape for the Weekend

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United States

The Edmonds Underwater Park; Santa Catalina Island; Torqua Springs; National Park of Channel Island; Point Lobos;the MV Mahi wreck, Koko Craters, Islands Maui and Molokini in Hawaii;Jacob’s Well in Texas; Pelham quarry in Alabama

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The United States of America is the fourth largest country of the world, whose territory covers eight time zones and consists of three parts: main continental part, Alaska and Hawaii. The USA consist of 50 states, which are equal sub-federal entities. Each state has its own constitution, legislative, executive and judicial authorities. Names of most of the states derive from the names of Indian tribes and kings of England and France.

On the vast territory of the USA you can find nearly all types of climate. General temperature background is rather even. In summer in most regions the temperature varies from 22°С to 28°С. However the difference between northern and southern states is relatively small. Winter in most of the country is rather mild – the average temperature in January varies from -2°С in the north to +8°С in the south. In any season in the USA you can find a region with weather conditions comfortable for leisure. Swimming season in the north and in the middle of the Atlantic coast lasts from June to August-September, though the water is also acceptably warm in May and October. In Florida you can swim throughout the year (the average temperature of water is rarely lower than +22°С even in winter months), however from July to September it is rather hot there (+36-39°С) and very humid, and from June to November there are often tropical hurricanes. In the southern part of the Pacific coast it is better to swim from April to October. In Oregon and Washington summer temperature of air and water can noticeably lower, in winter atmospheric temperature varies from -6°С to +4°С, and water temperature is about +4°С. Climate in Oregon is rather dry and warm (maximal temperature in summer seldom exceeds +30°С, and average winter temperature is about +2°С). Northwards, in Washington there are two distinct climate zones – westwards from the Cascade Range on the Pacific coast and in Seattle it is seldom hotter than +26°С in summer and colder than +8°С in winter, whereas the eastern part of the state has vividly warmer summer and colder winter. The central mountain regions can be visited throughout the year; in the southern part of the Rocky Mountains it is too hot in summer, so it is better to plan a trip for spring or autumn. On the western sides of the Rocky Mountains and in the east of California it is too hot in summer, whereas the seaside part of California has rather comfortable weather conditions in this time of the year. There are no seasonal constraints for visiting Los-Angeles. August and September are the hottest months (+24-30°С); January and February are the coldest (about +12°C) and the most humid months but in any season the ocean breeze softens the weather and makes it more comfortable. The Hawaii can be visited all the year round, just keep in mind that on the windward eastern coasts it is warm and humid throughout the year, and on the leeward western and south-western coast it is dry and much hotter.

If you need to exchange currency, you can do it only in the offices of large banks and in their branches, situated in the international airports and the sea ports. Work schedule of different banks is different, but in the whole they work since 9.00 am till 3.00-5.00 pm from Monday to Friday. On one weekday – most often on Friday – banks work till 6.00 pm. Some banks are open on Saturday too, but only till afternoon. While travelling round the country it is recommended to have at least one credit card, as many agencies inquire advance payment by credit card or inquire its number, even if the payment is in cash. Non-cash transactions are extremely widespread in the USA. Credit and debit cards of the largest international payment services (Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, American Express, Cirrus, Plus, Maestro, Discover and others) are used everywhere, virtually in all restaurants, hotels, shops, filling stations, slot-machines and terminals, even in the country. Automatic cash terminals are literally in every corner.

In the USA there is no single hotel classification corresponding with the European five-star system. Superior Deluxe and Deluxe (D) approximately correspond with the European 4+* or 5*; Superior (S) - 4+* or 4*; First Class (F) - 3+* or 3*; Moderate First Class (M) - 3,5-3* and Tourist Class (T), or Inexpensive, - 2*. Arrival and check-in usually take place after 3.00 pm, checkout – before 11.00 am (check-in before and check-out after this time are paid for as an extra day). For check-in at the hotel you should have an identification document with your photograph. The rate of a double room is virtually the same as the rate of a single room. They usually add the tax (up to 12.5% depending on the state) and touristic duty (it also varies depending on the state) to the room rate. However, all possible duties, added to the price of the room according to the state legislation, can level up the price for 20-30%.

For mobile communication it is better to buy a local prepaid SIM-card. Price per minute will depend on your service provider and the tariff of you card – the higher is the nominal, the cheaper is a minute of talk. You can buy a SIM-card nearly in every supermarket.

The largest and the most important airports of the USA:

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL);

Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD);

Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR);

Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP);

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX);

Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW);

Denver International Airport (DEN);

McCarran International Airport (LAS);

Honolulu International Airport (HNL);

John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

Domestic flights are the most efficient and the most popular way of travelling for short and long distances inside the country. In the USA airplanes are ordinary means of transport, which differs from a car only by its speed. Railway communication is very unpopular in the USA. Relatively few people prefer travelling by train because the cost of train tickets is often equal to the cost of air tickets. Buses are the second most important means of surface transport next to private cars. As for intra-urban transport, taxi is very popular, moreover, in all large cities of the country: New-York, Washington, Boston, Dallas, Huston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Los-Angeles and others there is subway.

Dive sites


It is considered that this state has the best dive sites along reef walls among places with cold water. Dive sites in Puget Sound: Day Island Wall, Point Defiance and Waterman's Wall. The world, you find under water, amazes. There are neither bright corals nor brisk tropical fish, but the quantity and the size of the inhabitants of this place boggle the imagination. Here you can meet fish long as a man, giant crabs, and starfish. Conglomerations of big starfish among white and orange anemones – each is half a meter high – leave a lasting impression. The role of reefs is fulfilled by any solid objects – stones, concrete blocks or piles of autotyres. All that is covered with carpet of anemones and starfish, and inhabited by fish and crabs. Near Seattle there is the most famous sea reserve – the Edmonds Underwater Park, created on the site of unfinished docks. Later sunken barges and boats were added, and all that got covered with anemones inhabited by crabs, shrimps, starfish, octopuses, fish and many other creatures. Underwater bluffs and piles of volcanoes, where you can find a giant octopus, also deserve attention. In Washington it is allowed to feed sea animals, and where there are a lot of divers, congers quickly get used to swimming out of their holes and taking pieces of fish or urchins from the hands of people.


Santa Catalina Island is famous for its crystal water and rich underwater world. Torqua Springs is one of the best dive sites among algae and is popular with fanciers of recreational diving. The most popular diving place in Avalon on Catalina is the park, situated behind the Casino. Under the water you can see huge shoals of small fish, bright orange fish, big rockfish, dolphins, morays, sea bears, lobsters and other sea animals, which are so used to divers that approach to them without any fear. On the bottom you can find sleeping angel sharks; the algae are inhabited by a lot of fish, e.g. leopard shark, sea lions. Besides natural inhabitants of this place on the bottom there is the memorial plaque for Jacques Cousteau, and a bit farther you can see the frame of a sunken ship.

Anacapa Island – a part of National Park of Channel Island (the main sea treasury of California) – is considered to be the best place for diving in moderate climate: the water temperature here is not lower than 12-13°C and visibility is about 12 meters. The peaks of underwater rocks are distinguished by various specimens of flora and fauna. Here you can also meet a sea lion or a seal.

Point Lobos suggests dive sites to every fancy: shallow-water reefs, vast fields of algae at great depth, pointed underwater peaks and vertical bluffs, caves and sandy creeks with the greatest diversity of starfish in the whole state. Here there are a lot of specimens of sea fauna: from seals, sea lions and otters to rays, rockfish and codfish.

Big Sur is a region of California’s central coast. Big Sur, with its steep coastal ledges and open creeks, is a real underwater paradise, unaffected by civilization.


Hawaii is one of the best dive sites in the world. The most popular islands are Kauai, Maui, Oahu and Hawaii. But professionals also like Lanai, Molokai and Niihau. More than 50 certified dive-clubs work in Hawaii.

The most visited dive sites on Hawaii Island: Cavern Point, Place of Refuge, Kailua Pier, Pine Trees and Red Hill. In the coastal waters there are a lot of sea turtles, dolphins, whales and famous giant devilfish. Kon’s coast is well-known by its caves, lava tubes and giant volute of tiger cowry. On Kauai Island you can visit Kee Lagoon, Tunnels Reef, Cannons in the northern part of the island and Sheraton Caverns, Oasis Reef in its southern part. Diving here is interesting for labyrinths of volcanic tunnels, overgrown with corals and inhabited by white tip sharks and eels, Hawaiian monk seals and big shoals of dolphins. Islands Maui and Molokini with their black corals and shoals of tame fish are the most popular of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolua Bay, Olowalu and Five Caves as well as the neighborhood of Molokini crater are also interesting. Here you can often meet giant sea turtles, zebra eels, sharks and arrowhead fish. Oahu Island attracts divers by sunken ships. The most popular dive sites are MV Mahi(remains of sixty-meter tanker), Makaha Caverns (two underwater pipes), Paliea Point (underwater rock, covered with corals), Tha Sea Cave (underwater cave), Koko Craters (landscape, formed by streams of lava), Corsair Plane Wreck (American military aeroplane), Fantasy Reef. The underwater world here is diverse and beautiful; it is inhabited by green Hawaiian turtles, reef sharks, tropical fish, a lot of eels and other tropical sea animals.


Jacob’s Well is the most popular dive site among thrill-seekers. It is situated northwest of Wimberley and is one of the biggest artesian wells. It looks like an ordinary pool as its diameter is only four meters, but its depth is about forty meters. Divers love exploring the well. It has four caves, situated one after another at different depth and connected by corridors. The most explored is the first cave, located at a depth of 10 meters. Sun rays penetrate into it, light it up and give opportunity to admire its inhabitants. The next cave lies at a depth of 24 meters and has a narrow entrance; the third cave looks like a small room with loose gravel on the floor. The forth cave is the least explored one. Its entrance is very narrow and complicated, its bottom is covered with limestone which makes the water turbid, and so it is nearly impossible to find the way out.


In the south the state is washed by the Gulf of Mexico, so you can dive everywhere where there is access to the sea. In Alabama they address the issue of restoring the coast and reefs of the Gulf of Mexico. There are programs of creating artificial reefs out of overage cars and tanks at a great depth for experienced divers; and a project of an underwater park “Poseidon’s Playground” for young divers and beginners. The most popular dive site in Alabama is Pelham quarry. Its average depth is 30 meters, and visibility is about 7.5 meters in summer and 15-30 meters in winter. The underwater world is represented by large amount of fish, jelly-fish and turtles. There are also a lot of sunken objects: fire engines, cars, lorries, school bus, sailing vessel, cutter and concrete pipes with diameter of more than 2 meters.


The most popular place for diving in the USA is the coastland of Florida. It is interesting both for newcomers, as the coastal waters are rather shallow and the corals’ beauty can touch everyone's feelings, and for professional scuba divers who can find here a lot of various diving places. The most popular ones are Molasses Reef, famous for its weak current, picturesque relief and caves, and rich underwater world; Biscayne National Park, situated in the south of Florida (its most part – up to 95% -- is located under the water, and the rest of the territory is covered with mangrove forest). Miami is the main resort not only in Florida but it all the USA. Key features of diving in Miami are artificial coral reefs (ones of the best in the world) and lots of sunken ships. There are ten dive-sites with artificial coral reefs: five of them are situated between Miami-Dade and Key Biscayne and the other five are between Key Biscayne and Monroe. The best one is located at a depth of 130 feet 2 miles eastward from Sunny Island. Wrecks in Miami are captivating: about 30 sunken ships, 3 oil platforms and a couple of sunken American tanks.

New York and New Jersey

There are more than 300 wrecks and more than 100 dive sites in the coastal waters of these states. The underwater world is very diverse. These places will be interesting both to experienced divers and to beginners. In the waters of so called Wreck Valley you can see sunken cargo ships, British and American warships, cruise liners and German submarines.