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Snorkeling and Scuba Diving at Tanapag Beach, Saipan
This is Saipan's easiest dive spot. It's a bit boring for snorkelers or licensed SCUBA divers, but perfectly safe and entertaining for intro-divers. You practice your skills in the currentless shallows, then follow a rope out for the duration of the dive. You follow the rope to a series of coral heads inhabited by small blue fish like kissing gourami, helicopter-like tiny boxfish, sea anemone and clownfish, sea cucumbers, and stonefish. Depths don't exceed 15'/5m. Bright, sandy bottoms and strong sunlight make this exceptionally well-lit. Visibility is a comforting 20 to 40 feet on all but the worst days. Short golf-greens type grass and tall palm trees along the beach make this an ideal place to picnic. Locals here can be a little edgy, and there's often a government-paid security guard at the site to watch over cars. This is THE PERFECT spot for someone's first intro or certification dive, particularly if the diver lacks skill or confidence. Head North, leaping the water on your left, from . After passing the garbage dump and the boat harbor, you'll see a very small tan-sand beach on your left. It'll usually be inhabited by 2 or 3 dive vehicles. Park anywhere except on the sand.
Tanapag Beach, Saipan Tide Chart and Surf Report (Beta)
12:56 AM / 1.988ft
5:54 AM / 1.427ft
10:43 AM / 1.902ft
6:05 PM / 0.069ft
1:52 AM / 1.968ft
Feb 7, 2008, 12:00 AM
This is the most crowded intro-diving spot on Saipan. An occasional 40-passenger greyhound bus will show up. More often, there are one or two pickup trucks with 3 or 4 customers. Find it north of Garapan, south of Nikko Hotel. It's a bit off the main road, on a suburban street, so plan to hunt, ask locals, or follow a dive truck. Bathroom's defunct, no phones unless you ask a local to use his home phone. Park on grass next to an outdoor theater/pavilion, use the theater's outer wall as a bench. Gear up, walk 10' to the perfect sand beach, look for a rope headed out to sea. Follow the rope; it slopes verrrry slowly to 10' deep, in a sandy trough (perfect for open water and intro lessons, unless there's one of the occasional fast currents blowing longshore back toward Garapan). Beware of lots of scrap metal cans (sausage "fishfood", the scuba equivalent of tying a pork chop around your neck so the dog will play with you). The rope will turn right (north, away from Garapan) and circle a few shallow coral heads with good viz. PERFECT place to use a disposable snorkeling camera. Beware of stone fish. Enjoy hordes of tiny sky-blue penny-sized fish that will "kiss" your hands in search of sausage. Also look for flounder, tiny boxfish & puffers, and at least one anemone with clownfish. Except on days with strong longshore currents or when a bus pulls up, this is the PERFECT place for an exceptionally timid diver's first intro dive. Some day, a smart businessman will probably set up a dive shop with assembly-line diving (Snuba?) at this spot. Wish it were me!
Originally posted on shorediving.com