Fresh Tracks

** REEF RELIEF "Coral reefs have been damaged more in the past 20 years than in the previous thousand," says Gregor Hodgson, director of UCLA-based REEF CHECK, an organization fighting to SAVE CORAL REEFS worldwide. That's why the nonprofit is working with local communities in every tropical ocean to combat overfishing, invasive algae, pollution, and sedimentation with an all-volunteer, three- to 14-day training program. Instructors teach locals and visiting divers like you how to gather data on fish populations and to document coral damage. In the six years since the study started, Reef Check has surveyed 1,317 REEFS IN MORE THAN 60 COUNTRIES. The organization has identified the reefs off the Maldives, Jamaica, and Oahu as in particularly rough shape. It has also compiled a list of the world's most pristine reefs. Hodgson won't reveal any GPS coordinates, but, he says, it's worth diving along the reefs on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia; in Milne Bay, off southeastern Papua New Guinea; and off the northwest coast of Madagascar. To find out how you can participate, visit www.reefcheck.org or call 310-794-4985. For another great reef-saving adventure, see our New Trip, below right.
** ISLAND BOPPING A new player in the David vs. Goliath battle to lure sun-chasing vagabonds, CARIBBEAN SUN AIRLINES has four 37-passenger DHC-8 turboprops and is UNDERCUTTING INDUSTRY GIANTS in the region. Sample fare: Fly round-trip from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to St. Martin for $165 (American charges $225 for the same flight). Within the next three months it will have service to Antigua, St. Thomas, and St. Croix. Contact: 954-359-7846, www.flycsa.com

** HONEYMAROONING This spring, the ultra-exclusive NORTH ISLAND RESORT opened on a private island in THE SEYCHELLES, off southeastern Africa. Raised on stilts to catch cooling Indian Ocean breezes, the resort's 11 huge OPEN-WALLED VILLAS—each one is 4,890 square feet—are handmade from wood and local stone. The surrounding waters are home to an immense coral reef system. The all-inclusive rates are $815 to a staggering $4,555 per night, but honeymooners looking for a bit of privacy will love it. Contact: 800-882-9453, www.north-island.com

Domestic Abyss

Yellowstone Lake, WY; Lanai Island, HI; & Acadia

A Hawaiian pufferfish

Acadia National Park, Maine

YELLOWSTONE LAKE
THE WATER
Thermal vents that reach 250 degrees, moonscape craters as big as football fields, gaping fissures—it's enough to make you feel like you've descended into a Jules Verne saga instead of North America's largest high-altitude lake, at 136 square miles and almost 8,000 feet.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Geologic enigmas that park rangers continue to explore as the lake-bottom landscape evolves, such as rows of eight-foot-tall silica spires discovered in 1997.
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING
ABOVE THE SURFACE
Rent a boat at Bridge Bay Marina and catch (then release) whopper cutthroat (motorboats, $33 per hour; rowboats, $8 per hour; 307-344-7311, www.travelyellow-stone.com).
THE DIGS
Bridge Bay and Grant Village campgrounds offer good access to dive spots. Make reservations through Xanterra Parks & Resorts ($18 per night per campsite; 307-344-7311, www.travelyellowstone.com).
LOCAL WISDOM
Take an altitude diving course before you go: You're at 7,733 feet, so you need to know how to adjust your recreational dive tables.
HOW TO GO
Teton Aquatic Supply, in Jackson, is 100 miles from Yellowstone Lake but is the clearinghouse for Yellowstone diving (307-733-3127).
LANAI ISLAND
THE WATER
Thirty percent of the fish species here are endemic to Hawaii, guaranteeing an only-in-the-Islands experience. And you'll get very close to a large local celebrity—the ubiquitous 300-pound green sea turtle—while cruising 25-foot-tall lava chambers off the south coast.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Take time for the little things in life: Scour the reef for tiny iridescent nudibranchs, the shell-less underwater snail cousins that are prolific in Hawaii.
HAWAII
ABOVE THE SURFACE
Rent a jeep from Lana'i Ecoadventure Centre and drive to the summit of 3,370-foot Mount Lanaihale ($104 per day; 808-565-7373, www.adventurelanai.com)
THE DIGS
Campsites at Hulopo'e Beach, which borders the Manele-Hulopo'e Marine Life Conservation District, cost $5 per person per night, plus a $5 permit fee. Contact Castle & Cook Resorts on Lanai (808-565-3982).
LOCAL WISDOM
Buy charcoal to take advantage of campsite grills, and bring a warm layer for evenings that can drop to a breezy 60 degrees.
HOW TO GO
Aloha Island Air (800-323-3345, www.islandair.com) offers seven flights a day from Honolulu to Lanai City for $85 each way. Lana'i Ecoadventure Centre will deliver scuba gear to Hulopo'e. (Prices vary.)

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
THE WATER
The pink-granite underworld off Acadia, scoured by ancient glaciers into 80-foot walls and littered with Smart-car-size boulders, offers a textured playground for divers and a nutrient-rich home for the world's most productive lobster breeding grounds and a host of other Atlantic coast critters, like the gray seal.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Maine law forbids harvesting lobsters with bodies more than five inches long, which means Acadia divers may encounter 25-pound monsters with claws big enough to clutch a football.
MAINE'S DOWN EAST COAST
ABOVE THE SURFACE
Get your fingers nibbled by crabs and starfish. The same ferocious tides (up to 18 feet) that force a tight dive schedule make for some of the best tide-pooling in the East.
THE DIGS
The private Bass Harbor Campground, on the southern tip of Mount Desert Island, offers tent sites for $24 per night and is within a 20-minute drive of a dozen shore dives (800-327-5857, www.bassharbor.com).
LOCAL WISDOM
Start your dives just before high tide to avoid treacherous walks over jagged barnacles—and be sure to avoid diving in places where the four-knot currents can carry you out to sea.
HOW TO GO
Campground managers can point you to nearby Diver Ed for gear rentals. Ed also offers guided trips and can recommend great sites ($50 per day for wetsuit and equipment or $100 per day for drysuit and equipment; 207-288-3483).

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