Scuba Diving will take you to many far-flung places around the world you never would have heard of if not for diving and most divers have a bucket list of things to see in the wild. Specific wrecks and reefs are easy to see as they don't often move around but underwater animals tend to migrate and there's lots of empty ocean out there for them to hide in.
So where do you go when you want to see something amazing and when do you go? Many operators have specific tours running at certain times of the year but here are some of the places to find and scuba dive with...
Best places to dive for Turtles
You can find plenty of turtles anywhere in the Caribbean but Grand Cayman has a turtle farm that releases thousands of turtles back into the sea so they know the waters pretty well and tend to stick around. You can find turtles year-round and March-June is normally the time of year when turtles tend to hatch just remember to give them their space.
Hawaii is surrounded by cleaning stations and protected marine reserves so you'll see more turtles swimming around than you can count. The Hawaiian culture mirrors that of the sea turtle, chilled out with a love of the ocean. Summertime brings warmth and calm waters that the turtles, and holiday makers, enjoy but book early to get a place.
Sipadan in Malaysia has a protected nesting site similar to Grand Cayman so they little ones tend to come back and hang around where they were born. Beautiful colourful waters mean that even in the rare occasion that there aren't any turtles around there's still plenty to see. Between April and September is the best time to look out for Hawksbill Turtles.
Best places to dive for Sharks
If you're after Whale Sharks then Cancun in Mexico has one of the highest concentrations of Whale Sharks around. Summer time around July/August is a great time to visit because that's when they tend to arrive for mating season.
Nassau in the Bahamas is famous for shark diving and they are very confident around divers. You can find Tiger Sharks in the winter around October to January but you'll find all sorts of reef sharks around between September and March
You will see Hammerheads between January and May but they tend to spend their time near Galapagos year round. At peak times you can see hundreds shoaling together.
Best places to dive for Whales
Just off Quebec is a marine park where 13 species of whale visit to rest and feed. You'll see all sorts from Humpbacks to Beluga Whales. The best times to go are between June and September but you are required to maintain a required distance from certain species so it's best to take a kayak or boat tour.
Orca, Humpback, Minke, Dolphins and allsorts can be found around Iceland following the Herring and other shoaling fish around the Norwegian Sea and Atlantic. May to August tends to be the best time to go but if you enjoy the cold then you can head to Northern Norway in the winter time to look for Orcas.
Humpback Whales head to Bahia de Banderas around December to April because of it's warm sheltered waters. Small boats can get you out to take a look but you can often see them from the shore feeding and socialising.
Best places to dive for Wrecks
The Red Sea is full of shipwrecks that you can explore at accessible depths. Most of the wrecks are popular and well dived so there are clear paths in and around them but a livaboard is the best way to get out to many of them to avoid the crowds.
Truk or Chuuk Lagoon is home to many WW2 shipwrecks sunk during the war in the Pacific. Because removing artefacts is strictly illegal and preservation is a key interest the wrecks are in great condition. While you will see marine life the big stuff still tends to stay away, many believe because of pollution caused by the sinking of the ships.
Not far from Truk, Palau has a similar story with shipwrecks sunk from the war in the Pacific. Both Japanese and American shipwrecks and some planes can be found in the waters from 15m down to 40m+
Let us and others know in the comments where you recommend to dive and what for...