There are some beautiful and exhilarating dives out there, and if you’re lucky enough to visit them your experience will be out of this world. Whether you enjoy cave diving, love investigating sunken wrecks or simply enjoy swimming among all things beautiful underwater, we have put together some of the most magnificent dives for you.
The Great Blue Hole, Belize When seen from the sky, the Great Blue Hole looks just like the pupil of your eye. Seen from within, this UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage, listed ocean sinkhole is a real sightseeing treat for divers. The hole Isis ringed by fringing reef which is about 400 metres in diameter and drops to about 145 metres. Around about 40 metres down you will be lured in by fascinating formations – marine stalactites up to 15 cm in length. It’s very unlikely that you will see any other sea life down there, but the Stalactites more than make up for it.
Chuuk Lagoon, Micronesia The Chuuk Lagoon is rich in colour with beautiful tropical fish and corals. But as well as the stunning fish, the main attractions in this 70 km wide lagoon are the wrecks. Chuuk Lagoon holds a Japanese naval base from WWII, dozens of ships were sunk and planes downed during the US attacks in 1944. Dives here include the Fujikawa Maru and the Shinkoku Maru which have been charmed with nature and are covered with sponges and soft corals.
Manta Ray Village, Hawaii If you want to go in search for Manta Rays then this is a great place to dive. Half the fun with the dives here are that they take place at night. Divers shine powerful lights into the water which attract plankton, the plankton in turn attract manta rays. Sighting of these creatures can be unreliable, on some dives you may see a groups of Manta Rays and on others you might not see one. However, dives during the new moon do seem to be the best to encounter Manta’s.
Marai Island, Papua New Guinea Swim through Samarai’s silty waters, the muck-diving capital, to appreciate the finer things of the ocean. If you’re looking for Manta Rays, Whale Sharks or Moray Eels, think again, this dive is all about the little creatures like the magnificent Nudibranchs. The shallow waters of Samarai’s make these little sea goodies easy to see for even beginner divers. You will find exuberant corals and tropical fish here as well as historical remnants from the island’s turbulent history.
Pulau Sipadan, Malaysia The Malaysian island Pulau Sipadan is where you can take it down to a turtles pace. This is a dive you will find across all lists of the world’s top dive sites. You will be swimming amongst green and hawksbill turtles, and at 22 metres underwater there is even a so-called turtle tomb, which has the skeletal remains of a vast amount of turtles. If you’re a adrenaline seeker, head to Barracuda Point where you will often find the ponymous barracuda swirling round in tornado-like formations. Plus, no diver would want to leave without seeing the famous drop off, where just a stroll from the shore, the ocean floor drops away 600 metres!
Cocos Island, Costa Rica If it’s sharks that take your fancy, then 600 km off Costa Rica’s coast is the place to find them. Above water, Cocos Island is known for filming evocative scenes from Jurassic Park. But what you find undersea is truly wild. Hammerhead sharks here, shoal in mass, giving divers a good look at their amazing features. The biggest shoals are found around the submerged mountain at Alcyone which is home to white-tip reef sharks and sometimes, whale sharks if you’re lucky enough. Divers can only visit on live board boats because nobody is allowed to stay on the island.
Gansbaai, South Africa 35km from Hermanus in South Africa is Gansbaai where you will find some of the most fearsome predators – the great white sharks. This dive will take place inside a metal cage obviously, where you will come nose to snout with this incredible creature. You can watch them in awe as the 6 metre long great white circles your cage. The dive operators here use bait to attract the sharks to the cage, pretty much guaranteeing sightings.
Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt This national park in Egypt actually contains 20 dive sties, many of them are among the Red Sea’s finest too. The two submerged peaks, Yolanda Reef and Shark Reef are the centrepieces at this dive. At Yolanda Reef, dive among the Yolanda wreckage, including the cargo of hundreds of toilet bowls. At Shark Reef there is a vertical wall which is prized for the amount of fish there and, unsurprisingly, sharks.
Cocklebiddy Cave, Australia If you’re an experienced cave diver then the Cocklebiddy Cave of Australia is one you must visit. Beneath the enormous block of limestone at Australia’s Nullarbor Plain there are a series of caves which include the Cocklebiddy Cave. This is a four mile long, arrow-straight tunnel that is almost completely flooded, this makes it one of the world’s most premier cave dives. It wasn’t until 1983 that French cavers undertook the longest cave dive by exploring right to the end of Cocklebiddy. You will find the cave just 10km north of Cocklebiddy Roadhouse.
Rainbow Warrior, New Zealand The Greenpeace boat, Rainbow Warrior was re-floated at Matauri Bay in Northland New Zealand after being bombed by French government saboteurs in Aukland in July of 1985. The Rainbow Warrior is wedged upright in the sandy ocean floor at about 25 metres deep. It is covered in beautiful corals and is home to goatfish, moray eels and other fish. Anemones, algae and sponges cling to the wreck making this boat look more rainbow than warrior.