We all know the most popular diving spots around the world, but there are plenty of other places where you can see local sea life and historical wrecks that you might not have considered. Here are a few places where you can enjoy a unique dive experience that you may not know about.
Alaska The Inside Passage of Alaska has more than 15,000 miles of coastline and about 1000 islands to explore. The water can reach a temperature of 65 degrees in the summer and the waters are quite calm, offering you almost year-round diving, Divers can encounter kelp crabs, sea urchins, sea stars and you may even spot an orcas swimming in the distance. You may even find sea lions and seals approach you for a little investigation.
America's Great Lakes Make a change from diving in the sea and head for a lake instead. For people living in Midwest States like Wisconsin and Michigan one of these great spots may be closer than they realise. Storms and rough waters of the Great Lakes have sunk hundreds of boats over the centuries. Among the wrecks of Lake Michigan are the 280ft steamer Lakeland, 185ft steamer Vernon and 124ft three-masted schooner Rouse Simmons.
Iceland Thingvellir National Park in Iceland is where the American and Eurasian continental plates meet and form a rift in the land where they slowly move apart. The rift runs underwater at Silfa Lake. The water here, from melting glaciers, takes thousands of years to filter through volcanic ash and into the lake which is incredibly clear. The waters here are ice-cold so you won't see any fish but you will be lucky enough to experience the vertigo-inducing sight of the deep fissure far below. Snorkellers can view it from above but divers can actually descend into the crack where they can explore the very depths of the earth.
Sardinia The Italian island of Sardinia is as beautiful underwater as it is above. You will find a wide variety of underwater life in the Mediterranean Sea, the sandy seabed which is covered in seaweed and reefs surrounded with beautiful coloured fish. There's over 100 boats lying underwater here too so there's plenty of wreck dives to investigate. One of the great things about diving in and around the waters of Sardinia are the amazing caves and beautiful coral formations which divers can swim amongst.
Scotland Home to the shallow Scapa Flow harbour are the beautiful Orkney Islands of Scotland. At the end of the First World War, 51 German ships were sunk here and now the wrecks have become popular among divers. Most of the wrecks are 110-160ft deep, where divers can explore in and around them. Divers are allowed to enter the sunken ships but are not allowed to take any artefacts from under the water. Visibility varies, so the ships can't be seen in their entirety, but the chance to explore these antique warships up close makes an unforgettable experience which makes up for the lack of crystal clear water.
SudanThis politically unstable, semi-desert country in Africa isn't among one of the first places that people would think of for world-class diving, this I think makes it all the more appealing. It's so far off of the beaten path that it's unlikely you'll come across many other divers, so you can explore until your hearts content without swarms of divers getting in your way. In the Sha'ab Rumi reef you can encounter hammerhead and reef sharks along with manta rays, moray eels, and sea turtles. Explore the old stomping grounds of Jacques Cousteau at the Precontinent II or explore the Blue Belt cargo shipwreck. The Blue belt sank in 1977 after being stuck on a reef. The boat lays upside-down with its sunken cargo which makes it an exciting challenge for experienced divers.