‘The Ocean… the largest habitat on Earth’. With these words the new series of Blue Planet II, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, began last weekend. If you are yet to watch it, then we very much recommend it. With incredible camera footage and revealing insights into the underwater world, it has turned all our thoughts to beautiful diving destinations we can experience ourselves.
With a vast number of diving locations around the world, it is not necessarily easy to choose where to begin. But whether you are a seasoned diver or thinking about trying it for the first time, here are five destinations you should absolutely consider.
1. Baa Atoll, Maldives
The Baa Atoll is located in the north west of the Maldives and home to only a few resorts, allowing you to dive away from the crowds. It is wonderfully unspoilt and the surrounding reefs are well preserved, with a huge variety of marine life. Home to large manta ray populations you can also expect to see whale sharks, hawksbill and green turtles and honeycomb moray eels. Back on land, enjoy sugar sand white beaches and balmy year-round 27-29C temperatures.
2. Sipadan Island, Malaysia
Made famous after Jacques Cousteau labelled Sipadan ‘a piece of untouched art’ in 1989, this diving mecca has become the most famous scuba destination in Malaysia and generally acknowledged as one of the top ten dive spots in the world. From the moment you begin your dive, you will likely catch sight of a turtle through these crystal clear waters. Awe inspiring coral walls drop nearly 2,000ft straight down to the sea floor, alongside which schooling sharks and barracuda swim. Diving doesn’t stop at the island however – the Sipadan Barrier Reef (the largest in South East Asia) offers many more diving opportunities and the chance to see some of the 966 species of colourful coral reef fish.
3. Richelieu Rock, Thailand
There are several great dive sites in Thailand but Richelieu Rock tops the list, especially if you want to experience swimming with whale sharks (most likely to be found here from February to May). The nutrient rich water encourages plankton to bloom which in turn attracts a wide variety of fish. The best way to experience this location is via a liveaboard boat cruise – aim to dive the site at least twice in order to explore properly. Critter lovers will get lots of opportunities to spot a whole range of macro creatures including porcelain crabs, tiger tail sea horses, pipefish and harlequin shrimp.
4. Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The sheer range of wildlife, both on land and in the sea, make this a remarkable destination and one that is often viewed as the pinnacle of ones diving career. The Galapagos lie on the equator, 600 miles from Ecuador. Several oceanic currents meet at the juncture of the islands and the mixed water temperatures result in a rare opportunity to see both tropical and temperate fish species on the same dive. No dive itinerary in the Galapagos is complete without a visit to the seas which surround the islands of Darwin and Wolf. Expect to see schools of hammerheads, dolphins and rays as well as whale sharks and even iguanas!
5. Quirhimbas Archipelago, Mozambique
Remote and unspoilt with the best diving in Africa, the Quirhimbas Archipelago is a ‘must visit’ on any diver's bucket list. Drop into the water and you will find pristine reefs, many of which may have never been explored. There are numerous dive sites across the Archipelago, all with slightly differing characteristics but each with an abundance of shoals of colourful fish… you might also find yourself lucky enough to swim alongside dolphins or even to come across an endangered Dugong. Back on land, the white sandbanks, mangroves and colonial era architecture make for a destination that is as interesting out of the water as in.
Several of these fantastic dive locations feature in destinations we work with so please do give us a call if you are interested in arranging a diving holiday.
Call: +44 1993 899 430