The ocean is a treasure box filled with amazing underwater environments and incredible species in all shapes and sizes just waiting to be discovered. If you love diving then you must have a bucket list of diving sites across the globe that you’ve always dreamed of exploring. It’s a brand new year and this is a perfect time to begin ticking those boxes.
Unique dive sites to add to your diving bucket list
Inchcape wrecks, Al Fujairah, UAE
Immerse yourself in history and archaeology when you visit any of the enchanting Inchcape wrecks in Al Fujairah, UAE. Advanced Open Water divers and those with higher certification can book a diving trip in Fujairah with Nemo Diving Center to explore the Inchcape sisters.
Inchcape 1, originally known as Gray Swift 2 was sunk by Inchcape Shipping Services in 2001 to create an artificial reef. This wreck lies at a depth of 30m and has become a home to moray eels, jacks, snappers, barracuda, and other reef species. Inchcape 2, located not far from Martini Rock is inhabited by little boxfish, scorpionfish, nudibranchs, and moray eels. It was sunk in 2002 and currently lies at a depth of 22m. Last but not least is Inchcape 10 which was sunk in 2003 and lies at approximately 23m deep. This wreck is enveloped by dark red and brown algae and populated by a wide variety of schooling fish such as silvery jacks, bannerfish, and fusiliers. Advanced certified divers can explore these wrecks at any time of the year.
The Red Sea, Egypt
The Egyptian Red Sea is divided into two parts, namely the North Red Sea and the South Red Sea. If you are looking for a great wreck dive site with a rich history, the SS Thistlegorm wreck in the North Red Sea will take you back during the war times. This 128m long British transport ship was sunk on the 6th of October 1941 after getting hit by two bombs which claimed the lives of nine people. This World War 2 shipwreck is noted for its incredible underwater artifacts such as stacks of guns, locomotives, tanks, trucks, motorcycles, and plane parts. Nearby you’ll find the Ras Mohammed National Park which offers beautiful coral formations and great wall diving. For more fascinating wrecks, you can head out to Abu Nuhas Reef in Hurghada to explore Kimon M, Giannis D, Chrisoula K, and the Carnatic.
The more experienced divers seeking less congested dive sites venture to the South Red Sea where there are challenging drift dives and opportunity to encounter giant Green Sea Turtles, thresher sharks, hammerhead sharks, endangered dugong, and the rare Oceanic Whitetip shark.
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
With its clear waters, healthy reefs, and superb biodiversity, Raja Ampat (“Four Kings”) is an underwater haven for nature lovers. The Fam Islands which consist of four main islands – Fam, Penemu, Inus, and Yar plus a number of smaller ones are well-known for its flourishing reefs that are teeming with marine life. You have a chance to see pygmy seahorses, wobbegongs, ghost pipefish, and colorful nudibranchs at Melissa’s Garden and Penemu Wall. The latter is also famous for its huge gorgonian fans that span up to 3 meters across.
The 18m Manta Sandy in the Dampier Strait has a large concentration of plankton which attracts a lot of rays. It’s a real delight for any skill level because it’s common to see up to 20 rays stopping for food in the area.
Experienced divers can check out the Passage, another iconic dive site in Raja Ampat which has amazing seascapes like mangroves, coral gardens, and underwater ridges with abundant macro life.
Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Isla del Coco, a beautiful island found 500km off the mainland of Costa Rica, is a haven for pelagic species, sharks, dolphins, and whales. Divers who come here usually look forward to seeing schools of hammerhead sharks. It was declared as a Marine National Park and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the late 90s.
Imagine a huge concentration of graceful manta rays gliding and gorging themselves in the plankton-rich waters. This underwater feeding frenzy is sought after by underwater photographers who want to capture the whirling manta rays and whale sharks enjoying the buffet.
The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The massive reef covers more than 344,000 square kilometers which are equivalent to 70 million football fields or the size of Italy or Japan. This natural wonder is so huge that it can be seen from space! The Great Barrier Reef is considered the world’s largest structure which has almost 3,000 individual reefs and home to more than 1,500 species of fish, hundreds of hard and soft corals, 134 species of sharks and rays, six species of threatened marine turtles, and more than 30 species of mammals.
Tubbataha Reefs, Philippines
The Tubbataha Reefs, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Palawan, Philippines is favored by divers from different parts of the globe because of its pristine coral reefs and incredible biodiversity. This dive site is home to more than 600 species of fish, 360 types of corals, and different species of dolphins, sharks, whales, and turtles. It’s also a favorite playground of manta rays, barracuda, and pelagics. Macro marine creatures like ghost nudibranchs, ghost pipefish, frogfish, and seahorses are also residents of the area. The Tubbataha Reefs offer year-round diving opportunities but due to possible strong currents at some sites, these areas are best for intermediate to advanced divers.
Roatan situated on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest reef system in the world) is noted for its colorful marine life and sheer-walled crevasse, particularly at Mary’s Place dive site. The area is teeming with black coral fans, anemones, large seahorses, and huge rainbow parrotfish.
Explore your dream dive site
These are just some of the many astounding dive sites that you can find around the world. Have you been to any of them? If not, then perhaps it’s time to embark on a new adventure so you can update your dive log and build new memories.