10 BEST DIVING PLACES
Mediterranean Sea, Malta
The clear sea around the Maltese Islands is great for diving, and you can quickly get to the coast from almost anywhere. Reefs, caves and shipwrecks, abundantly found around three islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino), are a rare combination of underwater “sights” in a relatively small place. Experienced divers can dive to sunken archaeological sites – from the time of ancient Rome to the Second World War. The depth of diving is different: from 12 meters on the Ar-Lapsi to Cape Lantern, where scuba divers descend through an underwater tunnel to a depth of more than 50 meters. The waters, considered to be one of the cleanest and most transparent in the world, provide visibility at a depth of up to 30 meters, which makes Malta an ideal place for underwater photography. The proximity of the islands to Africa creates acceptable temperatures for diving, even in winter.
Andaman Sea, Thailand
Whale sharks and giant manta rays are not uncommon off the coast of Thailand. The national park of Mu-Ko-Similan surprises not only with the size of fan corals, but also with the presence of all imaginable colors of these underwater animals. Off the coast of Phuket island, barracudas and big turtles are not uncommon. Near the islands of Similan and Phiha there are moray eels.
There are quite strong currents here, so not all dive sites are suitable for beginners, and even experienced divers have to carefully plan dives and count their strength. The best time for diving comes from November to April, when rains are rare, the sea is calm, the water becomes more transparent, and can be seen at tens of meters.
Coral Sea, Australia
Stretching over two thousand kilometers along the northeast coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is so huge that it can be seen from space. 4000 islands and reefs, 1500 species of fish, about a thousand sunken ships – this kind of mathematics makes you dizzy. You can dive here all year round: the water stays warm during any season. From Cairns – a small resort town in the north of Australia – cruise ships with a capacity of 12 to 20 people go to the Great Barrier Reef, with the necessary equipment for diving on board. Cruise usually takes from three to seven days. Most dives are conducted near coral reefs, the base
which is located on sandy plateaus at depths of up to 30 meters.
Pacific Ocean, Philippines
The Philippine Islands are rightly proud of the densest concentration of marine life on the planet. There are more than five thousand species of mollusks alone. The most popular place is Boracay Island, with long beaches and easy access to dive sites. Subic Bay, a hundred kilometers north-west of Manila, was used for military bases for a century.
“Magnet” for divers – sunken ships since the two wars – the Spanish-American, which happened more than a century ago, and the Second World War. Diving in Subic Bay requires a lot of experience and skills. But for divers of all levels there is a national marine park “Tubbatakh Reefs”. This is a unique place where atolls are located – coral islands in the form of a ring surrounding the lagoon. Atolls are inhabited by 600 species of fish, stingrays, moray eels, and the meeting with sharks is almost guaranteed. Diving in the Philippines is possible all year round, but the best is in the dry season, from November to June.
Pacific Ocean, Hawaii
On the Big Island, you can make night dives with manta rays, and on the island of Lanai explore the luminous underwater caves. From December to April, keep your ears open: you can hear the trumpet songs of humpback whales. The ocean around Hawaii is most tranquil in summer, but the whale season is winter. Hawaii is 180 islands of volcanic origin.
There are craters of extinct volcanoes in which you can even … dive. For example, Molokini is the top of a volcano, slightly protruding above the surface of the ocean. More than 250 endemic fish species and 38 coral species live here. And in the northwestern, sparsely populated part of the Hawaiian Islands, monk seals live – a rare species that lives in warm waters, while most of their relatives prefer lower temperatures. Now there are only 1300-1400 individuals.
Indian Ocean, Maldives
One of the attractive sides of diving in the Maldives is the possibility of exploring the remains of sunken ships. Some of them still remember the colonial period, while others have recently been specially flooded – for example, the Japanese cargo ship Kuda Giri.
One of the most visited is the backwater of the Maldivian Victoria, located at a depth of 35 meters on the western side of the island of Hulule. The best time here is from January to April, when the sea is quiet, and the constant sun provides visibility in the water for more than 30 meters. To look at the giant stingrays and whale sharks, it is best to come to Male
and South Male in November, when the ocean is rich in plankton, and on the island of Ari – in February.