Into the Deep

In Activities by LA Travel Magazine

Diving is an adventurous and exotic sport. It is also a great excuse to check out some amazing tropical destinations around the world. Any novice or expert diver will be fascinated by what they see in the depths of some of the top dive spots in the world.

The Similan Islands,Thailand are considered by many the best dive site in Thailand and by some, one of the best in the world. The area consists of 9 islands covered by tropical jungle and white sandy beaches as far as the eye can see. The views under the water’s surface are even more impressive. Depths can range from 15 to 40 meters in this area opening up a world of giant underwater boulders, caves, and narrow passageways. There are some 500 species of corals and an amazing variety of marine life including leopard sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles. Photographers take note that the Similan Islands are loaded with photogenic critters such as ghost pipefish, sea moths, frogfish, ribbon eels and nudibranchs.

Although the Maldives are probably best known for its tropical paradise, it also has some of the most amazing dive spots in the world. The reefs around the Maldives are home to parrot fish, colorful sponges, and a number of invertebrate species. Many scuba divers flock to the Maldives because of the presence of Whale sharks, Manta rays, eagle rays, reef sharks, hammerhead sharks and moray eels, as well as many smaller fish and coral species. When the tsunami of 2004 hit, the Maldives were severely devastated and much of the coral was damaged. Thankfully, the coral reefs have made an outstanding recovery and have almost returned to their pre-tsunami condition.

The_Blue_Hole_Dive_Site_01-bigThe Great Blue Hole in Belize has been named one of the top scuba dive spots on Earth and for great reason. The blue hole was created by the collapse of a limestone cave system thousands of years ago. The massive sinkhole under the water creates a perfect circle of deep blue water. The hole is circular in shape, over 984 ft across and 407 ft deep. This is a popular spot among recreational scuba divers who are lured by the opportunity to dive in crystal-clear water and to see several species of fish, including Midnight Parrotfish, Caribbean reef sharks, and other rare species.

One of the top bucket list dive spots for avid divers is Palau, Micronesia. Divers become historians here as Palau is famous for its World War II shipwrecks namely Japanese bomber planes, that have now become home to thousands of marine life animals. Palau has more species than any other area of similar size in the world; corals, fish, snails, clams, sea cucumbers, starfish, sea urchins, sea anemones, jellyfish, squid, and feather-duster worms exist in profusion and variety. Schools of sharks in the hundreds, 30-40 foot manta rays and a wide array of exotics are what make Palau one of the world’s premier scuba-diving locations.

The Galapagos Islands are the second largest marine reserve in the world with 43,496 square miles of protected water and coastline, second only in size to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The fact that it is protected means there can be no commercial fishing in this area conserving all the marine life. Unlike most popular dive spots, reefs are not the major attraction in the Galapagos. Instead, it’s the sheer abundance of marine life. Some of the best dive spots can be found around the waters of Darwin and Wolf islands, divers regularly encounter schooling hammerheads, whale sharks and spotted eagle rays along with prowling Galapagos and silky sharks.