Most Wanted: The scuba bucket list
We’ve already dived in some great locations; The Red Sea, Indonesia, Cozumel, the cenotes of Mexico and randomly Majorca but after writing my list of top 5 wish-list destinations and learning about the amazing experience of diving between 2 continental plates in Iceland I’ve started to think about other must do or unique scuba dives around the world. So here is the second instalment of my most wanted series, a bucket list of the most sought after dive locations around the World. (Please note: all photos sourced via Pinterest)
1. Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos, Ecuador
As one of the best places to see a large range of pelagics such as Hammerhead sharks, tiger sharks, whale sharks, eagle rays and loads of turtles this would be a great dive site to just drift along with the current and take it all in. Of course there are so many other amazing dive sites in this area, I have it on good authority that the live-aboards are the way to go to get a taste of it all.
2. Jelly Fish Lake, Palau, Micronesia
Technically not a dive site as you can’t actually scuba dive here but the snorkelling would be so surreal and I feel worthy of a place on the bucket-list. The jelly fish that are in the lake have no predators so have lost their ability to sting meaning you cans swim amongst them for as long as you don’t get too tired and not as long as your air lasts.
3. SS President Coolidge wreck, Vanuatu
The Coolidge was once a luxury passenger cruise liner but come WW2 was turned into a troop carrier which was hit by friendly mines on its way into harbour. The wreck is almost completely intact and at over 200m would take you well over a weeks worth of diving to explore the whole site. Cannons, jeeps, guns and army supplies are all there waiting to be discovered and the coral covering the wreck has brought a range of reef fish, lion fish and turtles to join the already outstanding site.
4. Yonaguni monument, Japan
The underwater pyramid and other architecture that sits right in the heart of the sea off Japan’s most western point are truly an advanced dive. With strong currents and high waves the site is still hugely popular thanks to the mystery that surrounds the structures under the waves. Divers and academics have long battled over what the structure is or more what is was, some suggest that it is a geological phenomenon others say the ruins are from a long lost ancient civilisations and others claim they are the work of advanced alien life forms.
5. Banua Wuhu, Mahengetang, Indonesia
An underwater volcano that has become home to more fish and coral species in a 1km radius than the whole of the Caribbean. The volcano rises over 400m from the sea bed and will at times emitt volcanic gasses that bubble up to the surface. With the high water temperatures I imagine the dive to feel like a bubbly warm bath.
6. The Maldives
Who wouldn’t want to go to the Maldives?! With both the Male and Ari atolls playing home to consistent sightings of whale sharks and manta rays and smaller atolls offering hammerhead sharks on top of the usual host of reef and coral fish. The diving just like the white sand beaches are spectacular and with some live-aboards costing less than £1.5k for a whole week inclusive of flights, accommodation, diving and food it’s possible to do at a pretty reasonable price.
7. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
We debated over whether to have our big summer holiday in Oz 2 years ago, and as divers we would of course have wanted to dive the GBR however when we started to look into costs we realised we could dive for a week in Indonesia and still not spend as much as what we would do on a two tank dive trip in Queensland. As seen as the GBR is one of the wonders of the world not diving it would just seem silly and if you did get a bit tired of seeing life on the 3000 individual reef systems you could also visit some of the other amazing sites that Oz has to offer notably the Yongala wreck which is also in Queensland.
8. The Sardine Run, South Africa
An event that easily rivals the Great Migration in terms of spectacle and frenzy comes to the KwaZulu Natal coastline every June when millions of sardines leave the chilly waters and head north towards the warmth of the Indian Ocean. The main reason why divers flock here is due to the feast that the sardines provide for the thousands of dolphins, sharks, seals that also come to the party and if you are very lucky the odd Orca or whale.
9. Andaman Sea, Thailand
A trip to Thailand is surely a divers dream, with beautiful sites such as Hin Daeng (Red Rock) and Hin Mouang (Purple Rock) famed for the both the soft corals and range of life. The great diving combined with the opportunity to island hop to even more sites in the area mean it would be the perfect mix of diving and beach life.
10. The Farne Islands, United Kingdom
Apart from our qualifying open water dives at Wraysbury, Surrey we haven’t experienced any of the dive sites that the UK has to offer but one site could definitely encourage me to get my Dry Suit diver qualification. Off the coast of Northumberland, the Farne Islands are home to a large colony of playful grey seals where for just £40 you can do a two tank dive trip to see them playing underwater. After watching some of the videos of the seals interacting with divers it’s enough to make me think I would forget about the cold and revel in this unique dive site relatively close to home.