Saturday, 22 September 2018 11:45

The Top 10 Dive Sites in the World Featured

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Barracuda Point, Sipadan Island, Malaysia

This unbelievable dive site in Malaysian Borneo was brought to the world’s attention by Jacques Cousteau over 50 years ago, who described it as ‘an untouched piece of art’. Often considered as the top diving destination in the world, it’s home to over 3000 species of fish and hundreds of different types of coral. It’s common to see turtles, white-tip sharks, eagle-rays and Napoleon fish beautifully framed by huge schools of pelagic predators that cruise these waters, with massive swirling vortex of barracuda and jackfish sharing their home with crowds of batfish, humphead parrotfish and too many nudibranchs for a mere mortal to handle. A bucket-list site for every scuba diver out there!

 

Chumphon Pinnacle, Koh Tao, Thailand

By far the most visually impressive site close to the diving mecca of Koh Tao, this pinnacle is easily the best chance to see the whalesharks close to Koh Tao. Once home to bull sharks and reef sharks that locals swear will be back any day now, it's a fully submerged granite pinnacle 14 metres at its shallowest point and reaching as deep as 47 metres off the northern tip towards a secret pinnacle nicknamed 'The Castle'. It's surrounded by schools of chevron, yellowtail and pickhandle barracuda, teira batfish, large Malabar and brown marbled grouper towards the ocean floor and beautiful schools of fusiliers being hunted by passing king mackerel, trevally, queenfish and rainbow runners - an excellent place to watch the ocean at work, with a lot of interaction between the different types of fish that live there! It's also a great place to find some of our most beautiful nudibranch when you head towards the bottom, where old discarded fishing nets provide vital food for these sea slugs.

 

The Yongala, Townsville, Australia

SS Yongala was a steel passenger and freight steamer built in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and operated on the passenger route linking the gold fields of Western Australia with the eastern ports of Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. It is now a world-class shipwreck off the coast of Queensland absolutely teeming with life - you may see manta rays, sea snakes, octopus, turtles, bull sharks, tiger sharks, huge schooling barracuda and of course spectacular corals. 

The Yongala sank during a cyclone in 1911 killing 122 people, a racehorse called 'Moonshine' and a red Lincolnshire bull. It was believed that the hull of the ship had been ripped open by a submerged rock, and the wreck was not found until 1958. The ship is 109 meters long, and reaches depths of 30 metres, with the upper sections of the wreck just 16 metres below the surface.

 

Blue Hole, Belize

Housed in the Mesoamerican Reef System — the largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere — and located 70 km off the coast of Belize this site was chosen by Jacques Cousteau in his own personal ‘Top Ten’, no doubt due to its incredible natural features: this vertical cave 125 metres deep still contains remnants from its days above water, with perfectly preserved stalactites on show. It is also home to different types of sharks, large grouper, tuna and other pelagics plunging into its depths.

USAT Liberty Wreck, Bali, Indonesia

This incredible wreck dive site is a 130m long armed cargo ship which was hit by a Japanese torpedo during World War II, then pushed back into the water in 1963 by the eruption of Mount Agung which caused the vessel to slip off the beach! It now lies on a sand slope from about 9 metres to around 30 metres of water, making it possible to snorkel and amazing to dive. This wreck dive will certainly keep you busy, as the ship itself is smothered in marine life that has transformed the ship’s remains into an underwater haven. Here, you will find a variety of hard and soft corals, sea fans, nudibranchs, gorgonians, hydroids, anemones, and much more.

 

Sail Rock, Koh Tao/Koh Phangan, Thailand

With no other dive site for miles around, Sail Rock is renowned for being the undisputed number one dive site in the whole of the Gulf of Thailand. The only site for miles around (and a full 2 hour cruise from Koh Tao) all of the larger species in the area are attracted towards it which inevitably makes it the best place to see whalesharks in Thailand – in 2017 there were at least 102 whalesharks sightings here, the most ever seen in the recorded history of Koh Tao/Koh Phangan diving!

Once home to bullsharks (come back soon please!) it's covered in pelagics - schools of chevron and pickhandle barracuda, along with big-eye trevally, batfish, queenfish and tonnes of fusiliers! The edges of the site are usually home to prowling King Mackerel over a metre long and huge, fat Malabar and brown marbled grouper lurking at depth, looking to feed on the smaller fish that blanket the dive site.

 

Fujikawa Maru, Truk Lagoon, Micronesia                         

It’s hard to pick the ‘best’ wreck in Truk lagoon, but if I have to pick just one it has to be the Fujikawa Maru. It was a cargo ship, built in 1938 by Mitsubishi and requisitioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II to be used as an armed aircraft ferry. The conversion included a compliment of six-inch guns cannibalised from old cruisers which had last seen action during the Russian/Japanese war. Fujikawa Maru arrived in Truk in 1944, and off-loaded thirty B5N2 bombers onto Eten Airfield. Since these aircraft had been disassembled for shipment, they were unable to help defend Truk in the military operation against the Japanese and were destroyed on the ground, plus the Fujikawa Maru was sunk- leaving us with possibly the world's best wreck diving site.

It's now a picture-perfect shipwreck, covered with coral and sea life. Each of the five holds also offer incredible marine life, however the highlight is maybe the massive engine room which occupies the midships area, taking up 3 floors. She also features a cargo of Zero fighter planes in one of her holds!

 

Aborek Jetty, Raja Ampat

 Probably one of the most photographed jetties in the world, this is truly a great place to go and remember to take your camera with you, fully charged! With literally thousands of fish blanketing the areas under the jetty (with the type of fish there changing quite regularly too!) making it feel almost like a night dive, there’s probably if anything too many fish here – it can become a little disconcerting for those not experienced in diving with surrounded by so much marine life. As well as the swirling schools of fish this is an excellent site for those with an eye for the macro, with nudibranch aplenty, all sorts of weird and wonderful crustaceans and adorable frogfish lurking where you least expect them.

 

Darwin’s Arch, Galapagos

 Whalesharks. Eagle rays. Sea lions. Turtles. Dolphins. Schooling hammerheads, plus Galapagos and tiger sharks.  Schooling barracuda, thousands of jackfish, and tuna hurtling through the waters. ALL ON ONE DIVE.

 

Must I say more?

 

Blue Corner Wall, Palau, Micronesia

The most requested dive in all of Palau for a very good reason. Despite strong and unpredictable currents (making it a difficult dive for beginners) grey and white-tip sharks are attracted to this ridge, and with the upswelling currents come plankton and algae-rich waters caught up in the currents’ grasp and declaring ‘dinnertime!’ for the pelagics and their friends in the area – it’s common to see dogtooth tuna, king mackerel, large schools of barracuda, snapper and jackfish, Napoleon wrasse, eagle rays, hawksbill and green turtles plus plenty of macro.

If that isn’t enough some of the more rare visitors to the Blue Corner also include hammerheads, marlin, sailfish, bull sharks, manta rays and whalesharks – keep your eyes peeled!

 

Read 55 times Last modified on Friday, 28 September 2018 10:27