Put a group of divers together that don’t know each other and before long the conversation swings around to the best scuba diving holiday destinations. Where you have been, where you want to go and where everyone else should visit. Now everyone has a different opinion on this but these are my top 3 dive sites worldwide.
What makes a great dive site? Is it the fish and marine life? Interesting wrecks? Clear blue water? Vibrant coral reefs? That really depends on the diver, and in some regards how lucky you are when you visit.
I have been fortunate to dive all over the world. From the Maldives to Malaysia, Australia to Oman and France to the Philippines I have experienced many of the top dive sites worldwide. I have dived everything from wrecks to reefs, caves to canyons and muck to macro.
For me the best scuba diving holiday destinations are those that left me feeling in awe. They didn’t just have the wow factor – most dives I experience that – but had something more that left me deeply moved and/or elated.
So here are my choice for the three best places that I have dived. Please note although I have dived in many places I have not explored beneath the waves everywhere. On my wishlist are the Galapagos Islands, Christmas Island and the Cenotes of Mexico.
There are many ‘Blue Holes’ around the world but this is the best. The surface reef is colourful and full of life, but the hole that drops 150m into the blue it the real attraction. At 25-30m there is an overhang with stalactites and stalagmites that was a unique cave diving experience for me.
You are welcomed to this underwater world by a multitude of marine life. On my dives I saw reef, hammerhead, bull and lemon sharks – apparently we were lucky to see all four. With 60-metre visibility, water doesn’t get much clearer than this and I found the experience awe inspiring. It appears on many lists of the best Caribbean scuba diving.
In 1941 a Scottish supply ship went down off the coast of the Sinai Peninsula. The Allied Forces loss was a wreck diver’s gain. This 131-metre long wreck contains much of its original cargo including rifles, trucks and even full train carriages. It is hard not to be moved by the remains and the period of time that they represent.
It lies in only 20 metres of water, on a fish-covered reef in the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea, often with more than 30 metres of visibility. The currents can be strong around the wreck so it has some technical challenges too. It is widely regarded as one of the best wreck dives on the planet and is the best I have done.
Sipadan is a Mecca for divers. Limited numbers of permits ensures this tropical island remains an isolated paradise. There are 14 main dive sites in Sipadan, many of which could make a top ten list. I spent a week there back in 2001 when you could still stay on the island and it was the greatest dive experience of my life.
An incredible diversity of fish inhabit this wall of reef that that drops off 600m (2000 feet) into the abyss below. I saw matra rays, whale shark and hammer heads for the first time here. White tip sharks, clown fish, countless turtles, parrot fish and so much more was seen every dive. But my highlight was the shoals of adolescent Barracuda swimming in a silver vortex.
I am sure your top 3 dive sites worldwide are different so please let us know in the comments. Working with companies all over the world you can plan the best scuba diving holidays through AWE365.