Dive sites go in and out of fashion like any other holiday destination. Here are this year's latest new hot spots for scuba divers
Where are keen divers getting their kicks this year? The top five dive regions that are drawing the most visitors at present, according to Dive Worldwide, are: Indonesia, the Philippines; the Maldives; Malaysia; and little-known Micronesia, made up of thousands of tiny islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
The company's managing director Teresa Bennett says, 'The biggest new areas for diving are in Indonesia. While there used to be a major focus on Bali, we’re now going right the way down to Papua, and heading into much more remote areas of the country – the world’s largest archipelago which is at the heart of the Coral Triangle. There’s currently a huge fascination in whale sharks, mainly because research into their migration has been carried out only within the last few years and the difficulty in tracking them.'
So if you want to be in the zeitgeist, get yourself booked on a dive trip to:
1. Tahiti and her islands: the premier underwater destination for observing anything 'big' and abundant, especially when diving the ‘the passes’. Often known as the shark capital of the Pacific, these picture-perfect islands live up to their rating: lemon, grey, black-tip, white-tip and hammerhead sharks all make the Tahitian waters their home. Year-round diving, but head to Fakarava, Rangiroa and Rurutu for humpbacks between June and November.
2. Ambon, Indonesia: Photographers are particularly well catered for at Maluku Divers Resort - an intimate, purpose-built diving resort in a remote area packed with sea life - with individual editing desks and charging stations.
3. Pico, the Azores: Diving around Pico is still relatively untouched, and the Gulf Steam ensures a mild and humid climate year-round. It is also one of the best destinations in the world to dive with blue sharks in blue water and there are frequent mako shark sightings. Thrill seekers love the chance of a shark adventure in open water rather than in a cage.
4. Koh Tao, Thailand: Great for beginners, with average water temperature sitting at 28°C, diverse and plentiful diving to suit newbies and experienced divers alike.
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5. Grand Bahama: This world-class resort mixes historic fishing village, eco-treasures and shark encounters, making for a truly memorable dive destination. Three times a week there's the chance to join a max-eight-diver day-long Tiger Beach Shark excursion, while on non-shark days, you're spoiled for choice with wrecks, reefs, walls and wild dolphins.
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6. The Maldives: See the best sites of the islands' 26 atolls from a luxurious live-aboard. You name it, there's the likelihood you'll see it, from whale sharks and manta rays, to turtles, shrimps and ghost pipe fishes.
7. The Andaman Sea: For divers, the real treasures of the Andaman Sea are found at famous sites such as the Similan Islands, Phi Phi Islands, Richelieu Rock, Hin Daeng, Koh Raja and Shark Point, where the warm, clear water draws large schools of tropical fish, manta rays, and the awe-inspiring whale shark. To have a hope of catching all these sites in one trip, you need to be on a live-aboard.
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Get travel information for all these destinations from Dive Worldwide.
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