Most divers have their own personal lists of places that they would like to dive that are reputed to offer some of the best underwater experiences in the world. One of the best things about these top 5 sites is that you do not need to be an expert diver to enjoy them all (unless stated), you just need to be qualified to dive in open water, competent in your abilities and comfortable in the water.
The Wreck of the Yongala – Queensland, Australia
The Yongala sank back in 1911 with the loss of all lives and was lying on the sea bed for almost half a century before being discovered. The Yongala is now home to diverse marine life and is listed as the number one dive on the whole of the Great Barrier Reef. The Yongala measures 109m from bow to stern and is protected under the Historic Shipwrecks Act. A dive here will bring you face to face with tiger sharks, sea turtles, bull sharks and graceful manta rays though make a point of not entering the wreck itself as this is very much forbidden, in fact one diver was recently arrested and prosecuted for doing so. For the best flights to Australia click here.
The Wreck of the Thistlegorm – Egyptian Red Sea
To coin a phrase the Thistlegorm is an ‘emotional wreck’; she was hit in a German bombing run on the 6th October 1941 and has slept on the sea floor for over 70 years. Her cargo of trucks, motorbikes and railway stock litters the sea bed and when visiting her you are not only visiting a time capsule, you are also attending a war grave. Thistlegorm lies in the Straits of Gubal in the north Egyptian sea, and was visited by Cousteau in 1955; she has been attracting attention and controversy ever since. There are many mysteries that surround this wreck and plenty of things left to discover. Her bow lies only 15m below the surface with her propellers down at a depth of 27m; she is over 400ft in length and will take much more than one dive to discover completely, inside and out. A great trip if you have booked a flight + hotel package in Sharm el Sheikh.
Great Blue Hole – Belize
From above the Great Blue Hole looks like a giant pupil set within a coral eye socket, peering up from the ocean depths. It is part of the beautiful Lighthouse Reef system and is around 60 miles out from Belize. The hole is almost a perfect circle around 300ft in diameter, the depth inside is 412ft and it opens onto underwater corridors and caves. The water moves very little in the hole and visibility is excellent. The top of the hole around the roof is filled with colourful life, but as you dive deeper the small fish fade away leaving only the several species of shark that call this home. To dive here you need to have experience of deep water dives and show proof of your certification. If you want to visit this spot you could book flight tickets to San Pedro.
Barracuda Point – Sipadan Island, Malaysia
This dive could find you surrounded by schools of glittering bannerfish, redtooth tigerfish, tuna and not forgetting the grey reef sharks that patrol the area. This is a wall dive which takes you to a plateau where the barracudas get together. Be sure not to venture too far north as the currents can catch you off guard and sweep you away. Check out these Malaysia flight deals to travel to this amazing place for the best price.
Manta Ray Night Dive – Kailua Kona, Hawaii
An area of underwater light is provided for you to watch the graceful swooping of the rays that come here to feast on the plankton that the lights have summoned. This dive offers an incredible unforgettable experience. If you have never experienced a night dive this definitely offers the best possible introduction. More information can be found here.