Since the last scuba diving article, you’ve doubtlessly scrutinized your calendar from every angle. In a mad effort to squeeze a trip to one of those otherworldly dive spots onto your hectic schedule, you’ve started to seriously look into booking flights and hotels. So before you get too far along, check out these five scuba diving spots first. They’re certain to leave you breathless. And who knows, you might be switching those bookings around too.
Yes, that’s actually the name of this dive site, and deservedly so! Although truthfully, the name is actually derived from the cheeky pseudonym given to the whiskey passed around by fishermen on the Kralendjik harbor. The initial impression isn’t anything special as reef life is sparse and broken, plus debris from passing boats litters the sea floor. But on this sandy bottom resides a truly impressive array of ocean critters. It’s common to see squids jetting by and packs of manta rays seemingly soar through the waves. Cranky looking frogfish can also be seen camping out in abandoned soda cans.
Blue Maomao Arch-New Zealand
We mentioned the term ‘otherworldly’ in the previous article, but this one really fits the bill and runs away with it. Poor Knight’s Island’s emblematic dive site starts off with one of two options; submersion beneath a massive boulder, or an underwater descent down a rocky staircase. Either way, the end point lies beneath the arch. Beams of light penetrate from each entrance, revealing synchronized armies of blue MaoMaos engaging in feudal disputes with their opponents. The effect resembles a perfect storm of choreographed dance. Though take note; on certain days the maomao’s will literally blot out the sun with their numbers, on other days you’ll be met with emptiness.
This husky arch off of Darwin Island in the Galapagos doesn’t house little Maomaos or other macro life. No, this is the ultimate lair for large sea creatures. The sandy bottom steeply declines as you pass beneath the monolithic structure and enter what can be a rather startling scene for the inexperienced. At times you’ll be privy to hundreds of hammerheads circling the shallows or trolling whale sharks. Moray eels leave their crevices to swim in open waters here, and at least one sea turtle is likely to occupy your field of view at all times. In fact, you’re likely to witness all of the above in a single dive. It’s little wonder why this is considered the best dive spot in the world.
This stretch of islands, several miles off the Northumberland coastline, is beset by heavy currents and rocky beaches. Hence the many wrecks of various fishing rigs which make up macro habitats on the ocean floor. A visit during seabird breeding season is truly a sight to behold. Overwhelming flocks of puffins, shags, kittiwakes, and elder ducks rule the skyline during this period. A dive beneath the turbulent waters reveals a similar display, but with thousands of grey seals instead. At high season they create a maelstrom of graceful and curious creatures that playfully interact with divers.
This dive site is so chock-full of Dr. Suess-like oddities that the rate of return for local resorts in the Lembeh Strait is extremely high. And yes, the species themselves are downright weird as it is, but the bizarro factor ratchets up even more due to filamentous algae which grows on Hairball’s inhabitants. This gives them the appearance of rocking out rad hairdos. The nudibranchs are a particular highlight. They’re a type of shell-less sea slug that come in a shocking assortment of shapes and colors. If you’re down for muck-diving and evolutionary rarities, Hairball is the way to go.