This year, ditch that list of boring resolutions you made for a far more exciting (and probably more realistic) bucket-list of diving experiences. There’s no need to worry about slimming down or saving cash when you’re surrounded by Great White Sharks in Mexico.
What you do need to worry about however is how you’re going to pick which destinations you want to tick off first. We’ve done the hard work for you and rounded up four of the most coveted and thrilling experiences to take pride of place on your 2016 scuba bucket-list.
Dive the world’s largest Green Sea Turtle rookery
Between November and March every year up to one hundred thousand green sea turtles make the long journey to Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef to nest. The remote island, located on the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, plays host to the largest population of breeding Green Sea Turtles in the entire world.
Raine Island is a protected turtle nesting sanctuary, and thus is not accessible by the public. However, the reefs surrounding this critical habitat are untouched and swarming with not only sea turtles, but also tiger sharks in search of an easy snack. From the 28th of November to the 5th of December 2016, luxury dive liveaboard 'Spoilsport' will be on a 7-night turtle quest. Divers will have the once in a lifetime chance to dive with thousands of sea turtles in some of the most remote and well-protected areas of the iconic Great Barrier Reef.
The trip, coined the ‘Turtle Spectacular’ departs from Cairns and heads 500 kilometers north in search of the best that the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. Along with plenty of sea turtles and sharks, divers will visit the historic Pandora Wreck. The ship sank in 1871, taking 32 crew members with it. Tijou Reef offers fantastic wall and drift dives, with steep cliffs of coral that plummet 90 metres below and schools of pelagic fish.
The ‘Turtle Spectacular’ departs on the 28th of November, however Spoilsport operates in the Great Barrier Reef year round.
Be pampered AND dive the Maldives.
Fancy a facial after your dive? What about a massage after a day of having a tank strapped to your back? 'Scubaspa Ying' and 'Scubaspa Yang' offer the unique combination of diving and luxury spa treatments in the Maldives. The Maldives is as close as you can get to paradise, and is a favorite for close encounters with mantas and whale sharks.
The Scubaspa liveaboards are both custom built for diving and relaxing, and the vessels featuring panoramic open-plan areas with views of the heavenly surrounds. Think 360 degree views of the turquoise waters and cloudless skies that the Maldives are so famous for.
Guests can choose to opt for a scuba only package, which will have you underwater around 15-17 times per trip or a package that combines both diving and daily spa treatments. The vessels offer trips that visit the best the Maldives has to offer, including Male Atoll, Ari Atoll and Rashdoo Atoll.
Spend a week with Great White Sharks in Guadalupe
240 kilometers off the west coast of Mexico’s Baja California lies Guadalupe Island, the world’s top destination for encounters with the most infamous fish in the sea. Nothing gets adrenalin pumping like being surrounded by a few Great White Sharks in crystal clear water.
With multiple rows off teeth that can grow over 7 centimeters long and a body that weighs the same as a car, it’s easy to see why these sharks have such a fearsome reputation. However stats have shown that you’re more likely to be killed by a toaster than a shark, so this reputation is relatively undeserved. Best way to nip any irrational shark fears in the bud? Get up close and personal with them yourself.
The Nautilus liveaboard vessels, 'Nautilus Explorer' and 'Nautilus Belle Amie' are fitted with submersible cages that are dropped to the depth where the sharks naturally congregate. The company minimizes its use of chum, which results in more natural, close up encounters. The team have identified more than 120 different sharks in a single bay. July and august is the best time to see groups of adolescent males, with larger female sharks starting to show up from September to October.
Great White Shark trips run from July through to the end of October.
Be immersed in the best and most bio-diverse sites of Indonesia.
Indonesia has long been a favourite destination for divers, but with a seemingly never-ending list of amazing places to spend a diving holiday it’s hard to narrow it down to just one trip. Luckily 'Mermaid I' and 'Mermaid II' offer a special ‘Biodiversity Cruise’ every few months to show off the marine splendor of the Indonesian archipelago.
Divers will have the chance to do around 50 dives over 15 days. Divers get to visit the ultimate bucket-list destinations; Indonesia, beginning with Dampier Strait in Raja Ampat. This area is known for phenomenal drift dives and a wide variety of both large and small marine life. From here, the liveaboard will venture to Missool and then on to the small island of Pulau Koon. Pulau Koon is sandwiched between Raja Ampat and the next destination, the Banda Islands.
The fantastic thing about this expedition is all in the name. The infinite amount of bio-diversity divers will see as they explore Raja Ampat, the Bandas Islands and a whole list of other destinations is mind-blowing. From being surrounded by an aggregation of sea snakes in Manuk to huge amounts of schooling pelagics in Ceram, the ‘Biodiversity Special’ on board the Mermaid liveaboards is the ultimate bucket list destination.
The ‘Biodiversity Special’ departs every few months onboard the Mermaid vessels.
What’s it going to be this 2016?
Diving with the biggest congregation of nesting green turtles? Coming face to face with the king of the ocean, the great white shark? Let us know by leaving a comment.