Best places to dive in July

hammerheads in Costa Rica
Hammerheads in Cocos Islands. Image taken onboard Argo Liveaboard.

July is one of the best months of the year to book your next liveaboard adventure. More nutrients and colder water in Cocos Islands and the Galapagos result in mind-blowing diving with ocean giants. Whale season is in full swing on the Great Barrier Reef, and conditions are perfect in Sipadan.

Hundreds of hammerheads in Cocos Island

June through to December is rainy season in Cocos Islands, and while this may mean choppier seas and more challenging dive conditions it also means unforgettable diving with a plethora of marine megafauna. Cocos Island in Costa Rica is a diving mecca, and due to its remote location can only be reached by liveaboard. The area is renowned for incredible diving with schools of sharks, mantas, dolphins and rays. The fish life in Cocos is equally as impressive, and the island is home to 27 species of fish that can only be found in the waters surrounding Cocos Island.

Ocean currents sweep nutrients through the waters of Cocos Islands during July, and these nutrients attract hundreds of hammerheads, mantas and whale sharks. In fact, the visibility often drops to between 10 – 25 metres during this time not because of the rain, but due to the thick layer of plankton in the water. Filter feeders such as manta rays and whale sharks are even more plentiful during this time, feasting on the vast amount of plankton in the waters of Cocos Islands. July is the early rainy season, so the water is still relatively calm and thus the crossing from Costa Rica is often a comfortable one.

Our top tip for diving Cocos Island: always be prepared! Whilst the water only drops a degree or two between seasons, thermoclines in the water mean that temperatures can drop a huge 6 degrees. This is not the most pleasant underwater sensation, so make sure you’re suited, booted and have a hood on before you dive.

Cold currents equal magical diving in the Galapagos

The water might be colder during July in the Galapagos Islands, however, the wildlife that is even more abundant during this time compensates for the chillier temperatures.

July is the ‘dry’ season in the Galapagos. There is less rain, but the temperature both above and below the ocean's surface is cooler than during ‘wet’ season. During July, the Humbodlt current carries cold water, rich in nutrients and plankton to the Galapagos Islands. Where there is plankton, there are filter feeders and in the Galapagos, you will have more whale shark and manta encounters than you can possibly imagine. July is one of the most popular months to visit this spectacular destination, and is thought of as ‘whale shark season’. The likelihood of seeing these enormous fish is greatly increased during this time.

Book the ultimate whale experience in the Great Barrier Reef
close up of dwarf minke whale
Close up of dwarf minke whale

Dwarf minke whales begin arriving in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef early June, but if you want to have the ultimate experience with these adorable whales July is the month to head to the land down under.

The liveaboard ‘Spoilsport’ offers divers and snorkelers alike with far more than just a dive trip on their Ultimate Minke Whale Expedition. This trip usually departs towards the end of July, and passengers on board will have the chance to participate in real research by monitoring these whales behaviour whilst in the water with them. The longest encounter onboard one of these trips was a whopping ten hours! Biology and ecology experts are on board to answer all your whale related questions, and entertaining lectures take place after dinner most nights.

Set sail in Sipadan

On the northeastern corner of Borneo, you can find Sipadan Island, Malaysia’s most famous dive destination. Sipadan is the quintessential tropical paradise, both above and below the water. Diving any time of the year is spectacular in Sipadan Island, however, the flat seas and cloudless sunny skies that prevail during July make diving here during this month extra special.

Diving in Sipadan is overwhelming on the senses for any diver. Sipadan is known for its healthy reefs, covered with colourful coral and fish. Hiding in the cracks and crevices is an astonishing amount of macro life, and it’s not unusual to spot multiple turtles leisurely munching on sponges along the reef walls.

This destination is excellent for experienced and beginner divers alike. The calm conditions and often-gentle currents, paired with the phenomenal marine life result in diving that is wonderful for every diver.

Origin: US