Macro diving is great, but there’s nothing quite like being side by side underwater with some of the biggest animals in the ocean. Being a mere body length away from an inquisitive dolphin, or watching on in awe as a manta ray dances around you is indescribably amazing. From humpback whales to great white sharks, we’ve got you covered for the best places to dive with the biggest creatures to call the ocean home.

Where to go if…

You want to come face to face with a great white shark.

Media worldwide has long portrayed Great White Sharks to be monsters of the deep, but after diving with these sharks you’ll realize this just simply isn’t the case. Don’t get me wrong, your heart will be beating at a hundred miles an hours as the sharks slowly swim past you as they check you out, but it’s impossible to return from a dive with a great white without a new sense of respect for these apex predators.

Mexico is the place to head if you’re up for coming face to face with a great white shark. Choosing an itinerary when it comes to live aboard diving in Mexico is a tough decision, as there are no shortage of fantastic dive sites. For great white shark diving though, you want to book a trip that includes Guadalupe in its itinerary. Dive live aboard’s visiting Mexico, such as Solmar V, are specifically set up for cage diving with great white sharks.

You want to be immersed in a school of hammerhead sharks.

In the Coco’s Islands off Costa Rica hammerhead sharks can be found in the hundreds, and that’s not all you’ll see diving in this iconic and protected area.

The renowned dive destination is a melting pot of underwater biodiversity, and is 550 kilo metres off the coast of Costa Rica so is best explored by live aboard. It seems that the more remote the destination, the more phenomenal the marine life and along with swimming alongside 200 or so scalloped hammerheads divers on a live aboard in Costa Rica can expect to see Pacific manta rays, eagle rays, sea turtles giant schools of pelagic fish and whale sharks. The schools of fish can be so dense that they cover the sun, and all of a sudden it’s as if someone has flicked off the light switch and you’re surrounded by hundreds of hammerhead sharks.

You want to dive with manta rays. In the dark.

Manta rays are often referred to as the ‘ballerinas of the sea’. The completely harmless and unbelievably graceful rays are one of the most beautiful animals to see underwater. But how about a manta ray experience that gets the adrenalin racing even more? Diving with manta rays after dark in Kona, Hawaii is an amazing experience. The rays gather to feed on the plankton in the moonlight, and you simply watch on as the mantas twirl and spin around you. On one night dive onboard the Kona Aggressor II guests were astonished when over 46 manta rays showed up on a single dive.

You want to dive with the largest bony fish in the sea.

Sunfish are the largest, and the most bizarre looking species of fish. These giant fish love to sunbathe, and divers can often see them soaking up some rays on the surface of the ocean (hence the name!) Liveaboard diving in Indonesia is the best way to get yourself next to these enormous fish, and they can often be spotted visiting cleaning stations on shallower reefs.

You fancy babysitting a humpback whale calf.

Imagine being so close to a humpback whale that you can see every groove it it’s skin, every curve of its enormous body. Humpback whales are a migratory species, and when they head to warmer waters to mate and have their young that ocean-enthusiasts are presented with the rare opportunity to swim with them.

There are a handful of places to swim with humpback whales, but without a doubt the Dominican Republic is one of the best. Between January and March every year, the Turks and Caicos Explorer 11 visits Silver Bank and offers itineraries purely focused on getting people up close and personal with humpback whales.

You can’t decide what large animal you most want to encounter.

So why not try for them all on one phenomenal dive trip?

Ask an avid diver what their number one dream live aboard destination is, and no doubt they’ll respond with a live aboard in the Galapagos Islands. This area is so well protected that the marine life feels no need to shy away from divers. Here you can spot schools of hammerheads, whales, marine iguanas, birds with bright blue feet and almost every species of pelagic you can think of.

Had any amazing encounters with BIG marine life? Let us know by leaving a comment.

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