The top six dive destinations to encounter BIG animals.

The top six dive destinations to encounter BIG animals.

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.

Live aboard diving in Mexico: you’re guaranteed to have a whale of a time.

Live aboard diving in Mexico: you’re guaranteed to have a whale of a time.

With a head like a truck and a body covered in polka dots, swimming alongside the enormous whale shark is high up on any avid divers ‘must do’ list of underwater experiences.

Whale sharks are the largest cartilaginous fish in the world, yet are nothing to be afraid of. The ocean giants filter feed on plankton, which explains the enormous size of their head and mouth. To sustain a 12 metre long shark feeding on a food source that is around 0.04% of its size requires one huge set of jaws.  Whale sharks scoop up plankton and any unsuspecting small fish hanging near the ocean’s surface, using their mouth like a net to collect the massive amount of food they require.

Whale sharks thrive in waters of warmer temperatures, which means if you want to spend some time underwater with them pack your bags for somewhere tropical. Mexico is not only renowned for the encounters travellers can have with these magical animals, but is an insanely fantastic and relatively untouched dive destination in its own right.

Mexico is  where seeing these incredible creatures is almost guaranteed at certain times of the year. Live aboard diving vessels in Mexico usually plan their itineraries around the seasons, so you’ll have to decide where you want to go and what you want to see prior to booking your trip.

Whale sharks can often be spotted in the Sea of Cortez. Protected by the Gulf of California, the Sea of Cortez’s relatively calm water stretches for over 1000 kilometres. Almost a third of the world’s species of cetaceans can be found in this underwater microcosm, and diving in the Sea of Cortez is absolutely phenomenal. From July to October, dive live aboards  visit this area for week long action-packed trips.

Scattered throughout the Sea of Cortez are endless pinnacles, islands and rock formations so there’s no shortage of live aboard dive sites. There are few animals that can melt even the coldest of hearts quite like sea lions can, and the Sea of Cortez is where a dive can quickly turn into an underwater play session with these puppies of the sea! It’s not uncommon to be able to tick more than one kind of whale off your bucket list, with species of orcas, dolphins and whales spotted regularly.

The unique geographical position of the sea and the surrounding area has resulted in species that can only be found in this area, and diving in the Sea of Cortez presents divers with the rare chance to encounter the endangered and unique sub species of porpoise endemic to the area, the vaquita. The Sea of Cortez is bursting with so much life that it’s difficult to list it all and really do this melting pot of marine life justice, so I recommend you just book that trip and head over there yourself! Due to the remoteness of the Sea of Cortez, the best way to head over to this part of the world is by a dive live aboard.

A humpback whale calf comes in a little closer to inspect my camera lens.
A humpback whale calf comes in a little closer to inspect my camera lens.

If a different kind of ocean giant is more your thing, Socorro in Mexico is one of the few destinations where you have the chance to interact underwater with humpback whales (another great spot to swim with humpbacks is the Kingdom of Tonga).  Socorro has been coined ‘Mexicos Galapagos’, and it’s easy to see why.

The Socorro Islands are a group of 4 islands each named individually, but are often collectively referred to as the Socorro group. Liveaboard diving at Socorro offers encounters of the pelagic kind, and plenty of them. Sharks can be found here in the hundreds.

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The luxury Mexican dive liveaboard, the Solmar V. Click the image to learn more!

The team onboard the Solmar V live aboard once counted 7 different species of shark on a single dive!

Huge schools of hammerheads can be seen gliding past along with Giant Pacific manta ray. This species of manta can grow to just under 7 metres from wing-tip to wing-tip, and are regularly visitors to the Socorro Islands. Whale sharks are a special treat at the islands, and can be spotted in November/December and late April/May.

If heart-stopping adrenalin rushes and interactions with some of the biggest creatures to call this blue planet of ours home is what you’re all about, Mexico needs to be your next live aboard dive destination. The biodiversity of this dive destination truly needs to be seen to be believed.

Jump in with millions of jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake.

Jump in with millions of jellyfish in Palau’s Jellyfish Lake.

In a recent article I stated that most dive destinations are renowned for one thing in particular (like humpback whales in the Kingdom of Tonga), but in Palau everything underwater is so diverse and wonderful it’s hard to narrow it down to just one.

I was mistaken.

The Micronesian archipelago of Palau is home to a lake that is full to the brim with completely harmless jellyfish. Jellyfish Lake is a stark (but awe-inspiring) contrast to the breathtaking drift dives and spectacular coral reefs surrounded by year-round tropical water that you can expect of a Palau diving trip.

Jellyfish Lake,
Jellyfish Lake, Eil Malk Island.

Jellyfish lake is nestled amongst a vast expanse of forest on Eil Malk Island. Eil Malk is part of the Rock Islands, which is comprised of around 445 mostly uninhabited limestone islands.  After a short hike, you arrive and take in the view of the lake and it’s surrounds. Emerald water, bordered by dense jungle and lined with a blanket of perfect blue from a cloudless sky. From above,  it’s hard to see what all the fuss is about. Sure, the lake and the vegetation surrounding it are beautiful, but it’s not until you enter the water that you truly believe the hype surrounding Jellyfish Lake. 

The Jellyfish Lake is a snorkel-only site, and as you descend beneath the surface on a single breath you are overcome by feelings of serenity and wonder as the millions of jellyfish rise above and below you.The jellyfish that inhabit the lake are giant golden marshmallows, like droplets of soft liquified sunshine floating all around you. The giant jellies that call this marine lake home are either moon or golden jellies, and there are thought to be 10 million of these in Jellyfish Lake.

Jellyfish lake is a marine lake, so when you first dive down you might be surprised by the salty taste of the water.  Once connected to the ocean, the 12 000 year old Jellyfish Lake is now isolated from the rest of the sea creating a mini-ecosystem where the jellyfish is king. While the lake is relatively isolated from the surrounding ocean, it’s  filled with saltwater thanks to a spiderweb of tunnels and fissures through the limestone of an ancient reef. This disconnection from the open ocean has encouraged the evolution of an eco-system lacking in diversity, but abundant with Jellyfish. These jellies no longer require their stingers. With few natural predators they no longer need this characteristic, making snorkelling with the millions that inhabit this bizarre ecosystem a pain free and phenomenal experience.

There are dozens of these marine lakes like Jellyfish Lake throughout the Rock Islands. This particular lake however is unique in the fact that it has an anoxic layer along the bottom, which is one reason why scuba diving is not allowed in Jellyfish Lake. The last 15 meters of the lake contains high concentrations of hydrogen sulfide which can be absorbed through the skin of a diver, leading to death. Jellyfish are also delicate creatures, and air bubbles created from breathing through scuba apparatus can travel through their flimsy bodies, irreversibly damaging them.

Everyday, the resident Golden jellyfish make the arduous migration from one side of the lake to the other, following the movement of the sun. Strangely enough, the Golden jellyfish have a strict schedule they like to adhere to. In the morning they move from the centre of the western basin to the eastern basin, then in the afternoon head to the western side of the lake, finally propelling themselves to the western basin where they spend the night.They migrate in such a way to gain as much exposure to the sun as they possibly can, revolving as they move so each part of their body receives some rays. Golden Jellyfish photosynthesise zooxanthellae living in their tissues and this symbiotic relationship provides them with their food source. Whilst these jellyfish have evolved to lose their stinger, they are still faced with a natural predator quite literally lurking in the shadows. The ethereal Golden Jellyfish avoids shadows not only so it can receive meet its daily dietary requirements, but so it can avoid an attack from an anemone living on the outskirts of the lake.

The Moon jellies don’t have as much of a rigid routine as the Golden Jellyfish, propelling themselves here, there and everywhere. Moon jellies are the opposite of the Golden Jellyfish who seek out and thrive in the sunshine. These jellyfish rise to the surface every night to feed in the light of the moon.

How to get there

How many places in the world can you swim with thousands of harmless jellyfish?

One.

For that reason, most Palau diving live aboards will include a visit to Jellyfish Lake in their itinerary. That way you can not only spent a week diving the myriad of dive sites Palau is known for, but also visit its deservedly famous jellyfish lake.

Scientists have just discovered a glow in the dark sea turtle.

Scientists have just discovered a glow in the dark sea turtle.

This isn’t just a catchy headline.

A team of researchers on a night dive in the Solomon Islands came across a hawksbill sea turtle glowing like a neon sign, and documented the first ever case of biofluorescence in a reptile.

Biofluor-what-now?

Biofluorescence is when an organism absorbs one colour and then reflects it as a completely different colour. Biofluorescence is not to be confused with bioluminescence, where organisms are capable of producing their own light, usually through a chemical reaction. To put it simply, biofluorescent animals can change the colour of existing light, and bioluminescent animals can create their own light.

Seeing bioluminescence underwater is one of the most breathtaking things you can see night diving. Many small organisms are bioluminesent, and put on a spectacular show for night divers. There is few things more surreal than switching your dive torch off and watching the thousands of tiny fluorescent lights dance around you.

Marine Biologist David Gruber, was in the Solomon Islands to film bioluminescence displayed by coral and small reef sharks. You can imagine his surprise when a hawksbill turtle came swimming into view, glowing a distinct red and green (if you don’t believe us check out the video from National Geographic below!) Until this moment, biofluorescence had never before been seen in any reptile, let alone a sea turtle. The divers swam alongside the brightly glowing animal, filming it using a camera fitted with a yellow filter designed to pick up on fluorescent animals within the frame.

Gruber explained that the red glow on the turtle’s shell may be from algae growth, but that the yellow and green was emitted from the turtle. Animals normally use biofluorescence as a defence mechanism or as a form of communication, but exactly why these mysterious and critically endangered sea turtles glow is a question that is now waiting to be answered.

Want to dive in the Solomon Islands? The Bilikiki liveaboard is one of the best live aboards in the area, and visits the main 3 island groups of Florida Island, Russel Island and Marovo Lagoon which boast and array of incredible and diverse dive sites.

10 fish to look for when diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

10 fish to look for when diving on the Great Barrier Reef.

Ever since Finding Nemo brought the already iconic Great Barrier Reef further into the spotlight, clown fish have become one of the most loved fish by divers and non-divers alike. But these cheeky little guys aren’t the only ones that inhabit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. There are over 1500 different species of fish you can spot when diving the Great Barrier Reef, and we’ve created a checklist of the top ten.

Maori Wrasse

Male humphead Wrasse can be distinguished by their turquoise and green colouring, striking pattern and big lips.
Male humphead Wrasse can be distinguished by their turquoise and green colouring, striking pattern and big lips.

Maori wrasse are one of the friendliest fish in the sea. Covered in intricate patterns, this fish can grow to over 2 metres, making it one of the biggest reef fishes in the world. The incredible thing about Maori wrasse is that females can change to males if they wish. It’s not fully understood why these fish do this, but one theory is that if there is not enough males in an area, a female will step up and become a male. These fish usually hang around in the same area, so a dive site you visit in the Great Barrier Reef may even have it’s own resident Maori Wrasse.

Parrot fish

Parrot fish not only share the bright colours that feathered parrots too, but this gorgeous fish also has a tiny beak that it uses to scrape off the coral for a delicious snack. These fish never learned to eat quietly like the rest if us, and the sound of them munching on the coral will ring through the water whilst you’re scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef.  Parrot fish are actually after the algae that lies within the coral, and once they’ve digested that they will excrete the coral onto the oceans’ sandy floor. Like the Maori Wrasse, the Parrot Fish can change gender from female to male.

Anemone Fish

A clown fish hides in an anemone. Image by Steve De Neef.
A clown fish hides in an anemone. Image by Steve De Neef.

Of course clown fish would get a mention on a Great Barrier Reef ultimate fish list, who am I kidding!? Anemone and clown fish have a symbiotic relationship. It’s basically natures way of saying, if you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. Clown fish develop a thick mucous layer which allows them to avoid being stung by the anemone. The clown fish pays its rent to the anemone by cleaning it, providing it with nutrients and scaring away potential predators. That’s why when you swim right up to an anemone, the clown fish inhabiting it will rise to the challenge and swim right up to you, sometimes even banging it’s tiny orange head on your mask.

Potato cod

Diving with a fish the same size as you is always a thrilling experience.
Diving with a fish the same size as you is always a thrilling experience.

Potato cod can grow to a whopping 2 metres, and their mottled pattern and friendly disposition make them a firm favourite among divers.

One of the best places to spot this species is at the Cod Hole in Osprey Reef, Australia. One of the most famous dive sites in the world, here you can find a whole family of friendly, car-sized potato cods. Diving the Cod Hole is a must do if you’re planning a dive live aboard adventure in Australia, and most Great Barrier Reef live aboards will work this site into their itinerary. Aussie dive live aboards such as Spirit of Freedom and Spoilsport offer trips that specifically include a visit to this wonderful site.

Lion fish

Lion fish by Paul Cowell
Lion fish by Paul Cowell

Simultaneously one of the most venomous and most beautiful fish in the sea, so definitely don’t try and touch it!  In some parts of the world the lion fish is an invasive pest, but in Australia populations are healthy.

 Stone fish

See why it's so hard to distinguish the stone fish from its surroundings?!
See why it’s so hard to distinguish the stone fish from its surroundings?!

This strange looking and well camouflaged fish is another deadly predator. It looks exactly like the surrounding rocks and coral, and lies partially buried in the sand. If stepped on, it will continue to lie motionless but will erect its 13 sharp, venom filled spines resulting in an incredibly painful sting.

Butterfly fish

These fish  are one of the most common fish you will see when diving the Great Barrier Reef, but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful. There are 114 different kinds of butterfly fish, and you can distinguish them from their small size, brightly patterned bodies and most species will have a spot on their flank that resembles an eye. This helps them confuse their predators, as they will be unsure which is the end with a head and thus not know which way this little fish will swim when attacked. Butterfly fish are hopeless romantics, and mate for life.

Angel fish

An intricately patterned Koran angelfish.
An intricately patterned Koran angelfish.

A close relative of the butterfly fish, the angel fish can be distinguished by it’s bright colours and ‘halo’, a vibrant line of colour that surrounds the body of this reef dweller.  Keep an eye out for the lovely Koran angelfish whilst you’re scuba diving on the reef.

Moorish Idol

This fish is easily recognisable by it’s contrasting colours of yellow, white and black and long dorsal fin which trails behind it like a cape. Like the butterfly fish, these fish mate for life.

Triggerfish

Keep an eye out for the Picasso and Titan trigger fish on your Australian dive adventure!
Keep an eye out for the Picasso and Titan trigger fish on your Australian dive adventure! Image by Christoper Gug

I have a love hate relationship with this fish. Picasso and Titan triggerfish are incredibly territorial, and can deliver a nasty bite if you head near their nesting area. Male trigger fish build hollow nests, and avoiding these nests is harder than you think! Their territory is a cone shape that starts at the nest and then spreads outwards above it. You could be diving 10 metres overhead and still be in this fishes territory, and they’re not shy about letting you know! The titan trigger fish is a large species of this fish, and can be distinguished from it’s oval, patterned body,

 White tip reef shark

White tip reef sharks are the puppies of the shark world. Small, slender and usually quite skittish this timid species of shark can be seen slinking in between coral reefs. They feed at after the sun goes down, so your chances of seeing them are greatly increased if you decide to do a night dive. Before you head off on your next dive trip, check out our latest post on how to become a better night diver.

The Great Barrier Reef is a must-visit dive destination for any one who loves coral reefs and diving with an abundance of fish and marine life. There’s a reason that ‘great’ is included in its title!

Have you got a favourite reef fish we haven’t mentioned here? Let us know by leaving a comment.

The big reason behind why the hammerhead shark has its hammer.

The big reason behind why the hammerhead shark has its hammer.

Sharks are one of the most feared animals on the planet. For most people, coming face to face with a shark is what nightmares are made of. For most scuba divers it’s the exact opposite. Sharks are the top predator in the ocean, and they keep our oceans healthy and thriving. If you’ve ever dived with sharks, you’d agree that they are a thing of beauty and grace and don’t deserve their vicious reputation (way to go Jaws movies!) In fact, statistically speaking, you’re more likely to win an Oscar than get eaten by a shark.

Of the 360 or so different species of shark, one of the most fascinating and strange-looking species of shark is the hammerhead. Hammerhead sharks possess one of the most bizarre looking head shapes in the animal kingdom. As the name suggests, this shark has a head literally shaped like a hammer, and it’s believed these sharks’ heads have evolved to enhance its hunting technique. Apart from the nine species of hammerhead, all other shark species are streamlined hunters, designed like slick underwater torpedo’s. So whats the point of this species giant head?

For a while there, some scientist were adamant that hammerhead sharks would have worse sight thanks to their anatomy. Research has shown that these sharks have incredible eyesight, and the strange positioning of their eyes allows them to see both above and below them at once. They can even see behind them as they swim by moving their heads from side to side. Along with their 360 degree vision, hammerhead sharks use their long rectangular noggin’ as storage space for their highly sensorized sensory organs.  A hammerheads favourite food is stingray, and rays like to rest hidden under a pile of sand. Hammerheads don’t only have amazing vision, but can detect fields of energy in the water created by their prey, using sensory organs called ampullae of Lorenzini. Their combination of eyesight and other senses we mere humans could only dream of make them an efficient and powerful predator. In addition to these more advanced adaptations, hammerhead sharks use their rectangular heads just like, well… a hammer. Once they’ve found their prey, they pin it down using their head and wallah, dinner is served!

For some reason, their bizarre looks make hammerheads one of the more-feared shark species. In reality, they are completely harmless and are fantastic and beautiful animals to scuba dive with.

Where can I dive with hammerheads?

Hammerhead sharks thrive in temperate and tropical waters globally, and can be spotted in huge groups migrating to cooler waters. While there are plenty of places you might see hammerheads, there are a few destinations that are renowned for their regular hammerhead shark sightings.

Cocos Islands, Costa Rica

Cocos Islands is a diving mecca, and the place to head to if you want to dive with hammerhead sharks and a plethora of other big sea life. Diving the Cocos Islands is where you can see hammerhead sharks in huge numbers, and is a remote untouched dive destination 550 kilometeres off the Costa Rican Coastline. Due to it’s remoteness, the only way to visit this destination is via a diving live aboard departing from Costa Rica.

The Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Honestly, I feel like the Galapagos features in every ‘best place to see…’ themed article I’ve ever written (find out why it’s so special here). Another untouched and remote area, hammerheads are commonly seen here. At the favourite Wolf and Darwin Islands they can be spotted by the hundreds. These islands are a minimum of 14 hours from the mainland, so like the Cocos, The Galapagos Islands can only be visited by a dive live aboard.

The Bahamas

Bahamas is a shark hub. Consisting of 700 different islands, there are quite a few different destinations to see hammerhead sharks, all of them boasting crystal clear, deliciously warm water. Why not jump on the yacht ‘Carib Dancer’ for an 8 day shark-filled dive extravaganza?

Rasdhoo Atoll, The Maldives

The Maldives is a picture perfect escape, and the place to go to spend some quality time underwater with hammerhead sharks. The Rasdhoo Atoll is renowned for hammerheads in large groups, however you can frequently spot these sharks throughout the Maldives. The best way to dive the Maldives is onboard a live a board, and we’ve found some of the most luxurious live aboards in the Maldives for you.

Hammerheads are one of the most bizarre, intelligent and wonderful species to call the ocean home. Seeing them is something every diver needs to have ticked off on their bucket list at some point in their lifetime.

Have any experience with hammerhead sharks you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!

What live aboard diving in the Cocos Islands is really like.

What live aboard diving in the Cocos Islands is really like.

It’s phenomenal. But you knew that right?

If you’ve dived in the Cocos Islands, you’d know exactly what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, let me fill you in.

Diving in the Cocos Islands is an adrenalin filled, crazily good underwater experience. This remote area is around 550 kms off the mainland of Costa Rica, which equates to 36 hours travel time and can only be done by boat. This is a great time to relax and unwind prior to launching into your next week or so of insanely awesome diving. The pinnacles rising from the sea that make up the Cocos Islands are surrounded by nutrient packed water, which attracts the huge amount of life that this dive destination is so famous for.

Cocos Islands is THE place for pelagics. I’m a sucker for big sea life. Give me sea turtles, mantas, sharks and other pelagic species over  small stuff any day. Muck diving is great, and I definitely have time for the little things in a divers life (pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs and frog fish instantly make me happy as soon as I see them) but nothing compares to the feeling you get when you see a large dark shape looming out of the blue and realise there is a 4 metre wide manta ray headed your way. For any lovers of big animals, Cocos Islands needs to be on your bucket list, and it should be right at the top.  Cocos Islands is where you can see schooling hammerheads, and sometimes these schools are so huge that all of a sudden it’s like someone switched the lights out as the sun gets blocked by the sheer number of sharks swimming overhead.

Cocos Islands is a protected marine park, and the island and surrounding waters are relatively untouched by human life, making it a diving haven. Cocos Islands offers a variety of different kinds of dives, and all levels of experience are catered for. From drift dives along steep walls teeming with life to blue water dives there is something for every diver. You can take things to the next thrill level by night diving in the Cocos. Imagine being surrounded by darkness, the only thing illuminating the water around you is the columns of light given off by your torches. Then you see multiple pairs of little green eyes coming out of the darkness as sharks surround you, feeding in the moonlight.

There are over 20 sites to visit in the Cocos Islands, and the fantastic thing is they are relatively close together, maximising your dive time and minimising your travel to each site. A firm favourite and a site that features on most live aboard itineraries is Bajo Alcyone. Here you’re likely to see hundreds of hammerheads and other pelagics as the swim along the submerged formations of the island.

The other great thing about Cocos Islands is there is no ‘season’. Diving is great year round. The rainy season (June to December) brings with it even more nutrients to the water, and in turn this attracts even more life to this diverse ecosystem. Dry season is when waters are calmer, and this is from December to May. It’s really up to you when you decide to visit this part of the world for a diving packed adventure!

Who to dive with?

Due to the remote nature of the Cocos Islands, the only way you can dive this location is on an overnight live aboard. These usually run for about ten days, and will take you to the best of the best sites this pristine area has on offer. Liveaboard.com offers the best price for Cocos Islands live aboards, and there is a trip to suit every budget.