I love the water. As a kid, my parents had to drag me out of the pool and I grew up constantly exploring the James River with friends. Everything about the ocean has always fascinated me and it was a lifelong dream of mine to get SCUBA certified.
Fast forward to college. I learned my school, ECU, had a great diving program and (BONUS) it counted towards my degree. I took the class, got certified, and immediately got hooked. So hooked that I went through Advanced, Rescue, Master, and Divemaster training over the following year and a half.
I’m not sure how I haven’t already combined two of my favorite things, scuba and travel, into a pretty awesome post yet, but I’m remedying that now! Ironically, I’ve never visited any of these countries much less these dive sites, but you can bet good money that I will. Until then, enjoy these suggestions for your next adventure!
Location: Galapagos, Ecuador
Depth: 30-100+ feet
Typical Visibility: 40-80 feet
Why You Should Book Your Trip: If you love diving with large animals as much as I do, this should be first on your list. It’s got everything from roaming whale sharks, eagle rays, free-swimming moray eels, and tiger sharks to so many turtles you might get sick of seeing them and giant schools of hammerhead sharks. Excuse me while I go buy my tickets.
Hairball 1, 2, and 3
Location: Lembeh Strait, Indonesia
Depth: 10-100 feet
Typical Visibility: Varies season to season.
Why You Should Book Your Trip: The name alone makes me want to visit. Try to avoid images of your cat making obscene noises and think more 80’s rock band. All of the creatures in this area have developed long, wispy “hair”. This site is a photographer’s dream and you’ll get to see some of the smaller creatures that are even more unique than usual here like the filamented ghost pipefish, seahorses, cockatoo waspfish, and Ambon scorpionfish. However, they all look like they need a haircut.
Location: Sipadan, Borneo, Malaysia
Depth: 75-120+ feet
Visibility: 90+ feet
Why You Should Book Your Trip: It might be a headache to get to the dive site, but it’s completely worth it. If you love spotting octopuses, grey reed sharks, eagle rays, and turtles, then this is a great place for you to dive. The star of the show, however, are barracudas. These mean-looking fish swirl in giant tornado-shaped schools that will have you wanting to stare for hours (if your bottom time will allow).
President Coolidge Vanuatu
Depth: 70-240 feet
Visibility: 30-100 feet
Why You Should Book Your Trip: Wreck diving adds a whole new layer to scuba fun. Originally, this ship functioned as a luxury liner and was recommissioned as a troopship during World War II until it was sunk by German mines in 1942. The ship still holds all of its cargo such as jeeps, medical supplies, toilets, guns, gas masks, and a variety of personal effects that were abandoned during evacuation.
Underwater Museum, Cancun National Park
Location: Cancun, Mexico
Depth: 26 feet
Visibility: Varies depending on weather and diver activity
Why You Should Book Your Trip: This non-profit museum is dedicated to conservation and has taken this mission to a very unique place, underwater. Over 500 sculptures can be seen via glass-bottom boat, by snorkeling, or by scuba diving. These sculptures are being slowly transformed into coral reefs to help the nearby, natural reefs and ecosystems to survive.