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5 Diving Destinations You Need To Visit in 2016

By Marike Lauwrens 3 years ago
5 Diving Destinations You Need To Visit in 2016 | GVI
Categories Travel

Scuba Diving is a fun adventure activity that attracts people from all walks of life all over the world. Whether you dive recreationally or professionally, the more you dive, the more you want to dive and explore new underwater wonderlands. Here’s our list of 5 diving destinations you need to check out in 2016.

Fiji: Be Captivated By The Somosomo Strait

23Photo by: Mandy / Flickr

Between Taveuni Island and Vanua Levu in Fiji, you will find a hidden underworld of coral treasures called the Somosomo Strait. This spectacular destination has given Fiji the title of “Soft Coral Capital of the World”.

Why are they called “soft corals”?
Stony corals have a strong calcium carbonate skeleton, but it is absent in these soft corals. They are gorgeous and come in all colours of the rainbow, but are mostly found in varying hues of orange, red, purple and yellow. These corals are a dream come true for any underwater photographer! Popular dive sites in The Somosomo Strait are:

• ‘The Zoo’, home to various fish species like barracudas, reef sharks and manta rays.
• ‘Coral Gardens’ – one of the best dive sites in the area and alive with spectacular corals.
• ‘Rainbow Reef’ provides you with sightings in all shapes, sizes and colours, and you might just see a leopard shark too!

Hawaii: Say Hello To Hordes Of Mantas

24Photo by: Steve Jurvetson / Flickr

The happy island nation of Hawaii is known for its laidback lifestyle of leisure and water-based activities. Apart from surfing, diving is a must in this stunning location! The sunny Kona District is found on the island’s west coast and is one of our picks for your 2016 dive destinations. Kona is known for its magical Manta Ray night dives and even have dive sites called “Manta Village” and “Manta Heaven”.

The Mantas, averaging around 3 metres in size, show up in their hordes on these night dives. The record number of manta’s spotted on a dive was around 36. Other amazing marine life you may encounter on a dive in Kona include:

• Dolphins and whales.
• Local critters and juvenile fish.
• Spanish dancer nudibranchs.
• A variety of eels.
• Reef and Whale sharks.
• Turtles and an abundance of stunning coral reefs.

Belize: Explore The Great Blue Hole

20Photo by: Eric Pheterson / Flickr

The famed Blue Hole is one of the greatest geographical attractions in the diving world. The Blue Hole is situated in the centre of Lighthouse Reef, found about 96 kilometres from Belize City.

It is a completely circular “hole” in the ocean with a diameter of about 400 metres and is 145 metres deep; the depth causing this area to appear to be a darker shade of blue. The Blue Hole or giant “ocean eye”, is a limestone sinkhole and the opening to a system of underwater caves with walls moulded with stalactites (icicle-shaped formations that hang from the ceilings of caves). Highlights of this dive:

• Diving in one of the world’s most spectacular underwater caves.
• The scenery is out of this world!
• Seeing amazing soft corals in bright colours; fans, barrel sponges, tubes and gorgonians.

Mexico: Dive Into The Scenic Cenotes

22Photo by: Paul Simpson / Flickr 

Mexico boasts some of the world’s most breathtaking dive sites – but the Cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula are one of its best-kept secrets. Cenotes are natural swimming holes that have formed as the porous limestone bedrock collapsed.

Although the Cenotes are not your typical dive site, they are an underrated hotspot not to be overlooked. These pools are crystal clear and the visibility is incredible; you’ll be able to see all of the marine life frolicking around you. You should add this to your diving bucket list because:

• Easily accessible and perfect for snorkelling and shallow dives. Be sure to go with a guide!
• Its clear waters make for awesome underwater photography.

South Africa: Soak Up The Sun In Sodwana Bay

21Photo by: Derek Keats / Flickr

Sodwana is a charming diving village in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province and is home to some of the southernmost coral reefs in the world.

This coastline provides dive sites for divers of all qualifications and experience levels, dive sites range from shallow depths to over 40 metres. The warm Indian Ocean doesn’t disappoint and has an abundance of marine life. Sea creatures you should look out for in Sodwana:

• Ragged Tooth, Tiger and Reef sharks.
• Potato Bass, Trumpetfish, and Manta Rays.
• Honeycomb Morays Eels, Garden Eels, Moray Eels.
• Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead and Leatherback Turtles.

If you are looking to take your diving experience to the next level – join the world of marine conservation. There are some thrilling opportunities to help you protect our oceans and get up close with the marine life that inhabit our waters. So what are you waiting for? Get your fins on and go explore the wonders of the ocean!

Find out more about GVI’s international, award-winning volunteering programmes and internships! Choose from over 150 community development, animal care, teaching, women’s empowerment and conservation projects worldwide!