There are many good reasons to dive , but the one that catches most people's imagination is marine wildlife . From schools of tropical fish , sharks , tropical seas house an impressive piece of earth life that most people are only seen on the Discovery Channel . However, as a diver , I firmly believe that swimming with a school of fish or sharing a manta ray 's habitat for more than a few minutes to rest.
See the marine animals in their natural habitat makes them seem more real and worth protecting than any TV program could . At each of these five incredible destinations, divers can get up close and interact with some of the planet 's most powerful and beautiful animals. The action is just below the surface on many of these sites, so even novice divers can participate.
first Palau - There are a number of good reasons to dive in Palau , a small island nation in the South Pacific . The islands were known as wreck diving site since 1969, when Jacques Cousteau came to Palau Chuuk Lagoon in 1969 on the ruins of the Japanese Pacific fleet , most of which are filmed sunk during the Second World War. The wrecks have since been colonized by including a variety of marine life , the coral , rays, turtles and over 200 species of fish.
Above all, Palau is known for its sharks, with 130 threatened species inhabiting the islands. To protect the islands 'ecosystem called Palau government in 2009, the country's waters a' shark sanctuary " , banning all commercial shark harvest. Divers are probably gray reef sharks , white tip reef sharks , and other species patrolling both wrecks and wall sites like Blue Corner run .
second The Great Barrier Reef - While most Americans would be hard pressed to find Palau on a map , even non-divers know the Great Barrier Reef. Running nearly 1,500 miles along the eastern coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef in the world and is considered visible from space . To go with its size , the Great Barrier Reef has an almost unimaginably large collection of sea life. Besides moray eels, wrasse, and other common coral - dwellers, rarer creatures abound as giant clams and sea snakes .
Visiting the Great Barrier Reef by car is a good alternative for those who are not ready to commit to a liveaboard : the GBR is probably the world's road trip -friendly reef, and many people choose to town -hop along the coast , making their diving by day boat. Cairns on the reef of the northern end , divers can catch a boat to Hamilton Reef, a popular place for marine mammals such as dolphins and minke whales . Further south is the Townsville as a starting point for trips to the SS Yongala , a 1911 wreck -turned - reef that now sports turtles , large sea snakes and other super-sized animals. Gladstone, further south , is the connection point for boats to Heron Iceland , said to have some of the best diving on the GBR .
third Galapagos Islands - Known for inspiring Darwin's theory of evolution , Ecuador belonging Galapagos Islands are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a reserve for one of the world's largest populations of endemic wildlife. Are protected by the waters around the islands , the local fish have very little fear of humans , and many will even approach divers. Sea lions , turtles and manta rays are everywhere, and starfish, sea cucumbers, and Galapagos crabs seem to cover the sand in some places. Sharks , including hammerheads , are common but not dangerous. Diving in the Galapagos is difficult , and really only for experienced divers.
The islands are unusual for the tropics in this most diving is on volcanic drop-offs instead of coral reefs, so dive sites are deep and very exposed to ocean currents. Thanks to the Antarctic Humboldt Current , which passes through the islands , the water is unusually cold for the equator, a 7mm wetsuit is standard gear . If you are going to plan Galapagos , keep in mind that all visitors , whether Ecuadorian or foreign , you need a INGALA transit card to visit the islands , the card costs $ 10 for foreigners and must be purchased prior to the Galapagos . Visitors also have to pay a parking fee ( $ 100 for foreigners ) upon arrival in the islands.
fourth Cocos Iceland , Costa Rica - Costa Rica is known as eco - tourism destination , and few places in the country are better for it than Cocos Iceland , a rainforest -covered spot of land 340 miles off Costa Rica's Pacific coast shore . Accessible only by liveaboard Cocos is one of the largest uninhabited islands outside the Arctic : the only residents are a group of about 30 park rangers . While visitors can land for day hikes and other activities, they must of the island after dark .
Visitors Cocos is an oceanic island , so you can expect to see an eclectic mix of animals, including squid, turtles , tuna and hammerhead and whitetip sharks. The island of the island is particularly famous for whale sharks , mostly in deep offshore locations like Dirty Rock, a 100 -meter-wide underwater channel northwest sighted . As in Galapagos , the diving in Cocos is generally on the low side and in strong current , so it is not for beginners. With kayaking and whale-watching nearby, divers should not have a hard time keeping themselves occupied during surface intervals .
5th The Red Sea - Europeans have been diving in the Red Sea for decades, but it has only been in recent years that American divers have begun to join them . The 1,200 - mile-long sliver of water has for divers to visit an impressive variety of habitats , from coral reefs in the south to deep walls and wrecks in the north. The Egyptian city of Sharm El - Sheikh has become the base for diving in the Red Sea, from where the visitors can board a liveaboard or take day trips to coastal areas.
The extra- saline Red Sea marine life is much like that found in the Indian Ocean , with a few endemic species such as the blue - cheek butterflyfish thrown in for good measure . There are tons of sponge and coral species , dolphins , sharks and tropical fish like anthias and clownfish. Long at 1,200 miles, there is much to explore the Red Sea, and divers may even need multiple days to exhaust the possibilities for enormous offshore sites like Daedalus Reef.