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ZuBlu's Top Unique Dive Destinations for 2018


05 January 2018, by Matthew Oldfield

ZuBlu will be revealing some exciting new destinations and incredible dive experiences over the coming weeks, but in the meantime we thought a taster of what’s to come might get our guests in the mood for some phenomonal diving adventures in 2018!

TOP DIVE DESTINATIONS FOR 2018

1

CHRISTMAS ISLAND, AUSTRALIA, INDIAN OCEAN

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Christmas Island is famous for its annual migration of millions of red crabs, but did you know that the islands is also home to some spectacular diving? Surrounded by dramatic reefs and with an incredible diversity of marine life, Christmas Island offers adventurous divers the opportunity to dive with whale sharks, drift past dramatic walls and caves and even explore a wreck. The start of the rainy season in October or November signals the start of the crab migration and the arrival of the whale sharks and mantas, that travel to the island to feast on the rich pelagic soup of plankton and crab eggs - the perfect time for an adventurous dive expedition to one of the last frontiers of diving in the Indian Ocean.

Great for:

  • The red crab migration - one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles
  • Diving with whale sharks and other big fish
  • Exploring dramatic walls and caves
  • Great visibility in the dry season

Best time to go:

  • The red crabs migrate at the start of the rainy season around October or November and the whale sharks and mantas arrive at the same time
  • The dry season from May to October has better visibility and conditions

Image courtesy of Christmas Island Tourism Authority.

2

ALOR, INDONESIA

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Often overshadowed by Komodo to the west, and the Banda Sea and Raja Ampat to the northeast, Alor remains one of Indonesia’s hidden gems and offers beautiful diving on pristine reefs, plenty of big fish, great visibility and incredible marine biodiversity for those divers willing to get off the beaten track. The diving is focussed on the many sites within the strait that separates Alor and Pantar - which for many years where the exclusive domain of liveaboards that cruised through the area. However, today there are now several resorts in the area offering fantastic accommodation and easy access to Alor’s world class dive sites.

Great for:

  • Beautiful coral reefs and great visibility
  • Fantastic muck diving sites with plenty of critters
  • Possibility of big animals such as mola mola and sharks when the water is cold

Best time to go:

  • Alor can be dived year round but the best time is normally September to November when low water temperatures and good weather can mean bigger animals and great conditions. Because of the monsoon, some resorts shut from January to March.

Image courtesy of Alami Alor.

3

POOR KNIGHTS ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND

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New Zealand’s North Island is home to some of the finest sub-tropical diving in the planet, centred around the Poor Knights Islands. The islands' stunning volcanic landscape of arches, sea caves and towering cliffs, combined with clear water and remarkably abundant marine life, make them a mecca for divers from across the globe.  Huge populations of mao mao fill the underwater caves, scorpionfish hide amongst the kelp, giant stingrays in their hundreds can be witnessed as they gather to mate and even that ultimate predator of the seas, the Orca can often be encountered around the Poor Knights. Throw in the nearby wrecks of the Tui and the Waikato, and divers have everything they need for an incredible dive experience.

Great for:

  • Stingrays and schooling fish
  • Kelp forests, huge caves and dramatic underwater landscapes
  • Spotting whales and dolphins - including Orca

Best time to go:

  • January to April has warm water and good visibility but if you want the best visibility, come in the summer months from May to September when the water is colder.
4

FUVAHMULAH, MALDIVES

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In the deep south of the Maldives lies Fuvahmulah Atoll, one of this island nation’s best kept secrets. For many years, rumours have circulated of incredible encounters with big sharks in the south - tiger sharks and thresher sharks being seen up-close-and-personal by divers exploring this remote atoll. Well the secret is out and divers can now drop in at ‘Tiger Zoo’ in search of resident tiger sharks, as well as encounter thresher sharks that arrive on the reef to visit cleaning stations. Other shark species such as hammerheads, grey reef and whitetip reefs sharks are all regularly seen as well, making this atoll one of the best destinations for divers looking for the ultimate shark diving adventure.

Great for:

  • Big sharks! Tiger sharks and thresher sharks are possible
  • Encounters with other shark species, and pelagics
  • The Maldive’s only beach surf break

Best time to go:

  • The dry season runs from January to March - visibility can be incredible and the cooler, nutrient rich water that is encountered during this period brings in plenty of big animals.

Image courtesy of Farikede Divers.

View Fuvahmulah, Maldives
5

MARATUA, INDONESIA

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Off Borneo’s east coast lie a group of islands collectively known as the Derawan Archipelago -  home to some of Asia’s best diving and plenty of spectacularly-beautiful islands. The area has been explored for many years and islands such as Sangalaki, Maratua and Kakaban have become well known in diving circles, but the long travel times required to get to the islands has kept the vast majority of visitors away; as a result the entire archipelago remains peaceful and close to pristine. Perched on the edge of the continental shelf is the atoll of Maratua, home to Nabucco Resort and the location of some of Borneo’s most exciting diving. The aptly named ‘Big Fish Country’ has sharks, schooling barracuda, lots of pelagic and powerful currents - perfect for thrill-seeking divers looking for something a little different away from the crowds.

Great for:

  • Encountering sharks and schooling fish at Maratua
  • Diving with manta rays and turtles around Sangalaki
  • Snorkelling Kakaban’s jellyfish lake

Best time to go:

  • The area can be dived year round but the weather is at its best during the dry season from March to October.
6

CAMIGUIN, PHILIPPINES

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Tucked away between the the Visayas and Mindanao lies the beautiful island of Camiguin, famous for its volcanic landscapes, beautiful beaches, idyllic island life - and of course, some wonderful diving. Visitors can hike Mt Hibok Hibok, visit the natural sandbar of White Island and dive Mantigue Island off Camiguin’s east coast, as well as explore the dramatic underwater landscapes of twisted lava at ‘Old Volcano’. The island’s location in the Bohol Sea means Camiguin’s dive sites have an amazing variety of marine life - from seasonal manta rays and resident turtles, to amazing schools of fish and fascinating macro critters. More than enough to tempt divers away from the Philippine’s more established destinations.

Great for:

  • Diving beautiful reefs without the crowds of other destinations
  • Exploring the unique volcanic landscape underwater
  • Relaxing on beautiful sandbars and hiking volcanoes
  • Indulging in some fantastic food - despite its size, the island has some amazing food

Best time to go:

  • The island has great weather and diving year round as it is located south of the usual typhoon belts. However, it might be worth timing your visit to catch the annual Lanzones Festival around the third week of October - great fun!
View Camiguin, Philippines

Matthew Oldfield
Co-founder of ZuBlu