Does the dead of winter make you dream about the days of board shorts, tropical drinks, and of course, plenty of exotic dive sites to go around?
You’re in good company. And the great news for scuba divers is that there are plenty of corners of the world which are a shell’s throw away from fantastic dive destinations where summer is currently at its peak.
So shake off those wintertime blues – or at least enjoy a good sunny diversion – and plan a dive trip to these locales where holiday lights and sunglasses go hand in hand.
If you’re fighting off a case of winter cabin fever, then this is the perfect time to stop putting off that trip to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and finally take the plunge.
Start an initial – or continued – exploration of the biggest reef on earth with a trip to the charming city of Cairns, which is the launching point for a wealth of liveaboard trips and diving explorations. You can also head a little south to Townsville, which is close to the Yongala Wreck, (one of the most acclaimed diving sites in the world), or head north to Port Douglas, where you can enjoy a collection of elite diving resorts.
Consider a trip to Perth, the capital of Western Australia, where the average January temperatures hover around 80 degrees. From here, it’s just a boat ride away to stunning Rottnest Island, which boasts 20 calm bays, 63 beautiful beaches, and plenty of coral reefs that cluster around a limestone atoll. There’s plenty of caverns, shipwrecks, soft corals, and diverse marine life in veritably every direction, making this “summertime” destination an all-encompassing escape for scuba divers.
Though not as recognized as a scuba diving mecca as its big neighbor to the northwest, Australia, New Zealand is nevertheless a lush “summer” getaway that will impress divers both in and out of the water.
Head to the northern section of this out-there country to explore Poor Knights Island – a veritable subtropical paradise that features 125 species of fish in addition to its wealth of sponges, kelp forests, and corals. Northern visitors can also plan a trip to explore the notorious “Rainbow Warrior” – a former Greenpeace flagship that was bombed off the Auckland Harbour in 1987, and which now appropriately serves as an artificial reef that’s teeming with moray eels, scorpion fish, golden snapper, and more.
South Africa features 1,700 miles of shoreline and borders two oceans, which makes it a daunting destination for newcomers. For explorations on land and by the coast, head to Cape Town, which can be the launching point for the famed Gansbaai dive site to the east, (a renowned Great White diving destination), and False Bay to the south, (which boasts less intimidating and warmer waters, rocky walls, sandy bottoms, and kelp forests.)
Take a truly decadent trip 300 miles off the coast of Columbia to discover uninhabited Malpeo Island. This UNESCO world heritage site is truly isolated, and features swarms of silky sharks and hammerhead sharks, which are easy to spot during an extensive, (albeit pricey), diving expedition.
Still not sure where to go? When in doubt, stick to the Southern Hemisphere.
With ample coastlines, healthy reefs, and plenty of diving destinations to go around, it’s not too tricky for winter-weary divers to find an amazing summertime, somewhere. Of course, if the Southern Hemisphere is a bit far to go, Mexico and the Caribbean offer U.S. divers easy dive sites as well.
Do you have a warm water dive trip on the books this winter? Where are you going?