As the nights draw in, the temperature drops (we had a good run) and businesses start to compete for the best Christmas TV ad (move aside Elton, Waitrose's Stollen takes the crown), the festive season is upon us. So, naturally, we've decided to bypass all of that and look straight ahead to next year, which is shaping up to be a good'un. From a very exclusive expedition to the best new openings and off-the-beaten track diving adventures, discover the destinations across the globe that are set to make a splash in 2019 (sorry).
Pioneering Expedition: Alphonse
This trip is one of a kind. Literally. Set sail to unchartered waters on our exclusive exploratory dive expedition to the remote reefs of Cosmoledo and Astove in the Aldabra group, which are located 700 miles south of the main island of Mahe in the Seychelles. This region is home to some of the most pristine, untouched waters in the world.
New Liveaboard: Mexico
Whether diving with great white sharks in Mexico's Guadalupe or embarking on an epic journey south to Socorro to see manta rays, dolphins, whale sharks, humpback whales and more sharks than we can count, make it stylish on Pelagic Fleet's new luxurious 140ft vessel, the Socorro Vortex, launching in 2019.
New Destination: Iceland
Wouldn't it be great to be able to be in two places at once? Well, actually you can in Iceland. Located in Thingvellir National Park just outside Reykjavik, Silfra is the only place in the world where you can dive between two continental plates, in visibility often exceeding 100 metres. Above water, explore dramatic fjords and glistening glaciers, thundering waterfalls and towering volcanoes, the toasty blue lagoon and extensive underground lava caves (we could go on).
New Liveaboard: Papua New Guinea
Launching in January 2019, Walindi Plantation Resort's new liveaboard, MV Oceana, will set sail to the most remote dive sites in New Britain. These under-the-radar sites are so pristine they are regularly scoped by marine biologists and avid divers alike, who come to witness spirals of thousands of barracuda, scalloped hammerheads and even passing orcas.
New Flight Route: Belize with Ease
Getting to Belize from the UK just got a whole lot easier with the introduction of Aeromexico's same-day connection from London Heathrow to Belize through Mexico City. What's more, the removal of Belize's barrier reef from UNESCO's list of endangered World Heritage Sites, after nine years, provides more than ample excuse to dive the cays, mangroves, atolls and one of the world's most iconic dive sites, the Blue Hole. Un-belizeable (sorry).
The New Raja Ampat
There are two new kids in town vying for Raja Ampat's title as jewel-in-the-crown of The Coral Triangle: the islands of Alor and Sumbawa. Remote Alor is just a stone's throw away from the spectacular coral reefs of the Pantar Strait and macro-rich muck diving sites of Kalabahi Bay, while Kalimaya Dive Resort, the only dive resort on the eastern side of Sumbawa, shows guests a side of Komodo that's often missed. But shhhh, don't tell anyone.