It's no secret that the Original Diving team loves the ocean. Collectively, we've got over 2,000 dives under our weight belts and have travelled far and wide to relieve our itchy fins. Along the way, we've collected memories and stories which we love to reminisce about. Join us as we take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of our team's best dives…

water level view of a cenote in Mexico with sunlight pouring in from the top and hanging vines and jungles plants around it

Memorable Dive Destinations

Rachel has taught around the world and when it comes to choosing some standout dives, she has more than her fair share to pick from.

'The cenotes of Mexico have provided me with some of the most incredible dives of my life. While there's no marine life, these ancient limestone caves and caverns are filled with otherworldly rock formations, stalactites, stalagmites and columns. Getting to Cenote Angelita, we went through the jungle and found a regular-looking freshwater hole. Diving down to 30m, we ended up in a layer of hydrogen sulphate, with fallen jungle trees all around. It felt like exploring a secret underwater forest - a dive I'll always remember' - Cenote Angelita, Mexico.

'On the northern tip of Big Brother, part of Brothers Island in Egypt's Red Sea, is Numidia Shipwreck. The wreck ranges from 10m to 85m with some amazing areas to penetrate and roam the interior. After exploring the wreck and looking for large groupers in the deep, we drifted along the walls, admiring the decoration of colourful corals that buzzed with reef fish. The most memorable moment was when we spotted an oceanic whitetip during our safety stop' - Numidia wreck, Egypt

underwater photo of a turtle resting on corals

Inspiring corals

Coral has been a significant muse for our team, often stealing the spotlight when reminiscing about our most memorable dives. The sheer splendour of the ocean's corals has sparked a passion for ocean conservation in several of our team members. For Charlotte, it was the pristine corals of Raja Ampat; for Emily, the vibrant hues of the Maldives caught her eye and for Rachel, the enchanting Rose Garden in Madagascar left a lasting impression.

Encounters with Marine Life

Emily Chappell, a fintastic (get it?) underwater photographer, dive master and marine biologist, has an uncanny knack for uncovering hidden treasures in the depths.

'Aer Bajo offers divers the quintessential 'Black Sand Muck Dive'. This gradient of black sand, which is devoid of corals and reefs, conceals a plethora of critters in its nooks and crannies. Beginning our descent from a shallow sand flat at five to seven meters, we followed the slope down to 25m, encountering an abundance of debris along the way. Among the wreckage (which contained everything from wood and leaves to tires and bottles), we found a sanctuary for painted frogfish, nudibranchs, scorpion fish and, to my delight, my first sighting of the elusive hairy frogfish.' - Lembeh Strait, Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia.

And on diving Anda in the Philippines: 'This dive site holds a special corner in my heart, as it was where I laid eyes on my first Bargibanti pygmy seahorse. Among sightings of mantis shrimp, pipefish, turtles and frogfish, the reef top (starting at around three meters) blossoms into a kaleidoscope of vibrant hard and soft corals as you descend the wall. Among this colourful tapestry, turtles and yellow-tail barracudas glided around. It has to be one of my best dives ever.' - Anda, Bohol, Philippines.

On the other end of the animal scale, Andy, a diving fanatic, was mesmerised in the Galapagos.

'We saw a plethora of sharks, mantas and large schools of fish. But the real stars of the show were the whale sharks and hammerheads. Swimming alongside them was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.' - The Galapagos Archipelago.

Meanwhile on the other side of the world, Charlotte was blown away by the beauty in Raja Ampat.

'The waters there? Absolutely mind-blowing. So pristine, alive with all sorts of creatures, and just bursting with colour. One highlight was spotting a wobbegong shark doing its sneaky prey dance or getting surrounded by eight majestic manta rays while rain poured down. It was wild up top, but down below, pure peace' - Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

Young boy underwater giving the OK sign while scuba diving

Shared Experiences

But it's not just about what we see. It's also about who we're with. Tom, our co-founder, cherishes the memories of introducing his children to the deep blue.

'Neptune's Arm in Mozambique (home to schools of black-tipped reef sharks, groupers the size of Fiat 500s and more) is probably the best individual dive I've ever done. Sadly, that part of the country is, for now, off limits, so instead, I'm going for the diving at two magical Maldives properties: Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani. They are particularly special for me because these are the places my children first experienced the epic underwater world and joined the scuba diving family. My twin girls did a try dive along the Soneva Fushi house reef when they were 12, each with an instructor and only two metres down, but they loved it. Then at Soneva Jani, my son George did his first dive to 12m over a gorgeous coral-clad sea mound teeming with fish, morays and very healthy corals before a pod of dolphins cruised by overhead. The local instructor said he'd done over 2,000 dives at Jani and only ever seen dolphins once, so George was unbelievably lucky. As with his sisters, the wide-eyed look of awe and sheer delight back on the surface will stay with me forever.' - The Maldives.