Now that winter has begun and the weather in the UK is grim to say the least, we thought it the appropriate moment to turn your attention to those parts of the globe that are enjoying warmer climes and of course some lovely diving. While you may be drenched from your commute to work in the UK, in these winter dive destinations you will only be soaked from an incredible dive and this certainly won't last long with the sun on your back! So here are our top five winter dive destinations where you can get your fix of winter sun:
- Manta Point in South Ari Atoll, Maldives - the place to head for mantas and sunshine at this time of year! Manta Point (Hukuru Elhi Faru) is a famous cleaning station for mantas between January and April where they come up from the deep to free themselves from unwanted parasites.
- Blue Magic in central Raja Ampat, Indonesia - the perfect time of year to head to Raja Ampat and not to mention some of the best diving on earth. If we had to select a dive, it would probably have to be Blue Magic. Where else in ONE dive can you see the extremes of the pygmy sea horse and the giant manta ray (6m)? Add in a veritable broth of schooling jack, barracuda, some beautiful nudibranch and flatworms, mantis shrimp, black tip reef shark, wonderful soft and hard corals and you can usually find a wobbegong shark or sleeping 'walking shark'. It is simply unbeatable. Green turtles can be found here as well as black tips, white tips and grey reef sharks.
- RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands - stunning weather and a world-class dive: the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer Rhone. Sunk in a hurricane of 1867, Rhone is one of the best known and sought after wreck dives in the world and starred - complete with killer moray eel - in the film The Deep. Having been there for nearly 150 years she is now totally encapsulated with corals and home to abundant marine life, including yellow moray, lobster, barracuda, a school of Jack, Soldierfish, Spotted Drum, Queen Angelfish, Cowfish, and octopus.
- Gladden Spit in Belize - whale sharks anyone? From March to May around the time of the full moon enormous schools of snapper come here to spawn, which in turn brings in the whale sharks who feed on the billions of fish eggs: you are almost guaranteed encounters. Add in sunshine, other fabulous diving too and you have the recipe for a perfect winter sun holiday.
- Octopus Rock in the Musandam Peninsula, Oman - just a short flight from the UK and guaranteed sunshine, this is one of our favourite places for winter sun. Octopus Rock has its specialty of seahorses alongside other fantastic marine life which can't be ignored! Triggerfish by the thousand provide the backdrop, huge parrotfish, endless nudibranchs, lionfish and at least 5 different species of moray eel.
If you would like to find out more about any of these winter dive destinations, please get in touch.