January: it's perpetually dark outside, the temperatures are less than peachy and many of us are miserably slogging through dry January. So, naturally, we're choosing to bypass all that and look straight ahead to all of the wonderful adventures you could have this year. From diving one of the world's final frontiers to bush and beach cool combos and being dwarfed by humpback whales, this year's shaping up to be a good one. Here are a few of the most unforgettable diving adventures for 2019…
The Philippines, a vast archipelago boasting thousands of dive sites, allows you to dip your fins into a bit of everything; spot wide-eyed thresher sharks in Malapascua, snorkel with millions of sardines off Moalboal, discover the macro critters of Dumaguete and explore the colourful coral reefs of Bohol. You'll be truly spoilt for choice.
Step back in time in Egypt and follow in the footsteps of Agatha Christie aboard the magnificent Steam Ship Sudan (the setting for her book Death on the Nile) before decamping to the coast to dive the famously colourful reefs of the Red Sea, straight from the shores of the Oberoi.
The Easter holidays are a great time to introduce the brood to the wonderful world of scuba diving. And we can't think of a better way to start the log book than with the colourful coral gardens, marvellous marine life and underwater sculptures of Grenada. Plus, with direct flights and no risk of jetlag, it couldn't be easier. Mount Cinnamon still has availability over Easter (for now) so strike while the iron's hot.
While Indonesia remains a classic destination for those embarking on a diving adventure, discover a deeper cut of the archipelago by venturing to the remote, virtually virgin waters of West Komodo and Alor, where the corals are bigger, the marine life more varied and the sites all but deserted.
Iceland has become increasingly popular in recent years but remains a country defined by little other than raw natural beauty, from its lagoons and volcanoes to waterfalls and geysers. Not forgetting it's the only place in the world where you can dive between two tectonic plates in crystal clear glacial water.
Minus the pearly white gates, the glistening islands that scatter French Polynesia are heaven on earth. Take in the highlights on an island-hopping adventure, swimming with whales in Moorea (one of the few places in the world you can do so), diving with hammerheads and dolphins in Rangiroa and exploring the aptly-named Shark Hole at Tikehau.
Like Laurel and Hardy, Pimm's and the sunshine, chocolate and, well, more chocolate, some things are just better together. Spend two weeks spotting the Big Five in South Africa's Madikwe Game Reserve before jetting to the private island paradise of Benguerra in Mozambique to dive the surrounding marine park, spending surface intervals spotting passing migrating whales.
The Azores was made for active adventures - whether hiking, cycling, abseiling (you get the gist), across the archipelago. And then there's the ocean. Go whale watching, dive wartime wrecks and spot huge shoals of pelagic fish and predators (think blue and mako sharks, manta rays and mobula rays) in superb visibility with few or no other divers.
The Original Diving team are a well-travelled bunch, each with their favourite regions, dive sites and styles, but one country unites them in effusive praise: Papua New Guinea. This island nation is undoubtedly home to some of the best diving in the world; think pristine, supersized coral, a wealth of marine life, unparalleled visibility, superb muck diving and reef sharks galore (we could go on).
Located 250 miles south of Mahe in the Seychelles, the Aldabra group of islands is one of the few final frontiers with (virtually) virgin waters and mammoth amounts of marine life, from the usual suspects (manta rays, hammerheads, sailfish and more) to the surprise acts (humpback whales, guitar sharks and whale sharks galore).
The Maldives needs no introduction. Hop aboard the luxurious Scubaspa and cruise across its turquoise atolls, diving with everything from manta rays to groupers to sharks and endless schools of reef fish, spending surface intervals kneading out any residual knots in the spa and exploring deserted sandbanks.
Want to plan your next epic diving trip? Get in touch with our team today to start planning your next dive adventure.