January: dark mornings (and evenings), new year blues and the irresistible desire to perpetually push the 'snooze' button on the alarm clock. Needless to say January is not exactly our favourite month. That is unless you look to climes that do cover themselves in climatic glory, like the pristine beaches of the Maldives, the chic boutique hotels of the Caribbean and the bucket list-worthy sites of Latin America - diving Belize's Blue Hole, anyone?
Diving in January
While the promise of winter sun is an undeniable draw, it's not just the weather that can be great in January; there are some exciting things happening underwater too if you know where to look. From witnessing the magic of turtle hatching in Oman and Mozambique to swimming with the ocean's largest fish, the whale shark, in Tanzania, there's a whole heap of underwater marvels to uncover.
Want to dive with sharks? The Bahamas in January is a shark diving mecca, with great hammerheads in Bimini and tiger sharks in Grand Bahama alongside resident Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks, lemon sharks (the list goes on…). While we're on the Caribbean, set the bar high with New Year's resolutions by learning to dive in the brochure-blue waters of Grenada, with wrecks, underwater sculptures and marine life aplenty. Further south in Belize witness the rare spectacle of a grouper spawning and dive the world's second largest barrier reef.
If you're planning a liveaboard trip in January, set sail on a liveaboard to Socorro (otherwise known as the Galapagos of Mexico) when humpback whales are passing through with their calves, not to mention manta rays, dolphins and several species of shark - including schools of juvenile hammerheads. Speaking of hammerheads, head to Rangiroa in French Polynesia and witness these odd-shaped sharks frequent the thrilling Tiputa Pass channel. Over in the Pacific, January is also a great time to go diving in Palau when the visibility is crystal clear, which also makes a wonderful twin centre with the Philippines.
Top 5 Places to Go Diving in January
From the Pacific to the Atlantic and Indian Ocean, discover the top five places to go diving in January.
- Mexico - Dive in Socorro between January to listen to the serenading songs of humpback whales as they pass through (if you're lucky, you might also encounter them diving). For an altogether different type of diving, head to the Yucatan peninsula to dive the regions freshwater filled cenotes
- French Polynesia - Postcard-perfect with world-class diving to boot, French Polynesia makes for the perfect winter sun escape, but, head to Rangiroa in January and you'll see hammerhead sharks whiz pass in the Tiputa channel as they hunt stingrays is world
- Tanzania - Start the year off right swimming with the world's biggest fish, the whale shark, spending surface intervals blissfully marooned on deserted white sandbanks
- Bahamas - While superb for shark diving year-round, for the ultimate shark experience head to the Bahamas in January as great hammerheads arrive in Bimini and tiger sharks circulate Grand Bahama
- Palau - One of the world's best liveaboard diving destinations, Palau really comes into its own in January, when the temperatures are barmy and the visibility is nothing short of spectacular. It's also just a hop, skip and a jump from the Philippines making a very cool combo
Suffer from the serious January Blues? Head to the ocean and experience the blues of an altogether different kind.
Jacqui, Original Diver