Where’s the Best Place You’ve Ever Dived?

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Published on January 10th, 2009  |  Discuss This Article  

Camels dive safari, Egypt (Photo: Sue Greene)

As a marine biologist, I’m extremely fortunate that I get to visit some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs. Many people have asked me: “Where is the best place you’ve ever dived?” Wow, now that’s a tough question.

For sheer biodiversity, it’s the Coral Triangle, where the range of life forms, in all shapes and sizes, is extraordinary. Many of the reefs I’ve visited in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands provide some of Earth’s best diving.

When it comes to spectacular dives, it’s great visibility, dramatic dropoffs and lots of sharks and big reef fishes that I’m looking for. Remote atolls are often the most impressive that way, and some of the best dives I’ve done have been on atolls in Micronesia and American Samoa (Rose Atoll). Oh and the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef – that’s fantastic.

Seeing endemic (locally restricted) species is also a real treat for a fish geek like me, so it’s always exciting to go diving in places with lots of endemic species like Hawaii, the Caribbean, and the Red Sea.

A few months ago, I visited the Red Sea for the first time. Wow, now that was really something. I went on a camel dive safari in Egypt, where they put me and all my dive gear (including two tanks) on a camel and we walked along the coast for a couple of hours with the Bedouins. They took us to their camp on the edge of the Gulf of Aqaba where we did two spectacular dives – great drop offs with lots of endemic species and big reef fishes.

But really, any healthy reef is a beautiful sight. And there are many, many places I haven’t explored yet.

Where’s the best place you’ve ever dived?

(Image: Camel dive safari, Egypt. Credit: Sue Greene.)

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Comments: Where’s the Best Place You’ve Ever Dived?

  •  Comment from Chrissy Schwinn

    Would have to say the Red Sea, but I haven’t dived much in the Coral Triangle. Perhaps I can join you on a research excursion one day?

  •  Comment from Ben McConahey

    I have not been as fortunate, though I still have my fingers crossed, to dive faraway places like the Red Sea and the Coral Triangle. However, I have had some amazing dives and my favorites are Bloody Bay off of Little Cayman for the absolutely incredible wall diving and, for freshwater enthusiasts, the cenotes of Mexico along the Riviera Maya. My first cenote was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life.

  •  Comment from Rod Salm

    It’s an impossible question for me to answer as each place has something special, something new and something to excite the senses, whether under ice, with penguins in Antarctica, in kelp forests of the Falklands with silky sealions, the dark waters of the black water lakes in Amazonas — and of course the many incredible reefs that I am privileged to visit. I still have a cenote on my list, along with humpback whales in clear water, the Belize fish aggregations at the height of spawning, and mola molas.

  •  Comment from Hill Bullock

    My favorites, so far, are Indonesia and PNG. Having been diving mostly in the over-fished, over-developed, and over-dove Caribbean, seeing these pristine reefs with the incredibly abundant fish life was absolutely amazing. I loved it. That being said, I have heard the Red Sea is amazing, but have never been there…yet.

  •  Comment from Max West

    Hol Chan Marine Reserve, off Ambergris Cay, Belize Central America. Easy to get to, great dive location.

  •  Comment from Mel Bony

    Off /sirka, Alaska when the conditions are juixs right

  •  Comment from Gareth Richards

    The best place I have ever dived would have to be Cocos Island, 350nm off Costa Rica. Being surrounded by many hundreds of hammerheads, literally more than you can count, is an experience you will never forget. It is difficult to get to and not for the faint of heart, but the reward is outstanding. See my pictures for an idea of what it’s like.

  •  Comment from Elaine Mann

    I have not been many places, but my favorite reef would be down in the Dominican Republic. The fish are so abundant about 1/2 a mile off shore.

  •  Comment from KC Skinner

    My favorite for hard corals would have to be Jaluit in the Marshall Islands, for big animals (hammerheads, whalesharks) it is Cocos in Costa Rica, though the Galapagos is also outstanding. For the best all around diving you can’t beat Raja Ampat in Indonesia. It has amazing corals, critters, mantas. Unforgettable. I haven’t been everywhere, though I’m working on it.

  •  Comment from Radhika

    Off the coast of Belize…real sharp drops…large variety of marine life

  •  Comment from Teresa

    Wow! The places everyone has posted sound wonderful… I don’t dive, but snorkeling is my Passion! And my favorite place is Runaway Bay, Jamaica, where there is a reef at the beach, so I can spend my days there all day with the fish. Many years ago my 1st snorkel adventure was in Ft. Lauderdale, then I was in the FL Keys frequently.

  •  Comment from Glenn Sibbald

    I obviously need to get out diving more. I’ve birded more exotic places than I’ve dived, but Bonaire and Belize both had very nice displays of mixed corals and sponges, with decent fish diversity, numbers, and size. The big island of Hawaii has given me some fine dives as well. This, year, if all goes well, I can get my first Great Barrier dives in, so I can get hooked on IndoPacific reefs and start splitting my travel time between coral reefs and tropical rain-forests. Now if only I could win the Lotto…

  •  Comment from John

    The Republic of Palau, all the great spots off Korror, but especially the reefs off Pelilu were just incredible. I wish you all the best Alison in your work to help the reefs!

  •  Comment from Peter

    Reading about Runaway Bay: I remember well my first and only stay. Very pretty reef and good freediving for shells. Thank you, Teresa

  •  Comment from Anonymous

    the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean.

  •  Comment from Peter

    Teresa…snorkeling and free diving is my passion too!

  •  Comment from Peter

    Teresa, I loved Runaway Bay!

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