Scuba diving trip-ups around the world: readers’ tips

The Maldives and the Barrier Reef are famous scuba places, but our readers also love some less obvious places for wrecks, weird fish and top diving companies

WINNING TIP: Muck diving, Lembeh, Indonesia

For some excellent muck diving( on organism-rich but murky sediment ), head to the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia, home to critters such as the imitation octopus, hairy frogfish and flamboyant cuttlefish. The Kungkungan Bay Resort( doubleds from 116 B& B) has a private breakwater( you can come back to the hotel between dives for a nice hot shower !), a home reef which can only be dived by guests and special photo pros in residency who will share their photography tips. Diving is best towards the end of the dry season in September and October.
Deepa Ramchandani


Sustainable Great Barrier Reef

Photograph: Norbert Probst/ Getty Images

Diving the Great Barrier Reef and assuring the worlds largest living organism has always been my scuba dreaming. I was advised that Pro Dive Cairns was serious about sustainable tourism and reef conservation and I was not disappointed. The feeling of being completely surrounded by life, from the vast walls of pink and purple coral to the diverse multicoloured fish, stimulated for the most immersive dives Ive ever done. I recommend the three-day liveaboard experience( about 640 all inclusive) as you get 11 dives and find a number of outer reef sites.

Ningaloo Reef: Wow, wow, wow

A school of suckerfish, sharksuckers and cobia follow a whale shark off Exmouth, Ningaloo Reef. Photograph: Jason Edwards/ Getty Images/ National Geographic Creative

Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is a divers paradise. It is unspoilt, unlike the Great Barrier Reef. We actually swam with the whale sharks but there is so much more to detect. The water is pristine and the diving companies full of young people with so much experience and enthusiasm. Great places to stay, eat and have fun in the evening, too.

The cuttlefish of Dragons Lair, Queenscliff

Photograph: Everett Toews

During a trip to Melbourne, I took a detour to dive off the coast of Queenscliff, a small town at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The dive barge took us to a site known as Dragons Lair. It was there that I found by far the largest and most passive cuttlefish I have ever seen hiding in the kelp. I was able to swim right up to it. In fact, practically the only day it moved was when I shone my dive light on it. Clearly it sensed the light and would move away from it in the opposite direction. I later became aware that cephalopod skin are a lot of light-sensing cells typically found in eyes.
Everett Toews


Fun and safety, Gili Air, Indonesia

Photograph: Kimberley Coole/ Getty Images/ Lonely Planet Images

The crystal clear sapphire blue waters surrounding Gili Air, a secluded island in Indonesia, provides the very best scuba diving I have experienced. Pristine coral, abundant marine life, toasty-warm water and a beautiful put make for an unforgettable diving experience. Countless majestic turtles were a highlight. My top tip-off is to seek out a company called Dive Zone and in particular an instructor called Kuss. He is one of those people who has an infectious positivity about life and I cannot recommend his services enough!
Aidan Dolan

Psychedelic frogfish, Tekek Ambon, Indonesia

Photograph: Alamy

In the heart of the Malukus is a famous muck diving hub. We visited to find the elusive psychedelic frogfish, which was discovered in 2008 and merely resides in these water. During our five-night stay, highlights spotted were a paddle flap rhinopia, iridescent bobbitworm and a beautiful peacock mantis shrimp. We expended our days diving with Bluemotion, who said that they would try their hardest to find what all divers dream to find: the psychedelic frogfish! We eventually received him hiding among some rubble, looking instead shocked that hed been disturbed.
Rebecca Hendrie

Gentle giants, Maldives

Photograph: David Evison/ Getty Images

Ive been fortunate to dive in many places but my most breathtaking was the Maldives in 2016 with Blue-o-Two. It was a seven-day liveaboard visiting some of the best dive sites Ive ever been to. On the third day, we started having brief sightings of whale sharks and the following day, as we took a giant stride off the boat, the latter are two only metres beneath us. These gentle giants were effortlessly gliding by, scarcely seeming to move, cruising at a velocity I could only dream of keeping up with. Then they circled and came back beneath me before slowly falling away into the blue, leaving me with one of the best experience of my life.
Huw Rowlands

Wreck of the Kyokuzan Maru, Philippines

It was awe-inspiring to sink slowly into the holds of the Kyokuzan Maru, off the northern coast of Busuanga Island. Shes a 135 -metre Japanese shipment ship, sunk( or perhaps scuttled) in September 1944. She now sits perfectly upright in astonishingly clear water at a depth of about 22 metres. As a dive site, it is relatively quiet as compared with the sites on the southern side of the island and offers excellent opportunities for swim-throughs to explore the holds and passenger regions. Club Paradise Divers is a professionally run establishment.


Cirkewwa, Malta

Photograph: Alamy

The great thing about the Cirkewwa coast is that you can dive there any time of the year with hardly any experience. The water is clean, crystal clear and energising so just throw yourself in. Under the surface theres a real treasure chest of caves, passageways, shipwrecks and even an underwater statue of the Madonna. Going up, you might easily find yourself in the company of moray eels, tuna and sea bream. Just smile through your snorkel youll likely be eating them for dinner later: well, I did!

Playful seal puppies Skomer Island, Pembrokeshire

Photograph: Alamy

Ive enjoyed some warmer holiday diving, but a dive memory that never fails to attain me smile was experienced in the UK on a drizzly October Sunday. We headed out to Skomer Island, where seals and their pups can be found. One played peek-a-boo through the seaweed, some followed us and one was even tugging the fins of another buddy pair as they attempted to pose for a photo.
Laura Allen

Wreck of the HMS Hazardous: West Sussex

The UK waters dont always appeal to the diving mass marketplace, but they have a wealth of history in their many shipwrecks. On a recent dive are governed by Wreckspeditions, we joined the Nautical Archaeology Society in exploring the protected wreck of the HMS Hazardous. The wreck was in great condition considers that it is sank in 1706 and there were lots of artefacts to discover including big guns, cannonballs and barrels containing animal bones! Visibility was poor but this only added to the eerie atmosphere.
Phalene Gowling

Fun in Farne, Northumberland

Photograph: Alamy

Performing an underwater ballet with a group of friendly, speckled-faced seals off the coast of the Northumbria was the highlighting of their own families diving holiday last summer. The cartoon-like creatures insisted on flip-flopping in front of our eyes and nibbling our fins as we said goodbye. The ocean around the Farne Islands are a lot of chances to meet magnificent marine life in the warmer months and you can even see the enormous, docile basking sharks in July and August. Take a barge from Seahouses, near Newcastle, and rent a bungalow for four from 400 a week.


Cenote diving in Mexico

Photograph: Ullstein Bild/ Getty Images

Telling people my favourite diving holiday was in Cancn doesnt come as a surprise but the revelation that I didnt defined foot near the coastline usually does. The jungles of the Yucatn peninsula are home to natural limestone sinkholes called cenotes, filled with deep, clear, mineral-rich waters that open up into underground caves. Pack a GoPro because youll be hard pushed to find dive sites as photogenic.
Foo Archive

Warm-water diving for all levels, Cayman islands

Seven Mile Beach on Grand Cayman island. Photograph: Getty Images

Surrounded by clear, warm, mainly shallow waters, Cayman is a destination for divers of all abilities. From snorkelling, coast dives out to the reefs or to the numerous wrecks that litter the coast( including the USS Kittiwake, sunk as an artificial reef in 2011) to wall dives out over the Cayman trench to stare into the abyss. Marine life is abundant with corals, anemones, starfish, tube and barrel sponges alongside yellowtail snapper, wrasse and parrot fish together with larger barracuda, grouper, lights and even the occasional turtle. My daughter went on a trial diving( Eden Rock Dive, south of George Town) and is now hooked.
john redston

Diving on a shoestring, Utila, Honduras

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