The Best Marine Life Encounters The World Over

There are hundreds and hundreds of great dive destinations around the world, each offering divers a glimpse of what the Ocean’s have to offer. Some display the best coral while others a dazzling array or marine life like pelagics or the best of the shark world. It’s unfortunate that you can’t see it ALL in one place. To make it harder some locations are seasonal in terms of what you see when you dive there certain times of the year. So in a way, great marine encounters are all about being at the right place, at the right time and whether you’re dying to spot a graceful manta ray or gentle giant whale sharks or even fiercest predator the great white shark… we’re here to help you make your marine encounter dreams a reality.

Here’s a look at where and when to best encounter some of the most popular marine animals, and if you’re into underwater photography– don’t forget to take your underwater cameras with you!

The Best Manta Ray Encounters
Easily one of the most sought after marine encounters in the diving world, is the Manta Ray and Koh Bon in Thailand, Komodo in Indonesia, the Maldives, Black Rock in Myanmar and Kadavu in Fiji to name a few, are some of the places you are most likely to have the best manta ray sightings.

Kona, Hawaii – All year round
South Plaza Island, Galapagos Islands
Bali/ Raja Ampat (Irian Jaya), Indonesia – April/ May
Maldives – May to November
Rangiroa, Tahiti – May to October
Yasawa Islands, Fiji – June to November
Koh Bon, Thailand – October to May

The Best Whale Shark Encounters
Known as the gentle giants, whale sharks are always a delightful sight on a dive. 14 km east of the Mu Koh Surin marine park is the dive site of Richelieu Rock in the famous stretch of Andaman Sea lying between the Similan and Surin Islands renowned as whale shark territory. Although there are many sites in Thailand for diving with whale sharks, Richelieu Rock is your best bet.

Richelieu Rock, (Andaman Sea) Thailand – February to April
Bay Islands, Honduras – January to April.
Zanzibar, Tanzania (East Africa) – February and March.
Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia- March to June.
Belize– April to June
Galapagos Islands– May to August
Trinidad and Tobago– May to August
Seychelles – August
Djibouti (Africa)- October to March
Kenya (Africa)- November to January

The Best Shark Encounters
For what nightmares are made of, there’s no where in the World like Gansbaai, South Africa to encounter the so called ‘man-eater’ Great White. Nassau in the Bahamas, Rhode Island in the U.S, the Cocos Island in Costa Rica and Rocas Atoll in Brazil are all up there in the Top 5 shark diving destinations in the world!

Protea Banks, South Africa ( Hammerhead, Zambezi, Bull, and Tiger Sharks)- November to June
Nassau, Bahamas (for Bull Sharks and Tiger Sharks)- February and March
Cocos and Malpelo Islands, Costa Rica (for Hammerhead Sharks) -July October.
Layang Layang, Malaysia (for Hammerhead sharks) – March
Galapagos Islands
– July through October.
Guadalupe, Mexico (for great whites) – August to November
Aliwal Shoal, South Africa (for Ragged-tooth sharks)/Raggies -July to August
Canary Islands – October to November
Raine Island, Northern Queensland,Australia (for Tiger Sharks) – October and November
Southern Mozambique (Hammerhead and Zambezi sharks) – November to March
Rangiroa Island, Tahiti (for Hammerhead Sharks)- January to February
Maldives (for hammerheads)- May to November
Turks & Caicos Islands (for Nurse sharks) – June

The Best Coral Reef Life Encounters
The marine waters and reefs around Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste together known as the Coral triangle, is believed to be the global epicenter or center of origin for most coral reef species and probably the best showcase of reef life in the world.

ALL YEAR ROUND -As a diver, there is no other place on earth where the sheer diversity of different species can be observed in a single area. From the largest migratory whales, whale sharks, sharks, dugong, dolphin and Manta Rays, to yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, bigeye tuna, bumphead parrotfish, and Napoleon wrasse, there is no place other than the Coral Triangle where sheer number of these creatures can be spotted. Six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles including the green, hawksbill, olive ridley, leatherback, loggerhead, and flatback can be found in the triangle.

*Photo Credits: photos by Dude Crush, Marcel_Ekkel, dantheurer, Tom Weilenmann on flickr

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