February 26, 2020

Cayman Islands #1 place in World to Scuba Dive says Coastal Living


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grand-cayman-hawksbill-sea-turtle-8521195By Tanya G. Burnett From Coastal Living

15 Top Places to Scuba Dive in the World

Underwater photographer Tanya G. Burnett shares her list of the most unique, unforgettable diving destinations around the world.

Cayman Islands
The Cayman trio of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman have long catered to Caribbean dive enthusiasts. Grand Cayman bustles with a steady stream of tourists with plenty of distractions, Brac is chiller, and Little Cayman is distinctly sleepy. All offer stunningly clear water, endless underwater walls, and friendly dive operators. The ever-present sea turtles vie with Stingray City’s (a collection of sandbars home to an abundance of southern stingrays) famous residents for most beloved local marine animals. Huge shimmering tarpon are common in the summer and are very approachable.

Above: A Hawksbill sea turtle takes flight while searching for a sponge to snack on in the late afternoon off Grand Cayman.

More than 330 islands and thousands of small islets rise out of the dreamy Southwestern Pacific to make up this archipelago that straddles the International Date Line. Fiji offers tropical diving of such variety that it defies a nutshell description. Topography differs dramatically between sites and regions, as do water conditions and marine . Fiji is justifiably famous for its often-brisk currents and brilliant soft-coral-adorned reefs with names like Rainbow Reef, White Wall, and Yellow Wall. But shark dives, pinnacles, bommies (an outcrop of coral reef), and even the setting for the film Blue Lagoon all thrill with a distinctly exotic quality. It would take many visits to experience all the different regions of one of the warmest and friendliest nations in the South Pacific, but start somewhere – you won’t regret it.

Top: A reef corner where soft corals and anthias fill the frame with their color, Namena Reef, Fiji Islands.


Far out in the Indian Ocean lies a scattering of jewel-like sand islands a few feet above sea level. Each one is graced with lush tropical growth and surrounded by countless reefs and a marine ecosystem of immeasurable richness. The dive conditions and marine life encounters are directly affected by the two weather seasons: the dry Northeast Monsoon and the wet Southwest Monsoon. Visiting during each distinctive period, a diver can bear witness to what a magnet the Maldives are to denizens of this vast ocean. Schools of tuna, barracuda, eagle rays, and sharks are common, while seasonally mantas and whale sharks are known to gather in spectacular numbers. And when you are not diving, the view in every direction is better than any postcard you can imagine.

Top: A pair of reef manta rays move in unison while they are being cleaned by cleaner wrasse at a coral cleaning station in Hanifaru Bay, Maldives.

Within hours of a short flight to Cancun, you can dive in a fresh-water cenote (a sinkhole-type cavern with beautiful formations), fin over an offshore national park reef loaded with fish, or swim alongside a whaleshark (during the right time of year). The Great Mesoamerican Reef, which runs along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the , is the world’s second largest reef and one of Mexico’s most popular natural wonders. Diving opportunities abound all along the coast, from Cancun and Isla Mujeres in the north to Costa Maya in the south, with on-land natural treasures to match.

Left: Where currents collide, so does marine life, creating a mixed array of schooling grunt and snappers gathering over large orange elephant ear sponge in Isla Mujeres, Mexico.

Hammerheads, tigers, and reef sharks oh my! The Bahamas boasts some of the best-organized shark dives in the world as well as some of the prettiest diving in the Western Atlantic. An easy hop from US mainland, there are more than 700 islands to explore, filled with easy-going diving on shallow reefs and vertical walls, as well as more adventurous diving through tunnels, caves, fast current cuts, and blue holes.

Left: A curious Caribbean reef shark glides over a colorful sponge encrusted reef off Grand Bahama.



The other places listed are:

Philippine Islands
Costa Rica
Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea
French Polynesia

For more on this story go to: http://www.coastalliving.com/travel/top-10/best-scuba-diving-world


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