Summer is on the way and it’s a great time to go long-haul and visit pristine dive destinations far from daily life. You can enjoy the ever-popular Belize Barrier Reef’s array of coral dives or disappear into Papua New Guinea’s incredible diving. Experienced tech wreck divers are in for a treat at Bikini Atoll, whilst the Galapagos heads into whale shark season.
Belize, a land of striking Mayan ruins and lush tropical rainforests, has long been known for its epic diving.
June is the last month of Belize’s whale shark season, so hop on a plane and explore this slice of paradise whilst you can.
Home to the longest unbroken barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, the Belize Barrier Reef stretches along the coast and provides shelter for numerous threatened species.
You can find over 500 species of fish there, plus plentiful rays and sharks. Keep your eyes peeled in the water and you might even see a manatee or crocodile cruising by. Fans of turtles certainly won’t be disappointed, as the reef hosts green, hawksbill and loggerhead turtles.
New divers can enjoy clear shallow dives inside the reef whilst experienced divers can jump in for exciting outer-reef encounters with kingfish, wahoo, sailfish, tuna and marlin. Whichever dive area you choose, this UNESCO-listed reef system is truly outstanding and not to be missed. When you’ve had your fill of diving, stroll along the white-sand beaches as the sun goes down and get ready to do it all again the next day. Diving doesn’t get much better than this. The Belize Aggressor III & IV can take you there.
It’s the high season in Papua New Guinea, meaning crystal-clear waters with visibility reaching up to 45 meters.
It’s well worth making the effort to get to Papua New Guinea to experience pristine reefs like you’ve never seen before.
The 600 or so jungle-clad islands provide a stunning backdrop to dive sites and you won’t regret cruising the coral-fringed atolls.
Papua New Guinea, or PNG, has over 2000 species of fish in its peaceful waters. You can also find 6 of the 7 species of sea turtles at PNG, swimming lazily amongst the fish and corals.
If you’re a fan of rust, head to Milne Bay and dive the numerous WWII wrecks found there.
You can also enjoy coral-encrusted walls and great muck diving at Milne Bay. Just remember to look to the blue for passing mantas.
Kimbe Bay is the place for vibrant corals and reef fish. The submerged reefs around Kimbe Bay’s many islands are truly beautiful.
If you want a good mix of pelagic action and macro life, take a trip to the Witu Islands.
These islands have black sands and hard coral gardens crammed with macro life. There are plenty of pelagics in the blue, including schools of trevally, tuna, barracuda and sharks. Father’s Reef is not to be missed for your chance to dive in the shadow of the still-smouldering peak of Mount Ulawun volcano, which last erupted in 2013. Just remember to pack light as smaller flights within PNG have strict baggage maximum weights; as little as 10 – 16 kg. PNG’s diving is suitable for all experience levels, though advanced divers will get the most out of the diverse dive sites. The Febrina and Chertan are popular PNG liveaboards and offer a variety of safaris.
If you’re an experienced tech diver looking for a new dive adventure, Bikini Atoll in the idyllic Marshall Islands is for you. The Truk Master liveaboard offers special Bikini Atoll safaris from May to July, and they’re not for the faint-hearted. Bikini Atoll is well-known as one of the sites subjected to US atomic bomb tests between 1946 and 1958. The US tested 67 nuclear weapons on the Marshall Islands during that time on their mock naval fleet, dropping a 15-megaton TNT hydrogen atomic bomb on Bikini Atoll. One thousand times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, it left a crater 2 km wide and 74 meters deep. Bikini opened for diving in 1996 and you can experience some of best wreck diving in the world there, whilst exploring the history of this area. The USS Saratoga aircraft carrier wreck is a highlight, hosting numerous sharks including reef and tiger sharks. Most of Bikini Atoll’s wrecks are beyond recreational limits, making this unique destination suited for tech divers with wreck experience only.
You’re unlikely to ever need an excuse to go Galapagos liveaboard diving, it is that incredible.
June is a particularly good month though, as it’s the first month for humpbacks and whale sharks.
Pack your thick wetsuit, get ready for exciting current dives, and enjoy a world of shark diving and nature encounters like nowhere else.
It’s all about whale sharks at Wolf & Darwin Islands from June onwards.
These remote islands are visited by just a handful of Galapagos liveaboards, meaning few divers in the water whilst you take in the pelagic action around you. As if whale sharks were not enough, you can still see large schools of hammerheads, plus occasional silky and Galapagos sharks. You can dive with feeding marine iguanas at Cabo Douglas or watch Galapagos penguins playing in the water as you search for seahorses. Cousins Rock hosts cheeky sea lions that create great photography opportunities, plus black corals, sponges and sea fans. The diving is challenging at this time of year and it is best to dive the Galapagos as an experienced diver. The Nortada liveaboard is a great choice for more intimate Galapagos dive safaris. With only 4 cabins, there is a maximum of just 12 guests onboard.