Top 5 diving places

Yes another scuba diving post 😛 After coming back from my last diving trip I was thinking about all those places where I dove and decided to make a ranking of the top 5 best dive sites I’ve visited.

With 142 logged dives and being around in a couple of countries I can confidently say that some diving locations have a bigger wow factor than others. In some you can do even more than just diving as there is also lots to see above water.  Actually in the past two years I thought it’s impossible that the current diving spot can be topped by another one. Well, I was wrong!

1.       Maldives

The ultimate place to see big stuff like sharks, mantas, massive stingrays but for reef and coral lovers it’s less attractive. Currently Maldives is the top diving place on my list as I prefer to look at sharks than ponder on corals. Size matters right 😛 If we are at size. Given that Maldives is one of the smallest countries on earth, the amount of large marine life is huge. During one diving week I saw everything and even more than during nine years of diving combined together. It was like all my dive experience was compressed into one package. I would like to return to Maldives in the near future. According to Sajee, one of the dive masters I was diving with, February is the best time to go diving. The visibility is superb and the possibility to see whale sharks is much higher than in the other months. Well true, as in June when I was diving the visibility wasn’t always great but hey ho you can’t have everything. Still Maldives are great to visit all year round as the sharks, mantas and stingrays are always there 😉 

Apart from diving, is there anything else to do or see in the Maldives? Ahhhh not really. If you hope to see nice temples or art galleries you will get disappointed. The islands have incredible pristine white beaches and magical turquoise waters.  You go there either for a typical beach holiday in a resort which for active people is boring or you go to the Maldives for diving. There is nothing in the middle. Actually depending on your holiday preferences Maldives are perfect one way or the other.

2.       Komodo

Oh yeah… triple oh yeah! Until I went to the Maldives, Komodo was the number one spot on my dive location list. It’s also the only location where I didn’t get seasick! I love Komodo as it’s the place to see mantas and do drift dives. Let me tell you, I thought I knew what drift diving is until I went to Komodo. First diving day, first dive the current got so strong we had to hook ourselves to the reef. It was like a wind tunnel. At some point we had to let go. I got a bit scared that I would drift away and held my dive buddy’s hand to feel safer. After the dive on the boat my dive buddy asked me not to squeeze his hand so hard the next time 😛 All the next drift dives were just fun. You manage your buoyancy and you can fly underwater. As Pablo, one of the dive masters said – do the motor biker 😀 Aside from the drift dives, the marine life and possibilities to see big stuff are huge. Mantas are actually the reason why people visit Komodo. And mantas I did see! During the Christmas eve dive we had a manta madness. Four mantas were circling around the cleaning station. As a bonus, during my last dive a dugong was swimming in front of us. Geez, I’ve never seen a dugong before! Aside from big stuff there was also a highlight on a smaller scale, much smaller. We discovered pygmy seahorses! They are incredibly rare and very difficult to spot. In the dive site called Police Corner, there they were – pygmy seahorses 😀 Fantastic experience. What I liked most about diving in Komodo were not only the fabulous diving conditions but also the lovely atmosphere in the dive centre – Uber Scuba. The team just made it even more special. 

On top of great diving there is lots of stuff to see in Komodo. The dragons obviously but also breathtaking landscapes on Padar Island or a pink beach. My friend asked me if the pink sand comes from the blood of Komodo Dragon victims… nope the pink colour comes from powdered corals. 

In case the thought of going to Komodo comes to your mind… don’t hesitate just go, go go!

3.       Australia

It was a big dream come true. Diving in the Great Barrier Reef seemed like an unreachable destination. Until April 2019 happened. Went for my first dive safari. I was seasick for two days. Was able to get up for the dives and spent the time between dives lying flat in my bed. Luckily it got better after two days. Regardless of seasickness or not, it was totally worth it. The Great Barrier Reef didn’t disappoint. Never before did I see so many soft and hard corals. The most beautiful dive was in Google Garden. Oh my god! I t was a coral garden… and suddenly in the middle of the garden a blacktip shark appeared. Nice, very very nice. Australia was also the place where I did my first night dive. After such a long time since I first dove I never did a night dive before. Indeed, I was a bit afraid. Everything changed after jumping into the water. It wasn’t that dark at all. I felt very comfortable, actually even better than during a normal day dive. Since then I love night dives as the marine life looks just different. Of course, sharks… There are more sharks in the water during a night dive. As you might figured out I LOVE SHARKS!

Things to do and see in Australia apart from diving. Ammm it’s Australia dahhhhhh. In addition to the diving trip in the Great Barrier Reef I’ve did a city tour around Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney was very exciting – the opera house and the bridge do make a huge impression. In Melbourne I found a vintage shop where I bought a beautiful green dress and red shoes. Definitely want to visit Australia at least one more time to see Tasmania, Uluru Mountain and some other places plus do more diving in the Great Barrier Reef. BTW the barbequed meats in OZ are absolutely delicious.

4.       Borneo

Oh man, my first big diving trip when I was still a newbie into scuba diving. My bestie PRS told me about Borneo as she was doing her diving certification there. After seeing the beautiful pictures, I thought that it’s a very cool diving destination. Did some research to find out a bit more about Sipadan. It’s an island that rises 600 meter from the seabed… so imagine all the marine life you can around the island. Sipadan is listed as one of the top diving spots in the world. You can see blacktip sharks, hammerheads, barracuda tornados, turtles, green bumpheads and many many more. Imagine I went there having only 19 logged dives. My 20th dive was on Mabul island and it got even better after that. Went twice to dive at Sipadan island. Saw a shark for the first time in my life and just fell in love with those amazing animals. It was on Borneo where I learned my favourite underwater sign – > big fucking barracuda! Also the Scuba Junkie team I was diving with did everything to show us the great diving spots. Man, I really want to go back to Borneo again to enjoy all those dive sites having a bigger dive experience now. Plus I really wanna see hammerheads 😀 The only obstacle about diving in Borneo is that you must book way in advance if you want to dive in Sipadan. Thing is that it’s a marine park and only a certain number of divers per day are allowed to go and dive there. It’s a good compromise between protecting the environment and running the diving tourism business. Great thing about Borneo is that you have lots of other activities to do if you finish diving. There is Mount Kinabalu which you can hike up. There are orangutan sanctuaries which you can visit and lots of delicious food you can enjoy. Hopefully the covid situation will settle down soon and normal travel will come back again.   

  

5.       Egypt

Although I’m not a huge fan of holidays in Egypt as it’s mostly plastic fantastic, the diving there is superb. Well to a certain extent. The dive sites, the marine life and the number of species you can see there is just mind blowing. Been to a couple of diving places in Egypt and was never disappointed. Well, I did my diving certification there and it was in Egypt where I saw dolphins for the first time. The reefs are just stunning and if you not diving there are so many incredible places to visit – Luxor, The Pyramids or Asuan. However, there is a BUT. My impression is that comparing to Malaysian authorities Egyptian authorities don’t care very much about the rich natural underwater wonder they have. In high season you can see a dive boat next to a dive boat next to a dive boat. Many divers underwater and sadly not all of them can even be called divers. Some people wearing dive gear don’t give a damn about the corals. They are touching them or even breaking and taking pieces of coral. It seems that there are no regulations when it comes to diving in Egypt. To protect the reefs and the animals the authorities could introduce for example diving limits to allow only a certain amount of divers per month or so. 

The only pic I have from diving in Egypt. For that trip I couldn’t find the waterproof case for my camera

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