Big is beautiful! For many there is no greater underwater thrill than encountering the largest and most impressive creatures. We all know that feeling when you are pottering around on a dive when suddenly... something big comes into view.
It might be the unmistakable shape of a shark or the flapping wingtips of a mighty manta ray. Have you ever been diving when something passes overhead so big that it blocks out the sunlight? Your heart skips a beat as you realise you are in the presence of some magnificent megafauna!
In some destinations it can feel like a marine safari where, instead of lions, elephants and rhino, you are likely to be sharing the water with a huge shark or an enormous whale. These are the awesome, indescribable moments that are the reason why many people scuba dive.
So how to make sure that we have more of these amazing experiences? Well, that's where we come in!. If you know what big stuff you want to dive with then check out these resort-based locations we recommend as being among the best places on earth to encounter these 'A' listers of the ocean .
Whale sharks: Everyone wants to come eye to eye with the biggest fish in the ocean, the mighty whale shark. Our top tips for encounters with these gentle giants are: Richelieu Rock and Koh Samui in Thailand, and Lankayan Island in Malaysia.
Hammerhead sharks: There is no more distinctive movement underwater than the weaving, side-to-side motion of a hammerhead shark. Watching as one of these strangely shaped heads comes ever closer to you underwater is a hugely exciting experience. Encountering a big school of hammerheads on a dive is a moment that will make your eyes widen and your jaw slacken with wonder. If you want to dive with these sharks then you should be making plans for this destination: Layang Layang in Malaysia.
A variety of sharks: In a world where shark populations are under threat, sadly there are some places that are no longer worth visiting. However, there remain some dive destinations with healthy shark populations and a variety of species. These may include local reef sharks as well as pelagic visitors. So where might be worth diving and what type of sharks might you see there (we hear you ask)? Well:
Sipadan Island in Malaysia - large numbers of whitetip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, occasional hammerheads, whale sharks and even thresher sharks.
Pacific Harbour, Fiji - Bull sharks, tawny nurse sharks, whitetips, blacktips, grey reef sharks, sicklefin lemon sharks, silvertips and tiger sharks.
Raja Ampat in Indonesia - Wobbegong sharks, epaulette sharks, grey reef sharks, whitetips and hammerheads.
The Red Sea - Hammerheads, grey reef sharks, whitetips, oceanic whitetip sharks, threshers and whale sharks.
There is little more uplifting to the spirit of a diver than witnessing the arresting sight of a graceful manta ray swooping majestically by. Those who never dive cannot understand the feeling of sharing the water with one or more of these beautiful creatures. So what destinations should you look to for encountering manta rays? These ones: Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Koh Bon and Hin Daeng-Hin Muang in Thailand, and Kadavu Island in Fiji.
Another dream underwater encounter that scuba divers long for is the chance to dive with dolphins. Among the most intelligent sea creatures, they are often shy and wary of bubble-blowers and stay away. However, you have a greater chance of running into them for prolonged encounters in these great spots: Turneffe Atoll in Belize, Hurghada in Egypt.
Another extraordinary big marine creature that people long to encounter is the enigmatic sunfish, also known as mola mola. There is nothing like coming face to face with this odd looking flat disc lolling near the surface staring at you with large, dopey eyes. There are not many dive destinations with a high chance of encountering these creatures but among the best of them are: Lembongan Island, near Bali in Indonesia.
Don't see your preferred creatures in the list above? Maybe you want to dive with dugongs, turtles, sea lions, or simply big schools of fish. Whatever your dreams of diving with the big stuff, let us know and we will recommend you the best places. Remember the staff at Dive The World are experienced divers and know what they are talking about.
We also know about the various seasonal factors that affect sightings. We cannot possibly list here all the best times of the year in all of the above destinations. That information appears on each destination page of our website. If you want some guidance on timing, simply let us know and our destination experts will do the rest.
We are here to make your dreams of diving with the big stuff come true!