1. Beqa Lagoon Resort

Where: Beqa Island, Fiji

Diving: Beqa Lagoon is surrounded by one of the world’s biggest barrier reefs, stretching over 300 kilometres with an impressive variety of marine life and corals, including nine species of sharks. It has innumerable prime dive sites ranging from 5 to 30 metres in depth, with gentle to moderate currents. To protect the sharks, the resort works with nearby villages by giving them a share of profits to compensate for the loss of income for fishing which has been prohibited.

Classic Dives:

Cathedral – Specially designed for tiger shark dives, guests will dive down to 20 metres for 30 minutes and stay behind a coral block wall, while observing sharks interacting with a feed bin five to six metres away. Expect to see up to seven species of sharks and thousands of small, colourful fish.

Carpet Cove – A gentler dive for new divers, this site is teeming with anemones and clownfish, and features a 25-metre Chinese trawler wreck at a depth of 30 metres.

When: July to December

Requirements:

-Open Water Diver certification

-Specialised certification or minimum logged dives for certain dive sites

-Some diving experiences available for non-certified guests

 

 

2.Avalon Cuban Diving Center

Where: Jardines de la Reina Marine Park, Cuba

Diving: Known for being one of the few accessible virgin coral reefs in the world, sharks in this region depend on the reef systems for food and cleaning stations. To protect the sharks and reef, the centre only hosts up to 3,000 divers a year.

Classic Dives:

Vicente – One of the deepest dive sites, it features coral mountains up to 40 metres in depth, leading to a drop-off down to 800 metres. Rare black coral colonies line the mountains and hammerhead sharks frequent the area.

Black Coral I and II – The dive site is 24 to 30 metres deep and offers a more intimate experience with marine life. A seasoned resident population of over 30 reef sharks tends to swim close to divers. Throngs of curious parrotfish, black groupers, and schools of jacks can be found throughout the sandy channel surrounded by corals.

When: Whale sharks from July to November. Diving available year-round.

Requirements:

-Open Water Diver certification

-Advanced Open Water Diver and nitrox certification needed for deeper dives

 

 

3.Tahiti Shark Expeditions

Where: Mo’orea, Tahiti

Diving: On dives with guests, the team at Tahiti Shark Expeditions monitor the acoustic-tagged resident tiger sharks’ behaviour and shares the data with regional agencies. Guests are often impressed by the diving team’s ability to recognise individual sharks with different personalities.

Classic Dives:

Reef Shark Expedition – This half-day expedition at Vallée Blanche does not use bait. Divers drift dive while exploring the site with their guide. Expect a variety of sharks, including blacktip, lemon and nurse sharks.

Tiger Shark Expedition – This dive uses bait to attract tiger sharks, increasing sightings. The founder himself, Nicolas Buray, accompanies divers, sharing his knowledge about the individual sharks. Tours are limited to six divers for an optimal experience.

When: For sharks, year-round. Humpback whales from June to November.

Requirements:

-Open Water Diver certification

-Dive specific insurance such as DAN recommend

 

 

 

4.Undersea Hunter Group

Where: Cocos Island, Costa Rica

Diving: The Undersea Hunter Group’s two luxury liveaboards, Argo and Sea Hunter, offer an arsenal of amenities including a deep-diving submersible for guests. Throughout the trip, guests visit dive sites around Cocos Island that range from 6 to 40 meters in depth, with warm water and gentle to strong currents. During dives, guides do population estimates of shark species. Many organisations use this data to observe population trends. The group is assisting the University of Costa Rica’s CIMAR division using their DeepSea submersible to study the deep waters surrounding Cocos Island.

Classic Dives:

Dirty Rock – One of Cocos Island’s best dive sites, this giant rock formation hosts a very diverse range of marine life, including mobula rays, turtles and even the occasional whale shark.

Bajo Alcyone – Another top dive site, this seamount has an incredible variety of large sea life, including sharks, dolphins and sailfish.

When: Year-round sightings. Some sites subject to prevailing conditions and seasons

Requirements:

-Open Water Diver certification

-Dive-specific insurance such as DAN, Aquamed, or FFSSMM

-Nitrox certification and minimum 50 hours of diving experience recommended

Taken from Asian Diver Issue 1/2018

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