New Sites and New Thrills Await...
Despite us divers believing we are an adventurous bunch we still tend to fall back on tried and tested resorts. So the next time you plan to go away, why not consider a new twist on an old friend? Here are just a few suggestions:
Red Sea: Hamata
The small town of Hamata lends its name to the region opposite the Fury Shoal reef system. This is the most southerly diving resort in the Egyptian Red Sea. The remoteness of this area - situated 180km South of Marsa Alam - makes it the ultimate in ‘get away from it all’ diving.
The legendary Fury Shoal is right on Hamata's doorstep, offering over 35 memorable dive sites. There are over 80 types of coral to discover in this region, all in excellent condition and inhabited by a rich variety of marine species.
There are very few resorts this far south, but Regaldive offer two excellent options: Wadi Lahami Azur Resort and Lahami Bay, and with direct flights to Marsa Alam from several UK airports travel to this region has never been easier.
Grenada offers divers an exceptional variety of dives. There are over 30 sites concentrated around the South West tip of the island, ranging from beautiful coral gardens to adrenaline charged drift dives where encounters with a variety of rays and sharks are commonplace.
In addition to their fine reefs, Grenada is renowned for its wrecks, especially The Bianca C: a 200m luxury liner that sank in 1961. She supports a large amount of marine life and has numerous points of interest, including the swimming pool and the bridge.
For divers seeking something truly different there is Moliniere reef which has been brought alive and transformed by the work of artist Jason de Caires Taylor. His human form sculptures present fantastic photographic opportunities whilst forming a new home for marine life and give an entirely new perspective to the diver.
Indonesia: The Derawan Islands, East Kalimantan
Kalimantan is the Indonesian part of Borneo. The Derawan Islands are famous for outstanding diving; providing an amazing range of large fish species as well as plenty to please the macro enthusiasts.
Located in a biodiversity hotspot, the Derawan Islands feature 872 species of reef fishes, 507 species of coral, and invertebrates including protected species such as giant clam, two different sea turtles and the coconut crab. Some of the islands harbour the largest green turtle nesting sites in Indonesia. Furthermore, at Kakaban island you can visit one of only two non-stinging jelly fish lakes in the world.
East Kalimantan offers that rare combination of big and small marine life: the Islands’ remote location mean that dive sites are rarely crowded, marine life is abundant, and there is the chance of seeing something new each day.
The Similan Islands are located 100km Northwest of Phuket and are best dived by joining a liveaboard out of Phuket. The Islands lay claim to some of the finest dive sites in Thailand. Thriving reefs with abundant hard and soft corals highlight the dramatic terrain.
North of the Similan Islands the dive sites of Ko Bon, Ko Tachai and Richelieu Rock enjoy a deserved reputation for their big pelagic sightings. Richelieu Rock in particular attracts both whalesharks and manta rays in good numbers over the diving season.
With snow-white beaches set against picturesque granite outcrops above the water and spectacular dive sites in often crystal clear water below, it is not surprising that the Similan Islands are ranked as one of the finest dive destinations in the world.
A number of different itineraries provide divers with the choice of trip durations, from 2 nights to 10 nights, and can be combined with a land-based stay on Phuket.
We hope our small choice of alternative resorts has inspired you to look again at your tried and tested destinations. So when you are planning your next trip, instead of calling up an old friend, give serious consideration to a new relationship!