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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
People often ask me "where is the best place you have dived" and depending what mood I am in, I give a different answer each time. So when I actually stop and ask myself this question, I am never able to come to a conclusion.
I have visited some of the best known areas of the world and I hope that I am fortuanate enough to continue doing so for many years to come.

Below is a list that today I consider to be my top 5.
But ask me next week and it could be completely different.!!!!!!!

5th - Kuredu Express Maldives. Great drift dive with great shark encounters.
4th - Manta point Midavaru South Ari Atoll Maldives. 3 manta cleaning stations on one reef. Awesome
3rd - Richelieu Rock Similan-Surin Islands Thailand. A very colourful pinnacle which is alive with creatures
2nd - Angels Window Lembeh Strait. 3 species of pygmy seahorse photographed on 1 dive. WOW
1st - Darwin Arch Galapagos. This is a dive site at the northen end of the Galapagos Islands. It is extremely remote and visited years ago by Charles Darwin himself. The currents here are strong and rich with plankton, which brings in the biggest shark in the sea the whaleshark. The dive site here is pretty spectacular, with various forms of life. There are no pretty corals to look at, but the fish life certainly makes up for that. The arch itself is part of an old volcano which rises from the depths to about 80ft out of the water. After years of erosion, an arch has been formed. You will need to be on a liveaboard to dive this site as it is so remote. As a group you will be diving from a "panga" (rib). On my most rememberable dive there ( and last one of the trip )I can remember being sat on the edge of the panga and travelling to the sandy area where our dive was to begin. There were litterally hundreds of shark fins cutting the surface all around our panga. Silky sharks, hammerheads and galapagos sharks were everywhere. It was a case of back rolling, negative descent, and fight your way down through them. Parting them as you made it down to the sandy area. made it down to around 28-32 mtrs to find a flat sandy area which had turtles, eagle rays, swimming morays and hammerheads. We passed over this area and found the rocks which were being patrolled by a school of hammerheads that must have been 350-400 strong. It is very impotant to keep a check on your bottom time as time goes so fast when you are transfixed on a show like this. We made our way up to an area which is known as " the balcony ". This is at 20 mtrs and is a large flat area of rock which is a perfect place to sit, stand, hold on. There is no danger of harming sea life as this is just rock with no living things attatched. If the viz is good you can look out into the blue and see sharks for as far as you can see. Another advantage of being here is that you can be in prime location if a whaleshark appears. On this particular dive I stayed below the other divers as I hate getting other divers bubbles in my video footage. I perched myself between 2 boulders and signalled ok to my buddy. I checked my computer and began filming some of the best video I have ever taken. After 10 minutes our guide was waving for us all to follow him into the blue. This was a good thing as my nitrox was around 70 bar. As we left the rocks I could see a shadow which was black and massive.
It was a whaleshark of at least 40ft it was massive and it was about 15 mtrs from me. We were at 12 mtrs and the white spotted beauty started to swim down deeper, my wife looked at me as if to say " lets go" and for a split second I was ready to join her. Looking at my pressure guage I had 50 bar remaining and signalled this to my wife. The guide was close by and I signalled to him that I would ascend for my safety stop and for him to buddy up with my wife and and continue the whaleshark sighting. I left the group and started my safety stop, looking down as this spotted, remora carrying golliathheaded down together with my dive buddies. It was within seconds that they had dissappeared and only a trail of bubbles were indicating there position. The silky sharks had obviously spotted me all alone at 5 mtrs and had come in to have a closer look, which was fine by me as I managed to get some great silky footage. The whaleshark sighting had been spotted by another liveaboard that was there and they were all getting ready to get in. As they did they headed straight down to the whaleshark, which when viewed at 5mtrs below did not seem a nice thing to be doing, chasing the whaleshark. It did make me ask myself the question of is it right to get that close to nature, was it ok to chase an animal. My immediate reaction as I was witnessing this, was that it was wrong. I can still remember this very clearly, but now with time gone by, I am also asking myself, was I just bitter because I guzzled all my nitrox trying to avoid the other divers bubbles, and that meant I couldnt join the party. The silkys went and i had the change battery flashing on my video camera. I had been at 5 mtrs for 7 minutes now and I decided to start reeling in my DSMB line. I slowly reeled in and as I was just breaking the surface the whaleshark had decided to join me. I was on the surface with her. Now i could see how big she actually was. BIG being the word. I emptied my bc slightly and moved away from her. When I say we were together I mean she was on top of me. Touching me. All I could think of was how big that tail was and how close it was. I managed to get to a safe distance and swam along side her for 1-2 minutes, trying to sort my DSMB out, video her and enjoy the experience. What was funny, all the divers that had been chasing her minutes earlier were stranded at 5 mtrs, so I had this experience totally to myself. Unfortunately I only got 30 seconds of footage before my battery went flat.

So now when people ask me " where is the best place I have dived" I will say Darwin Arch.

What I would love to know is what are yours.?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
we are going there for christmas and new year. Off to Seaventures dive platform ( Borneo ) and Komodo liveaboard in four weeks.......cant wait
 

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Notice my avatar. I am hard astern.
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My top Six (not including anything I haven't done), location and specific dive:
Wrecks: Marshall Islands, Bikini Atoll (USS.Lamson)
Reefs: West Papua, Raja Ampat (Sardines)
Sharks: Fiji (Benqa Lagoon) or Tua Motus, French Pol. (Apataki) or Tongue of the Ocean, New Providence (Shark Reef)
Current: Seychelles, Aldabra (West Channel)
Macro: North Suluwesi, Lembeh Strait (Nudibranch Wall)
Pelagic: Galapagos (Darwins Arch) or Cocos (Roca Sucio)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
nice list, French Polynesia is high on my list of places to dive and so is Raja Ampat, Hoping to do a liveaboard there in 2008.
 

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top dive site ever has top be Browns Bay, Cullercoats UK.
Not very deep - max of 10m if you take a shovel :D, nice reef walls with pleanty to see if you open your eyes.Remains of the wreck of the Bute Town with 2 very nice boilers to swim through.Nil to very little current to worry about.Excellent for lobsters at the right time of year and best of all - it's only a 20 minutes drive from my house :D
Everyone harps on about the warmer parts of the planet, but given the choice - the North East coastline wins it for me every time :D
Don't get me wrong - I'm just as happy diving in South East Asia as anyone else, I just happen to prefer the marine life of good old Blighty :)
 
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