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Top Destinations to dive with Manta Rays

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In their mission to create a billion Torchbearers to explore and protect the ocean, PADI is encouraging divers to seek adventure and experience first-hand the vital eco-systems below the surface of the ocean.

To further raise awareness of this mission on International Manta Ray Day (17 September 2021), PADI has rounded up the top destinations in the world that are currently open to divers.

Machadilla National Park, Isla de la Plata, Ecuador

Diving in Ecuador offers a special paradise for scuba divers, in which the chance of encountering marine species nowhere else on earth is extremely high due to the heavy currents and nutrient rich waters. And for those keen to dive with manta rays, head out with PADI 5 Star Dive Center Exploramar Diving, or PADI 5 Star Dive Center Mares Ecuador here they take divers out to Machadilla National Park in Isla de la Plata for a chance to greet these graceful creatures every July to September.

Find out more with PADI’s Dive Guide for Ecuador

Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Hawaii’s volcanic origins and isolated geographical location makes for a whirlwind of scuba diving encounters underwater, with manta ray encounters being likely all year long. For those looking for an extra special experience,  PADI 5 Star Dive Center Jack’s Diving Locker offers a manta ray night dive and a PADI Distinctive Specialty Course called Manta Ray Diver, which covers everything from the manta ray anatomy to cleaning habits, reproduction and how to identify individual rays in the local population.

Find out more with PADI’s Dive Guide for Hawaii

Bryon Bay, Australia

For those who are currently in Australia, they can have their backyard manta ray encounter with PADI 5 Star Dive Center Sundive Byron Bay. The summer months of December to May bring manta rays to the nearby Julia Rocks Marine Reserve, which National Geographic once acknowledged as one of the top 20 dives in the world.

Find out more with PADI’s Dive Guide for Australia

Manta Point, Nusa Penida, Bali

The name speaks for itself. Manta Point in Bali is a haven for manta rays all year long, with the best time to see them being from April to May. PADI 5 Star Dive Center and Resort  Scuba Junkie Penida  offers the ultimate manta ray diving experience in the area, adding coral dives and drift dives to the day’s adventure.

Find out more with PADI’ Dive Guide for Bali

Komodo National Park, Labuan Bajo, Indonesia

One of Indonesia’s most famous diving destinations is also one of the best places to dive with manta rays! PADI 5 Star Dive Resort Blue Marlin Komodo is the perfect place for a manta ray holiday, where divers can stay at the dive resort while getting their PADI Open Water Diver certification and then hop aboard their dive vessel for a day of diving out at sea with manta rays!

Find out more with PADI’s Dive Guide for Indonesia

Six Senses Manta Point, Laamu Atoll, Maldives

Crystal clear warm waters, white sandy beaches and manta rays—PADI 5 Star Dive Resort Six Senses Laamu offers the ultimate luxurious manta ray holiday. As the only dive resort in the Laamu Atoll, divers of all levels will have extremely personable encounters with manta rays every month of the year in this world-class diving area.  There are also more than 180 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts in the Maldives that can take divers out to have a manta ray encounter.

Find out more with PADI’s Dive Guide for the Maldives

Azores, Portugal

The islands that make up the Azores off the coast of Portugal are one of the most diverse for marine life. One  specific type of manta rays known as the Mobula birostris is known tohang out in large groups around the island of St. Maria between June and October, with PADI 5 Star Haliotis Dive Center offering guided boat trips to the island.

Find out more with PADI’s Dive Guide for Portugal

Diving with whale sharks and manta rays can make a difference in protecting these incredible species for future generations – dive tourism encourages protection from local communities and governments. But its important to always adhere to local guidelines and best practices to ensure these creatures’ well-being is always at the forefront. PADI dive operators understand the importance of using the proper equipment, the time of day to dive with sharks, and the maximum number of operators that should be on the water at any given time. To learn more about responsible shark and ray tourism and other ways you can support the protection of these incredible animals, visit padi.com/aware/sharks.

Marine Life & Conservation

Top 5 Party Guests: The Magic of Night Diving in Cozumel

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A blog by Pro Dive International

*Header image: On the day of our planned night dive at the Allegro Cozumel, we had to reschedule, as any water activity during thunderstorms and lightning is considered dangerous. We still thought it was worth sharing this breathtaking spectacle with you.*


Have you ever gazed out at the open ocean at night wondering what happens down there as the sun disappears over the horizon and darkness sets in? If all marine life will be sleeping, or if there’s anything creeping along the reefs?

Here’s what really happens, including a list of our Top 5 Party Guests that make you want to add night diving in Cozumel to your bucket list.

Brief Overview

While the Caribbean Sea is not calming down at night due to the effectively constant trade-winds in the tropics that drive ocean wave trains and cause waves to break throughout day and night, a vibrant party under the sea is just about to begin, as huge basket stars unfurl their arms into the night, parrotfish create their mucus bubble beds, giant lobsters, king crabs and octopus prepare for hunt, and bioluminescence sparkles up the scene.

TOP 5 Party Guests

1. Basket Stars

These sea stars can only be observed in their true glory at night when they unfurl their many branched arms into the darkness to filter food from the water. Some reach nearly a meter in size! Shine your torch on them and watch them curl their huge arms back towards their mouths as they eat the small creatures attracted by your light. 

The perfect party costume, do you agree?

Basket Star by Elizabeth Maleham @Pro Dive International

2. Cephalopods – Octopus & Squid

These fascinating creatures are rarely spotted during day dives, but at night you can see them out and about hunting the reef for their next meal. Watch as they move about changing colors and patterns in the blink of an eye! Below is a picture of an octopus spreading its body wide over the reef like a net to encircle its prey.

Did you know that octopuses were that colorful?

Octopus by Elizabeth Maleham @Pro Dive International

3. Crustaceans

Safely tucked away in the back of a crevice during the day, these creatures venture out under the cover of darkness to hunt. A fantastic opportunity to finally get a close-up look at all those king crabs and plenty of lobsters you have only seen as small eyes peering out from the back of a cave.

Up for a dance?

Crab by Elizabeth Maleham @Pro Dive International

4. Parrotfish

Many fish only half sleep, needing to be alert to the dangers 24/7, but parrot fish have evolved an ingenious warning system so they can get their eyes shut. As night draws in, they find a nook to rest in and start to create a mucus like a bubble encircling their whole bodies. They can rest safely in this for the entire night, but if anything disturbs this veil, they are off like a shot into the dark!

How did this sleepy guy make it into our Top 5?

Parrotfish in Cozumel by Guillermo Reta @Pro Dive International

5. Bioluminescence

For those not familiar with this natural phenomenon, bioluminescence is a chemical process which allows living creatures like plankton, tiny crustaceans, some fish, squid and algae to produce light in their body to either attract prey, confuse predators, or lure potential mates.

As the bioluminescent sea will glow when it’s disturbed by a breaking wave or a splash in the water at night, for most of our divers the best part is covering up the torches and waving our arms about disturbing the bioluminescence into sparkling blue points of light. 

This makes the perfect party glitter!

Bioluminescence @Dreamstime


Already in a party mood? Pack your dive gear!

How to join the underwater party in Cozumel?

  1. Join Pro Dive International’s Cozumel Night Dives as a certified diver.
  2. Boost your skills and make your night dive one of the 5 Adventure Dives of the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course.
  3. Contact us for guidance.


Contact:

reservations@prodiveinternational.com 

www.prodiveinternational.com/contact-us

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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

8 Places to Seek Adventure with Octopus

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A Guest Blog by PADI.com

World Octopus Day on 8 October 2021 highlights the need to continue to explore and protect the ocean so that the 300 recognized species of octopus can continue to live in rock formations, coral reefs and throughout the seas.

Octopus have long been one of the most fascinating marine encounters to have as a diver. With three hearts, blue blood, the ability to camouflage on demand and their high levels of intelligence, these curious creatures place high on many divers’ bucket lists.

They can be found in a range of ocean climates around the globe, making diving with octopus attainable worldwide.

Here are eight of some of the best places to dive with octopus:

1. Canary Islands

Offering warm and clear water all year round, the Canary Islands off the northwest coast of Africa and the eastern edge of the Atlantic Ocean are a great place to dive with octopus, who are often hiding under the rocky terrain below the surface.

2. The Maldives

This low-lying nation offers white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs and plenty of opportunity to dive with octopus. The rich water in the Maldives feed the soft coral that clings to rock slides, providing a range of locations for octopus to build their home. They are a common sighting there amongst those who both snorkel and dive.

3. French Polynesia

Octopus are an essential part of French Polynesian culture—they have an octagonal building referred to as the “Octopus Church” on the island of Mo’orea and the island archipelago is home to the Micronesia mythology octopus god referred to as Na Kika. Beneath the surface of these low-lying atolls in French Polynesia are marine creature clusters that often include octopus hiding amongst the rocks or coral beds.

4. South Africa

This destination put diving with octopus on the top of the list for many after last year’s release of the Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher. False Bay near Cape Town, as highlighted in the film, is one location to dive with octopus. But the varied climates and currents provide a range of opportunities for close encounters with these marine creatures across the coastline.

5. Indonesia

As the epicenter of biodiversity beneath the surface of Indonesia’s waters, octopus are just one of the many marine animals that call this collection of 17,508 islands home. Lembeh Strait is often full of various species, including the mimic octopus, who can change into and act like a variety of other marine species like lionfish and sea snakes.

6. Philippines

The Philippines offers divers thousands of dive sites to choose from. But those wanting to dive with an octopus should plan a visit to the Sea Explorers House Reef in Dauin, where blue ring octopus are known to be found during the month of October, often amongst the colorful soft coral.

7. United States

Off the California coastline are thousands of tidepools that offer a sanctuary for octopus and a great place for those with their fins off to have an encounter with them. Those wanting to dive deeper can do a shore dive at Shaw’s Cove in Laguna Beach, where octopus are known to hang out around the underwater statue dubbed Shelley of Shaw’s. And farther North up the Pacific Coast off the shores of Washington, divers can encounter giant Pacific octopus in the waters of Olympic National Park.

8. Australia

For those wanting to find the world’s smallest octopus, the blue ring octopus can be found off the coast of Sydney and Melbourne in Australia. This tiny octopus is known for its beautiful blue marking and will flash bright blue and black rings to warn predators to stay away. The world’s smallest octopus is also the most venomous, so make sure to admire them from a safe distance.

To explore these dive sites and more, get in touch with your local PADI Dive Center or Resort and become a PADI Open Water Diver.  And for those wanting to help protect octopus, other marine species and the ocean they call home, join the community of PADI Torchbearers to learn more about how to get involved and help restore ocean health.


Photo credit – Annie Crawley, PADI AmbassaDiver and Master Scuba Diver Instructor / @anniecrawley_oceanannie

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Our special, extended, 14 night charter of MV Carpe Diem in the Maldives will visit some of our favourite sites in the central and near-south atolls. We will be spending 14 nights on-board, specifically because we want to travel and have time to enjoy the sites without rushing too much.

The boat will depart from Male on Saturday 23rd October and guests will disembark on Saturday 06th November. The route will incorporate our favourite manta points, shark diving points and spectacular coral reefs.

 

Please contact us for last minute prices on 01473921888 or email us at info@greatescapesdivingholidays.com

 

 

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