The feeling of total weightlessness, the gentle whistling sounds of the ocean song, and the sightings of free-roaming marine life all around you – spending time underwater is a truly out-of-this-world experience.
Not only are underwater adventures addictive, but they will change your perception of marine creatures forever. It’s often hard to imagine an entirely different world living beneath the ocean – a world which, in fact, covers over 70% of our planet – but incorporating a deep-sea exploration into your travel stories can add something truly special that might just change be life-changing.
From Scotland to Seychelles, here are some of our top choices for experiencing awe-inspiring marine adventures…
Diving with manta rays in Indonesia
Indonesia, the world’s largest archipelago is an ocean-lovers dream, with over 17,000 islands strung across 3,000 miles, and countless reef diving spots to explore. Among them, Raja Ampat is one of the most impressive with some of the most biodiverse reefs on the planet. From mimic octopuses and whale sharks to wobbegongs and pygmy seahorses, what you will witness here is pure magic from every angle.
If it’s manta rays that you are interested in getting close to, then Raja Ampat has several sites where both oceanic manta rays and reef manta rays are regularly seen. The Raja Ampat Islands are an Indonesian archipelago off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua. In the north, the famous Manta Ridge and Manta Sandy dive sites are both very consistent for diving with manta rays, and Blue Magic has visiting oceanic manta rays too. In the south, near to Misool, Magic Mountain has both reef and oceanic manta rays - a unique experience for divers lucky enough to see both in a single dive!
Manta rays can be seen in Raja Ampat throughout October to May, but November to March offers the best chance for viewing (and weather too).
Snorkel trailing in Scotland
The Scottish seas might be a ‘little’ chillier than the Indian Ocean, but equally, they are full of extraordinary creatures. The Scottish Wildlife Trust has established snorkel trails in areas with lots of underwater life including the northwest Highlands around Ullapool, and the Isle of Harris. From sea squirts, sponges, and anemones to whales, dolphins, and basking sharks, the marine life there is diverse and fascinating.
Scotland’s newest trail at Lochaber features six sites on the region’s coast and identifies areas that can be explored by both beginner and more advanced snorkellers. Exploring these areas could lead to close-up encounters with vibrant wildlife including starfish, jellyfish, anemones, and crabs, as well as seals and a variety of fish species.
Clauchlands Farm, near Lamlash in Arran, is within the No Take Zone. Here you have the opportunity to see a marine habitat where no fishing has taken place since 2008. Look for juvenile fish and a wide variety of crabs and starfish amongst the seaweed.
A Scottish snorkelling experience could be the perfect add-on for your exhilarating mini-break in the Highlands.
Idyllic adventures in the Andaman Islands
Located in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Islands are an archipelago of around 300 small islands known for their white-sand beaches, tropical rainforests and mangroves. The islands are also a diver’s dream, offering some of the most pristine dive sites on earth.
Experienced divers can travel by boat to reach sites around the black walls of Barren Island (South Asia’s only active volcano). Here you’ll find an underwater theatre show of graceful manta rays, whitetip reef sharks and banded sea snakes.
At the southern islands of Cinque, Passage and Sisters you will find bioluminescent waters, abundant sharks, and slopes covered with fans and sponges. For land-based diving, head to Havelock Island, a tropical utopia, which is a perfect base for day-trip.
The diving season here usually starts in October and extends until May, with the water temperature ranging from 80-84˚F (27-29˚C).
Whale shark swims in the Seychelles
The Seychelles islands have a very unique biodiversity, with an array of marine life featuring over 1,000 species of fish. The remote location of this 115-island archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean promises a peaceful retreat, making it a first-class destination choice for romantics and adventurers alike.
Here unspoiled vistas are brimming with lush forests, majestic mountains, pristine beaches, impressive granite topography, and vivacious coral reefs. The waters around the island also protect large academies of whale sharks, with Mahé, the largest island, being the best destination for diving with these majestic creatures.
Whale sharks are some of the largest and most docile inhabitants of the ocean – feeding only on plankton, anchovies and krill. Swimming alongside them as they elegantly glide through the water is a truly meditative experience.
Join an experienced Marine Biologist as you dive in and swim with these sharks, and experience first-hand the ongoing conservation initiatives to protect marine ecosystems for years to come.
Blacktip reef shark encounters in Tahiti
Tahiti is the largest of the 100+ islands that spread over five archipelagos in the South Pacific and make up French Polynesia. Here you will find lush tropical forests, towering volcanic peaks, snow-white beaches and turquoise blue lagoons. The landscape of the island is also just as mesmerising below sea level, where an underwater paradise awaits.
Expect lots of big and beautiful creatures competing for your attention beneath the waves here, including sharks, manta rays, dolphins and even whales that roam the waters around the island. Schools of multi-coloured butterfly fish and playful turtles swim just beneath the surface of the water, offering awesome snorkelling opportunities too.
Blacktip reef sharks are commonly sighted while diving in the shallow reefs, although they don’t tend to get too close to divers due to the bubbles created, which scares them off. They can usually be found swimming over reefs and sandy flats, which makes snorkelling a great option here too. The lack of bubbles means you can actually spend longer and get closer to the sharks than while diving.
There are sites for divers of all levels of experience during your Tahiti trip, with clear, shallow reefs, deep open ocean drop offs, wrecks, walls, and pretty much everything else a diver could dream of. Dolphin & whale watching occurs from August through to October.
Our team at Untold Story is here to create you the most epic underwater adventure – as well as ensuring that it is safely and responsibly planed with only the very best experts and suppliers in the industry.
Get in touch to start planning your next travel story today.