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John Bantin

Top Ten Dive Sites

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I was recently asked to write an article entitled Top Ten Dive Sites. I wanted to change it to Ten Top Dive Sites because I know even Jacques Cousteau had about 50 in his Top Ten!

What are your top ten?

Edited by John Bantin

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It would have to be Wrasybury or Vobster Quay. The rest are not worth listing......!


I really like Ducomi Pier in Dumaguete, Negros Oriental, Philippines.


Unfortunatelly it is closed now. ;)

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Come on you experienced travellers. I want your top Ten not just an odd one!

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Deep rebreather dive on never-before-dived wreck in Palau

Snorkle with 50 Whale Sharks, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Diving with Crocs, Elephants and Hippos, Okavango Delta, Botswana

Ice dive, McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Tachai Pinnacle, Similan Islands, Thailand

Diving with Sperm Whales, Ogasawara Islands, Japan

Connecting the Sac Actun and Nohoch Nah Chich Cave systems, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Wherever Eric took that big Aluminum reef shot in Indonesia

Bait Ball w/ Gannets, Dolphins, Sharks and Brydes Whales, Port St. Johns, South Africa

HMHS Britannic, Greece

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Not in any particular order:


Saratoga, Bikini

Darwin Island, Galapagos

Roca Partida, Revillagigedos

Blue Corner, Palau

Brothers Islands, Red Sea

Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

Witu Islands, PNG

Tiputu Pass, Tahiti

Poor Knights, New Zealand

Jardines de la Reina, Cuba

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The Boiler, San Benedicto Island


Cocos Island


Richarsons Rock, northern channel islands CA


Hedo ?? point , Okinawa


Big Sur coast, CA, Schmeider?? bank


Tobamory, Lake Ontario, Canada


Socorro Islands, Roca Partida


Dirty Rock, Komodo


Fiji, Lau group


San Miguel Island, Northern Channel islands, CA, Wycoff ?? ledge

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In no particular order ...


Blue corner... Palau


Fujikawa maru... Chuuk


Anywhere around Gozo... Maltese Archipelago


The marine reserve... El Hierro ... Canary islands


Pembrokeshire ... West Wales


Stoney Cove ...


Dive safe



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babylon - Grand Cayman

fredericksted pier - st croix

wreck of the rhone - salt island, bvi

los dos ojos cenote - yucatan

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in no particular order...


Roca Partida in the Revillagigedos Archipelago (Socorro)

Colombia Deep in Cozumel

Darwin Island in Galapagos

Vatu-i-Ra pass in Fiji

Linden Haven Jetty in PNG

Blue Holes in Palau

Oil rigs in California

Shinkoku Maru in Truk

Gunung Api (Snake Island) in the Banda Sea

Most of Raja Ampat

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Havent traveled that much so heres my top 2(3)


No doubt in my mind that Saltstraumen in norway is my number one dive.


Ras Muhammed


And then Denmark

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Single most exhilarating dive of my life:

Alcyone, Cocos Island.

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There we go, I could surely had ten more :

Pescador island - Moalboal Philippines

Sahaung - Bangka straits N/sulawesi

Nudi retreat - Lembeh straits

Liberty Wreck - Bali

Barracuda Point - Sipadan - M'sian Borneo

Paradise II - Mabul - M'sian Borneo

Nacala Bay - northern Mozambique

G6 / Vatu I ra - Fiji islands

SS Pres.Coolidge - Santo - Vanuatu

Hin Muang/Hin Daeng - Southern Thailand

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This is a really good question. Helped pass considerable time on planes, trains and automobiles today.


Here is my list. Changing by the minute - so better type it quick. Limited by where I have dived - there are a number of excellent suggestions above I have yet to try.


1 Ras Mohammed, Egypt.

2 Fiabacet, Misool, Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

3 Browning Wall, Browning Pass, Canada.

4 TK, Lembeh, Indonesia.

5 Thistlegorm Wreck, Egypt.

6 Baracuda Point, Sipadan.

7 Frankenwald Wreck, Norway.

8 Tiger Beach, Bahamas.

9 Washington Rock, Sardinia, Italy.

10 Wool Bay Jetty, South Australia.


(11 East of Eden, Similans, Thailand)

(12 Snapper Hole, Grand Cayman)




p.s. That said, this week I have been diving in a mucky lagoon in France (1-4m viz) and have been loving it. You gotta love diving, really. Where ever you go it is excellent.

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Interesting question. There are soooo many great dive sites to choose from but here goes...


1 Seven Tree Island, Browining Pass, British Columbia, Canada.

2 Nakwakto Rapids, Seymour Inlet, BC, Canada.

3 Browning Wall, Browning Pass, BC, Canada.

4 The Coral, Agamemnon Channel, BC Canada.

5 Wooden Island, Alaska, USA

6 E-6, Bligh Water, Fiji

7 Tongoa Wall, Vanuatu.

8 Tiger Beach, Bahamas.

9 Blue Corner, Palau

10 Cenotes, Yucatan, Mexico.

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The only problem I have with the "top ten dive sites" thing is that it's not really the dive site that makes it great. Three of my favorite dives in my 30 years of diving were at totally pedestrian dive sites:


- Parrot's Landing night dive Grand Cayman - Bristle Worms were spawning. Most amazing thing I've seen on a shore dive, there was a bristle worm on every single coral head spewing white stuff into the water. Looked like they were doing "pushups" at the same time. Every coral head looked like a party was goin on ;) It was also a full moon and I could turn off my dive light and watch the scene almost as clear as day. I've never seen spawning on that scale again.


- Bedroom Bay, Statia - On another night dive, I was with one other diver in a fairly unremarkable shallow dive with small coral heads in the sand. Looked up, and the entire surface about 30' above me seemed to be moving like a river. I rose up to the surface and realized it was schooling squid - literally *thousands* of them. I grabbed one and lifted it up out of the water to examine for a few moments; it was still expelling air trying to get away from me. Then I saw it: a 4 foot great barracuda near the bottom. He gathered himself up, sort of like a cat getting ready to pounce, and THRUSTED into the middle of the squid in just fractions of a second! I went to bottom and exhausted my tank of air watching the barracuda feed on the highway of squid above.


- Garden Eel Cove - Kona - Pretty common dive. I'm sure a lot of you have probably done it. The Manta night dive. When we did it, there were possibly 200 divers there. That might sound terrible, but in actuality, it added to the experience. All the divers gather into a large circle around a crate with halogens pointed to the surface like it was a campfire. All the snorkelers on the surface looked like airplanes circling an airport. Then they came. We counted 11 Mantas that night and they came flying in like bombers on a strafing run. It looked seriously JUST LIKE the scene from Close Encounters of the Third Kind at Devil's Tower. Just incredible!


Sure, I could list the names of some "signature" dives I've done. Blue Hole, The Rhone, Pinnacle, Stingray City, the Pier at Bonaire, T&C, Bahamas, Cenotes, etc.. From reading this thread, it's obvious a lot of you have been more exotic places than I have, but really, it's not the dive site, it's what "Was There".



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As I contemplate this list, I think of unique experiences related to individual dive sites, not just cool dive sites with beautiful reefs etc.

From that perspective, I have to second Tiger Beach, Bahamas and Three Sisters Spring, Crystal River, Florida. Is there any more satisfying dive experience then interacting with manatees.

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Listed as they come up in my mind, no ranking possible:

1. Where I got my first baitball with sharks ONLY in 20m viz and bumped silly about 20 times...somewhere along off Poenskop, South Africa. Well it's not really a site so I guess I'll have go with...

2. Secret Bay/Bull Point/XXX, Anilao, PI... mating wunderpus, mimic, mototi, bluering and even a flamboyant cuttlefish all in one spot, a cephalopod lover's dream dive. Very accessible dive from shore place.

3. Little Komodo, FakFak, Indonesia. Schooling 'cudas, GT baitballs, jacks, muck, awesome fry action and just loads of life...all in one spot ... for reef life 50% as it should be in the pre-sharkfin world ... unless you go to....

4. Fiabacet, R4, Papua Barat... super fry density with predators everywhere from GTs to mobula rays to tuna, healthy coral growth and even a few sharks deep down... the marine biodiversity capital's offering of what 60% of what reef life should be ... and then you find ...

5. SUPERSECRET SPOT, Pacific Ocean near Indonesia: a real school of hammers and other reef sharks, dugongs, mantas, mobulas, tuna in super fry school action and healthy corals with cleaning stations and usually even great viz. 70% of what life should be and it's still recovering. Ranks lower because of inaccessibility and fishermen also google.

6. The Yongala, rich with life, rays, nappie wrasse, the occasional big shark like tigers, olive snakes thicker than my ankles, all sorts of schooling reef life in a balanced biosphere that has been left untouched. Not very biodiverse but what all reefs should be like in terms of health if there was a perfect world.

7. Tulamben with the Liberty: Wreck with great life including resident trevally school, awesome cleaning stations, muck with the oddest critters on the side and the occasional pelagic visitor like a mola mola, all just 50m from the beach with the main road another 50m back.. Nothing more to ask for in a dive site!

8. Any site in Lembeh when it's hot and no other divers are around! ;)

9. Bajo Alcyone, Isla de Cocos or the Fridge, Isla de Malpelo, 'nuff said!

10. E6, Koro, Fiji. The colors of the soft corals in 30m viz is just beautiful and then you get the pelagic sharks and the swim through to the Cathedral etc.

11. Tatawa Kechil or BatuBolong, Komodo, Indonesia. Soft corals, reef fish, pelagics big and small

12. Pantar Island, Alor, Indonesia. Huge queensland groupers with great coral growth and fish life... and lots of current. Then you end off with a pier where a bunch of kids are always playing in the water.


13-100 Plenty of sites that deserve mention but you limited it to 11. :)

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1. Alycone - Cocos

2. Pimpernel Rock - Northern NSW, Australia

3. Nusa Penida Channel - Bali

4. Cyclone Reef / Mulloway Reef - Tufi, Papua New Guinea

5. Southern Mozambique

6. Yongala - Townville Australia

7. Sardine Run - SA

8. Brothers - Red Sea

9. Fish Rock Cave - South West Rocks, NSW Australia

10. Tiger Beach - Bahamas



Maybe not completely in the correct order.... but hey, they move around a little depending on the day!

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In no special order


Hard to Find, Komodo

Blue Corner, Palau

Mi'il Channel, Yap (FSM)

Iles Sept Freres, Eritrea

Puglug Island, Ulithi Atoll, Yap (FSM)

Nudi Falls, Lembeh

Aliwal Shoal, RSA

Ulong Channel, Palau

E6 - Fiji

El Bajon, Canary Islands




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Kuredu Express- Maldives

St. Johns Reefs- Red Sea

Brothers-Red Sea

Ishmael's thila-Maldives

Anemone thila-Maldives

Anywhere in Malta/Gozo


Barbados- West and South Coast

Menorca caves



Malinbeg harbour/St. Johns Point-Co. Donegal

Anywhere where the water is blue

Anywhere on the atlantic side of Ireland once the viz is good

My local river before it was polluted

My bath.


Actually we dont we ask........... what are the worst dive locations you have visited???

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