June 8th is World Oceans Day when thousands of people organize activities all over the world to celebrate and honor the planet’s oceans. They’re essential to human survival because oceans generate most of our oxygen, feed us, help regulate our climate and clean our drinking water. Best of all, our oceans are home to an amazing number of fish, mammals and plants that can only be truly appreciated by diving into the clear blue depths.
Ask any enthusiast what makes a place good for scuba diving and they’ll probably give you a different answer. For some, it’s all about the reefs and marine life. For others, a good shipwreck or some other sunken object is what really makes a dive stand out. Everyone agrees, however, that clear waters make all the difference when it comes to photography, safety, or simply getting a good look at what lies beneath the surface.
Here are some suggestions of where to find the clearest fresh and saltwater dive spots on the planet.
Linapacan Island - Philippines
This tiny island is off the coast of Palawan, over 200 miles and a world away from the bustle of Manila. It’s not easy to get to but once you arrive, you’ll see why it is consistently ranked among the best saltwater destinations in the world for crystal clear dives.
The Cayman Islands – Caribbean
You’ll be able to see clearly for over 150 feet in the waters off the Cayman Islands. There are over 160 dive sites waiting to be explored, with a multitude of stingrays, dolphins, turtles and shipwrecks.
Pensacola – Gulf of Mexico
Some of the clearest waters on the Gulf of Mexico can be found off the beaches that line the Florida panhandle. Over 100 submerged boats, tanks and aircraft along with a purpose-sunk aircraft carrier await in warm waters that let you see it all.
The Maldives – Indian Ocean
Swift currents make this a destination for advanced divers who profit from up to 200 feet of visibility in the waters that surround this chain of atolls. Plankton blooms create problems in the Spring but diving in the Fall will reward you with unbeatable views of the reefs.
Yucatan Peninsula – Mexico
If you want to try fresh water diving, there’s no better place to start than in the thousands of cenotes (sinkholes) that are scattered across the Yucatan Peninsula. Unbelievably clear water, and many have underground caves and interesting rock formations that you won’t have any trouble seeing from up to 500 feet!
Hawaii – Pacific Ocean
Diving throughout the Hawaiian archipelago is world-class, and every dive spot is a little different. Underwater caverns, a huge diversity of marine life and gorgeous reefs all attract divers of every ability level to these jewels of the Pacific.
Lake Baikal – Russia
Yes, you’ll need your cold weather gear, but diving in the world’s deepest lake is well worth the effort. It’s home to rare freshwater seals, canyons, grottos and marine life you’ll never see anywhere else in the world. The lake holds about 20% of the world’s fresh water and is over 5,000 feet deep.
Tobermory – Lake Huron
And while we’re on the subject of cold waters, Canada’s Fathom Five National Marine Park is the self-proclaimed “capital of fresh water scuba diving.” The waters are so clear that you can see the submerged shipwrecks from the shore, and over 20 of them grace the bottom of the lake at the northern tip of the Bruce Peninsula.
Find an activity in your community that’s celebrating World Oceans Day and think about where you’d like to go on your next watery journey. Wherever your diving adventures may lead, we wish you safe travels, awesome memories and, most of all, crystal clear waters.