From giant humpback whales to the smallest macro critters, we all have our favorite marine creatures. Here is a rundown of some of Bluewater's favorites:
One of the largest species in the ocean, swimming with whales is an awesome experience. These gentle giants gather in shallow lagoons off the reefs of Moora in French Polynesia and Tonga between August and November, and also along the Silver Banks off the Dominican Republic from December until March. Swimming and snorkeling with them are heavily controlled to minimize the impact of visitors while the whales are mating and raising their young.
Found throughout tropical oceans, manta rays can either remain resident on local reefs or travel as pelagic nomads. Some of the best places to dive with them are Socorro in the Eastern Pacific, Komodo and Raja Ampat in Indonesia, Kona in Hawaii, and the Maldives. Socorro boasts some of the friendliest resident mantas, and they appear to enjoy playing in the exhaust bubbles from divers' regulators. These huge filter feeders are a joy to behold as they swoop and glide in choreographed dances.
Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the ocean and tend to migrate following plankton blooms to their annual breeding grounds. Depending on the destination, it's possible to either dive or swim with whale sharks. In big animal spots like Socorro and Galapagos, divers can often encounter migrating whale sharks at particular times of the year. Whereas in areas such as the Bahia de Los Angeles in Mexico, huge congregations of these giant fish gather between July and September and swimming with them is the best, and the only permissible way to interact with them.
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Great White Shark
Cage diving with great whites is an awesome way to experience these apex predators up close, and one of the best places in the world to do this is Guadalupe Island, 150 miles off the west coast of Mexico. Other destinations such as South Africa and Australia also offer great white experiences, but Guadalupe is by far and away the most reliable area. Sharks gather here between August and September each year to feed and mate, and encountering them from the safety of a cage is an extraordinary experience.
The Mola mola or ocean sunfish is a peculiar-looking fish found in temperate and tropical waters all over the world. It spends a large portion of its life feeding at depths of up to 200m, but when it does come to shallower waters it can often be spotted sunbathing on the surface. Mola mola can be seen in scuba diving in Galapagos, and around the island of Nusa Penida in Bali between July and November.
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