The Top 5 Scuba Diving Destinations in February1st February 2018 | Sarah Morlock
Whether you’re blessed to live in the Southern Hemisphere or your stuck behind a pile of snow north of the Equator, February is a great month for a warm water, scuba diving vacation. From hammerheads in the Bahamas and Malpelo to the mantas of the Andaman Sea and Raja Ampat, the second month of the year offers several great marine life seasons around the world.
We know what you’re thinking. February is a great time to get away. Here are the top 5 scuba diving destinations for the second month of the year.
1. Malepelo, Colombia
Malpelo Island, located 500 kilometers from the Colombian mainland, may look like a lonely rock in the eastern Pacific Ocean, but this is one of the best liveaboard diving destinations in the world. At depth, scuba divers will find one of the largest shark populations in the world.
On any given dive, you might swim with 200 to 300 hammerhead sharks and hundreds of silky sharks. Whale sharks, eagle rays, tuna, sailfish and even whales also might make an appearance.
Luckily for you, the best diving season for Malpelo falls between January and May. During these months, you’ll experience a generally sunny climate with higher than usual seas. Shallow thermoclines complement colder water which averages between 59°F and 68°F (15°C and 20°C). Hundreds of hammerhead sharks gather around the island, and it’s a great time to encounter smalltooth sand tiger sharks, too. This is shark diving at its best!
Editor’s Recommended Liveaboard: Ferox
2. Bimini, Bahamas
On the far reaches of the Bahamas sits Bimini, a shark diving heaven. The Gulf Stream cruises past this remote island, attracting large marine life that gets the adrenaline pumping.
Every winter from December to March, great hammerhead sharks gather around the Bimini Islands in large numbers, curiously approaching divers. This makes February the perfect time to visit. In addition, divers will enjoy great topside conditions and the occasionally sighting of a bull shark during these months. Just make sure you follow the appropriate procedures on every shark dive.
Of course, Bimini offers great diving other than the shark variety. Around the island, there are about two dozen dive sites, most of which are suitable to beginners. From wrecks and walls to reefs and drifts, there’s something for everyone on this Bahamian island.
Looking for a vacation that’s also fulfilling? Dive, travel, care with Diviac Eco Travel and Bimini Shark Lab. Through this ecotourism experience, you can take full advantage of the Bimini diving season and volunteer as a shark researcher, too!
Editor’s Recommended Liveaboard: Bahamas Master
3. Similan Islands, Thailand
Thanks to a limited season and a massive conservation effort, the Similan Islands offer some of the best liveaboard dive sites in the world. The only time you can access these islands is from November to April. During these months, the water is calm and the weather is dry.
These months also offer frequent plankton blooms and the abundant presence of cleaner wrasse. As you may know, both of these things attract manta rays and whale sharks as well as black and white-tipped reef sharks. February, in particular, is the best month for manta rays at dive sites like Koh Bon.
In addition, these remote, rocky outcrops are home to some fascinating marine life, such as anemone fish, boxfish and parrotfish.
Ready to dive into Thailand? February is a great month to do so, especially if you’re looking for the most budget-friendly liveaboards in the world.
Editor’s Recommended Liveaboard: Thailand Aggressor
4. Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Several of the world’s leading marine biologists claim there is no better place to dive than Raja Ampat. This Indonesian region set the record for the most species of fish on a single dive back in 2012, making it a wonderland for divers. In addition to huge schools of fish, Raja Ampat is home to colorful corals and a plethora of macro critters.
On a dive in Raja Ampat, you might spot any number of rare species, including wobbegong sharks, manta rays, bobtail squid, pygmy seahorses, whale sharks and epaulette sharks.
The diving season in Raja Ampat runs from October to April, so it makes sense that one of the best places to dive in February is Raja Ampat. This season brings fewer rain showers and relatively smooth seas, making for a comfortable liveaboard holiday. February is also one of the best months for seeing manta rays in Raja Ampat.
While you can dive Raja Ampat from land, you will see far more of this region’s 200 dive sites from a liveaboard. Luckily, Indonesia is home to some of the best liveaboards in the world.
Editor’s Recommended Liveaboard: Pearl of Papua
5. Andaman Islands, India
This February, book yourself onto a liveaboard for a far flung adventure to the Andaman Islands. The diving season on these Indian islands lasts from November to May. So the second month of the year falls within the best time to visit the Andamans. Outside of these months, the islands are hit by the monsoon, which brings rain and wind.
Much like the Similans, which is the other set of islands in the Andaman Sea, the Andaman Islands are home to sloping reefs, steep walls, sandy bottoms, coral gardens and superb pinnacles. Visibility is usually excellent, and the marine life is varied.
A few highlights from this liveaboard destination include Dixon’s Pinnacle, the walls and channels off Havelock Island and the manta ray cleaning stations around Barren Island. Green sea turtles pop up at several dive sites as do a variety of colorful, tropical fish.
This is one of the most remote, inhabited archipelagos. Thanks to conservation efforts and a naturally resilient environment, the Andaman Islands make an epic scuba diving destination.
Editor’s Recommended Liveaboard: Infiniti
Are you planning a scuba diving vacation for February? Get in touch with our scuba diving experts so we can help you pick the perfect destination.