You've heard of the Great Barrier Reef and the Caribbean, but what if you're looking to scuba dive away from the tourists? Where can you go to get one on one with the ocean's underbelly? Touch kaleidoscope corals that bathe the water a rainbow of colors? Explore underwater wrecks left from WWII, pirate invasions and other precarious bouts with the sea? Where can you come face to face with marine life so unfamiliar with human visitors they're unafraid of looking you straight in the eye? We'll tell you.
Truk Lagoon, Micronesia
The lagoon's coral reef system in Micronesia helps protect the nearly 70 submerged Japanese WWII airplanes and shipwrecks beneath its surface. None of these wrecks are more famous than the Fujikawa Maru, an Imperial Japanese Navy warship containing four disassembled fighter aircraft that was named one of the "top 10 wreck dives in the world" by The New York Times.
Fushifaru Thila, The Maldives
A protected marine park, Fushifaru in the Maldives is known for it's giant manta rays, barracuda sharks and sea turtles. Located on the Lhaviyani Atoll, it's a geological phenomenon in the Indian Ocean complete with warm waters, great visibility and soft coral reefs which is perfect for beginners or experts alike.
Cayman Brac, Cayman Islands
A mere thirty minute plane ride from Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac was named for its breathtaking 153 foot bluff. With a population of less than 1,800, the real residents are hundreds of varieties of fish, coral and marine life circling the MV Captain Keith Tibbets, the only diveable Russian warship in the Western hemisphere, sunk in 1996 and accessible by scuba enthusiasts of all levels.
Similan Islands, Thailand
A national park off the coast of Phuket, Similan is a Yawi word which means "nine" for the number of islands here. One of the most renowned dive sites in the world according to National Geographic, east side diving consists of gently sloping coral reefs and especially "East of Eden," a hidden paradise. The west side is known for its huge underwater granite boulder maze you can swim through and especially "Elephant Head Rock."