As we head into October there’s no shortage of top dives for shark fans. You can swim with whale sharks on Oman’s quiet reefs, meet the Solomon Islands’ inquisitive reef sharks, or dive with threshers and hammerheads in southern Egypt. There’s plenty of shark action in South Africa as well, or you can take a break from it all and hop over to Hawaii for diverse coral reef diving. Here are our picks for five great October dive destinations.
Being over 2,300 miles (3,860 km) from the nearest continent, it’s no surprise that 20 percent of Hawaii’s marine life lives nowhere else on Earth. Washed by the Pacific Ocean, this tropical dive destination has endemic butterflyfish, ruby cardinalfish, as well as rare Hawaiian green sea turtles and the endangered Hawaiian monk seal, all of which make for fun diving as you tick off those species you simply can’t see elsewhere.
Go diving in Hawaii and you can explore wrecks and caves, pristine reefs, lava tubes, and huge craters and bommies, to name but a few of Hawaii’s dive highlights. The dive landscapes are constantly evolving thanks to the active volcanoes here. The Big Island has over 50 dive sites, including the famed night dive with mantas at Kona, where you can dive with over 40 mantas at a time while watching them feed by your torch light. The bright orange tubestrea corals at Tubestrea Tunnel are another Big Island highlight.
If you’re lucky, you can spot endangered Hawaiian monk seals at Molokai’i while exploring over 30 miles (48 km) of untouched reef there. Make sure you also visit Oahu if you’re diving Hawaii from October through December, when you have a good chance of seeing tiger sharks.
Marovo Lagoon, Solomon Islands
The sharks of Marovo Lagoon hold a special place in the hearts of Solomon Islanders and are an important part of their culture and dive scene. A chance to see them is just one of the reasons Solomon Islands diving is so worthwhile. As the largest saltwater lagoon in the world, Marovo has hundreds of jungle-clad islands and numerous dive sites sheltered from the ocean.
It’s a great destination for easy liveaboard diving on calm waters, as well as exciting cuts and passage dives that reach out to the ocean beyond. The sheer variety of marine life is the main draw in Marovo Lagoon. You will find numerous sharks there, as well as schooling fish, mantas, turtles and pristine coral reefs.
Kicha Island has huge sea fans and plenty of pelagic action, while the aptly named Palette has towering 8-foot-high (2.4 m) purple and pink sea fans, perfect for underwater photography.
Muck diving fans can enjoy a variety of critters in the muck at Begho Point, and wreck fans will appreciate wrecks such as the 115-foot long (35 m) Taiyo; a fully intact fishing boat perched precariously on a coral ledge.
Egypt’s Southern Red Sea
As we head into winter, the Red Sea waters begin to cool, attracting thresher and hammerhead sharks to Egypt’s famed southern reefs. The reefs at St. John’s, in the deep south, are very remote and lie close to the Sudanese border. Covering over 112 miles (180 km), these isolated reefs form part of a national park and offer some of the best Egyptian diving.
You can explore caves, swim-throughs, tunnels and drop-offs or just marvel at the diversity of fish life around you. You’ll occasionally see oceanic whitetips at St. John’s, while huge Napoleon wrasse and grey reef sharks are regular visitors. Fury Shoals has some of Egypt’s most pristine and colorful reefs and you can dive with resident spinner dolphins at the well-known Dolphin Reef there. If you want to see thresher sharks as well as hammerheads, reef sharks and some oceanic whitetips, Daedalus and the Brothers Islands are your best bet.
Providing spectacular drop-offs and thriving reefs, these popular reefs in Southern Egypt are a liveaboard diver’s dream.
October means Oman’s scorching air temperatures drop enough to make it ideal for diving and land excursions at this lesser-known dive spot. And since it’s off most peoples’ radar, Oman’s dive sites are peaceful and there are few boats in the water.
Plankton begins to bloom here from October, meaning the visibility will drop but the abundance of nutrients attracts diverse and large marine life, such as whale sharks.
The Daymaniyat Islands offer deep ocean upwellings, which attract schooling fish and whale sharks, as well as reef and zebra sharks to the thriving reefs. Musandam is best-known for numerous whale sharks in the shallows, as well as colorful reefs, turtles, mola mola and critters.
For a truly remote Oman adventure, the barren Hallaniyat Islands have plenty of undiscovered dive sites. Home to small fishing communities, these islands have wrecks, mantas, dolphins, humpbacks and sperm whales.
When you’ve finished diving, be sure to visit the pretty waterside capital of Muscat, explore the deserts and stock up on souvenirs from Oman’s bustling souks.
With over 1,550 miles (2,494 km) of coastline and washed by both the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, South Africa has an enormous variety of dive sites. While there is diverse marine life to be found along the coast, South Africa’s main draw is shark diving.
Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu-Natal is best-known for its sharks, including raggies (also called sand-tiger sharks), stocky oceanic blacktips, tigers, hammerheads, dusky and mako sharks. You can also find eagle, electric and stingrays at this 80,000-year-old sandstone reef.
Protea Banks in KwaZulu-Natal is another shark hotspot with bull sharks at Southern Pinnacles, plus hammerheads, oceanic blacktips and dusky sharks.
For huge schools of fish, plus mantas and — you guessed it — yet more sharks, try Sodwana Bay in KwaZulu-Natal. There are drop-offs teeming with fish and corals, as well as bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, marlin and whale sharks.If you want to dive with great white sharks, visit Mossel Bay, Gansbaii or False Bay, all of which have seasonal cage-diving opportunities.
You can find even more sharks in the Western Cape around Simons Town. Shore dive with ancient cow sharks in thriving kelp forests or take a trip off Cape Point to swim with blue and mako sharks.
Wreck fans won’t want to miss Smitswinkel Bay in the Western Cape, which holds five of Cape Town’s best wrecks for experienced divers.
Divers and writers at LiveAboard.com contributed this article