As voted for by divers
1. Blockship Tabarka, Scapa Flow, Scotland
2. The Zenobia, Cyprus
3. Cirkewwa, Malta
4. Silfra, Thingvellir, Iceland
5. Blue Hole, Gozo
6. Chios island, Greece
7. Diamond Rocks, Kilkee, Ireland
8. Fanore, Ireland
9. Eddystone Reef, England
10. Fortunal, Vis Island, Croatia
Learn more and vote at: http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/topdiveseurope.html
The archipelago of Zanzibar, 25-50 km off Tanzania, and Mafia Islands which are south of Zanzibar, are both excellent diving areas. As good as the Red Sea but with much fewer divers in the water.
When is the best time of year to dive Zanzibar?
February and March are good months. March is generally cheaper for flights and accommodation as traditionally it marks the start of the rainy season, which continues through April and May. However, over the past 4 years the rains have come later than usual. March is also a good month to see ocean-going whales, sharks and turtles.
"_Apparently they have a lot of nice hard and soft coral on this dive, but it was so full of fish that most of the time we couldn't see anything else._"
Read more: http://www.scubatravel.co.uk/africa/tanzania-diving-zanzibar.html
Photo credit: Karin Broussard, Blue World Diving
Palau offers world-class diving with sea walls, sheer drop-offs, caves and an exuberance of marine life.
Palau (or Belau) is a 100-mile long archipelago, southeast of the Philippines. It hosts around 20 dive centres that use mainly small speed boats. Many liveaboards also sail in her waters. Researchers estimate that approximately 41,000 divers visit Palau each year, of which around 8,600 come specifically to dive with sharks.
Palau became a nation state as recently as 1994. It is soon to establish the world's first nation-wide marine reserve, designating its entire ocean territory as an underwater sanctuary.
Officials hope that the new reserve will boost sustainable tourism revenues as well as fish populations. Palau is by a deep trench and attracts large pelagic species like silky shark, manta rays, bigeye tuna, marlin and swordfish.
Most of the popular dive sites are southwest of the barrier reef that surrounds Babeldaob, the main island of Palau. The most popular dives, like Blue Corner Wall and Ulong Channel, have high visibility (over 30 m) and a rich diversity of marine life with loads of large pelagic species. Many of these dive sites host aggregations of reef sharks, which are composed mainly of resident grey reef (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and whitetip reef sharks (Triaenodon obesus) .
Dives at these sites are usually in strong currents when the sharks swim just off the edge of the slope. Divers enter the water up-current and, on arrival at the sharks, attach themselves by a hook and line to the reef crest so that they can remain stationary to view sharks and other large fish.
When is the best time to go to Palau? The wet season is May to November. March and April are the best time to see sharks, with fewer turning up in May, October and November. Current and temperature are the key environmental factors affecting shark numbers, with more sharks the faster the current and the cooler the water. Visibility, moon phase and number of divers in the water have little influence on the number of sharks sighted.
Read more about the liveaboards, dive operators and dive sites of Palau.
Octopuses are known to change their appearance, but this was thought to be a camouflage tactic rather than for social purposes.
Researchers found that octopuses communicate with each other during daylight hours. In combative situations, the octopuses changed the brightness of their bodies as some kind of signal. Two octopuses were more likely to grapple with each other when they both adopted a dark shade with similar colour intensity, whereas a paler colour seemed to be a sign of retreat from physical altercations.
These colour changes were often accompanied by changes in posture. An octopus that initiated an encounter would often stand tall, sometimes also spreading out its arms and moving to higher ground.
These colour changes were often accompanied by changes in posture. An octopus that initiated an encounter would often stand tall, sometimes also spreading out its arms and moving to higher ground. “We suspect this behaviour makes the octopus appear as large and conspicuous as it can,” says Scheel.
New study reveals that sharks and fishing vessels visit the same locations in the North Atlantic.
Tens of millions of ocean-dwelling sharks are caught by fishing each year, and catch rates have declined significantly for many species, yet oceanic shark fishing remains largely unsupervised.
From the sharks’ satellite tracks and from remote sensing images of the ocean environment, researchers found that within each species’ preferred range, sharks tended to aggregate in locations characterised by strong temperature gradients and high productivity.
They found that the fishing vessels and sharks targeted similar location. For the most heavily fished shark species, blue and mako, about 80 per cent of the sharks’ tracked range overlapped with the fishing vessels’ range, with some individual sharks remaining near to longlines for over 60 per cent of the time they were tracked.
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