Regardless if you are a brand new diver headed to the ocean for the first time or an experienced explorer, the excitement of seeing something new on your next adventure never fades. As you’re working through your bucket list of creature encounters on your dive trips, here are a few most divers hope to see.
Why you want to see them: Often difficult to find without the aid of a local dive guide, Seahorses are crazy creatures. The males give birth. The pygmy seahorse is the size of a grain of rice while the pot-bellied seahorse grows up to 14 inches long. And whatever size they are, more than half the length of their body is their tail (which they can actually use to gasp onto things like a monkey does.)
Where to see one: While the Pacific is generally an easier place to find seahorses, Bonaire provides pretty consistent results in the Caribbean, with several known dive sites where they tend to hang out. Just ask your dive guide!
Why you want to see them: Dolphin encounters are magical. Playful and intelligent, dolphins can be social and jovial both with divers and each other.
Where to see one: Worldwide, though actually seeing them underwater is rare! We were luck enough to see them on our last trip to Turks & Caicos.
Why you want to see them: Mantas glide through the water with the ease and elegance of a stealth bomber. Their giant wingspan is intimidating, and their agility in the water is mindboggling.
Where to see one: Worldwide, but for a very likely encounter close to home, you want to head to Socorro where the Oceanic Mantas hang out. These are the big ones!
Why you want to see them: Because we all want to “Find Nemo,” and this is as close as most divers come. Anemone fish are often mistaken for their Pixar cousin, and are much easier to find on a reef.Where to see one: Found in the Pacific and Indian Ocean, Anemones abound in Fiji, and this is home to the “Fake Nemo” fish (more accurately called a False Clownfish.)
Why you want to see them: Few experiences in the ocean are more mesmerizing that diving alongside a behemoth the size of a school bus.Where to see one: Worldwide, with near guaranteed sightings in the Philippines and Hobox. Summer time in Galapagos is the best way to see the pregnant females, which are the biggest whale sharks in the sea.
Why you want to see them: Because octopuses are amazing! Scientists are just scratching the surface on how intelligent these critters are. They can escape from sealed jars and completely blend in with their surroundings.Where to see one: Worldwide, but for a quick escape, Cozumel, specifically on a night dive, when you might even see one out hunting.
Why you want to see them: Their profile is iconic and recognizable. Whether you see one Great Hammerhead on a reef by itself, or swim with a school of Scalloped Hammerheads in the open ocean, you’ll never forget a Hammerhead encounter.Where to see one: Worldwide, but just off the coast of Costa Rica, the little island of Cocos is home to schooling hammerheads.
Why you want to see them: Legends are told of these ferocious predators, and seeing one up close will probably give you bragging rights for life (especially with your non-diver friends.) Plus, sharks are often misunderstood and being over hunted, so your chances to see them are unfortunately diminishing.Where to see one: Great Whites tend to prefer cooler water, with south Australia and South Africa being hotbeds for sightings. But for close up action that is tough to beat, on the Pacific side of Mexico, Guadalupe is the best place to go looking for a Great White encounter. The visibility is also excellent (so you can see one from a safe distance.)
Why you want to see them: Related to octopus, these tentacled monsters are amazing. They can camouflage into their surroundings or burst with angry snarls and flamboyant colors to intimidate predators.Where to see one: Indonesia, where they come in all colors, shapes, and sizes.
All photos from this blog post were taken on One World’s past group trips!