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Snorkeling with Wild Dolphins in The Bahamas

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There are few marine life encounters as special as snorkeling with wild dolphins. Nick and Caroline had an incredible afternoon in Bimini in The Bahamas watching a pod of dolphins feeding in the sand below, and coming up to inspect the snorkelers at the surface when they came up for air. There was even a baby dolphin sticking close by its mother’s side!

The experience was with Neal Watson’s Bimini Scuba Center. These dolphin tours are organised when the weather is just perfect and the sea flat and calm. On this trip they found Bottlenose Dolphins, but Nick and Caroline hope to return in 2021 to photograph the Atlantic Spotted Dolphins that this area is famous for.

You can read about the experience on our sister website, Scubaverse.com, by clicking here.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

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The 10 Best Places to Snorkel with Sharks

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Swimming with sharks is an unbeatable experience and high on the wish list for many divers and snorkelers. Read on to discover the best places you can snorkel with these amazing animals.

1) South Africa

Diving in South Africa is synonymous with sharks and there are many opportunities to go snorkeling with sharks there as well. You can go cage diving with great white sharks at Gansbaai or snorkel with numerous blue and mako sharks off Cape Point.

Visit Seal Island near Simon’s Town to snorkel with ancient-looking broadnose sevengill sharks and bronze whalers. It is a fantastic place to go snorkeling and meet some of the 60,000 noisy cape fur seals that call the island home.

Hop on a plane from nearby Cape Town to Durban and you’ll be at another top shark diving and snorkeling destination, Aliwal Shoal at Umkomaas. There you can go snorkeling with oceanic blacktip sharks.

2) Mozambique

Inhambane in Mozambique, with its idyllic beaches stretching along the coastline, is the perfect place to base yourself for a beach and snorkeling holiday. There you will find an incredible reef system with areas that remain unexplored to this day. You can go snorkeling with whale sharks from Tofo Beach, go dolphin and whale watching or simply enjoy the reefs this area is known for.

3) Cuba

Cuba’s Jardines de la Reina is one of the best places for shark encounters in the Caribbean, where you can swim with dozens of different shark species in protected waters. Relatively off the radar, you won’t find any crowds at this destination.

Go snorkeling there to encounter Caribbean reef sharks, silky, lemon, nurse, bull, blacktip reef sharks and more. Shark sightings are pretty much guaranteed year-round, and you can even go snorkeling with crocodiles during your stay.

4) The Bahamas

The Bahamas designated its entire territorial waters as a shark sanctuary in 2011 and is one of the best places in the world to swim with sharks.

Bimini Island is the place to go for snorkeling with great hammerhead, lemon and Caribbean reef sharks. If you want to snorkel with oceanic whitetip sharks, be sure to take a trip to Cat Island in the Central Bahamas.

5) Indonesia

Raja Ampat’s Cenderawasih Bay is one of the best places to snorkel with whale sharks in Indonesia. The fishermen of Cenderawasih Bay give fish to the whale sharks to bring luck and there are numerous whale sharks in the bay.

Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri on Unsplash

Cenderawasih Bay also sits in one of the most sought-after dive destinations of the world, Raja Ampat. There you can encounter thousands of fish species, manta rays and hundreds of vibrant corals. If you are a certified diver, make sure you go diving in Raja Ampat during your trip to this special area.

6) The Maldives

Diving in the Maldives is synonymous with huge whale sharks, drifting over gorgeous coral reefs and endless pretty atolls. All of which you can enjoy as a snorkeler as well.

South Ari Atoll is the best place to go snorkeling with whale sharks, though you can also see them at Huvadhoo Atoll and Thaa Atoll in the south. Vaavuu Atoll, the easternmost atoll of the Maldives, offers unspoiled reefs and an abundance of marine life. Visit Alimatha Island in Vaavuu Atoll to go night snorkeling with numerous docile nurse sharks and huge stingrays.

7) French Polynesia

When it comes to romantic destinations for snorkelers, it doesn’t get much better than French Polynesia. Picture-perfect Moorea Island offers dedicated snorkeling safaris to meet blacktip reef sharks, whitetips, grey reef, tiger and lemon sharks. You can also go snorkeling with humpback whales.

Photo by Moon on Unsplash

8) Mexico

No Mexico snorkeling trip would be complete without going shark cage diving at Guadalupe Island. This is the only island in the world where you can snorkel with great white sharks in warm, calm and crystal-clear waters.

You can also go snorkeling with numerous whale sharks at Isla Mujeres on the Yucatan Peninsula.

9) The United Kingdom

The waters off the United Kingdom might be chilly but don’t be put off, they offer seasonal diving with basking and blue sharks.

Cornwall, in the southwest of England, is a prime spot to swim with both basking sharks and blue sharks during late spring and summer. You can also go diving with basking sharks at the Isle of Man and in Scotland.

10) Belize

If you love nurse sharks, don’t miss snorkeling at Shark Ray Alley in Ambergris Caye. There are numerous nurse sharks there, which you can snorkel with during dedicated snorkeling trips.

Photo by Ryan Geller on Unsplash.

With clear waters and beautiful reefs nearby, there is also plenty to experience after you’ve had your shark snorkeling fix.


Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for Scuba Schools International (SSI), wrote this article.

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Ten Sensational Spots to Snorkel or Learn to Dive!

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A guest blog by PADI

Snorkeling has long been a beloved way to explore the underwater world. With vibrant coral gardens, large schools of fish and a vast underwater topography to explore, snorkel excursions are a great way to experience both your own backyard and create memorable holiday memories to last a lifetime.

But often these sensational snorkel spots are an equally a great place to make your first ocean dives. Whether you participate in a PADI Discover Scuba Diving experience or take the PADI Open Water Diver course to become a certified diver, you’ll be guided by a trained PADI® Professional who will be looking out for you the entire time as you take your first breaths under the ocean. This experience allows you to have an intimate connection with the location you are exploring as, oftentimes, you will have the opportunity to see even more marine life than you would from the surface of the water.

To help you plan your next ocean adventure— whether it be down the road or on your next overseas adventure (whenever that may be!) —we have rounded up ten sensational spots where you can both snorkel and learn to scuba dive!

  1. Kohala Coast, Kaanapali, Maui, USA

Not only does Hawaii come with beautiful scenery above water, but the island chain equally boasts some of the most incredible underwater landscapes in America. One of the best places to experience this is along the Kohala Coast in Kaanapali, Maui—whose calm and clear waters make it a favorite spot amongst snorkelers. But it makes for an equally exceptional scuba experience, where you will get to do either do a boat or shore dive and get amongst the turtles, tropical fish and dramatic underwater landscapes.  

Photo Credit: PADI

  1. Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Be delighted by one of Australia’s most beloved underwater gems—the Great Barrier Reef. Featuring a rainbow of colorful coral gardens and hundreds of tropical fish species, there is plenty to explore here. It is an ideal spot for groups that want varied experiences as tour operators can cater for those that want to snorkel, those that want to learn to dive and those that are already PADI certified. And when you’re not in the water you will get an enriching reef talk where the experts, who will take you though ways in which you can play a part in conserving the reef system.

  1. Sharks Bay, Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt

For those that don’t want to spend the whole day out on a boat but still want to have a memorable experience on the Red Sea, Sharks Bay in Sharm-El-Sheikh is a great option. With stunning house reefs and wrecks in a marine protected area, the colorful underwater experience is beloved by both those that snorkel or do a discover scuba through the area. The boat ride to the house reef is a short one and the memories will certainly last you a lifetime.

Photo Credit: PADI

  1. Poor Knights Island, Northland, New Zealand

Have the perfect day out at one of New Zealand’s first marine reserves. Dubbed by Jacques Cousteau as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world, Poor Knights Island offers something for everyone. You can easily spend hours swimming through the dense kelp forests and archways full of fish! And in between snorkels you can sign yourself up for a PADI Discover Scuba® Diving experience, where the chances are high you will encounter nudibranchs, long-tailed stingrays, devil rays, sea turtles and even an occasional orca!

  1. Stingray City, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

With unique marine life and spectacular underwater topography, Stingray City in Grand Cayman is a stunning spot to explore the ocean. It is famous for the large of stingrays that come through in search of a meal and offers water enthusiasts a special encounter with them. Those lucky enough may even get a kiss on the lips from these friendly sea creatures. Whether you are snorkeling or doing a discover scuba experience here, make sure you also have your camera in hand, as this spot is extremely photogenic and you’ll want a keepsake of you and your new underwater friends.

Photo Credit: PADI

  1. Great Astrolabe Reef, Kadavu, Fiji

One of the most intimate places to snorkel and also have your first diving experience is in the Great Astrolabe Reef. A few seconds underwater and you will quickly discover why Fiji is regarded as the soft coral capital of the world. It is a great spot to have your “Finding Nemo” moment and chances are high that you will also see manta rays and resident white tip reef sharks while you’re in the crystal-clear warm waters. With only small groups exploring the reef at a time, it is the perfect spot to have a special moment amidst the pristine nature.

  1. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, Florida, USA

With this state fully re-open for business (at the time of writing), ditch the crowded amusement parks and beaches for Florida’s underwater park at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which was the first of its kind in America! What makes this an equally great place to snorkel and learn to dive are the shallow waters that have an immense landscape for you to explore. You’ll see abundant sea life with over 650 types of fish, 40 types of living coral the famed 12-foot submerged statue of Jesus.

  1. The Blue Hole, Gozo, Malta

Whether you are snorkeling or diving for the first time in Malta, taking a giant stride into their blue hole is a must-do bucket list item. It’s no surprise this is a favorite spot amongst ocean lovers, as Jacques Cousteau rated this spot one of the best in all of Europe. Be amazed as you watch the natural light rays bounce off the beautiful reef—illuminating the unique topography of the area. For those that try a dive here, it will certainly set standards high for future dives to come!

Photo Credit: Manuel Bustelo

  1. Robberg Nature Reserve, Plettenburg Bay, South Africa

What’s cooler than snorkeling with seals? Diving with them! Plettenburg Bay in the Western Cape is home to some of the friendliest seals who are keen to play all day long. Sign up to snorkel with them for the day during an ocean excursion or do a discover scuba experience— where you learn to dive in the pool first and then head to the ocean to find your furry friends! Either way, it is only a short boat ride out to find the seals, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to play with them in their natural habitat.

  1. Crag-y-Mor, Wales, United Kingdom

Explore the cooler (literally) places in Wales by going on an underwater snorkeling or diving adventure! There are both half-day snorkeling and diving trips that give you a new perspective of the coastline—where both seals and historical ruins are in abundance. While there are magical marine life encounters in these waters all year long, summer offers a chance to see the water sparkle from both moon and blue jellyfish. And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll swim passed walls that are covered in red sea squirts!

Photo Credit: PADI

Ready to dive in? Visit padi.com or contact a PADI Dive Center or Resort to start planning your snorkel or scuba trip!

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