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Komodo National Park in Indonesia is visited by live-aboard dive cruises. A hike to view the Komodo Dragons is part of the experience, but the long cruise between Bali and Komodo visits some truly extraordinary dive sites along the way. Komodo National Park is becoming an increasingly popular scsuba diving destination, and a variety of live-aboards are competing for your business. Due to the distances involved, I recommend at least a 10-day cruise. The one-week trips just don't give you enough time in the best scuba diving areas.
Truk Lagoon was site of pivotal battle in World War Two's Pacific theatre. American bombers caught a large group of Japanese merchant vessels and war ships at anchor, destroyed many in a few hours, and sunk more than 60 large ships over an intense three-day period of dive-bombing. Now, more than 50 years hence with these relics of war covered in soft coral and home to countless fishes, Truk Lagoon has become the greatest wreck scuba diving spot on our planet. There are some good land-based dive operations in Truk Lagoon, but Truk is also a great place for a -aboard cruise.
Palau Micronesia's fabled Rock Islands offer some of the most beautiful ocean scenery in the world. Still, the majority of international tourism comes to Palau for one reason, world-class Palau scuba diving. This is not a new discovery; Palau has been known for decades. At this point there is a broad variety of lodgings, dive shops, and live-aboards ready to serve scuba divers of every budget and temperament. The best dive sites, while clustered together in a few regions, are relatively a long boat ride (30-90 minutes) from shore. Thus Palau is a particularly good place to dive from a live-aboard.
South Pacific scuba diving offers a dazzling array of options. The Fijian Islands are a good starting place, for they are relatively close and easy to get to. Micronesia, featuring Palau, Yap, and Truk Lagoon, is a great diving destination, offering everything from verdant reefs to manta ray encounters and the world's best WWII wreck diving. Beyond that, the remote and intriguing islands of Indonesia is a virtual cornucopia of amazing dive sites and will harbor the world's greatest scuba diving for decades to come.
Scuba diving Fiji is a splendor of natural beauty, native cultures, and marvelous diving. With so many islands and South Pacific resorts to choose from, the hardest part about going to Fiji is deciding where to begin. Consider visiting at least a couple of resorts, diving both the Northern and Southern regions. Due to its great range of scuba diving, Fiji is also an excellent place to do a live aboard cruise. Consider creating a "surf and turf" package, giving you both land-based and live-aboard diving opportunities in Fiji.
Wakatobi Dive Resort is in far Southeastern Sulawesi, Indonesia, positioned in the midst of a remote island archipelago group called Tukang Besi. Wakatobi is named after the four islands that surround it, Wangi Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. (Note the anagram Wa Ka To Bi). Wakatobi's Dive Resort location is remote, quite literally on the fringe of "civilization." But that's precisely the point, for this remoteness is what makes the trip worthwhile. Wakatobi in Indonesia has some of the most beautiful coral reefs to be found anywhere, some of which may be easily dived right off the beach in front of Wakatobi Dive Resort. That's why I've been there eight times already, and I am going back for more. Wakatobi ranks among my all time favorite dive destinations.
Why should you invest the substantial time and money required to visit the dive sites of the South Pacific Rim? The answer is measured in millennia, for the Pacific Ocean is many times older than the Caribbean Sea. As a result, the diversity of the South Pacific marine life is at least ten or twenty times greater than that of the Caribbean. To a scuba diver in Indonesia, this means more species of fishes, more color, more diversity, and more abundant marine life swirling before your eyes.
Located in N.E. Sulawesi, Indonesia, offshore from the city of Manado, Bunaken National Marine Park was established to preserve a uniquely beautiful coral reef environment. Bunaken's scuba diving is characterized by reefs that come within inches of the surface, clear blue water, sharp drop-offs, and large fish populations. A number of good dive operations serve Bunaken, notably Thalassa Dive Center and Murex Dive Resort.
Yap Micronesia earned its place on the divers compass due to its population of Manta Rays. While nothing about wild animals is guaranteed, in Yap, divers have a unique opportunity to swim with mantas. But Yap scuba diving also includes excellent hard coral reefs and a rich population of Indo-Pacific marine life. In Yap, there is no better dive service than Bill Acker's Manta Ray Bay Dive Resort.
Located just off the northeast coast of the immense island of Borneo Malaysia, Sipadan Island, Mabul Island, and Kapalai Island have become renowned scuba diving destinations. Mabul offers great critter diving, while Kapalai adds the value of nice coral heads swarming with fish. As the resorts on Sipadan Island are being closed by the Malaysian government, only boats reaching out from Mabul and Kapalai will now enable access Sipadan's legendary diving.