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Escape to the deep

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Escape to the deep

story by: Tom Ricketts

If you thought the world above ground was a dazzler, you’ll be astounded by what exists beneath the water.

Swimming with Whale Sharks
Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia
Getting into the water with a 20 tonne, 13 metre shark certainly doesn’t sound appealing. Especially when it’s called a Whale Shark! “What on Earth is that?” you say. “A shark the size of a whale?!” Thankfully no. In fact these creatures share more similarities to a whale than they do a shark. They’re slow moving, docile, friendly, and most importantly, they only eat plankton. Suddenly swim­ming with these creatures sounds far more awesome than it does scary. There are only a few places around the world where it can be done, and one of those places is the Ningaloo Reef, off Exmouth, Western Australia.

Museo Subacuatico de Arte
Cancun, Mexico
Cancun is famed the world over for its all-inclusive resorts, great beaches and balmy weather. But quite possibly its cool­est (sorry) attraction lies just off the beach… under the Gulf of Mexico. Divers will rejoice at the Museo Subacuatico de Arte. Over 500 permanent life size sculptures have been installed on the ocean floor over two different sites by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, who, wanting to create an artificial reef onto which sea life could flourish, built one of the most ambitious underwater art attractions in the world. From VW Beetles to lounge settees, the most eerie are the human sculptures, gradually being swallowed by corals and weeds to create some rather creepy underwater scenes.

Manta Ray Dive
Kona Coast, Hawai`i Island
Ever seen a manta ray doing a barrel roll? If the answer’s no, take yourself to Hawai`i Island for a manta ray dive. We know what you’re thinking and it involves a certain Steve Irwin, but these mantas do not have stingers, just large grinning mouths which they use to gobble plankton. Which is also the main reason why they venture – en masse – to the Kona Coast, to the bay fronting Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa; their favourite spot to hang out. Come nightfall, spotlights are used to attract mantas to the plankton, while boat tours, certified divers and snorkelers are allowed to venture amongst them. Guests are treated to an amazing show of somersaults, flips and of course, impressive barrel rolls.

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