Explore the underwater world beneath you on a luxury yacht charter trip. From the technicolour marine metropolis of the Somosomo Strait in Fiji to the dramatic depths of the Great Blue Hole in Belize, each coral city has its own personality with complex, multi-layered landscapes and a thriving population of tropical sea creatures.
Onboard a private yacht charter, make the most of the skills of an expert diving instructor or enjoy a dive from your yacht deck with friends and family. If you’re looking to explore the world’s best coral reef dives, then discover our recommendations.
Somosomo Strait, Fiji
A must-visit on your yacht charter, the Somosomo Strait in Fiji has become a world-renowned diver hotspot, holding the title for the soft coral capital of the world. With several vertical walls plunging to the seafloor, you will see some of the world’s brightest corals, creating a kaleidoscope of scarlet, fuchsia, orange and purple. With a gentle flow of currents, these large bushes and fans of rainbow coral burst with colour so they can feed on the passing nutrients – making for an incredibly beautiful dive sighting.
At the entrance of the Somosomo Strait, you will see one of Fiji’s most spectacular dive sights: the Great White Wall. This dramatic white wall is home to a wonderful concentration of dendronephthya, a soft white coral that looks like a blanket of snow. As the current brushes past, the soft corals explode with floral beauty, creating an illusion of a magnificent glowing wall. Because the water here is so dense in nutrients, there is an abundance of food for organisms to live off, inviting resident native manta rays, white tips, barracudas, and even leopard sharks.
Great Blue Hole, Belize
Sweeping 300 km along the coastline of Belize, the Belize Barrier Reef is the second largest reef in the world and the extensive ecosystem flourishes with life. The best feature, however, is the Great Blue Hole, an underwater 124-metre sinkhole with a limestone cavern alive with stalagmites. The hole is perfectly circular, bordered by fringing flat reefs, sand channels, pinnacles, and coral walls, offering a vast range of diving possibilities for everyone on board your yacht charter.
As a UNESCO site, the Barrier Reef is a healthy ecosystem for an array of marine species, with a large population of reef sharks, spotted eagle rays and the rarer sightings of manta rays, hammerhead sharks and even manatees in the shallow seagrass waters. With gin-clear waters, dive in the shadow of the living walls, thriving with coral colonies such as the staghorn, elkhorn and brain coral that keep the reef alive.
Wakatobi National Park, Indonesia
The area of Wakatobi is a protected Unesco Marine Biosphere Reserve spanning 1.39 million hectares. Due to the incredibly successful preservation of the area, coupled with the unique, dry climate of the region, this dive site boasts some of the best visibility in the world, inviting underwater photographers to its reef all year round. One dive site that must be visited on your yacht charter is Coral Garden, a spectacular reef system that sits in a giant crater. The reef is sheltered by towering sea walls, creating a home for any species of vibrant coral wrasse, including cleaner wrasse and brightly coloured sling-jaw wrasse.
New reefs have also formed here, attracting a large concentration of fish species. Home to upwards of 700 species of fish and 400 species of coral, expect to get up close with manta rays and whale sharks, short-finned pilot whales, and schools of tropical fish.
Apo Reef, Philippines
Apo Reef has just three small islands within its waters, with the best diving found in the west of the park, Apo Island. While the surface of this island is home to just a lighthouse and a ranger station, under the water is festooned with coral reefs, vertical drop-offs and a colourful sloping plateau. On the southwest of the island, look out for the world’s largest corals, as well as boulder corals, soft corals, brain corals, fire corals, and more. With over 500 species of coral and invertebrates, Apo Reef is a great area for Coral Triangle biodiversity enthusiasts.
Alternatively, on the northwest of Apo Island, textured walls create infinite small caves, crevices, and overhangs to probe and explore for sharks or technicolour brain corals. Not for the faint-hearted, this island is alive with shark species including grey reef, hammerheads and whitetip reef sharks, as well as turtles, barracuda and mantas.
Rowley Shoals Marine Park, Western Australia
Only a few hundred visitors have the privilege of visiting this remote spot each year, ensuring that sites are peaceful, the corals are thriving, and animals are in abundance. With this, the best way to reach these pristine tropical waters and untouched marine life is on a yacht charter. The dive site is perched on the edge of the widest continental shelf on the planet and consists of three huge coral atolls extending up from the deep. The conditions here are second to none, with visibility reaching 60 metres and 20-degree tropical waters.
Due to the Shoal’s exceptional position, divers can expect to dive clear lagoons, drift dives, walls, canyons, caves, and swim-throughs alongside 200 species of coral, with some of the most superb rainbow coral gardens imaginable. Enjoy undisturbed waters, alongside a wide variety of friendly sharks, turtles, and Cod, which will make for exceptional close-up encounters and photos.
Try a night dive to see how the coral landscape and life surrounding it differs from during daylight!
Which coral reef dive yacht charter destination will you be heading to first?
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