Where to dive in July? 4 must-see destinations
by Kathryn Curzon
Whether you like warm-water diving amidst pristine reefs, encounters with whales or adventurous Arctic diving, July has something for you. It is one of the most diverse diving months of the year. Read our guide to July’s must-see dive destinations to find out more.
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
It might be so-called winter in Australia but there’s plenty of sunshine and warm days to make you smile. Most importantly it’s also the best time of year to dive the Great Barrier Reef. There is very little rainfall in July, resulting in excellent visibility, and you can expect vibrant blue waters as you dive.
Manta rays aggregate at Queensland during winter and there is another dive highlight you won’t want to miss; dwarf minke whales. From June to September, thousands of dwarf minke whales migrate from Antarctica to the Great Barrier Reef to breed. These characterful whales are known for coming close to divers and Australia is the only place in the world where you can swim with them. Pods of up to 28 whales have been seen and the longest whale encounter lasted a huge 10 hours.!
You can also enjoy colourful reef diving and spot numerous reef fish, sharks, turtles. The Outer Reef hosts the best and healthiest dive sites, only accessible by Great Barrier Reef liveaboard diving. Both the Spoilsport and OceanQuest liveaboards offer dwarf minke whale safaris.
If you love cold water diving and exploring well off the tourist trail, the Arctic could be just what you need for your next dive trip. July is one of the best months to visit this pristine wilderness area, where you can see polar bears up close and spot numerous whales.
Being remote, the Arctic is usually explored by liveaboard diving around Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Spitsbergen dive conditions peak at this time of year, offering clear waters and access to dive sites that are otherwise made impassable by ice. Dive in and you can see plenty of small marine life and Arctic fish. You can also dive with seals, plus spot walruses, reindeers and plenty of whales.
July is one of the best months for whale watching around Spitsbergen. Humpbacks, fin, minke and blue whales are regularly seen there. Whether you dive or not, a Spitsbergen cruise will take you to well-known polar highlights such as the Monaco Glacier and Hinlopen Strait.
The massive 5-kilometer-long Monaco Glacier is a popular polar bear hunting ground and its size is staggering. You can also see polar bears at the Hinlopen Strait and there is the possibility to see blue whales there as well. The Ortelius and Plancius liveaboards offer Spitsbergen cruises with optional polar diving packages.
Gili Islands, Lombok
If you prefer warm water diving and laid-back island hopping, the Gili Islands are an excellent July option. It’s the middle of the dry season and the waters are warm, at around 27 °C.
Sitting just north west of Lombok, these 3 islands have calm dive conditions and gentle currents, making them an ideal location for new divers. Extensive conservation efforts to protect sea turtle breeding grounds mean green sea turtles are frequently seen there.
Shark Point is a popular dive site where you can see a large variety of marine life as you explore a series of canyons. Highlights include reef sharks, stingrays and numerous turtles. Dive there at the full moon and you can also swim with huge schools of bumphead parrotfish.
There are large coral mounds and thousands of garden eels at Deep Turbo’s sand beds, as well as overhangs and caves to experience. Being on the edge of the open ocean, whale sharks are sometimes seen at this dive site. There are numerous Indonesian liveaboards to choose from but only a handful visit the Gili Islands. The Tanaka is one of them.
The Hawaii summer season is underway, meaning great water visibility and calm dive conditions at this picture-perfect destination. Washed by the Pacific Ocean and located more than 2400 miles from the nearest continent, Hawaii’s islands offer tropical diving amidst wrecks, caves and pristine reefs.
Being made up of active volcanoes, this archipelago’s underwater scenery is constantly evolving and you can spot lava tubes at various dive sites. With more than 20 percent of Hawaii’s marine life found nowhere else, this is a unique place to dive and spot fish you won’t see elsewhere.
You can also see green turtles, go night diving with manta rays, watch the antics of Spinner dolphins or just enjoy the fish all around you. Fans of corals won’t be disappointed by the healthy reefs teeming with fish life, octopi and eels.
The Tubestrea Tunnel is a coral highlight not to be missed. This oversized swim-through is covered in bright tubestrea corals. Be sure to also dive the impressive Paradise Pinnacle, as well as Turtle Pinnacle to watch numerous sea turtles at their cleaning stations. The Kona Aggressor II offers year-round Hawaii liveaboard safaris.
This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com