Where to dive in May? 4 must-see destinations
by Kathryn Curzon
May is one of the best months to pack your bags and go long-haul; for stunning diving at far-flung dive destinations you’ll never forget. It’s an ideal month for calm seas and great weather, just perfect for Indonesia, Fiji, French Polynesia and the Solomon Islands. What more could you ask for?
Komodo liveaboard diving in May is all about calm seas, plus uncrowded dive sites this natural lull in the tourist season brings. If you’re looking for great weather and world-class diving, Komodo is for you.
Komodo’s waters are teeming with life, including over 1000 fish species and over 260 species of reef-building corals. There are manta rays, eagle rays and dolphins, plus an abundance of tiny critters to find.
Batu Balong, a huge pinnacle reaching down to 75 meters, is a fantastic wall dive. Fishermen have steered well clear of the rocky terrain and strong currents, leaving Batu Balong in pristine condition. You can see whitetip reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse in the depths, whilst the shallows are full of swirling reef fish.
Manta Alley is a great place to dive for manta rays, found all year at Komodo. The rocks there are also covered in bright orange soft corals and numerous critters. Don’t miss Cannibal Rock for the chance to spot green sea turtles, pygmy seahorses perched on purple gorgonians, and incredible shoals of fish.
The elegant Mutiara Laut offers a variety of 5 to 11-night Komodo dive cruises, making her perfect for short and longer getaways.
The Solomon Islands
With almost 1000 islands to explore, you could dive the Solomon Islands every year and never see it all. This slice of paradise is mostly still unexplored and hosts pristine dive sites.
There are numerous wrecks, plus caves, stunning coral reefs and muck dive sites to explore at the Solomons. May is the first month of the calm season and has low rainfall, perfect for enjoying all this nation has to offer.
The Russell Islands have some of the region’s most famous dives. Leru Cut is not to be missed. Dive there and you’ll be gliding between the walls of a crevasse that cuts through an island. You’ll be surrounded by jungle and the calls of tropical birds as you surface.
Mirror Pond is a spectacular cave and wall dive combination where you can spot pygmy seahorses. If wreck diving is your thing, you must dive White Beach. This munitions and equipment dump is littered with boats, trucks and jeeps that have developed into beautiful reefs. It is ideal for WWII history buffs and macro lovers alike.
Another wreck diving highlight, the Florida Islands seabed is covered in every type of WWII wreck imaginable. Nicknamed the “Iron Bottomed Sound”, there is plenty to explore and crystal-clear water to boot. You might even see a pilot whale whilst you’re cruising along.
The Solomons PNG Master offers a variety of Solomon Islands cruises, including special WWII wreck weeks.
The rainy season is ending in Fiji, meaning less plankton in the water and incredible visibility up to 40 meters. It’s a great time of year for calm waters and warm days, ideal for Fiji liveaboard diving. This soft coral capital of the world has every colour of soft coral imaginable, plus a variety of sharks, turtles, manta rays and epic wall diving.
A liveaboard cruise to Somosomo Strait will take you diving the impressive Purple Wall and Great White Wall. Aptly named, the Purple Wall is covered in bright purple soft corals, whilst the Great White Wall looks like a blanket of snow, thanks to the many white corals found there.
The fast-flowing Nigali Passage is brimming with life and is one of Fiji’s best dives for pelagic action and swift currents. This small cut in the reef has just a three-hour window for diving around low tide. Outside of that window the current rips along at over 4 knots. Home to grey reef sharks, groupers, trevally, barracuda and more, it’s unmissable.
Namena Marine Reserve can only be dived in good weather, making May a great month to try diving there. At this 16-kilometer long barrier reef you can spot over 1100 fish species, 1000 invertebrate species and hundreds of corals.
The Nai’a liveaboard is a popular choice for Fiji liveaboard diving. Catering to just 18 guests, she’s ideal for smaller groups.
Another epic liveaboard diving destination, French Polynesia is the place to go for shark encounters and idyllic scenery. The dry season starts this month, offering calm seas and the chance to experience the best of French Polynesia’s atolls. Rangiroa in the Tuamotu Archipelago is an impressive atoll, stretching across 170 square kilometers and hosting numerous dive sites, a pearl farm and even a winery.
The Tiputa Pass gave Rangiroa its claim to fame. One of two channels into the atoll, the pass is washed by a strong current on the incoming tide. It’s well worth diving, as you can see huge schools of grey reef sharks, mantas, Napoleon wrasse and reef fish. Be sure to check the channel entrance for bottlenose dolphins as well.
You can literally spend an entire liveaboard cruise at Fakarava, it is that diverse. This UNESCO Biosphere Reserve has the best location in the entire Tuamotu archipelago to see sharks; at Garaue Pass.
Dive there and you’ll be immersed in a ‘wall of grey reef sharks’, amongst abundant other marine life. There are numerous manta cleaning stations at Fakarava and stunning shallow reef dives as well.
The French Polynesia Master offers year-round diving throughout Fakarava and the Tuamotu Archipelago.
This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com