Where to dive in october? 4 must-see destinations

by Kathryn Curzon

As the trade winds drops and typhoon season ends in parts of Southeast Asia, Thailand and the Philippines offer exceptional diving and great liveaboard deals this month.

The Seychelles come to life with numerous whale sharks and diving at a UNESCO World Heritage site, whilst October marks the start of whale season at the ever-popular Sea of Cortez.

There is something for all dive experience levels to enjoy as well as diverse seasonal marine life wherever you dive; from vivid critters to iconic ocean giants.

The Seychelles

For laid-back liveaboard diving, the Seychelles is a great October choice. With 115 islands scattered across the ocean off Africa, there are diverse dive sites to choose from and October is peak whale shark season.

The Seychelles’ Inner Islands offer relaxed diving for novice and experienced divers, with huge granite boulders covered in corals. The waters are busy with reef fish and critters, including sought-after mantis shrimps and nudibranchs.

Make sure you look to the blue to spot reef sharks, stingrays and passing sea turtles. If you go diving off the southern side of Mahé you can also swim with whale sharks.

For a more remote and challenging Seychelles dive adventure, dive the Outer Islands. These 74 coral atolls and reef islands are only accessible by liveaboard diving and offer big drop-offs, walls, pinnacles and plenty of wrecks.

You’ll likely see Napoleon wrasse at the Outer Islands, as well as parrotfish, rays, turtles and reef sharks. It’s not uncommon to also see big pelagics such as sailfish, manta rays and whale sharks.

Diving the UNESCO-listed Aldabra Island is not to be missed either whilst diving there. As the world’s largest raised coral atoll, it is teeming with life.

There are a handful of liveaboards cruising the Seychelles, including the luxurious Galatea schooner which offers safaris throughout the Inner Islands.

Sea of Cortez, Mexico

The Sea of Cortez is renowned for its whale encounters and October marks the start of whale season. It’s also the last month most liveaboards visit the area before switching to the Socorro Islands. Go diving there whilst you can.

Tranquil La Paz and Cabo Pulmo, the two main Sea of Cortez dive spots, both offer whale watching. Unlike other top Mexico dive destinations, they offer marine megafauna, pelagic action and coral reef diving.

You can swim with hundreds of inquisitive Californian Brown sea lions at Los Islotes and explore shallow dive sites, wrecks, caves and seamounts with huge shoals of fish at La Paz.

UNESCO World Heritage-listed Cabo Pulmo National Park has the oldest reef on the west coast of North America and is over 20,000 years old.

This national park has beautiful coral reefs, where you can spot some of the 6000 marine life species found there.

Pack you camera, as Cabo Pulmo is known for its excellent water visibility. There is plenty of macro life, turtles, sea lions and passing whale sharks with their juveniles during September to November.

The Nautilus Fleet’s latest addition, the Nautilus Gallant Lady, offers luxurious cruises to Cabo Pulmo and La Paz.

Andaman Sea, Thailand

The much-loved Similan and Surin Islands open this month for their dive season. As the trade winds drop, the water is clear and warm, making it ideal for exploring these two jewels in the crown of Thailand diving.

The sandy beaches and towering granite boulders of the Similan Islands are a much-photographed site and welcome view during your surface intervals. Below the water line you’ll find vibrant coral reefs with an array of marine life and diverse diving.

Leopard sharks, guitar rays, whitetip sharks, blue spotted stingrays and numerous reef fish species are just a few of the highlights of diving there. Macro lovers will be kept busy searching for ghost pipefish, porcelain crabs and more. Pelagic fans are also catered for with manta rays at Koh Bon Pinnacle and whale sharks at nearby Richelieu Rock.

Greeted by an overwhelming density of fish at the Surin Islands, you’ll need to peer past the schools of fish to spot the pelagic action around you.

Tucked away from tourist crowds, these special islands offer exhilarating current dives among pristine reefs; which have more hard corals than just about anywhere else in Thailand.

The Similan Explorer offers dive trips to both the Similan and Surin Islands, including a range of 3 to 5-night safaris.

Visayas, Philippines

It’s the end of the Philippines typhoon season in October, meaning you can get great deals on liveaboards at this diverse destination. With over 7000 islands to choose from, you can take your pick from a variety of dive areas including the popular Visayas.

Moalboal is a must for most Visayas dive safaris and is home to the Philippines’ premier sardine run. The huge bait balls there attract divers from around the world to witness swirling masses of fish and fast-paced pelagic action.

That’s not all Moalboal has to offer though. Pescador Island has sharp walls that plunge to the deep, whilst Pescador Cathedral is a particularly stunning cavern lit up by penetrating sunrays from above.

The walls around Pescador Island are covered in soft corals of almost every colour you can imagine.

Apo Island’s pristine corals, fish and turtles are another reason to visit the Visayas. The dive sites there have streams of bubbles coming up from the black volcanic sands and the coral bommies are busy with macro life.

It wouldn’t be a true Visayas safari without also experiencing thresher sharks at Monad Shoal in Malapascua.

The Seadoors offers Visayas Shark Special safaris, where you can focus on finding sharks throughout the Visayas best dive sites.

This article was written by divers and writers at LiveAboard.com .