Aus­tralia’s Gala­pa­gos call­ing

Action Asia - - REAL DEALS -

MAL­DIVES OP­ER­A­TOR EX­TRA DIVERS WORLD­WIDE opened a new Christ­mas Is­land dive cen­tre in Oc­to­ber 2016. Ly­ing 350km south of Java, In­done­sia, in the In­dian Ocean, the is­land nev­er­the­less be­longs to Aus­tralia and has a clas­si­cally Aussie laid­back at­ti­tude with a cap­i­tal called Fly­ing Fish Cove. The marine life here in­cludes lit­tle crit­ters, nudi­branchs, tur­tles, big pelagic fish, whale sharks and dol­phins. You can sam­ple ev­ery­thing from shal­low reef div­ing to deeper tech­ni­cal dives along dra­matic drop-offs. With the is­land poised right on the edge of the Java Trench, the In­dian Ocean’s deep­est point, you have easy ac­cess to great walls, most just 20m from the shore­line. Ad­ven­tur­ous cave dives are also a pos­si­bil­ity, vis­it­ing spots such as the Bat Cave and Thun­der­cliff Cave. A new Garuda-run char­ter flight ser­vices the Jakarta-christ­mas Is­land-jakarta route ev­ery Satur­day. Re­turn fares start from US$550 with divers want­ing to bring their own equip­ment be­ing of­fered a spe­cial ex­cess bag­gage rate. Vir­gin Aus­tralia also ser­vices the is­land, fly­ing twice a week from Perth. Ex­tra Divers World­wide is plan­ning to add a dive re­sort on the is­land later. For the mo­ment though, you can book your trip with op­er­a­tor Broome, Kim­ber­ley and Be­yond. Prices start from US$1,900 per per­son in­clud­ing re­turn flights, seven-nights ac­com­mo­da­tion at a nearby ho­tel, air­port trans­fers and five days of boat div­ing. Email reser­va­tions@broomekim­ber­ for more info or to book.

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