Australia’s Galapagos calling
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or to book.