While there's plenty to explore on land, these world- class sites, featuring epic wrecks, shark encounters and gorgeous reefs, will keep you underwater
Make a totally rad night dive in Kona
USS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Key West, Florida
So big it has five surface buoys, this 522-foot Air Force missile-tracking ship is a choose-your-ownadventure artificial reef thanks to ample online resources mapping its six penetrable decks that rest on the sand at 150 feet. It’s common for guided tours to wind through the elevator shafts, cargo holds and stair towers to possibly see resident grouper and barracuda.
Soufriere Pinnacles Dominica
Found inside the SoufriereScotts Head Marine Reserve, these current-swept pinnacles — covered in encrusting and star corals — support stonefish, anemones, Pederson cleaning shrimp, sharptail eels and a host of other marine life, and descend to depths exceeding recreational limits.
Pelagic Magic Kona, Hawaii
Along with the famed manta night dive, this one-tank trip 3 miles offshore, tethered to the dive boat and drifting 30 feet below the surface in water that is more than a mile deep — in the dead of night — is one of Kona’s signature dives. You may see fluorescent squid and tiny marlin.
M/V Lulu Orange Beach, Alabama
This 271-foot freighter, sunk in 2013, starts in 60 feet of water, making it an ideal multilevel wreck. Its perimeter and three decks — the cargo holds are at 95 feet — have become an oasis for 80-pound amberjacks as well as goliath grouper.
Steve’s Bommie Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Only photographers find this marine-life hot spot frustrating, because it’s hard to choose between a wide-angle or macro lens when swimming around a pinnacle covered in macro life, from nudibranchs to anemonefish, that’s also frequently visited by 26-foot dwarf minke whales.
SS Thistlegorm Ras Mohammed, Egypt
Sure, the soft-coral-covered exterior is lovely, but the interior cargo holds — stuffed nearly to the ceiling with Bedford trucks, a fleet of Norton 16H motorcycles, crates of ammunition, Wellington boots and two steam trains — are the real draw of this 419-foot British Merchant Navy ship that was torpedoed by German forces in 1941.
Superman’s Flight St. Lucia
Wickedly strong currents give visitors to this drift dive on the southern end of St. Lucia’s west coast the feeling that they’re flying over reef cities alive with pillar corals, sea fans, green sea turtles and southern stingrays.
Sea Tiger Oahu, Hawaii
Eagle rays, green sea turtles and whitetip reef sharks all cruise by this 165-foot wreck at a depth of 110 feet off the beach of Waikiki. Because it was well-cleaned before its 1999 sinking and remains so well intact, it’s easy to explore the refrigeration cargo holds as well as the bridge.
Lighthouse Point Grand Cayman
Rare is the shore dive that’s a 10-minute swim from the beach and contains a drop-off deeper than 4,000 feet. The depth makes it a tec diver’s dream, but the healthy reefs — easily navigable, even for beginners, thanks to fat ropes running parallel to shore — make it a must-see for anyone hoping for encounters with green sea turtles, green moray eels and possibly a hammerhead or Caribbean reef shark.
Santa Maria Caves Malta
Each of these 10 caves has its own appeal, be it tunnels, an air-filled room or a 40-foot entrance allowing light to spill everywhere. What they have in common is Mediterranean Sea marine life, including common octopuses, banded sea bream, morays, crabs and nudibranchs.
A diver fins over tube sponges at Lighthouse Point. Opposite: Motorbikes can be found in the Thistlegorm.