Best Places on Earth to Enjoy Marine Wildlife
The undersea world is full of life that you don’t have an opportunity to see every day (or everywhere). So, when you plan a vacation, choose a destination that will take you underwater as well as above it. The chance to get close enough to its majestic creatures is well worth it. Check out some of the best places on Earth to enjoy marine wildlife, whether with a scuba tank, snorkeling, kayaking, or boating with binoculars in your hands.
Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Called the world’s aquarium, Sea of Cortez is full of marine wildlife that includes sharks, dolphins, whales, rays, and sea lions. To see the tropical fish, like the brown cheek blenny that lives in abandoned invertebrates’ tubes, you can join snorkeling or diving expeditions.
If you want to swim with the biggest fish on Earth — the whale sharks, you can do that on a supervised tour at the Bay of La Paz from October to February. A dozen species of whales live here, including the largest animal in the world, the blue whale, as well as other migratory animals, like the Humboldt squid.
With special status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Sea of Cortez is home to thousands of mammal, fish, and invertebrate species. This is a rare spot to see the endangered tiny vaquita or little cow, an endemic animal and the smallest among the cetaceans family, also including dolphins and whales. Seabirds nest, breed, and feed on over 900 islands here, like the Xantus’s Hummingbird and Pacific albatross, available on many bird-watching tours in the area.
Bay of Fundy, Canada
Canada may be famous for its wildlife, but it also has a fish that garners a lot of attention. The endangered Atlantic salmon lives in the New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy where researchers work on its conservation. Guests can swim with the fish and help with their care at the Fundy National Park during September.
However, there’s more interesting marine wildlife to see, like the sea potato, an urchin that lives at the bottom of the sea. Spiny dogfish shark swims in the group of hundreds of members of its species, but you can also spot great white and basking sharks. A diamond-shaped cousin of rays, the winter skate, is one of the endangered animals you can see on the dives since it lives near the seafloor.
Jellyfish Lake, Palau
Palau is a country consisting of over 300 islands full of marine wildlife, among the most abundant in the world. While coral reefs and more than 1,300 fish species deserve your attention, most visitors come to Palau for an unusual venue. Ali-Malik Island has one of the most interesting lakes you will ever have a chance to see known as the Jellyfish Lake.
Wikimedia Commons by: Shinji
As the name suggests, this is the home to thousands of jellyfish that used to live in the ocean, but now occupy this salt-water lake. The main attraction here is swimming and snorkeling with the jellyfish which has lost their ability to sting and co-exist with micro-algae. The number of people per tour is limited to avoid damaging this curious eco-system, so book your spot in time.
Big Island, Hawaii
Hawaii in the USA is one of the most popular holiday destinations because of its eco-friendly ambiance and amazing beaches. If you want to go there, leave time in your itinerary to see giant manta rays at Keauhou Bay on a night snorkeling tour. In December, humpback whales start migrating, while Hawaiian green sea turtles gather at the Maluaka Beach in Maui.
The coral reef around Hawaii is a complex ecosystem where many marine animals live and feed, like sponges, worms, octopus, and others. You can play and even swim with spinner dolphins near the Big Island and at marine parks by joining supervised tours and cruises. Stop by the Waikiki Aquarium to see the endangered monk seal that has only a little over a thousand members of its species left in the wild.
Those who want to travel to a big city may still have an option to enjoy marine wildlife. Sydney is the best example of a vacation spot that offers beach time, sea life, and urban excitement.
You can swim with sea slugs and feather stars at Fishermans Beach, or sign up for Sydney cruises that will take you whale watching. Goatfish, octopuses, eels, and sponges are easy to spot at Clovelly and Gordons Bay while snorkeling or just swimming. Seals, green turtles, fairy penguins, and bottlenose dolphins also call the shores of this popular city a home.
The SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium is a great way to meet Australian water creatures, as well as from some other parts of the world. The most notable being the Post Jackson shark, Little Penguins, dugongs, and many tropical reef fish, like Clown Anemonefish and Blue Tang.
Everyone has heard of the large dragon that lives in the Komodo region in Indonesia, but its marine wildlife is equally interesting. Located far east of Bali, Komodo is mainly a national park protected by the UNESCO World Heritage for its diverse animals. Komodo National Park has over 1,000 tropical fish and 14 species of whales, also including corals, sponges, and turtles.
Since the Pacific and the Indian oceans meet here, their marine wildlife merges and forms one big ecosystem. Dugongs, pygmy seahorses, and sea apples are only some of the diverse sea creatures that earned this area the name of the Galapagos of the Asia-Pacific.
The Northside of Komodo has warmer water while the Southside receives colder currents from the Indian Ocean. If you have an opportunity, dive at both spots since the temperature of water dictates different species and underwater landscapes. Well-known dive sites are Manta Alley in the south full of mantas, and Castle Rock in the north with its batfish and barracudas.
Marine wildlife is not available all over the world, so if you want to see some extraordinary creatures, choose destinations bursting with underwater animals. Since most of these spots are perfect for summer vacation, you will not only meet the dwellers of the sea but also have wonderful beach time.