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  • The Great White experience Cape Town
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    The Great White experience Cape Town
    Great White Sharks evoke an unexplainable fascination in their human admirers. From their large gaping jaws, lined with rows of razor sharp teeth to their sheer strength and agility, it’s no wonder why these impressive creatures are the apex predators of the ocean.

    Diving with sharks in their natural habitat is an exhilarating experience, sure to get your blood pumping. South Africa is one of the few Great White hot spots in the world, offering excellent diving opportunities with the infamous Great White Shark.

    The Gansbaai area, including Dyer Island and the legendary Shark Alley is considered the shark diving capital of the world, offering unparalleled opportunities to observe, encounter and cage dive with sharks, in particular the Great White Shark. The thrill of a close encounter with the most revered predator of the ocean is the ultimate adrenaline filled diving experience.

    Cage diving is a common way of getting up close and personal with these fearsome creatures. A cage dive usually begins with throwing a bucket of mashed sardines and fish oil, commonly known as chum, into the ocean to attract sharks to the boat. Once the sharks surround the boat a chunk of bait is attached to a buoy and the cage is lowered into the water. Cage diving does not require any dive experience and all equipment is provided on board, including a wetsuit. A dive can last up to 20 minutes and is usually done in the morning. If you’re lucky you may just get an opportunity to witness the formidable Great White hunting, as it explodes of out the water in an action known as breaching, displaying its sheer strength, agility and speed.

    The best time for viewing The Great White Shark is divided into two main seasons. During the months from April to September Great Whites are located around Dryer Island and Geyser Rock, while during the months from September through to March the sharks are predominantly located around Shark Bay. Visibility is generally better during the months from May to August, It is therefore recommended to dive during this period.
  • Manta Night Dive Hawaii
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    Manta Night Dive Hawaii
    Under the cover of darkness, along the sandy ocean floor is where the thrill of a Manta Night Dive begins. Illuminated by spotlights these graceful swimmers will inspire and amaze you as they glide effortlessly through the water in a mesmerising display of their elegance, grace and beauty.

    The Kona coast of Hawaii is a world class diving destination with magnificent underwater landscapes, populated with lush coral gardens and bordered by intriguing lava formations. World famous for its Manta Night Dive, divers and snorkelers come from all over the world to witness this spectacle.

    A Manta Night Dive begins after sunset as divers submerge themselves into the water, all the way down to the sandy ocean floor. Surrounded by powerful spotlights the thrill of the Manta Dive begins as divers wait in anticipation for their first sighting of a manta ray. Attracted by thousands of glistening specs of plankton illuminated by the spotlights, the manta rays slowly begin to reveal themselves from the depths of darkness into the beams of light, circling above divers in preparation for a feast. As the manta rays begin their decent divers will have an opportunity for close encounters as they dive down towards the spotlights, scooping up as much plankton as they can stomach, before pulling up again. This hypnotising display will leave you breathless as the spotlights make for an imaginary underwater wonderland while the manta rays glide gracefully through the beams, performing somersaults and back-flips with ease.

    Other Islands in Hawaii, namely Ohio, Big Island, Maui and Kauai also offer a wealth of experiences with breath-taking scenery, from magnificent underwater lava landscapes, home to a fascinating variety of endemic marinelife to pristine sandy beaches bordering smouldering volcanoes. Take a relaxing kayak over crystal clear tranquil waters, a thrilling helicopter ride over an erupting volcano or enjoy the nostalgia of diving a sunken shipwreck, whatever your desire Hawaii will see it come true.
  • The Gentle Giants of Cenderawasih
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    The Gentle Giants of Cenderawasih
    Cenderswasih Bay is best known for its magnificent sightings of whale sharks throughout the year. Diving with these gentle giants is a magical experience sure to delight you with memories that will last a lifetime.

    In Indonesia’s Papua and West Papua regions lies Cenderawasih Bay, a diving location that is becoming increasingly famous throughout the world. Declared a marine national park in 2002, Cenderawasih Bay offers unrivalled whale shark encounters, beautiful reefs, diverse marine life and fascinating wrecks.

    Cenderawasih Bay is famous for its whale shark encounters. The fishermen use nets, filled with small fish, to attract the bigger fish for catching. However, the whale sharks have learnt how to suck the fish out of the nets, resulting in six or seven of these gentle giants congregating around each platform at a time. Whale shark encounters are always special; however, they are brief and often only involve one of these magnificent creatures. Cenderawasih, on the other hand, sets itself apart as a location where you can see many whale sharks at a time, at a very close range for extended periods of times.

    Whale shark sightings are what attract most divers to this remote, idyllic location; however, an array of other diving opportunities makes Cenderawasih Bay truly special. When exploring other areas of the bay you will find beautiful coral reefs, home to a variety of endemic marine life, dolphins, sharks, dugongs and four different species of turtle. The abundance of fascinating aquatic life, along with it’s high percentage of endemic species, is why Cenderawasih Bay is known by some as the ‘Galapagos of the East’. Cenderawasih Bay is also home to many WWII shipwrecks and sunken planes, the most fascinating being Shinwa Maru. Lying at depths from 16 to 34 metres, the Shinwa Maru is a 120m Japanese cargo ship that was sunk in 1944 by US forces. Scattered with many fascinating artefacts and displaying its two large blast holes from its deadly demise, this sunken history is incredible for those who love wreck diving.

    A visit to Cenderawasih Bay is almost guaranteed to give you the best whale shark experience of your life and what makes this location extremely unique is that the gentle giants are present all year round.
  • The Wild Dolphins of the Southern Red Sea
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    The Wild Dolphins of the Southern Red Sea
    Diving alongside these intelligent, curious and playful creatures will leave you with many happy, lasting memories.

    Worthy of its title as one of the Seven underwater Wonders of the World, diving the Red Sea, with its lush coral reefs, magnificent sunken wrecks and a dazzling variety of marinelife is a dive enthusiast’s dream come true. Situated between Asia and Africa, the Red Sea begins at the Suez Canal in the North and runs all the way down, past Ethiopia to join the Gulf of Aden in the South. The Northern Red Sea is known for excellent wreck diving opportunities while the Southern Red Sea is known for its huge wall drops, strong currents and thrilling pelagic action.

    Diving in the Southern Red Sea is sure to get your adrenaline pumping with regular encounters with sharks, including the oceanic whitetip shark and the hammerhead shark, guaranteed on dives. However, if you are a more reserved diver or would like to take a break from the action Abu Dabbab offers excellent opportunities for diving alongside the rare and docile dugong and ‘Dolphin House Reef’ is home to many playful dolphins.

    One of the best places to dive alongside wild dolphins is off the coast of Marsa Alam at Sammadai Reef, also known as ‘Dolphin House’, where over 100 dolphins frequently visit. This semi-circle sheltered reef provides the best conditions for diving, with its crystal clear, calm waters and gentle ocean currents. Since the dolphins are naturally curious, close encounters these intelligent creatures are common.
  • The Passage at Kri
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    The Passage at Kri
    A magical winding river passage between two islands, where overhanging tree branches meet giant sea fans and underwater passages and hidden grottos awaken your curiosity and tempt you to explore further.

    The passage at Kri is a one-of-a-kind dive site located between the islands of Gam and Waigo in Raja Ampat. The nutrient rich river, that spans over 30m wide and 5m deep flows between the two islands, blessing the area with spectacular underwater scenery and unusual microhabitats. A dazzling variety of colourful giant sea sans, crinoids and nudibranchs cover the passage walls and are home to a large variety of macro life creatures including, pygmy seahorses, reindeer wrasse, clingfish, squat lobsters and crinoid shrimps.
  • Palau a Divers Dream
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    Palau a Divers Dream
    The paradise of Palau with its magnificent underwater landscapes, sunken shipwrecks and mangrove forests is home to a spectacular variety of sealife. From millions of jelly fish to giant clams, and majestic manta rays to salt water crocodiles, diving in Palau is a breath-taking experience not to be soon forgotten.

    Located to the west of Micronesia and to the east of the Philippines is the magnificent archipelago of Palau, made up of 8 main islands and over 250 smaller islands. This tropical paradise is known for its excellent diving opportunities with breath-taking drop-offs, sunken shipwrecks and a large diversity of marine life, making it a dream destination for dive enthusiasts. Blessed with a rich diversity of terrain and marine life, Palau’s dive sites are world renowned and offer something for everyone, from the magnificent wall drops of Blue Corner to the majestic manta rays at the German Channel.

    One of the best diving sites in Palau is Blue Corner, a spectacular vertical wall populated with colourful fans, soft corals and sea anemones, also home to an array of reef life, from rainbow coloured mandarin fish, seahorses and garden eels to large schools of barracuda, prehistoric looking nautilus, and white tip and grey reef sharks. Strong currents allow for excellent drift diving opportunities, however if you would like to stay in the action for a little longer a reef hook is provided, allowing you to attach yourself to the rocks along the reef.

    Another well-known diving destination in Palau is the German Channel, a long wall encompassing the length of Ngemelis Island and home to three other dive sites namely, Turtle Wall, Big Drop off and New Drop off. The German Chanel is known for the vast amount of manta rays that visit the reef’s cleaning station. Diving the German Channel offers divers an opportunity to see these majestic creatures up close as they glide effortlessly through the water in an awe-inspiring display.

    Not only does Palau have world renowned wall diving locations but it also boasts many rare and unique underwater landscapes. With sandy bottoms covered in giant clams, hidden caves and tunnels, mangrove forest channels that lead to crystal clear secret lakes, dark blue holes and sunken shipwrecks.

    The Rock Islands are Palau’s most striking and recognisable land marks. These enchanting mushroom shaped islands are home to an intricate maze of winding channels, pristine coral reefs, secret lagoons, forgotten WWII sites and magnificent sandy beaches. Kayaking or canoeing is the perfect way to explore the natural beauty of the Rock Islands. As you weave through the many twisting channels surrounding the Rock Islands you may even get an opportunity to see the endemic saltwater crocodile, a permanent resident on Palau’s Islands.

    Palau is also home to two spectacular lakes, the Milky Way and Jelly Fish Lake. Milky Way, named after the milky appearance of the water, is a lake covered with a white milky clay believed to have youthful properties, offering a one of a kind natural spa pampering experience. Jelly Fish Lake, on the other hand offers a completely different diving experience. Hidden amongst the Rock Islands is a secret lake populated with millions of golden jelly fish. Snorkelling is a popular activity in Jelly Fish Lake as the jelly fish, having been isolated from predators, have evolved over millions of years to have very weak stingers, making it safe to snorkel amongst them.

    Another natural phenomenon that occurs in conjunction with the lunar cycle is the spawning of the red snapper fish. Diving off the coast of Peleliu during the full moon provides a once in a lifetime opportunity to witness this spectacular event as thousands of red snapper fish congregate in one area to spawn, turning the waters a rich rusty colour and attracting many large predators.

    Although Palau’s best dive sites are known for their strong currents divers of all levels of experience can enjoy the many wonders of Palau. Palau enjoys a warm climate year round with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 30°C. February and March are the driest months with June through to August being the wettest months. If you’re interested in guaranteed sightings of large schools of manta rays and sharks the best times to visit is from December through to March.
  • Prehistoric Galapagos
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    Prehistoric Galapagos
    These remote volcanic islands, with their unique and fascinating endemic species, continue to inspire and amaze visitors today, just as they inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution over 200 years ago. With lush mangrove forests and towering volcanic islands above land and strong ocean currents, home to a fascinating variety of endemic species below water. It’s no wonder why the Galapagos Islands are internationally acclaimed for being one of the best diving destinations in the world.

    Situated in the Pacific Ocean, 1000km from the South American continent in the Province of Ecuador, is where you will find the remote Galapagos Islands. Home to some of the richest diversities of marinelife, due to its location where three ocean current converge, makes this magnificent archipelago one of the best diving destinations in the world and fully deserving of its status as a World Heritage Site. Dotted with magnificent volcanic islands that bless the surrounding ocean currents with nutrient rich water, while attracting a dazzling variety of marine life, diving the Galapagos Islands is what a dive enthusiasts dreams are made of.

    The ongoing volcanic activity on the islands bears testament to their creation. Born from erupting oceanic volcanoes, these isolated islands are home to a fascinating variety of wildlife, most of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. These circumstances inspired Charles Darwin’s revolutionary theories of natural selection and evolution, following his visit in 1835.

    Diving in the Galapagos is characterised by strong currents that make for excellent drift dives. Enjoy the thrill of a drift dive over submerged volcanoes or the tranquillity of diving an isolated lagoon surrounded by lush mangrove forests. Most exciting for visitors is the unique and fearless wildlife that inhabit these islands. Marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins, gentle whale sharks, turtles and large schools of hammerhead sharks can all be seen and approached, most of which are curious of humans, making close encounters a common occurrence.

    Although the Galapagos Islands are notorious for their spectacular wildlife, the landscape is equally astonishing with long stretches of shoreline bordered by steep cliffs, magnificent lava and shell sand beaches and mangrove swamps that shelter secluded lagoons.
  • Blue caves of Bonito
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    Blue caves of Bonito
    Cave diving is the ultimate adrenaline filled experience for dive enthusiasts. Be both inspired and mystified by the sheer beauty of the underwater landscape and unique marine life while diving the beautiful blue caves of Bonito.

    Cave diving allows you to enter a world that doesn’t see much daylight, similar to doing a night dive but with no access to the surface. The crystal clear waters set the scene for a magnificent underwater landscape made up of unique and striking features including stalactites, stalagmites and fossils. The marine life is also rare and fascinating, having adapted their features to the lack of sunlight. One of the best places in the world for Cave diving is Bonito, a small city located at the Bodoquena Mountain Range in Brazil.

    The region’s main attractions are its natural landscapes, amazing fauna and flora and rivers with fresh transparent waters, home to a large variety of fish species that hide in grottos and caves, creating the perfect setting for a thrilling cave dive. There are many caves available for cave diving in Bonito, these include Mimoso Grotto, Buraco das Abelhas and Abismo Anhumas, the biggest underwater cave in the world.

    Dives are planned within the limits of certification of each diver, and divers will be accompanied by a local dive instructor that will oversee the entire operation. However, if you’re looking to do full cave penetration then you’ll need to do a cave diving course. Although Bonito is well known for its cave diving it also caterers for divers of varying levels of experience. Another fun experience to try out is ‘Floating’. The rivers of Bonito have a high concentration of calcareous that helps facilitate buoyancy as well as gives the crystal clear waters a beautiful transparency.

    The act of ‘Floating’ involves floating on the water while being carried by the stream. Much can still be seen while floating down the tranquil rivers of Bonito as colourful tropical fish and lush underwater flora make for beautiful scenery.
  • Wreck Diving Splendor Micronesia
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    Wreck Diving Splendor Micronesia
    Submerge beneath the water into another era and explore the sunken history that makes Truk Lagoon one of the best wreck diving sites in the world.

    In the central Pacific, 1800km north-east of Papua New Guinea, lies a sheltered body of water within the Federated States of Micronesia, known as Truk Lagoon. Also known as Chuuk Lagoon, this atoll hosts many wrecks that are steeped in history, making it a wreck diver’s paradise. In February 1944, US forces conducted Operation Hailstone that destroyed the entire Japanese fleet stationed at Truk leaving many vessels, planes and tanks at the bottom of the lagoon. Virtually intact, these ghostly remains lie on the floor of the lagoon just as they did when first sunk in 1944.

    Diving into the water and being surrounded by wrecks gives you a tangible sense of history. Coral makes a home for itself on the “Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon” along with other vibrant marine life, creating a dramatic contrast to the deadly past that lurks beneath the clear waters. One of the most fascinating wrecks to explore is the I-169 Shinohara, a submarine that played a part in the attacks on Pearl Harbour in 1941. Whilst exploring the sunken history, one can also enjoy the sightings of turtles, sharks and manta rays. Truk Lagoon is a natural harbour and as a result it does not have an ocean current. This makes for perfect diving conditions as one can easily swim across the decks while admiring the gas masks and assortment of other military equipment that lie scattered across them. When penetrating the eerie vessels the panic that ensued on those fateful days is almost palpable and the human remains are a dark reminder of this tortured period of history.

    Although wreck diving is for more experienced divers, there are fifteen wrecks and planes that are accessible to snorkelers who wish to submerge themselves into this underwater museum. In addition to the spectacular wreck diving opportunities, Truk Lagoon is also home to Shark Island. Here you can enjoy the thrill of close encounters with dozens of sharks in their natural habitat.
  • Clowns of the Sea
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    Clowns of the Sea
    Most likely named after their humorous behaviour, witnessing a Clownfish furiously defend its sea anemone home and charge at unwanted visitors, some much bigger than themselves, is an amusing addition to a dive and always good entertainment value.

    Clownfish are a type of tropical reef fish found in the temperate waters of the Pacific Ocean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

    The mucous membrane on the Clownfish’s skin makes it immune to the sting of the sea anemone. In exchange for protection and food, the Clownfish defends its host from unwanted intruders and removes any parasites. Clownfish inhabit a single sea anemone in groups that include the breeding male and female and a number of younger males. Once a group of Clownfish have found a sea anemone to set up home they will defend it, never straying further than 30cm during their entire lifetime.

    One fascinating fact about Clownfish is that they possess sex-changing abilities. All Clownfish are born male, however they can develop female reproductive organs when needed.

    Female clownfish will lay their eggs around the time of the full moon on a flat surface, close to the sea anemone in which they inhabit. The male Clownfish will then guard the eggs until they hatch, five to seven days later.
  • For Divers Red Sea
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    For Divers Red Sea
    It’s not surprising why the Red Sea is considered one of the best diving destinations in the world with marine lovers, photographers and leisure seekers travelling from all over the world to experience and explore its many wonders and hidden secrets.

    Worthy of its title as one of the Seven underwater Wonders of the World, diving the Red Sea, with its lush coral reefs, magnificent sunken wrecks and a dazzling variety of marinelife is a dive enthusiast’s dream come true. Situated between Asia and Africa, the Red Sea begins at the Suez Canal in the North and runs all the way down, past Ethiopia to join the Gulf of Aden in the South. The Northern Red Sea is known for excellent wreck diving opportunities while the Southern Red Sea is known for its huge wall drops, strong currents and thrilling pelagic action.

    If the multitude of marine life with over 1000 species of invertebrates and over 1,100 species of fish does not get you excited then the magnificent coral gardens, huge wall drops, strong currents and thrilling pelagic action will. With temperate waters that offer unparalleled visibility, diving the Red Sea is nothing short of paradise.
  • The Treasure of the Black Sands
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    The Treasure of the Black Sands
    Charcoal black volcanic sands bordered by lush rainforests, submerged forgotten cities and lush coral gardens with sheer wall drops are some of the treasures Sulawesi has to offer.

    The name ‘Sulawesi’, originating from the words ‘sula’ and ‘besi’, translates as the island of iron, referring to the rich volcanic sands that border the island in certain areas. Found to the east of Borneo and to the west of Moluccas, bordered by a 6000km coastline, Sulawesi supports magnificent beaches and strong ocean currents and depths, attracting a large variety of sealife and home to lush coral landscapes.

    Located within the prime location of the Coral Triangle, Sulawesi has much to offer dive enthusiasts, from the tiny critters of Lembeh to the magnificent coral Gardens of the Queen in Bunaken. For those who enjoy the mystery of diving a lost city or the thrill of diving alongside active volcanoes, Sulawesi will see it come true. The beauty of Sulawesi can be enjoyed both underwater as well as on land with sheer drop offs and trenches covered with lush corals underwater to towering volcanic mountains, cascading waterfalls and dense forests above land. Although diving is the primary reason people visit Sulawesi, there are many activities to do on land. The Tangkoko National Park houses endemic creatures that can be spotted in the dense tropical forests, including the babi rusa, a mixture of dwarf and wild pig, dwarf buffaloes and the tarsius, the smallest monkey in the world.

    Although Sulawesi can be enjoyed all year round the best time to dive is between March and November. With close encounters with large pelagics in Bunaken and higher numbers of critters along Lembeh Strait seen between July and August.
SATSA No. 207

Hartley’s Safaris is registered with Southern Africa Tourism Association Registration number 207.


Hartley’s Safaris
South Africa (Pty) Ltd
Reg no: 2001/006019/07
United Kingdom
Copyright © 2016 Hartley's Safaris SA

Okavango Explorations (UK) Ltd
T/A Hartleys Safaris
Registered in England No. 2348880
Copyright © 2016 Hartley's Safaris UK

SATSA No. 207

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