Dive deep to find corals, swim with dolphins, save endangered Hawksbill turtles, and learn about the conservation of their habitat. As we approach World Oceans Day, which is observed annually on June 8, and to commemorate its uniqueness, IANSlife has curated some of the coolest oceans you can visit around the world.
Swim with butterflyfish in Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao Island is no less than a tropical haven, thanks to the profusion of spectacular beaches, dive sites, and a wealth of different activities to enjoy. Tanote Bay, located on the island’s east coast, is perfect for travellers who wish to witness the Kingdom’s marine life teeming with various species, such as butterflyfish, angelfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish, and groupers.
The island encourages ethical and sustainable tourism by organising Spotlight Koh Tao, an annual event comprising workshops and exhibitions which inspire tourists to participate in activities such as coral reef rehabilitation, sea glass jewellery making, coco tie-dye making, and fish aggregation with locals, among other initiatives that contribute towards marine conservation.
Witness the largest aggregation of whale sharks in Qatar
As a peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Sea and blessed with year-round sunny weather, Qatar is famous for crystal-clear beaches, waterparks, and marinas that invite everyone to try out activities and experiences.
The country also serves as the perfect habitat for many aquatic species that thrive in warmer temperatures, such as the Hawksbill Turtles that feed on marine delicacies at Al Ghariyah Beach. In addition, Qatar is home to the largest aggregation of whale sharks that prefer the warm and shallow sea waters of the country’s northeast coast, located about 145 km from Doha and reached by yacht. Qatar also accommodates the world’s second-largest population of Dugongs at the Al Thakira mangrove forest. One can witness these underwater creatures in full glory from April to September by kayaking.
Discover vibrant corals in the deepest atolls of Maldives
From heavenly beaches and lush palm trees to turquoise waters and diverse marine life, the Islands of Maldives embody everything perfect for a leisurely escapade. Designed in harmony with the natural environment, The Residence Maldives offers myriad activities catering to every traveller’s interest, including the world’s largest and deepest coral atolls.
The waters of the resort’s GaafuAlifu atoll are home to over 1,200 species of corals, fish, sharks, green turtles, manta rays, and eagle rays. You can witness them by snorkelling and deep-sea diving. The resort also largely contributes to marine conservation by being part of the Maldives Underwater Initiative promoted by the Maldivian Ministry of Tourism and the Protect Maldives Seagrass, an initiative launched by the Blue Marine Foundation.
Save the endangered turtles in Oman
Nestled between the majestic mountains and glittering waters of the Gulf, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Muscat, reflects the beauty of this Middle Eastern country. The sea around the resort is replete with rich marine life, such as turtles, rays, eels, fish, coral reefs, and shipwrecks that make beautiful underwater sights.
A fully equipped and professionally staffed Dive Centre arranges daily excursions and guided diving tours. A night-time expedition and three daily dives are available too. Marine experts guarantee that everyone makes the most of their aquatic adventure. Oman is home to five different species of turtles, and one of the nesting sites is Shangri-La Muscat’s private beach. The Turtle Care Project aims to protect the endangered hawksbill and green turtle species as a ranger looks after nests and protects them from potential threats. Between March and September, when hundreds of turtles return to the resort’s beach to lay eggs, guests are invited to witness hatchings, help to protect their nests and attend Turtle Talks at the hotel’s Eco Centre.
The Gulf of Oman is also home to hundreds of dolphins, sometimes seen together in pods of 250. Every morning, tours depart from the resort’s marina, even as marine experts talk about conservation efforts and ways to contribute to them.
Feel the adrenaline rush in Ko Pha-Ngan, Thailand
Akin to its sister islands, Koh Samui and Koh Tao, Ko Pha-Ngan is a paradise for Thalassophiles and water sports enthusiasts. Travellers can indulge in water activities, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, wakeboarding, kitesurfing, parasailing, and kayaking.
COREsea, a marine research and conservation programme instituted on this island, has been educating people about Southeast Asia’s marine biodiversity. They conduct independent research and experiments and even provide research vessels, diving equipment, and accommodations for those who wish to observe and volunteer in their marine conservation mission.