Our Picks of the World's Best Walls
In our October issue, we brought you a handful of our favorite wall-diving getaways, including:
Director's Bay in Curacao Bloody Bay Wall in Little Cayman Lionfish Wall in Yap Lanai near Maui Barbareta Island near Roatan The East End of Grand Cayman Yellow Wall in Palau
Here's a few more that we just didn't have room to include:
FIJI: The Great White Wall, covered in tufts of soft coral that appear entirely white, is one of the most distinctive dives in the Pacific. In total contrast is E-6, whose colors are so deeply saturated they instantly bring to mind color-film processing -- no wonder E-6 is one of the most photographed dive sites in Fiji.
SIPADAN: A limestone pinnacle thrusts out of the sea, forming one of diving's great locations -- the island of Sipadan off the eastern coast of Sabah on Malaysian Borneo. Once you pass over the reef, the walls plummet to the Celebes Plain, several thousand feet below. Diving these walls is to enter a pelagic dream populated by turtles, sharks, barracuda and more.
SULAWESI: Way off the beaten path but worth the effort is Bunaken Island, located a short ferry ride from the capital city of Manado in the north. Simple but comfortable (and affordable!) dive resorts cater to intrepid divers who find their way to this outpost where they can expect to have the endless walls -- pristine and loaded with life -- all to themselves.
BELIZE: Outside Belize's famed barrier reef is a series of atolls offering an endless supply of rarely visited walls. Belize has its own E-6 (like Fiji), found at a point in the wall at the south end of Turneffe Atoll.
MARSHALL ISLANDS: Kwajalein Atoll is the largest atoll in the world -- no wonder its walls, such as Speedball at Roi-Namur, rank among lucky divers' favorites.
TURKS AND CAICOS: It's impossible to dive this island group of eight without exploring an endless array of deep walls, lush with life and viewed through incredible visibility. And during humpback season (January through April) you'll often be accompanied by whale song.
USVI: A canyon several thousand feet deep cleaves the underwater shoreline on the north side of St. Croix. It was here that Columbus anchored in 1493 in search of fresh water, and it's here that divers explore the topographically diverse West Wall, the fishy East Wall and Anchor Wall, home to southern stingrays and nurse sharks. There's plenty of wall diving, too, along the seven-mile-long wall that runs parallel to the north shore of the island.
MAUI: Two-and-a-half miles offshore you'll find Molokini Crater and its two sides of wonder: the protected, fish-filled interior and the wild and unprotected back wall. The interior really is something like an aquarium with over 300 species of fish and 40 hard corals to identify and log. The backside is more of a thrill and is usually explored as a drift dive. The sound of whale song pinging off the wall is commonly experienced by divers from January through April.