11 best marine adventures you need to experience before you die
From tracking the sardine run to diving in the South Pacific, Monty Halls identifies 11 unmissable experiences at sea.
The sardine run
Billions of sardines enter the warm waters of South Africa's Wild Coast each year from May to July. It is one the world’s great natural events, representing more biomass than the wildebeest migrations across the Serengeti, and the sheer numbers create a feeding frenzy involving at least 18,000 dolphins, circling Cape gannets, sharks galore, and several species of whale. Read more from Monty Halls about this year's sardine run.
Diving in Palau
This collection of rock islands in Micronesia has an abundance of reefs, drop-offs, lagoons and underwater wonders that would keep any marine enthusiast occupied for several lifetimes.
Night diving in Komodo
These are the most dazzling nocturnal dives you can make anywhere on Earth. Scrabble around in the muck on the sea floor to find creatures that scuttle and crawl. You’ll emerge from the sea marvelling at evolution gone mad.
Nusa Lembongan, Bali
This Indonesian island off Bali has some magnificent marine life, including manta rays and, perhaps most notably, mola mola (pictured), the largest bony fish on Earth. They often weigh two tonnes, laying 300 million eggs. Their young are so small it’s the equivalent of a human baby growing to the size of five Titanics.
Manatees in the Crystal River, Florida
Manatees are giant, gentle creatures, which give every impression of enjoying human company. The experience of seeing the residents of the Crystal River is an animal encounter for all ages and abilities.
Humpbacks in Vava'u, Tonga
This island group in the Polynesian kingdom of Tonga is pretty much the only place on Earth where you can get up close and personal with humpback whales. For me, this was entirely, completely and overwhelmingly unforgettable.
Roca Partida, Mexico
This rock spire – its name means “split rock” – rises from a depth of five kilometres in the Sea of Cortez, and is frequently circled by giant manta rays. It’s an extraordinary sight, resembling something straight out of Tolkien.
Thresher sharks in the Philippines
A reef crest off the island of Malapascua hosts a cleaning station where thresher sharks come for their daily wash and brush-up. This is a front-row seat to observe one of the most beautiful of all sharks.
Aliwal, South Africa
This site lends itself to an adrenalin-fuelled, harum-scarum dive. It is an undersea mountain of sandstone jutting into the warm waters of the Agulhas Current, and home to more than 1,000 fish species, many of them with teeth and attitude problems.
Wrecks of the Isles of Scilly, Britain
With white-sand beaches, reefs, wrecks and clear water, the south-westerly archipelago is a gem in the eastern Atlantic.
Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
These enchanted isles are beset on all sides by ocean currents, where evolution has gone haywire. If only Darwin could have looked beneath the waves…
Reader offer: Join the broadcaster and marine biologist Monty Halls on an exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Galapagos Islands, offering the chance to see a bachelor sea lion colony, yellow land iguanas, frigate birds and more.
This article originally appeared on telegraph.co.uk.