Best Dive Spots in FebruaryFebruary 15, 2023
Half of the world may still be covered in snow and ice during February, but that means the other half is still seeing warm, sunny days perfect for diving. Even if you live a bit toward the north, there are some excellent dive spots to visit for spectacular marine life encounters. If you are looking for larger-than-life adventures, February is a great month to see manta rays, sharks, and whales.
Continue reading to learn more about the best dive spots in February.
Chumphon Pinnacle, Thailand
Chumphon Pinnacle is a large, long granite north-south running pinnacle about 20 minutes northeast of Koh Tao by boat and one of Thailand’s most popular dive spots. The maximum depth is over 40 meters, but it is about 35 meters at the base of the pinnacle and 15-18 meters at the top. Along the shallower top part of the pinnacle, you can find a beautiful congregation of dense sea anemones filled with dancing clownfish.
You have a high chance of encountering whale sharks while diving at Chumphon Pinnacle, as they frequent this area annually from February to May. You will also see other large fish such as chevron barracuda, bigeye trevally, rockfish, and stingrays. Also, make sure you inspect the shaded areas of the rocks where you can sometimes spot large red groupers hiding. Check out the SSI dive site locator here to learn more about diving Chumphon Pinnacle.
Tiger Beach, Bahamas
If you ever dreamed of diving up close and personal with one of nature’s most powerful beasts, the tiger shark, Tiger Beach is your place. Tiger Beach is a small, shallow sand flat about an hour by boat from the West End of Grand Bahama Island. This dive spot is famous worldwide for Tiger shark sightings, attracting world-renowned underwater photographers every year.
February is an excellent time to visit this dive spot as it is in the middle of peak tiger shark season. Tigers are not the only sharks you will encounter here, however. You will also see resident sharks like lemon and Caribbean reef sharks. So, pack your gear and camera and visit SSI’s MyDiveGuide Tiger Beach dive site locator to start planning your trip today!
Manta Sandy, Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Indonesia is famous for manta ray sightings, and the Raja Ampat archipelago is the center of it all. In fact, this region is one of the few areas worldwide where you can encounter two different manta ray species simultaneously, the Reef and Giant manta. February marks the overlap period when these majestic pelagics are both migrating through this territory at the same time.
The Manta Sandy dive spot is an excellent site for these spectacular encounters because it is perfect for all diving skill levels, from beginner to expert, thanks to its shallow depth. This site is also a near guarantee for manta sightings during February because it boasts two main things that attract mantas: a cleaning station and tons of free-floating plankton. While waiting for the manta to arrive, enjoy the rich diversity of macro species, angelfish, remora, and flamboyant cuttlefish that also call this dive spot home. To learn more about diving Manta Sandy in Raja Ampat, visit its dive site locator page here.
San Francisco Maru, Chuuk (Truk) Lagoon, Micronesia
February is one of the best times of year to dive the world’s most famous wreck diving location, Chuuk Lagoon. This historically significant destination is an underwater museum littered with well-preserved WWII wrecks, from ships and tankers to motorcycles and aircraft.
The San Francisco Maru is probably the most famous wreck in Chuuk Lagoon, thanks to the three tanks with guns that sit upon its deck. Sunk in 1944, this 117-meter-long passenger-cargo ship rests on an even keel between 42 and 64 meters. However, this is a relatively deep dive, so ensure you are adequately trained before attempting this dive. Learn about earning your Deep Diving certification here before you go! The San Francisco Maru is also loaded with war materials, making it a fascinating technical wreck dive. Learn more about the San Francisco Maru dive site here.
Hilma Hooker Wreck, Bonaire
Diving Bonaire in February offers northerners a warm winter escape from their fridged winter temperatures. Thanks to the lack of hurricane season and rain during this time of year, Bonaire is a great place to dive, with easily accessible shore dives and incredible conditions. There is a reason this small Caribbean island is the shore diving capital of the world.
With more than 60 clearly marked shore dive sites, you will have your fill of underwater adventures. One site not to miss is the Hilma Hooker. This iconic shipwreck has a long, varied history, from being a cargo ship to a drug smuggler. The 236-foot Dutch freighter was sunk in 1984 and is now Bonaire’s most popular wreck dive. Laying perfectly on its side, the Hilma Hooker is not only a fascinating structure to explore but is home to various marine life, including reef and nurse sharks, turtles, snapper, angelfish, grouper, and much more! To learn more about this exciting dive spot, click here!
Middle Arch, New Zealand
The warmer summer months in New Zealand offer avid divers unique and exciting marine life encounters. If you are looking to get off the beaten path, northern New Zealand will not disappoint. With few crowds, awe-inspiring scenery, and fantastic diving conditions, the Middle Arch dive spot should definitely make your February diving bucket list.
The Middle Arch site sits on the northern tip of Poor Knights, bottoming out at 18 meters, then sloping down to 30+ meters on the north and south ends of the arch. What makes this a great dive spot to visit in February is the numerous congregating stingrays that make their way to the archway to mate and seek protection from New Zealand’s orcas. During these summer months, you may also encounter manta rays, humpback whales, and turtles if you are lucky. To learn more about diving Middle Arch, click here.
Although February is not one of the most popular times of year to go diving, there are plenty of exciting adventures to be had in many different areas of the world during this short month. To explore the best dive spots in February in more detail, or search for other thrilling dive locations, visit SSI’s MyDiveGuide at www.divessi.com/mydiveguide.