5 Best Places to go Diving in October

Believe it or not, the fall season is a fantastic time to go diving in many locations around the globe. With the southern hemisphere countries moving out of their colder months and the northern hemisphere cooling down for the summer, October is a relatively mild time of year throughout the world. Therefore, if you are looking to visit the tropics without the blazing hot temperatures or areas further from the equator before it gets too cold, diving in October is for you! Read on to find the five best places to go diving in October and why this is the perfect time of year to travel.

The seasonal changes and mild temperatures of October affect not only air temperatures but water temperatures as well. In many areas, fall brings an abundance of nutrient-rich waters to parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, attracting many large pelagic species you usually don’t have the opportunity to encounter. These changes also contribute to migration patterns of certain whale and shark species, which makes for exciting diving adventures.

Here are our top 5 picks for diving in October:

1. Red Sea, Egypt

Although October is the end of the Red Sea’s busy season, it is still a great time to visit this marvelous area. With the weather finally cooling down to pleasant daytime temperatures and tourist levels thinning out, this may be the best time of year to dive the Red Sea.

October’s slight cooling of the Red Sea waters means thresher and hammerhead sharks begin to appear on the famous southern reefs. You will also be able to explore this region’s caves, tunnels, and deep drop-offs where the occasional oceanic white-tip sharks hang out. Besides the thrill of shark sightings, Red Sea divers can encounter resident spinner dolphins and giant Napoleon wrasse, plus you can witness the amazing colors of the thriving reef system. Liveaboards are usually the best way to experience diving in the Red Sea since most of the best dive sites are in remote locations.

2. Moorea, French Polynesia

During October, Moorea’s turquoise lagoons become home to an abundance of migrating humpback whales. Making up one of French Polynesia’s main islands, Moorea sits in the South Pacific Ocean like an emerald gem emerging from the azure waters surrounding it. Moorea is a famous destination every month of the year for obvious reasons: its warm, coral-filled lagoons feature crystal-clear waters filled with marine life that beacon every type of diver, while its stunning white and black sand beaches, rugged mountains, and over-the-water bungalows attract vacationers worldwide.

Diving Moorea in October, however, brings an added sense of wonder with the annual migration of humpback whales to this area. Moorea’s warm, clear waters make it one of the best places in the world to swim with and observe humpback whales. You can book a humpback whale swim with several local tour operators. Click here to learn more about diving in French Polynesia.

3. Baa Atoll, Maldives

Manta ray lovers, listen up! There is no better time or place to go diving with manta rays than in the Maldives during October. Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll is famous for its huge manta rays that congregate yearly to feed in its nutrient-rich waters. The Maldives’ monsoon season, running May through November, fills Hanifaru Bay with enough nutrients to cause a plankton bloom. This abundance of food attracts large filter feeders like manta rays and whale sharks, peaking in October. Many divers report swimming with up to 200 manta rays during their time here, diving in October.

Hanifaru Bay is accessible from the land where divers and snorkelers can partake in this fantastic experience. However, to fully immerse yourself in the manta-rich waters of Baa Atoll, we recommend choosing a liveaboard for your October diving adventure.

4. Sea of Cortez, Mexico

The Sea of Cortez is one of diving’s best-kept secrets. This long waterway, fed by the Pacific Ocean, also known as the Gulf of California, runs the entire length of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, separating the peninsula from the mainland. Throughout the year, divers and fishermen flock to these warm waters thanks to its vast diversity and abundance of fish. In fact, Jacques Cousteau dubbed the Sea of Cortez the "Aquarium of the World," and for good reason.

Not only are these waters an amazing place to dive with large marine life like whale sharks, sea lions, and manta rays, but diving in October brings unique whale encounters! The month of October marks the beginning of whale watching season in Baja, Mexico, and not for just one species of whale. You will have the chance to see several whale species as they migrate to these warm waters to feed and breed, including humpback, orca, pilot, minke, and even blue whales! Swimming alongside these beautiful giants is one of life’s great moments. Don’t miss out; plan your next trip to the Sea of Cortez in October with the help of SSI’s MyDiveGuide here.

5. South Africa

Although diving in South Africa is always on the cooler side, October is the beginning of their summer season when both air and water temperatures start to increase. Water along the Atlantic coast still hovers around 16 degrees C (61 degrees F), so we recommend using a 7mm wetsuit with boots and gloves. However, the beautiful underwater scenery and fantastic wildlife encounters are well worth it. And with over 1,550 miles of coastline, we have a hard time choosing just one dive spot to highlight, so we’ll mention our top picks.

Diving South Africa in October brings a plethora of shark sighting opportunities. Along the Aliwal Shoal coast in KwaZulu-Natal, you will encounter many exciting shark species, including ’raggies’ (sand-tiger sharks), oceanic blacktips, hammerheads, tigers, dusky, and mako sharks. If you are looking for even more adrenaline, the Southern Pinnacles at Protea Banks, specifically, is a hotspot for bull sharks.

A bit further north leads you to Sodwana Bay, where whale sharks visit from October to February. You may also be lucky enough to dive with humpback whales here, as October is the last month they migrate to this area. Lastly, heading south to Eastern Cape, October marks the beginning of the famous squid run – a spectacular sight to see.