Best Places to See Sea Life Up Close
When it comes to exploring our magnificent ocean, there’s nothing like the real deal. Here’s how and where you can experience some of the ocean’s most lovable sea life up close.
Jellyfish at Jellyfish Lake, Palau
Jellyfish may have a bad rep, but you can’t deny that these cloud-like water creatures are alluring, especially when you see them up close. The best place to spot them is at Jellyfish Lake in Palau – and don’t worry, you won’t get stung. Over the years, Mastigias (the golden jellyfish) and Aurelia (the moon jellyfish) in this enclosed body of water have developed a mild, almost unnoticeable sting. Hence, this offers a rare opportunity for human to swim with thousands of jellyfish. However, access to the lake is only permitted with a local tour company and you have to pay $35 per person.
Giant Manta Rays at Big Island, Hawaii
The Big Island of Hawaii is one of the few places in the world where you can view these amazing giant manta rays up close. These aquatic animals often swim along the clear waters of Keauhou Bay, and local outfitters will take you out at night to snorkel or dive with the manta rays. After donning your wetsuit, you’ll be guided to float near a string of lights to see them at their natural state. These graceful marine animals are typically unimpressed by visitors and will go about their nightly feeding without paying any attentions to the divers. If you’re lucky, some may even swim near to you.
Great White Shark at Dyer Island, South Africa
Five miles out to the sea on the southernmost tip of South Africa is the renowned Shark Valley – a favorite hunting ground of the Great White Shark. The waters are swarming with Cape Fur Seals and Jackass Penguins, a smorgasbord for these glorious beasts. Shark cage diving is especially popular here, offering patrons a rare opportunity to see and feed sharks. Outfitters provide the cages and the gears, all you need is some courage. For the feint of heart, don’t worry, you won’t miss out much either. You can often see the great white from the boat as they would sometimes breach above the water while hunting.
Dolphins at Bimini, Bahamas
Bimini, Bahamas is well-known for sports fishing and reef diving, but did you also know that this pristine island is famous for spotting and swimming with wild dolphins? Local guides take guests out by boat and provide snorkel gears for you to be up close and personal with these intelligent sea creatures. What more, most dolphins choose to get close to snorkelers for some playful interactions and it’s not unusual for them to swim alongside you, or flip and jump from the water. The experience is simply unforgettable.
Manatees at Crystal River, Florida
The warm, spring-fed water of Crystal River, Florida is one of the few places where nature lovers can swim (legally) with manatees. Every year, more than 400 manatees congregate here during the winter, but these gentle giants can be seen all year round. If you want to take a closer look at manatees, bring your snorkeling or diving equipment along. Alternatively, you can opt for the assistance of the local tour company as they will supply you with a wet suit and gears. On top of that, the outfitters will also show you how to view the manatees without disturbing or harming them.
You’ll need a secure and functional backpack with you on this adventure. The Pacsafe Venturesafe™ X22 Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack or Pacsafe Venturesafe™ X30 Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack would be the perfect choice for this as these bags come with padded adjustable shoulder strap for you to carry around with ease. Besides that, both bags also come with TurnNLock security hooks. Now you can secure your bag to a fixture and prevent grab-and-run theft while you’re out snorkeling and marveling at the wonder of these sea animals.