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Channel Islands National Park
Channel Islands National Park/Flickr/National Marine Sanctuaries

Scuba diving is a thrilling and exciting sport to learn. However, once you’ve done dozens of dives — as amazing as they are — the usual coral and aquatic wildlife can become repetitive. Fortunately, there are scuba destinations across the globe that offer submerged scenery unlike any other — you just gotta know where to find ’em. Here, our favorite dives worth traveling for.

Austria’s Grüner See (Green Lake)

Near the town of Tragoss, at the base of the Hochschwab Mountains, lies the Grüner See. In the winter, the depth of this green-colored lake is only about three to six feet deep, but when the snowcaps of the mountains melt in the spring, the lake bloats and submerges the surrounding park, along with its hiking trails, footbridges, and benches. Come spring and summer, this winter hiking area transforms to a popular scuba diving spot for the novelty of going on summer “stroll” along the park’s forest trails — with fins, a BCD, tank, and regulator.

California’s Kelp Forests

Channel Islands National Park, just off the coast of the Santa Barbara, boasts concentrations of the kelp stalks so thick you can get lost in them; it’s like your own underwater enchanted forrest. When you’re exploring the wildlife and nearby caves and see a shadowy figure peering from behind a giant kelp stalk — don’t worry — it’s just one of the curious harbor seals that frequent the area, playing hide and seek.

The Underwater Sculpture Parks of Grenada, Mexico, and the Canary Islands

The submerged sculptures off the coast of Cancun, Mexico may get a lot of press, but they aren’t the first of underwater galleries by British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. His first underwater sculpture park, which is actually the world’s first, is off the coast of the Caribbean island nation of Grenada. In both destinations, human figures “live” as artificial reefs, showing the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. Vicissitudes, a haunting sculpture featuring of a group of children holding hands in a circle, showcases the beautiful decay on their faces. Taylor’s latest exhibition, Museo Atlantico, off the coast of the Canary Islands, brings his underwater artistic vision to the other side of the Atlantic.

Indonesia’s Banua Wuhu Volcano

Between the Mahangetan and Sangihe Islands, you can dive at Banua Wuhu: an actual active underwater volcano. There’s no lava to be seen, but the presence of bubbles rising from the floor to the surface is evidence that — just below your fins — there are powerful volcanic forces. Don’t worry about sulphuric smells; you’ll be breathing from a tank of fresh compressed air anyway.


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