When composing a Jacques Cousteau top ten, there are many scuba diving sites in the world that most oceanographers, naturalists, marine biologists and explorers would consider. In the following are ten of the most scientifically and historically significant diving sites where Cousteau made one or more of his famous discoveries and which will provide you with an amazing experience while exploring them.
1. Diving Near Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island boasts 17,000 miles of shoreline and temperate waters housing sharks, seals, wolf eels, sea lions and many other unique species. Cousteau said about Vancouver Island that it’s second only to the Red Sea as an ideal diving location.
2. Sipadan – A Pristine Diving Site
Malaysia’s Sipadan Island turned famous in the 80s, when it became the filming site for Cousteau’s “Ghost of the Sea Turtles.” The area features more than 3,000 marine species and corals you can explore during your dives.
3. The Aliwal Shoals – The Most Unique Reef in the World
The Aliwal Shoals in South Africa are one of Jacques Cousteau’s favorite reef formations – a unique fossilized sand dune reef where hammerheads, potato bass and stingrays can be seen every season.
4. One of Jacques Cousteau’s Favorite – Poor Knights Island
The abundant marine life, clear waters and the presence of the world’s largest sea cave influenced Cousteau to rate these islands among his worldwide favorite diving sites.
5. Red Sea Diving in Sudan
Sha’b Rumi is a 30-mile diving site in Sudan where you can spot plenty of sharks, barracuda and jacks. Cousteau started his Conshef experiments here in 1963.
6. Diving Sites on Cocos Island, Costa Rica
Cocos Island is about 550 km off the coast of Costa Rica and is now a national park. The area arose Jacques Cousteau’s interest due to its nutrient-rich waters and large, pelagic marine species.
7. The World’s Strangest Sinkhole in Belize
The Blue Hole in Belize is a perfectly circular sinkhole measuring almost 300 meters across, believed to have been a cave whose roof fell in. The hole is 124m deep and commonly visited by gray reef sharks.
8. Thailand’s Top Dive Site at Richelieu Rock
Sponges, soft corals, anemones and many other creatures populate the horseshoe-shaped diving location known as Richelieu Rock. Huge groupers, mantas and whale sharks can also be spotted here.
9. Diving on Conzumel Island in Mexico
Situated off the Yucatan Peninsula, Conzumel is a small island with most diving sites on its west side. There are two protected reef systems, and the steady currents make it a perfect spot for drift diving.
10. Cousteau’s Discoveries Near Heron Island, in Australia
Visiting Heron Island, Cousteau discovered the full diversity of the Great Barrier Reef on an island only 800 meters long and 300 meters wide. There are more than 20 diving sites around the island, and you can expect to see sharks, barracuda, lobsters and hawksbill turtles along with stunning corals.