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Superb scuba diving is found around the 2 coral atolls belonging to the Cocos (Keeling) Islands.

Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

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Best dive-season / How to get there: There is scuba diving around the Cocos (Keeling) Islands year around but they can be best visited during its dry season between May and November. Flights can be best booked out of Perth, Australia and are often combined with destination Christmas Island. Water temperatures are between 26C and 29C all year long with an average visibility of 25 meters, perfect for scuba diving.

Two atolls in the Indian Ocean have blessed Australia with pristine beaches, crystal clear blue waters and fantastic scuba diving. This dive paradise offers wall diving at its best, tranquility and a haven for marine species as it is the only place reaching the surface for more than 700km around. Besides many of the common coral reef fish and pelagic species, you can find manta-rays, sharks, wrasses, turtles, dolphins, dugong and the endemic Cocos Pygmy Angelfish. Abundant hard and soft corals including gorgonian sea fans, leather corals, brain coral and tree corals.

The Cocos Islands, also called Cocos (Keeling) Islands or Keeling Islands after the English captain William Keeling of the East India Company that first sailed past in 1609, consists out of two coral atolls and 27 coral islands. It is located southwest of Indonesia and 2700km northwest of Australia in the Indian Ocean. It is named Cocos Islands because of its natural dense coverage of coconut palm trees. The largest islands are West Island, South Island, Horsburgh Island and Home Island of which only Home and West Island are permanently inhabited. North Keeling Island (Pulu Keeling), about 14 km north of its brother atoll, is named Pulu Keeling National Park in 1995, a place where not many divers have dived before. You need a park licence and Pulu Keeling is best visited in calmer months because of the boattrip out. Other interesting adventures are the Rip, at the most southern tip of Direction Island. It is the Islands' most famous snorkeling site as it allows snorkelers to drift across the reef. As does the slightly less exciting Humbug Drift near Prison Island. There are glass bottomed boat tours, motorised canoes that bring you wherever you want to go or kayak hirings to explore the lagoons. It is a tropical holiday destination with exhilarating scuba diving and a superb beachcomber's lifestyle.

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