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Although the Maldives is a nation that includes more than 10,000 islands sprinkled through the Indian Ocean, its highest point is about 3 meters/10 feet above sea level. Every resort sits on its own island. The diving is spread wide among a vast area of this country. There are 26 coral atolls and countless unexplored dive corners. Drift diving adds adrenaline as well as thick concentrations of schooling fish, and the visibility often exceeds 45 metres/150 feet. Being islands in the middle of an ocean, lots of interesting diving exists, such as huge aggregations of manta rays and whale sharks, sometimes in the same place, passes filled with sharks, and reefs crowded with eels. Above the water leisure and romance weave together on the sea breezes. There’s little to do but dive and enjoy a life of idyll – which is a good thing.

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You can tell the French, Indians, African Creole and several other cultures have left their touch upon Mauritius. Romance, elegant restaurants, unique multicultural festivals, world-class international cuisine and shopping all can be found on Mauritius. But divers will quickly look with longing at the clear waters of the lagoon and the barrier reef that circles the island like a gem-studded necklace. The coastline is nearly 205 miles/330 kilometers long and almost the whole island is surrounded by coral reef.

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One of the hottest and least expensive dive destinations, Mozambique, is rife with untrammeled and undiscovered sites. Giant mantas, dolphins, whales and whale sharks that prowl the Mozambique Channel (accessed from the town of Praia do Tofo) put this nation on the dive map, but then divers discovered the pristine Quirimba and Bazaruto Archipelagos. These low-lying, completely undeveloped islands harbor a rich seascape, including blue spotted lagoon rays, crocodile fish, an abundance of colorful tropicals such as anthias and basslets, massive potato cod, honeycomb eels, harlequin shrimp and 1,200 other species a haven for underwater photographers. The diversions above the water are untainted, sweeping African experiences. Start at Pemba and head south to Ponto do Ouro and check off most of your diving wish list.

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The myth of the Garden of Eden is said to have its origins in the Seychelles. And, whether that's true or not, the islands of the Seychelles certainly look the part, and inspire enough sensual and romantic dreams to make these islands a top honeymoon haven. About 1,600 kilometers/1,000 miles north of Madagascar, this French speaking, 115-island archipelago of dreamy beaches and palm-covered hillsides is even dreamier under the water, where your heart will skip a beat for a different reason. Manta rays, turtles, large grouper and sharks, soft corals and abundant schools of fish patrol over walls, through coral and granite canyons. Whale sharks pass through twice a year, once in August and they're also seen basking beneath the surface from October to January. When not diving, several of the world's top rated beaches, including Anse D'Argent on the island of Praslin, give you plenty of excuse to loll in the shallows and nap with your loved one.

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South Africa

As you might expect from a country filled with lions, elephants, hippos, and all the big animals that make a terrestrial safari so thrilling, the experience beneath the water is equally as compelling. It starts at the top of the food chain with famous leaping great white sharks off False Bay near Capetown, and the shark cage experience at equally renowned Dyer Island also near Capetown. While those are nice, one of the world's greatest underwater events happens each June with the sardine run. Sardines in shoals that could be several kilometers/miles long are predated upon by. . . well, everything - sharks, dolphin, seabirds, sea lions, Bryde's whales - all show up to this moving buffet and gorge until there is nary a scale left floating in the sea. The temperate seascape of Aliwal Shoals and Sodwana Bay ups the sizzle factor with ragged tooth, Zambezi and bull sharks that try to outshine the nudibranchs.

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Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka first started to get noticed in the dive community when it was discovered that blue whales were consistently seen off this island nation's shores. What's not so well known is that Sri Lanka has some great wrecks, and the local divers keep discovering new ones as they explore the waters off their coast. The wrecks are covered in marine life, soft corals, macro critters and large aggregations of snapper and other schooling fish. The reefs are typically soft coral and brightly colored gorgonian forests that harbor lionfish, nudibranchs and anemonefish. Like many places in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka has seasonal diving. The west coast flattens out from November to May, and the east coast takes over from April through October. You can however dive both locations year round.

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