Whilst exploring the world, expect to see stunning waterfalls and golden beaches that’ll take your breath away. However, some of the most beautiful sights on the planet can be found beneath the water’s surface, to the fascinating creatures that lurk in the deep. Whether you’re travelling with your family or you’re on a cruise for singles, make the most of our shore excursions and meet some of the ocean’s majestic inhabitants. Read on to discover some of the must-see creatures that you may spot on your travels, featuring the experiences of expert travel bloggers.
Tropical fish and playful dolphins
The views at French Polynesia are truly breath-taking, with coconut trees and mountains covered in lush rainforests. The true beauty lies beyond the water’s edge to the emerald lagoons which are home to tropical fish, sea turtles and stingrays.
The crystal-clear ocean surrounding the islands is the perfect place to snorkel and explore the very best of mother nature. Put on your snorkelling gear and head underwater to be amongst the colourful sea creatures and coral. From dolphins, the hammerhead sharks, manta rays to clownfish, explore the extraordinary life of this underwater heaven.
Charlotte from Charlotte Plans A Trip, a blog for travel routes, hotels and useful budget tips, tells us about her experience snorkelling in the lagoons of French Polynesia: “When we were travelling in French Polynesia, on the tiny atoll Rangiroa, I made some beautiful dives. Since Rangiroa is an atoll (a circle of sand creating a lagoon inside, with some gaps where the sea would run in and out), the current was very strong. On one of the openings where the sea would enter the lagoon, diving was great since a lot of sea life would join the current going either inside or outside the lagoon.
“I saw the most tropical fish, lobsters, sharks but the most amazing thing was an encounter with a school of dolphins! A group of six dolphins including two baby dolphins approached us to play. They came very close, curious as they were. With their fat bellies and intelligent looking eyes, they were beautiful. One of the dive masters showed us that they loved it when you would push some water to them, in a sort of cuddling way without touching them. Indeed, the dolphin closed its eyes in some sort of relaxing state of mind and slowly started to descent.
“I loved to see those beautiful animals in the wild so close and so relaxed. Meters below us we saw hundreds of big (non-dangerous) sharks and in between them schools of orange and turquoise fish. This was the most amazing diving experience I have ever had!”
Watching the mammals of the sea breaching in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience. If you’re lucky enough to go on a whale-watching adventure be prepared to be astonished at the size and the beauty of these magnificent creatures. You can embark on whale-watching tours from many areas of the world, from the blue seas of New Zealand to Cabo San Lucas bay in Mexico.
Whale watching is one you must tick off the bucket list, as travels bloggers reveal that it’s a memory to cherish for a lifetime. Amy from Out Chasing Stars, a travel blog for boats and sailing, tells us about her experience watching humpback whales in Tonga: “It’s one of the few places in the world you can swim with humpback whales - with a trained guide - and our experience swimming with these animals was astounding. The calf we swam with us played for us and showed off, breaching over and over again in front of us. The personality of the whale calf really comes through, and looking the calf in the eye, from just a few meters away, was a once in a lifetime experience.”
Suzanne from The Travel Bunny, a blog for travel, food and adventure for the over 40s agrees, as she tells us about her time whale-watching: “One of my favourite travel memories is the time I encountered underwater creatures in California. I was in Monterey Bay and took a whale watching boat trip to see if we could spot some whales. Monterey Bay has a deep canyon in the seabed where whales and other sea creatures stop to feed as they migrate, so chances were good.
“We saw some incredible wildlife that day. A family of orcas were out teaching their young to hunt. A pod of around 300 dolphins were also in the area and that was very special to see. The black and white whales were breaching, spy-hopping and we watched for around half an hour. Then some humpback whales arrived on the scene and we watched as they fin-slapped the water, breached and wallowed in the ocean around us. Our whale watching trip was a totally breath-taking experience.”
Sea turtles have been roaming the ocean for the last 100 million years, whilst swimming across colourful coral reefs and shallow clear seas they have also been an essential part of the ocean’s ecosystem. These aquatic creatures help maintain the health of coral reefs and seagrass beds, as well as playing a vital role in the food chain. There are seven different species of sea turtles across the world, nearly all of which are now endangered.
Micki from The Bare Food Nomad, a blog for travel tips and reviews, shares her experience of watching sea turtles up-close: “One of the most magical experiences I've had is snorkelling with endangered green sea turtles in Akumal, Mexico. Akumal has a beautiful, sheltered bay near Playa del Carmen, Mexico. On a short half hour swim, I saw at least five turtles snacking on seagrass in the warm water. They're beautiful creatures, and incredibly agile and elegant in the water.
“When I went a couple of years ago, you could just swim offshore, and snorkel with the turtles. However, as the bay got busier, there were problems with overcrowding. As a result, now you can only swim with the turtles on an organized tour to help protect the turtles and their environment.”
Meeting sea turtles in the ocean is a favourite memory for many travel bloggers, David from David’s Been Here, a travel and adventure blog also shares his experience: “I had the amazing opportunity to go snorkelling with sea turtles in Akumal Bay, Mexico about six years ago. Turtles are my favourite animals in the world and the fact that green sea turtles are endangered breaks my heart, so it was an honour to share the water with them. I also saw stingrays there, but I made sure to admire them from a safe distance!”
In the Northern Territory of Australia, you will find the spectacular jumping crocodiles. Travel down the Adelaide River in Darwin, and witness these beasts jumping for food in their natural habitat. Expect to be in awe when you watch these giant reptiles leap out of the water and snap their meal up in one bite! You can see these magnificent creatures for yourself during an Australian cruise. Don’t worry, the expert rangers are close by throughout each river adventure.
Watching the jumping crocodiles is sure to be an unforgettable experience. David from David’s Been Here continues to tell us about his time exploring the Adelaide River. He says: “Watching the jumping crocs was a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Seeing them lunge out of the water and snap their jaws to get the meat from our guide is something I will never forget. It's a great reminder of why they've existed since the time of the dinosaurs. They're such powerful hunters and it's hard to not respect them when you see them up close.”
Are you ready to meet some of the world’s best aquatic creatures? Browse our destinations to find a cruise that’ll bring you closer to life under the sea!