Every time we drop down into the underwater world, we have no idea what marine life we’re going to encounter. This, after all, is part of the appeal. From manta rays and sharks to nudibranchs and even seahorses, each diver hopes to see something different. Between all these spectacular underwater creatures, it’s hard to believe that there are a few that stand out as truly unique animals.
However, if your aim is to see something a little different to the norm, here are some of the most unique animals you can scuba dive with.
Looking more like an unhappy blob of jelly with a nose and eyes than any kind of fish you’ve seen, the blobfish certainly isn’t winning underwater beauty pageants any time soon. It can be found in deep waters off Australia where it floats along due to its consistency being slightly less than water.
Here in Costa Rica we see many iguanas, but it’s in the waters of the Galápagos Islands where you can spot them underwater. These iguanas have learned to dive down below to feed on algae for up to 15 minutes at a time. They only dive to depths of about 15ft (4.5m), so even snorkelers can see them.
Those with nerves of steel can head to Brazil’s Pantanal wetland region to dive alongside reptiles that reach 25ft (8m) in length. Along the way to the site, divers can also expect to see jaguars and macaws before they dive down into caiman and piranha-infested waters. Apparently these creatures are shy around humans and will swim away when threatened, but is it worth finding out for yourself?
While it certainly isn’t the only site, a shallow atoll reef 20 nautical miles off the Yucatan Peninsula is a prime destination to dive with these terrifying giants that measure up to 15ft (4.5m). Said to be relatively docile, these crocodiles allow brave divers to come within mere inches!
Those opting for a less fearsome experience may want to freedive with sea cows that live for up to 60 years. These gentle aquatic mammals are located in the Amazon basin, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean sea as well as in West Africa. They spend the majority of their time in shallow waters 1-2 meters deep and are sensitive to movement and sound, making them wary of scuba bubbles. However, those who snorkel or freedive with them are promised some close encounters as they are known to be friendly and curious.
These creatures surely are unique, but there are many others that would also be memorable to see, such as the pygmy seahorse or leafy seadragon. Whether it’s an adrenaline rush or a graceful encounter, scuba diving is a truly remarkable sport that shows us things we would never even dream of seeing.