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DPG’s 10 Best Travel Articles of 2023
By Matthew Sullivan, December 29, 2023 @ 06:00 AM (EST)


While we didn’t do nearly as much travel as we would have liked this year—for pleasure, that is!—fortunately, many of our contributors did. We received stories, trip reports, and destination guides from all across the globe. The theme this year skewed heavily tropical—who can blame anyone for that?—and we shared everything from well-known destinations like Lembeh Strait, Fiji, and the Philippines, to much more off-the-radar locations like Mauritius.

Perhaps 2024 will end up being more temperate or cold-water focused, but in the meantime, please go ahead and enjoy some beautiful warm-water images with our pick of the best travel articles of the past 12 months. We hope they will inspire your next diving and photography adventure!

 

1. Lembeh’s Wild Side

By Patrick Neumann

Normally, hearing “Lembeh” conjures up thoughts of the famous strait, its world-class muck diving and the endless parade of weird and wacky critters. However, Lembeh has far more to offer! Take a trip to the island’s east side, and you won’t find the black sand slopes packed with frogfish and octopuses. Instead, you’ll be treated to spectacular reefs packed with fish life and huge walls piled high with sponges and corals. Patrick Neumann takes you on a trip to Lembeh’s lesser-known “wild side”—enjoy the ride!
 

 

 

2. Philippines: From Weird to Wonderland

By Anita Verde

The Philippines is among the most diverse countries in the world with regards to diving and underwater photography related adventures. Everybody has heard of Anilao, Dumaguete and the whale sharks of Oslob. Anita Verde and Peter Marshall take you on an adventure to some of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations in the country aboard the MV Solitude One. From stunning reefs to big animals to the tiniest nudibranchs, the Philippines seemingly has it all.
 

 

 

3. The Mangroves and Reefs of Mauritius

By Joe Daniels

Mauritius generally doesn't come to mind when we think about top-notch dive destinations. While it is known for whales, the island is so infrequently visited by divers that it gives a real sense of adventure. Joe Daniels not only traveled to this oft-overlooked destination, but he took it a step further by exploring the extensive mangrove habitats that surround Mauritius. One of the star subjects is the estuary seahorse, a beautiful fish that relies on these mangroves for its survival. Take a trip with Joe around Mauritius and marvel at its spectacular underwater beauty.
 

 

 

4. Solomon Islands: Magic Isles of the South Pacific

By Anita Verde

To the general public, the Solomon Islands are likely known for being a spot where many of the devastating battles of World War II took place. The tragedy of that time has gifted current generation divers with numerous incredible wreck dives to pair with some of the healthiest reefs in the world. Anita Verde and Peter Marshall bring you on a journey of both history and world-class diving, across the Solomon Islands aboard the MV Solomons Master. From reefs to wrecks, and the famous Leru Crack, the Solomon Islands have something for every underwater adventurer.
 

 

 

5. Fiji: A Tour of the Coral Capital’s Finest Dive Sites

By Matthew Meier

Fiji’s moniker as the “Soft Coral Capital of the World” is well deserved. Lovers of big reef scenics, spectacular plunging walls, and way more corals than is possible to point a camera at will need to add Fiji to their bucket list. All those incredible reefs host thousands of species of marine life. Matthew Meier joined Volivoli Beach Resort and Ra Divers to explore three of the region’s most well-known dive spots: Beqa Lagoon, the Bligh Waters, and Rainbow Reef.
 

 

 

6. Spoiled for Choice at Siladen Resort and Spa

By Grant Thomas

More well known as the jumping off point for the famous Lembeh Strait, Manado is also the gateway to Bunaken National Marine Park. Whereas crazy critters are what Lembeh’s known for, Bunaken is all about big, beautiful, healthy reefs bursting with countless fish species. Reptile lovers will also find a very healthy and friendly population of green turtles in the park’s waters. Toss in some nice macro subjects and you have a wonderful dive destination, as explained by Grant Thomas, who explored this beautiful spot with Siladen Resort.
 

 

 

7. Famous Places, New Faces: Muck and Macro in Palau

By Stephen Wolborsky

Chances are most divers traveling to the island nation of Palau are going for sharks, mantas, currents, and one particular famous cave. Stephen Wolborsky bucked the trend and decided to eschew the wide-angle gear in favor of macro and visited Palau to document the overlooked and unseen tiny wonders. Check out the mandarinfish, blennies, and countless nudibranchs that can be found in the island’s waters.
 

 

 

8. Wakatobi Resort: Guiding Photographers to Success

By Ian Bongso-Seldrup

Wakatobi is famous for its wide range of dive sites, spectacular house reef, top-class accommodations, and convenience for seeing a staggering amount of Indonesia’s marine diversity in a small area. But if you want to get the most out of this exceptional destination, it pays to have a little assistance. One visitor, Michael Urciuoli, has made full use of the add-on services that Wakatobi offers, and he spoke to us about his experience with the resort’s private dive guides and how one-to-one photo instruction helped him to rapidly build his underwater photography skills.
 

 

 

9. Paradise Found: Diving Bangka Island with Coral Eye Resort

By Lisa Collins

Situated halfway between Bunaken National Marine Park and Lembeh Strait is Bangka Island. Its location allows divers and photographers to get the best of both worlds: stunning reefs bursting with life and the world’s best muck diving. Lisa Collins visited Coral Eye Resort and explored the waters around Bangka, photographing everything from hairy frogfish to sea turtles to huge schools of fish.
 

 

 

10. The Best of Mexico: Sea Lions, Cenotes and the Sardine Run

By Anita Verde

When it comes down to it, it is hard to argue against Mexico being one of the most diverse and incredible dive destinations in the world. Bordered by two oceans, and with a coastline that is thousands of miles long, the country offers almost endless underwater photography and adventuring opportunities. Anita Verde and Peter Marshall experienced three of the most well-known Mexican diving experiences: The sardine run of Magdelena Bay, the sea lions of Los Islotes, and the cenotes of the Yucatán and the Riviera Maya.
 

 

 

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