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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975 | |
For Divers since 1975
The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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Seasonal Dive Planner

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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Africa

Kenya: The right time for land packages with game viewing is a complicated affair; animal migrations are scheduled by rain, not calendars. The diving is simpler: September through March is when the winds should be favorable. Whale sharks often cruise the coast about February.

South Africa & Mozambique: The Western Cape province (Cape Town), though it is running out of fresh water, enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate with equable winters and warm summers, but the water is exceptionally cold at around 57F (14C). Remember, this is in the southern hemisphere so seasons are reversed to what you might be used to. The country has a 1700-mile (2735km) coastline. As you move north up the Indian Ocean coast, it becomes more tropical. The cold waters of the south Atlantic give way to the warmer Indian Ocean, which is why South African divers head for Sodwana Bay and Aliwal Shoal or continue on to Mozambique and eventually to Inhambane (Tofo). There, the diving is good all year round and water temperature peak at 82F (28C) and never go below 72F (22C). The Indian Ocean has some huge swells, and surf launches of the boat can be more than exciting.

Anguilla

Anguilla is low and dry, with an annual rainfall of about 40 inches (100cm). The dry season starts in January and runs through April. The rainy season is from August to November. However, there is little run-off, so diving is generally not affected by the rain. The odds of hurricanes are small; the average is only one every 20 years (see Caribbean below).

Antigua

The dry season is typical for the Caribbean - from January to April, with the rainy season from August to November. Antigua is a relatively dry island, with an annual rainfall of 44 inches (1.2m). Odds of a hurricane are small; on average, Antigua experiences only one hurricane every 20 years (see Caribbean below).

Aruba

With no more than three degrees F difference between summer and winter air temperature averages and low annual rainfall, the main factor affecting diving in Aruba is the wind. The trade winds blow year-round but are highest from January through April. Bad weather on the coast of Venezuela can also cause a decrease in water visibility.

Australia

Australia's winter is during the Northern Hemisphere's summer. Summer weather in the tropical north, including Queensland, is sultry and oppressive, with tropical showers . . . Water temperature is below 80F (27C) and cooler in their winter, so bring rubber. Visibility can be in the 50ft (15m) range. That's the easy part. From there, it gets increasingly complex. Queensland's diving areas are vast. Cyclone season is January through March; April, May, and June see heavy trade winds. The best season to dive Queensland on a liveaboard (really the only way to see the best) is July through November. Best vis at Osprey Reef, in the northern Coral Sea, is between June and September.

On the other side of the country, 2250 miles away in Western Australia, whale sharks congregate at Ningaloo Reef during March and April. Summers (December to February) are hot and dry (63-86F/17-30C) while winters are relatively cool at 53-74F (11-23C).

New South Wales (inc. Sydney) is cooler, with the average highs 79F (26C) in summer (though many days exceed 100F/38C), to as low as 44F (7C) in winter, with an average high of 58F (14C) in Victoria, where snow falls over high ground, and Tasmania is even colder.

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Bahamas

The Bahamas are not in the Caribbean but the sub-tropical Atlantic. May through November is summer in the Bahamas. During these months, the most rain falls and air temperatures average about 81F (27C). Winter can bring surprisingly cool weather, with averages reduced to about 70F (21C), and cooler water means more rubber. You won’t go far wrong with a 5mm wetsuit and hood. Northerlies can disrupt diving during winter months. The islands south of Nassau (such as Great Exuma, San Salvador, and Long Island) usually stay a degree or two warmer. Easterly trade winds predominate for most of the year, but there is usually a lee to be found for diving.

Belize

The dry season runs from March through May. The most predictably good weather for diving is from April through June when the winds are normally light. Hurricanes hit Belize an average of once every six years. Major hurricanes have hit roughly every two decades. During winter months (mainly December, January, and February), Belize is also subject to north winds that blow down and may disrupt diving for several days. Water temperature may dip as low as the 70F (21C) in the winter and reach as high as 85F (30C) in the summer.

Bermuda

This solitary island is in the Atlantic, 900 miles dues east of Fripp Island South Carolina. Winds blow out of the south for most of the summer. In the winter, storms from the west and northwest are common. Water temperature varies from low 60sF (15C) during the winter to summer highs in the 80sF (27C). The average yearly rainfall of 57 inches (1.4m) is evenly distributed throughout the year.

Bonaire

Once a lush tropical island until Europeans arrived, the desert island of Bonaire has terrain and climate something like southern Arizona. Air temperatures are in the low to mid-70sF (21C) at night, and the high 80sF or low 90sF (26-32C) during the day. But with the trade winds and moderate humidity, it rarely feels as hot as it is.

Rainfall is usually scant, consisting of a few brief showers in the early morning, except during November and December, when occasionally it is overcast and rainy for a day or more. Total annual rainfall is about 20 inches (50cm), but every eight to ten years there's a peak year, with total rainfall of two to three times the normal amount.

Bonaire's protected western coast offers almost ideal conditions
365 days a year -- calm, warm, and clear water with gentle currents. The sky is usually dotted with puffy fair weather clouds that give a welcome respite from a tropical sun, which can get intense, especially in May, June, and September. Winds are always from the east at a brisk 15-20 mph from January through August. They slow the last four months of the year, with occasional calm days that permit diving on the island's exposed eastern coast and the rare opportunity to see the huge sponges, gorgonia, coral heads and fish of the northern and eastern coasts.

The water temperature in Bonaire ranges from 78-81F (25-27C). About three years out of every five, upwellings of cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep Atlantic spill into the Caribbean over the relatively shallow shelf that connects Trinidad with the Grenadines, and then it circulates westward to Bonaire. When this happens --usually during July -- water temperature can drop into the low 70sF (22C), and visibility everywhere can fall to 30ft (9m) or less. These conditions can last from one or two days to a week or more.

Sometimes this cold upwelling water doesn't come all the way to the surface but is only encountered at depth as a murky thermocline.

Brazil

Year-round daytime air temperatures on the equator are in the mid to upper 80F (30C), 70F (21C) at night. March and July are quite windy, and April, May, and June are the wettest months. Water temperatures run 78-79 F (25-26C). Best time of the year is from July to November for beginners, all year round for advanced divers. December to February is the top of the high season with lots of people and high prices. Some years, December and January can be too rough to dive.

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Canada

Most British Columbia diving takes place from late spring to early fall. The waters of Vancouver’s Inside Passage are protected from the wind but there can be strong localized currents, and water temperature can be as low as 55F (13C). In Nova Scotia, the Gulf Stream warms the ocean surface to 64F (18C) in summer, but it’s much colder at depth. Canadian diving is snug drysuit diving with a thick hood and gloves.

Caribbean (General)

Temperatures between summer and winter don't normally vary more than 5F (1 or 2C) in the Caribbean. The average temperature is about 80F (27C) year-round. Naturally, southern islands tend to be a little warmer than the northern ones. For example, Curacao’s southern location keeps its summer average at 83F (28C) and winter at 80F (27C), while the northern Bahamas (inc. Nassau) are north of the Caribbean in the Atlantic and vary from a summer average of 80F (27C) down to a cool 69F (20C) average in the winter. There is a wet and dry season, with most rain falling between May/June and October/November.

However, location and topography, such as rain shadows created by mountains, can play an important role in local weather conditions. Keep in mind that those cold fronts in the U.S. that dip down from the north can keep right on dipping to most of the northern islands, bringing cooler temperatures and rough water in their wake.

Two other important factors to consider in the Caribbean are tourist season and hurricane season. The off-season for tourism is roughly mid-April to mid-December. It can mean much lower prices (up to 60 percent less) than in the busy high season for some destinations. Hurricane season runs from June through November, with September the most likely month, but weather patterns are less certain than they were.

Cayman Islands

The Caymans' hottest period is from May to November. During winter, temperatures can drop down to the low 70F (21C+). Rainy season starts in May and peaks in October. Rains are normally short and intense. Run-off has little effect on Grand Cayman's water clarity, which may hit 135ft (40m) horizontally on the deeper reefs. Both Little Cayman and Cayman Brac boast even higher visibility. Water temperatures vary, from the upper 70F (26C) in the winter to low 84F (29C) during the summer. Tradewinds are out of the northeast in the winter and the southeast during the summer. Northwesterly storms can occur from December through April.

Chile

Easter Island’s subtropical water temperatures average 70F, with the warmest waters (72F) from September to February. Air temperatures range from highs of 68F (20C) in winter months to 79F (26C) in summer (bearing in mind the seasons of the Southern Hemisphere). Conditions make for easy diving in the winter, but rough waters can limit choices of dive sites in the summer.

Cook Islands

These islands experience little fluctuation in climate and have moderate temperatures and humidity. It does rain, however, with the rainy season beginning in December and running through March. Water temperature varies from a mean of 81F (27C) in the summer (December being the middle of summer) to 78F (25C) during their winter (August being the middle of winter). Whale season is September and October. Hurricanes mainly develop from January to March, with the more severe ones hitting only about once every twenty years and lesser ones once every five years.

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Costa Rica

Our suggestions for the dive season on the Pacific coast (the only decent diving in Costa Rica) may seem odd. The best time to go is the rainy season (May through November), even though runoff can affect the water visibility. The water clarity may be better during the dry season, but the wind blows up enough to make it almost impossible to get out to the best dive sites, which are small islands or rock outcroppings an hour's boat ride from the mainland. Visibility is a crapshoot any time of the year, but even more so during the rainy season. However, even during the wet months, there is a slight chance that offshore site visibility can reach almost 100ft (29m), although less than 40ft (12m) is more common. The best scheduling would probably be May when the wind has died down, and the rain hasn't started yet. Water temperatures run 75- 85F (24-29C) year-round.

Cocos Island, 350 miles off Costa Rica's shore, has a rainy season from June through December. Some records show that the sharks are seen more often during this rainy season. Diving is year-round, but some of the boats are pulled out of service from mid-September to October for repairs, indicating that this is probably not the best time to dive Cocos. Also, sharks go deep in an El Nio year, so these years are not a good time to see big creatures, but the following year is usually especially good.

Cozumel and the Mexican Yucatan

Cozumel enjoys a fairly constant temperature of 80F (27C), but it rises to near 95F (35C) during July and August, which are also rainy months. During these months, it can get hot and humid if you venture away from the sea breeze or don't have an air-conditioned room. The rainy season runs from June through October (which is also hurricane season). Rainfall doesn't affect water visibility, as there is very little run-off. Cozumel is blessed with great visibility because of its strong currents. Cold fronts blowing down from the north can make temperatures fall during the coldest winter months, but Cozumel, because of its size and proximity to the mainland, is usually less affected than most Caribbean islands. Water temperatures vary from 75- 85F (26-29C).

Curaao

With no more than a few degrees difference between average summer and winter air temperature and very low annual rainfall, the main factor affecting diving in Curaçao is the wind. The trade winds blow year-round but are highest from January through April. The best dive months are June through November. Very little diving is done on Curaçao’s north coast because of rough seas. However, for short periods between August and December, the water is calm enough to allow diving. Experiences of diving the north side can vary. One experience might involve lots of sharks, the other disappointment. Water temperatures vary from 75F (24C) in the winter to 85F (29c) in the summer.

Dominica

Dominica is covered with rain forest and has 365 rivers. As you would expect, it’s wet. It gets about 70 inches (1.75m) of rain a year along the coast and up to 400 inches (10m) on the interior mountains! Ask a taxi driver on the island how many times a day it rains during the dry season, and he’ll reply, “Once or twice, but during the rainy season, it sometimes rains 12 times a day. Other times it starts and doesn't stop for days.”

Fortunately, the area most dived, around Roseau, gets only about a fourth of what the rest of the island gets. That much rain does affect hiking in the interior though. And it's a great island to hike, as long as you bring a poncho and a sweater. It can get cool, especially at altitude. For a mountainous island, the run-off doesn't affect the water clarity as much as you would expect. The dry season is from February to mid-June.

Fiji and Tuvalu

Fiji's weather presents a real mixed bag. The usual choice is between good visibility and cool water or warm water and calmer seas with reduced visibility. June through October is the dry season when the water is the clearest, but it's also at its coldest, and the winds kick up. Water temperatures can sink to 73F (23C) this time of the year, making it necessary to drag out the full wetsuits. November brings a transition period. The water warms up, the winds die down, and the plankton blooms, lowering the visibility. By January and February, the water has warmed back up to 83F (28C). The rains pick up and the hurricane season is on (December through March). Counting Tonga and Samoa, the area gets about five cyclones a year. It's a risky time to try to catch good diving weather. Because the winds kick up so much in February and March, some resorts pick these months to close down for repairs. During April and May, the wind and therefore the seas become calmer and the water remains warm, but the plankton bloom cuts down on the underwater visibility. Of course, this offers the best odds of seeing large plankton eaters. The best time to go depends on your preferences: warm, calmer, cloudy seas, or clear but cold water.

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Florida

Florida: It's where many American learn to dive and the best time to dive the reefs and wrecks of the Florida Keys or the wrecks of the east coast is during the summer May to September when the seas are mainly calm (unless there is a hurricane) and the water temperature varies between 83° and 87°F (27-33°C). See also the Bahamas.

French Polynesia

The Society Islands (Tahiti, etc.) and the Tua Motus, such as Rangiroa, are diveable year-round, with water temperatures of 79-83F (26-28C). There are really only three seasons of interest to the traveling diver: the manta ray season, from early September through mid-October; the hammerhead shark season, January and February; and the rest of the year, during which an assortment of fishes may be seen, with the exception of the two just mentioned. If you are particular about land weather conditions, you should know that the rainy season is November through December, and the windy season is July and August.

Galapagos Islands

The water temperature is generally about 70F (21C) from January to April (the rainy season) and about 66F (19C) the rest of the year. Land temperatures also rise during the rainy season, resulting in some uncomfortably hot weather (average daily high is 88F (31C), but it can get much hotter). Otherwise, the climate is equable. Visibility tends to drop during the rainy months of February, March, and April. Best months for diving are December and January, then again in May and June. October is probably the worst month since it could be cold and windy. More whale shark sightings are reported during May and June.

Grenada

This spice island stays at about 80F (26-27C) year-round. The dry season is January to May. During the rainy season (June through December), there are usually brief showers daily. Hurricanes are infrequent.

Hawaii

Temperatures in Hawaii vary little from island to island, remaining around 85F (29C) most of the year. From November through March, occasional cool spells drop temperatures down to 72F (22C) and rarely lower. Winds become more variable, and storms are more likely. Water temperatures vary from 70-84F (21-29C) The weather is warmest and driest from May to October, with persistent winds. There is no set hurricane season as there is in the Caribbean. The tourist off-season is from September to early December and again from mid-April to early June. Humpback season is from November to May.

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Honduras

During the coldest winter months in the U.S., north winds can blow down and disrupt the diving. The rainy season starts in October or November and runs into February, but it doesn't usually affect visibility that much, though it may affect where the dive boats go. The no-see-ums are usually the worst during wet weather. The hottest months are March and August.

India

The best time to visit either the Andaman Islands or Nicobar Islands for scuba diving is from November to April when underwater visibility can exceed 115ft (35m). The dive centers are closed during the wet monsoon from May to September when diving Lakshadweep is an option. Goa offers its best diving from October to May.

Indonesia

The thousands of Indonesian islands are spread out over a mainly equatorial tropical climate, but the season for diving Indonesia is as complex as everything else about this diverse amalgam of a country. Your diving Indonesia experience will probably be enhanced if you plan around the wet monsoon season, generally December through the middle of March, in many areas, though Raja Ampat diving is generally better and more popular then due to calmer seas. The dry monsoon of southeast winds curtails the diving in Flores during July and August. The Moluccas, however, have their wet monsoons the reverse of everywhere else, in July and August, and diving should be avoided then. Depending on your specific destination, April-May and September are the best all-around months to dive Indonesia (except Raja Ampat as noted).

Borneo/Kalimantan: Malaysia’s Sipadan Island is famous for its large year-round population of green turtles, with the highest concentration in August, when there's a whole lot of mating going on.

The island is limestone and sand with no rivers, so runoff has little effect on water clarity. However, water clarity seems as unpredictable as the currents. After a heavy lightning storm off in the direction of the mainland, the water visibility can drop dramatically from 100ft (30m) to 50ft (15m). The ocean is roughest between November and February. The best season is between April and September, but diving is year-round.

Layang Layang is a remote reef with only an airstrip, so there is no run-off, but occasional squalls of heavy rain can be intense and reduce surface visibility to almost zero, so take a visible surface marker.

Kalimantan forms the greater part of the island of Borneo and is part of Indonesia. The diving is mainly on the east coast and weather patterns are similar to the rest of the island, but big rivers can cause run-off that reduces visibility during the rains.

Jamaica

(See Caribbean)

Japan

The most southerly sub-tropical islands of Okinawa are popular with divers from Southeast Asia, but few westerners trek there. Those who do, rave about it. There’s good diving from February to November with underwater visibility ranging from 33-130ft (10-40m) and water temperatures from 70-86F (21-30C) but the best time to visit is between June and September although there may be tropical storms. High winds in October can be avoided by choosing the lee side of the islands.

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Kiribati (Christmas Island)

These Pacific islands experience little fluctuation in climate and have moderate temperatures and humidity. It does rain, however, with the rainy season beginning in December and running through March. Water temperature varies from a mean of 81F (27C) in the summer (December being the middle of summer) to 78F (25C) during their winter (August being the middle of winter. Cyclones mainly develop from January to March, with the more severe ones hitting only about once every twenty years and lesser ones once every five years.

Malaysia

Borneo/Kalimantan: Malaysia’s Sipadan Island is famous for its large year-round population of green turtles, with the highest concentration in August, when there's a whole lot of mating going on.

The island is limestone and sand with no rivers, so runoff has little effect on water clarity. However, water clarity seems as unpredictable as the currents. After a heavy lightning storm off in the direction of the mainland, the water visibility can drop dramatically from 100ft (30m) to 50ft (15m). The ocean is roughest between November and February. The best season is between April and September, but diving is year-round.

Layang Layang is a remote reef with only an airstrip, so there is no run-off, but occasional squalls of heavy rain can be intense and reduce surface visibility to almost zero, so take a visible surface marker.

Kalimantan forms the greater part of the island of Borneo and is part of Indonesia. The diving is mainly on the east coast and weather patterns are similar to the rest of the island, but big rivers can cause run-off that reduces visibility during the rains.

Maldives

Untitled Document It is possible to dive around the Maldives all year, but the wet monsoon brings wind and rain squalls in May through to November, with the current passing through the atolls from the northeast. The dry monsoon is from December to April when seas look calm, but ocean currents are at their strongest. The current flows then in from the southwest, with clear water from the Indian Ocean, when underwater visibility in the western atolls can exceed 100ft (30m).

Mediterranean

The season for calmer water is May through to September when air temperatures can get very hot (100F/37C) yet the water below the thermocline can stay at 57F (14C) so Mediterranean divers will be seen wearing thicker wetsuits (or even drysuits) than you would expect.

Mexico (Western)

A one-word description of Sea of Cortez diving: variable. Water temperature and visibility vary dramatically. Two divers returning from the Baja only weeks apart can give such different reports that you have a difficult time believing they've been to the same destination.

In the southern part of the Sea of Cortez, the temperature of the upper 30ft (9m) of water or so remains warm enough year-round (70-80F/21-26C) to support tropicals and several varieties of hard coral. Below that depth, winter and spring water temperatures in the 55-65F/13-18 C freeze out the tropicals. From mid-summer through November, water temperature is 80F (26C) or higher for as deep as sport divers would care to go.

During spring and summer, the surface water temperature rises, of course, but the big change is the lowering of the thermocline. This is a complex and uneven process. During a June visit, the thermocline can be at 45-50ft (13-15m). Sometimes the change is gradual or of small magnitude, but on one dive a plunge in temperature from the surface, at 76F (23C) might be recorded, with a thick layer of 60F (18C) planktonic green gloom at 50ft (16m) and deeper. Later in the season, the water is 80F (24C) plus all the way past 100ft (30m).

Another seasonal variable is the plankton concentration. Sometimes the more plankton-rich waters can be observed as distinct layers and masses. Generally, June visibility is 30-40ft (9-12m). Later in the summer, it's usually 80-100ft (25-30m).

After the first of December, north winds often make diving difficult because of rough seas. Sport diving effectively ceases until May. By spring the thermocline is shallow, and a 7mm wetsuit is recommended (some sort of protection from jellyfish is recommended year-round). Tropical storms can occur during summer and fall, just as in the Caribbean. On average, they are most likely from mid-September to mid-October. La Paz and its water tend to be protected from storm swells by a projection of land on the east and by large islands such as Isla Cerralvo.

It's usually sunny, but during the winter, night air temperatures can drop down into the mid-fiftiesF (12C). Hottest months are August and September. Whale season is December to March.

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Micronesia

Air temperatures uniformly remain in the 80F (29C) year-round. For land travel, there's little difference between the wet and dry season, although January through March is considered the most comfortable season because of lower humidity and slightly cooler temperatures. Although visibility is slightly reduced by run-off during the July through October monsoons, the wind is also milder during this season, producing flatter seas. Water temperatures remain around 85F (29C) year-round. Typhoons are most frequent between August and December but are rare in Palau.

Myanmar/Burma

Burma is hot and humid throughout the year. The dry and cool season runs from November to February. March to May is also dry but very hot. The rainy season runs from May to October. Monsoons during this period have kept liveaboards from visiting the popular Mergui archipelago, or even from leaving port, so liveaboards generally operate only between November and early May.

New Zealand

Visiting divers head for the sub-tropical Bay of Islands in North Island and the unique diving of the Poor Knights Islands Marine Reserve, off New Zealand’s Tutukaka Coast. It isn’t hot with southern hemisphere water temperatures ranging from 60F (16C) in November to 72F (22C) in February and March. Most Kiwi divers wear drysuits, and it gets even colder as you go farther south.

Nicaragua

The rainy season runs from mid-May to late November and the dry season is from December to May. However, September and October usually have the driest weather and flattest seas, even though it is the wet season. Average air temperature is around 90F (27C) during the day and 72F (22C) at night. Winter winds create choppy seas, which may prevent the dive pangas from getting to some sites. Visibility can range from 20 to 80 ft. (6-25m), depending on conditions. Water temperatures are in the low to mid-80F (27-29C) year round.

Norwegian Sea

People head to these northern European fjords to dive on war wrecks and with pods of orca and humpback whales that follow the herring migration, but the water is cold and often murky. Strangely enough, the best time to go is mid-winter because the plankton levels are reduced, and expeditions are planned to chime with the aggregation of baitfish. You'll need a warm drysuit with maybe a heated undersuit because the water is frigid. If you want to know how frigid, consider that you will be within the Arctic Circle!

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Oman

Bordered by desert and the Arabian Gulf on one side and the Indian Ocean to the south, this is a sun-blasted country where daytime temperatures can pass 100F (40C) in summer. All the buildings and cars are air-conditioned, and nobody goes out in the heat unless you are diving, in which case you will often be disappointed by poor visibility in green water that’s as warm as the soup it looks like. Even in the notional winter, air temperatures stay around 95F (35C). That’s what Middle Eastern deserts are about!

Panama

There is some interesting diving around Coiba Island and its National Park, off the Pacific coast of tropical Panama. It’s good to dive at any time of year. Water temperature varies between 78F and 85F (26-29C) with a colder layer under a thermocline of 75F (24C) at 65ft (20m).

The Caribbean coast is less notable for good diving with water temperatures similar to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica and Colombia. Don’t confuse Panama City with Panama City (FL) when you book your flight. It’s not been unknown to happen!

Papua New Guinea

PNG is a very mountainous country, and its weather is dependent on local topography. Heat and humidity are reasonable considerations. Only in the Highlands does it get cool at night. The driest time of year is May through October, but it rains considerably even then. During the rest of the year, plankton blooms are more common. Although Walindi Plantation Resort (New Britain) accommodates guests year-round, January, February, and March are the wettest months. Some boats beat the rainy weather by moving to the other side of the mountains at Kandrian, miraculously transporting to a dry climate. It's a bit of a steam for the crew, but for guests, it's a quick flight over the mountains by Twin Otter. The water temperature is a wonderfully warm 84F (29C), and the nights are T-shirt comfortable. The heaviest rains occur in the New Ireland (Rabaul) between January and April. The weather can be as different near Port Moresby as it is between the fjordland area (Tufi) and Madang to the north.

Philippines

There are only two seasons in the Philippines; wet and not so dry. There are still monsoon rains even on summer months from March to June and from there on typhoon it’s season until the December. That said, locals also assert there is a third season, the cold season, when temperatures drop to around 48F-60F (9-16C). It occurs between October and February. Visitors are under the impression that it is always summer but locals consider that to be April to May when average air temperatures are 80F ((27C) matched by a similar sea temperature.

Red Sea

Red Sea (Egypt): It rarely rains in the desert but when it does it floods. The Egyptian coast is not tropical, but the Red Sea is unique in that it is heated by the submarine thermal vents of the African Rift, of which it forms a part of this far north. This explains why it has the most northern coral reefs of anywhere in the world.

Air temperatures in winter range from 60-75F (15-24C) and the water can drop down to 68F (20C), with the coolest temperatures occurring in February when it can be very windy, even drawing up sandstorms inland. Summer air temperatures slide right up past 100F (38C) with the water temperature rising to 85F (28C) but take a wetsuit anyway. The hottest month is August. If you are going to do any land exploration (and how do you visit the Red Sea without at least a peek at the pyramids), the trade-off for warm water is hot weather. The manta and whale shark season is from March to June

Sudan: The Sudanese coast has arguably the best diving in the Red Sea but the weather can be oppressively hot in the summer and the seas particularly rough and uncomfortable in winter thanks to a powerful wind (usually Force 8 or stronger) blowing off the desert. Surface water temperatures can get as high as 91F (33C) although it cools down to a balmy 84F (29C) at depth. The summer sea is calm.

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Saba

On Saba's mountaintop, it can drop to 65F (18C) at night, so travel with a jacket or sweater is recommended. Daytime temperatures range from the upper 70sF to mid-85F (25-29C). The most rain falls during the month of November, but run-off doesn't affect the diving that much because the best sites are offshore seamounts. Saba is in the hurricane belt (see Caribbean).

Seychelles

The islands of the Seychelles are widely spread out in the Indian Ocean, resulting in greatly varying winds, currents, and rainfall. For instance, the main island of Mahe has an annual rainfall of approximately 100 inches (2.5m), while the western atoll of Aldabra receives only 39 inches (1m) a year. Generally speaking, the wettest months are December, January, and February. Land temperatures are consistent throughout the year, rarely dropping below 76F (24C). Rain, algae blooms, and winds affect the diving conditions. The Seychelles are mostly unaffected by cyclones. Diving is possible year-round; the best months are considered to be April/May and October/November.

Solomon Islands

The Solomons are hot and humid year-round, with the most rain falling between December and March. Annual rainfalls are well above 100 inches (2.5m), but mountainous islands do produce rain shadows resulting in much less rainfall on some coasts. Between December and April winds blow periodically out of the west (calm spells are broken by storms). The southeast trades blow from the end of April to November. The better months to travel are probably July through September when the rainfall (and therefore malarial mosquitoes), heat, and humidity are lowest, or in November when there's a good chance the seas are flatter.

St. Barth

(Leeward Islands: see Antigua & Caribbean)

St. Eustatius

(Leeward Islands: see Antigua & Caribbean)

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St. Kitts and Nevis

(Leeward Islands: See Antigua & Caribbean)

St. Lucia

In the Windward Islands, winter air temperatures range between 65F (18C) and 85F (29C), while summer is between 75F (24C)and 95F (35C). The dry season is from February to May, and the wet season runs from June to November.

St. Maarten

(Leeward Islands: See Antigua and Caribbean)

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Air temperatures normally stay within 78F to 82F (25-28C) year-round. The rainy season is from May to November, with the mountains of St. Vincent getting more rain than the lower-lying Grenadines.

Tonga

Tonga's 170 islands cover a long distance in latitude, but the individual climate doesn't differ all that much. The average air temperature in the northern islands is 80F (27C) while the southern islands average 74F (23C), ranging from a cool 59F (15C) in the winter (July to September) to a high around 85F (29C) the summer (December to April). By November, the water temperatures reach mid 80F (29C), and then drop down as low as 70F (21C) during their winter months. December through April is also the rainy season, with the most rain falling in February and March. Tonga is prone to tropical cyclones, getting an average of a couple each year. They usually develop in the south and move north, meaning that the odds go up in the northern islands. Cyclones happen as late as May but are most likely from November to March.

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Trinidad and Tobago

Temperatures remain mostly around 85F (29C) year-round. The rainy season is from May to December, interrupted by a short dry season in late September and October. A longer dry season occurs from January to May. The island is mainly out of the hurricane belt. There are strong currents and visibility can be affected by rainfall in Venezuela that flows out of the massive Orinoco River.

Turks and Caicos

During the rainy season, June through November, average monthly rainfall averages about 2.5 inches (more than 6cm) a month. The dry season runs from January to May, and the monthly average drops to about 1 inch (25mm). Winter temperatures can drop to 60F (16C) but average about 77F (25C). Bring a jacket for evenings, since the wind may kick up and it gets chilly. Northerly winds can disrupt the diving periodically. Summer brings temperatures back up to 90F-plus (32C). Water temperatures range from a low of 71F (22C) in winter to a high of 80F-plus (27C) during summer.

US, Continental

Florida: It's where many American learn to dive and the best time to dive the reefs and wrecks of the Florida Keys or the wrecks of the east coast is during the summer May to September when the seas are mainly calm (unless there is a hurricane) and the water temperature varies between 83° and 87°F (27-33°C). See also the Bahamas.

Vanuatu

May to October is the dryer, cooler season, but trade winds can be erratic and strong. Depending on your location in north or south Vanuatu, winter air temperatures average from 63F (17C) to 68F (20C). The summer months of November to April are rainy with extremely high humidity and air temperatures in mid-80F (29C) but generally light winds. Water temperatures run from 83F (28C) in February down to as low as 68F (20C) in September (the northern islands have slightly warmer temperatures than the southern islands). Cyclones average about one per year, occurring generally between December and March, with the peak month being January.

Venezuela

With a similar weather pattern to the Dutch Antilles (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao) and Tobago, the Caribbean coast of Venezuela suffers poorer visibility thanks to the outflowing of the massive Orinoco river.

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Virgin Islands

British Virgin Islands: Mild temperatures vary from mid-70F (23C) in winter to lower 90F (33C) in summer. Wind is the predominant factor affecting diving. It blows much harder during winter. Also, storms in the North Atlantic bring large swells to the island's north shores, making divers move to a south lee. Hurricane season is typical for the Caribbean and Leeward Islands.

US Virgin Islands: Winter air temperatures average about 77F (25C) with water temperatures down to around 75F (24C). Summer air temperatures average 83F (28C) with water temperatures around 85F (29C). Heavy fall and winter rains affect water visibility. Winter also blows up some heavy winds, making divers search for a lee. Hurricane season is typical for the Caribbean and the Leeward Islands.

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