NOMINATIONS FOR THE DIVE TRAVEL AWARDS 2018 ARE NOW CLOSED,
VOTING OPENS ON 1 AUGUST.
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Winner for the second year in succession, Indonesia, was the clear favourite from the start, with 1,076 out of a total of 9,399 votes cast - 11.45 per cent. More than 17,000 islands comprise the Indonesian Archipelago, with a wide range of diverse habitats and species, from the pelagic visitors and strong currents of Komodo National Park to the tranquil black sands of Lembeh's muck-diving oddities, and a wide range of everything else in between.
In second place, with 749 votes (7.97%) was the Philippines and the Azores, an outsider from last year steadily rose up the ranks this summer and clinched third place with 576 votes (6.13%). The rest of the Top Ten diving destinations were all closely grouped ranging from 554 votes for Mexico to 468 votes for Papua New Guinea.
Besides the Azores making the Top 10, the other new entry was Fiji with Australia and Malaysia dropping out.
The clear winner was Siladen Resort and Spa, with 820 out of a total of 3,117 votes cast - 26.31 per cent, nearly double the number of votes to its nearest rival. This luxury resort sits in the heart of the Bunaken National Park in northern Sulawesi and has long been famed for its quality diving.
Reflecting the stunning diving to be found in the Indo-Pacific region, the Top 10 Dive Centres and Resorts are all from this area. The OBLU by Atmosphere resort at Helengeli in the Maldives was placed second with 469 votes, while all the rest of the Top 10 come from either Indonesia or the Philippines. Wakatobi in southern Sulawesi coming in third, just ahead of Lembeh Resort from the north of the large island.
The winner, Cocos Sea Hunter (Costa Rica), just took the trophy with 233 votes out of 1,338 cast, pushing Sulawesi's Pelagian into second place by one vote. These two had been jockeying for top slot in the last few days with Sea Hunter sealing the prize in the last hours of yesterday evening. Liveaboards from around the world were represented in the Top 10 with Bahamas Aggressor coming in third, followed by the FeBrina in PNG and the Nautilus Explorer from Baja California.
Rounding out the Top Ten are a group of liveaboards that cover the globe, from Indonesia to Galápagos to the Red Sea, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean. It was a close run thing with less than 20 votes covering third - 10th places.