Scuba diving with whale sharks in Belize and Australia

Migration-timed excursions from Francis Ford Coppola’s resort or Oz low-fi lodges

Scuba enthusiasts will travel long and far to swim with a whale shark – the ocean’s largest fish, whose characteristic docility belies its name. These opportunities, though, are strictly limited by migration patterns – which is why Francis Ford Coppola has decided to make Belize’s whale-shark season, which starts about now, something of a celebration. At Turtle Inn (www.turtleinn.com; from $1,200 per night including twice-daily dives), his resort on the country’s southern coast, they’re offering prime suite accommodation combined with twice-daily private excursions to the best viewing sites around nearby Lark Caye. Almost 11,000 miles away, meanwhile, on remote Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia, the whale sharks reach critical mass next month and remain through July. This leaves time to book a tent in the dunes at low-fi but charming Sal Salis (www.salsalis.com.au; from $1,500based on two sharing), one of Australia’s most atmospheric lodges, which is shortly to expand with another seven accommodations. This is the only place worth staying at here where the sere orange Outback flows straight into the opalescent Indian Ocean – a spectacular natural encounter reproduced nowhere else on earth, and reason in itself to visit.

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