Diving Mauritius

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Mauritius

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Country: Mauritius  Area: Indian Ocean

Water Temp: 20 - 29°C (68 - 84°F)

Depth Range: 12 - 10m (39 - 33 ft)

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Scuba diving is one of the many attractions for tourists visiting Mauritius for its white beaches and tropical lagoon.  The infrastructure and tourism industry of Mauritius are well developed and the country can host visitors from around the world. 

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Along the north east coast the lagoons and sea are protected from the wind and a rich and abundant marine life is waiting to be explored. Also worth noting is the fact that the coral reefs in Mauritius have not been bleached or affected by the warming of the ocean.

 

Marine Conservation

The Mauritius Marine Conservation Society is an NGO that's been operating for more than 30 years.  It works to raise awareness among the people of Mauritius of marine resources, the objective being the protection of marine mammals and coral reefs.  Various programmes in research, public awareness and conservation are underway to achieve a healthy marine environment.  Fundraising evenings, presentations and education sessions are on offer.

Moray, Credit

Climate

The months of summer (November to March) are considered to be the best time for diving.  The water temperature can reach 29C (84F), while in winter the sea cools down noticeably and can fall below 20C (68F). Mauritius has two seasons: a warm humid summer and a relatively cool winter (June to September). The mean summer temperature is around 25C (77F) and 20C (68F) in winter. The wettest months are February and March, and the driest month is October.

Clown Triggerfish,Credit

 
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The Diving

Divers in Mauritius are spoilt for choice when it comes to dive sites.  There are many different ones all over the island, and beginners can start at the shallow side of the ocean while more experienced divers can head for adventurous spots containing cliffs, caverns, reefs, pinnacles and wrecks.

Diving Mauritius, Credit

The Cathedral

This spot is located off the Flic en Flac on the western coast.  The dive begins at 18m (59 feet), before dropping very sharply to 30m (98 feet).  The bottom is quite sandy and bare but you may come across groupers, wrasses, sweetlips, angelfish and clownfish as well as shrimp and crayfish.  The dive narrows along a chute-like structure before opening out into a large cathedral-like cavern illuminated by filtered sunlight.

Rempart Serpent

Otherwise known as Snake Reef, this site is a little rocky and has a blanket of seaweed that bends and sways in the water as you pass by.  It's a barren-looking site but home to an array of tropical fish as well as stonefish, scorpion fish, lionfish and moray eels.

Peacock rockcod, Credit

Stella Maru

This wreck site is located at Trou aux Biches on the north west coast.  Resting at around 25m (82 feet), the Stella Maru is an older Japanese trawler that sunk in 1987.  Although she sunk on her side, her bulk now sits upright because of a massive cyclone that struck in 2002.  Coral and hordes of exotic fish surround the wreck.  Moray eels live in the bulkhead as well.  This site is highly recommended for keen underwater photographers hoping to get some good photos.

Whale Rock

This site is 25mins away by boat and divers can usually dive anywhere between 15m (49 feet) and 40m (131 feet).  Located on the top of Point aux Cannoniers, the site is a big rock that looks a bit like a whale, hence the name.  Known as one of the more spectacular dives for experienced divers, a rocky area provides the base for an interesting concentration of typical island coral, including green coral bushes up to 1 meter high and samples of rare black coral.  Sea fans and green moray eels can be seen in the surrounding canyons.

Fish! Credit

Roche Zozo

Located on the east coast of Mauritius, this site offers an enormous rock pinnacle that rises from the deep to around 12m (40 feet). There are also canyons, caves and even some nice swimthroughs to enjoy.  The rocks are covered with pink corals and gorgonian sea fans.  Marine life is not that abundant but turtles and sharks may be spotted.  Because there is some current, this site is more suitable for experienced divers.  The best time to visit is January to April, November and December.

Belle Mare

This spot is said to be one of the most beautiful and interesting places of the island, although the diving can be challenging due to the frequent violent currents.  There are sharks, rays and barracudas to observe.  Divers can begin from the lagoon and drift to the pass to finish the dive in the ocean.  It's advisable to stay deep at the beginning.  There are some large holes that protect from the current and allow for good views of the fish.

Starfish, Credit

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How to Get there

Two scheduled airlines fly non-stop to Mauritius from the UK: Air Mauritius from London Heathrow and British Airways from Gatwick.  There are also flights from Gatwick and Heathrow via Dubai with Emirates.  All airlines fly into Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in the island's southeast.  Transfers to hotels take around 40mins.  Flights are also available from Paris, Austria, Germany (seasonal, beginning in December 2015) and South Africa.

Air Mauritius, Credit

Taxis can be hired for a full-day tour of sights around the island, while long-distance buses run from around 6am to 6:30pm.  The easiest and quickest way to get around is to hire a car.

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Where to Eat & Drink

Street food consists of fresh coconut water, chopped fruit covered in chilli and sugar, hot curries and pickles wrapped in bread.  Dewa in Rose-Hill sells dholl puris, thought to be derived from Indian flatbread and stuffed with ground yellow split peas, served with bean curry and chutney.  Chez Rosy near Gris Gris beach is known for octopus curry while Bois Cheri tea estate grows a range of tea and has a cafe with some beautiful views.  First Restaurant in Port Louis is known for Cantonese food and dim sum, while the Port Louis food market sells a famous milkshake-like drink called Alouda.

Food, Credit

Grand Baie is the center of Mauritian nightlife. Banana Beach Club is an open-air bar with a range of music and two TVs for those wanting to watch sports events.  Les Enfants Terribles is also a popular spot with a roaring dance floor, chilled-out lounge and special VIP section.  Stardance is slightly more relaxed with a choice of techno, tropical and 60s to 80s music.

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Other Activities

Tours on glass-bottomed boats or deep-sea fishing cruises and day trips to smaller islands can all be easily arranged at hotels or with tour operators.  The countryside is full of nature reserves and colonial mansions to Hindu temples and sugar factories.  The Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam Botanical Gardens has lily ponds, a huge palm collection, tortoises and stags, while the south west offers some dramatic viewpoints.  On the little island of Il aux Cerfs, visitors can ride sailboards, canoes and water skis, take a boat trip or go hiking.

Waterfall in Mauritius, Credit

Family Friendly

Mauritius offers an abundance of nature-based activities for children such as the crocodiles at La Vanille Crocodile Park or a hike through Black River Valley Gorge National Park.  Here children can get up close with the unique wildlife and nature on offer.  Some resorts have children's clubs with games and fun activities available.  Diving options also exist for children, including the PADI Bubblemaker program, for kids to blow bubbles by scuba diving.

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Tips

Watch out for a giant Moray Eel that lives in the dark recesses of the cave at the Cathedral dive site!

Buses can be notorious for overtaking and then pulling in immediately ahead of other vehicles to pick up or drop off passengers.  Always exercise caution when a bus comes into view.

Coral rockcod, Credit

When visiting religious places make sure you're not bearing too much flesh.  Women should carry a sarong to double up as a skirt or headscarf when needed.

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Rating 7/10

Mauritius Apr '17

Mauritius8 Apr 2017 - 24 Apr 2017

12 Great dives, no big stuff but still plenty to see. Some plankton around on a couple of days which gave a milky quality to the dive sites, other days were 40m +.

Dive Spirit couldn't have been more helpful in both tailoring dives to our level (2 DM's with around 7000 between us) *& accommodating the kids.

Hihlights:

Djebeda - wreck dice off Coin de Mar 40m

Stella Maru, Chilli Drop (both from Troux Aux Biches).

Whilst not mind blowing, it's what holiday diving is about.

http://www.divespiritmauritius.com/en/

https://www.facebook.com/divespiritmauritius/

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Edward Callahan

Lovely wreck shot!

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