One of the most aesthetically pleasing tourist destinations in the southern hemisphere, Mauritius, is renowned all over the world for being a scuba diving hotspot. Almost every traveller who goes to Mauritius wants to experience the feeling of diving deep into the depths of the ocean and exploring the plethora of marine life that lies in underwater. It is a well-known fact that Mauritius boasts of housing some of the most jaw-dropping coral reefs that you can ever find anywhere in the world, and the sheer variety of marine life that exists in and around these coral reefs is no less than astounding.
Scuba diving in Mauritius lets you get a taste of the many wonders the ocean has in store, and thoroughly emphasises the fact that there is as much beauty to be found below water as on the land above. With rows and rows of colourful coral reefs and even more coloured shoals of fish swimming by, scuba diving deep into the Indian Ocean around Mauritius is a treat for more than one of your senses. The water around the island is spotless, and the sheer vibrancy of the underwater world is bound to leave you breathless and to want to dive deep down once more!
Best Scuba Diving Spots
Most of Mauritius is almost surrounded by barrier reefs, thus leading to calm water on all sides of the island so that you can go scuba diving from any site on the island. However, do keep in mind that the diversity of marine life and the various types of coral reefs differ from one diving site to the other, so make sure you pick your spot accordingly, depending on exactly what you’re looking to take away from your scuba diving trip.
That said, Mauritius does, in general, have a few top diving spots that are recommended by experienced scuba divers. These include:
1. North Coast:
The northern coast of Mauritius is dotted with numerous tiny islands and islets, such as Flat Island and the very famous Coin de Mire island, and scuba diving from these islands lets you catch glimpses of large fish such as barracuda, dogtooth tuna and huge parrotfish. Another famous scuba diving site on the north coast is the Gunner’s Coin site, right off Gunner’s Coin Island, which has a stunning collection of turtles and tortoises that live in the area around the island. The best diving spot on this part of the island, however, is the Silver Star Wreck site, from where you can see the entirety of a wrecked ship that sank way back in the 1990s, and now houses a plethora of marine life, starting from leaf scorpion fish to nudibranch to angelfish, and even barracuda.
2. East and South Coast:
The eastern and southern coasts of the island are known for their rough winds and their equally rough seas, so scuba diving on these parts of the island is generally not recommended for amateurs. Even experienced divers have to exercise caution and go scuba diving with an instructor who knows the waters of these parts of the island like the back of their hand. Nevertheless, there are quite a few diving spots on the east and south coast, including the Bella Mare lagoon, where you can spot a vast collection of tuna, barracuda, stingrays, and even sharks; and the Sirius Wreck, another shipwreck from the British era that is now home to a vast variety of colourful marine life.
3. West Coast:
Scuba diving on the west coast of Mauritius generally means diving outside the protective area of the barrier reefs, and while that might sound scary, it’s not dangerous in the slightest. Om the contrary, scuba diving on this part of the island gives you access to even more interesting underwater attractions that you will not find in areas protected by the reef, such as underwater caves and caverns. One of the most popular scuba diving sites in the west coast is the Cathedral site, which is a giant underwater cave that looks extremely pretty during the day when lights floods in through its nooks and crannies, and a vast variety of colourful fish and corals makes this diving spot one of the most popular spots in all of Mauritius. Another favourite scuba diving spot on the western coast of the island is the Kei Sei 113, which is one of the country’s most famous artificial reefs – built from a barge that was sunk underwater in the late 1900s, the Kei Sei 113 is now home to quite an eyeful of marine life, including red snappers and giant eels.
Scuba Diving Centres in Mauritius
All scuba diving centres on the island are regulated by two organisations, namely the Mauritian Scuba Diving Association (MSDA), and the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). All reputed diving centres on the island are affiliated to either of these two organisations, with the most popular diving shops/centres being: · Prodive Limited (located in two places: Trou aux Biches and Grand Bay) · Orca Dive Clubs (located on the north coast) · Atlantis Diving Centre (located in Trou aux Biches) · Sun Divers Ltd. (located on the south coast) · Blue World Explorer (located on the south-east coast)
Precautions for Scuba Diving
While even amateurs can experience the wonders of the underwater world through scuba diving, there are certain precautions that everyone – experienced or otherwise – needs to take when going scuba diving. These include: · Make sure you are accompanied by an experienced instructor when you go diving · Always double-check your gear before descending into the water · Don’t try to touch or disturb the marine life in any way · Always keep the wind and water currents in mind before going for a dive · Pay attention to the dive signals that your instructor will teach you before you go underwater.
Mauritius has been the winner of the Indian Ocean Leading Dive Destination five times in a row, and coupled with the vast variety of underwater attractions that you can see only in Mauritius and nowhere else in the world, it is really not an exaggeration to say that scuba diving in Mauritius is indeed a one-of-its-kind experience that you will never forget for the rest of your life!
The water temperature during summers in Mauritius tends to be at an average at 28 degrees Celsius as compared to the 22 degrees Celsius in winter, thus making the summer months the ideal time to go for scuba diving in Mauritius. Of course, this is not mandatory, and you can choose to go scuba diving at any given point of the year, but experienced divers know that warmer temperature tends to attract more marine life, which is why scuba diving during the summers is much recommended.