With more than 70 dive sites throughout the expanse and a climate that favours diving throughout the year, you are bound to get your life's best scuba diving adventure in Seychelles. The underwater terrain formed by rocks, caves, wrecked ships, and coral reefs paint the best landscape for your expedition, and even the visibility exceeds up to 30 meters! There are dive sites of all depths, beginning from a shallow 8 m and ending at the deepest 30 m. There are private yachts leading you to unspoiled locations. And there are professional courses to guarantee your safety. In short, Seychelles has everything you are dreaming of.
Scuba Diving Cost
Diving budget is totally dependent on a person's preferences. While local dive operators charge very minimal for full equipment-included dives around various islands, other five star companies charge lavishly for their equally lavish private diving tours and PADI courses. Many factors determine the pricing of a scuba diving adventure- the number of dives, duration, range, quality of equipment, etc.
An individual dive costs between SCR 1080 to SCR 1505, depending on whether or not you want the equipment included in the fees. There are package dives for groups or families which offer discounted benefits. Dives organized at night cost a little extra and require proper training for safety purposes. Thinking of adding more thrill to your experience? Try diving with the sharks! Shark dive tours are organized at around SCR 600 per person at selected resorts and islands. Not for the faint-hearted of course, but a mind-blowing experience worth a try.
Flora and Fauna
Vibrant multicoloured life thrives beneath the crystal cool waters of the Indian Ocean. Even in the shallow regions, you will be able to watch shoals of small fishes swimming hurriedly. While voyaging in your cruise, especially during the rainy season, you will be able to sight dolphins leaping from the water and coming near the surface to feed on the floating planktons. And as you dive in those turquoise waters, the entire aquatic kingdom will be waiting to enchant you.
You will be accompanied by giant green turtles and hawksbill turtles swimming past you. There are alluring manta and stingrays, intriguing hammerhead sharks and ferocious giant groupers. Small fishes like swordfish, marlin and sailfish generally stay close to the coral reefs. Other fishes spotted in the proximity of fascinating sponges and corals are the barracudas, lionfish, Napoleon wrasse, Grey and Silvertip Reef Sharks. The main attraction, however, remains the magnificent whale sharks lurking near the Inner Islands.
Best Time to go Scuba Diving in Seychelles
The best part about diving near these paradisiacal islands is the tranquil ocean water and its mellow temperature that makes scuba diving a mesmerising affair any time of the year. However, the diving season is said to be in April, May, October and November. Reason? There are plenty. Firstly, the water temperature during this time is around 29 degrees Celsius, just right for a refreshing swim. There are lesser winds, and the sea is peaceful, which gives us the second reason- larger visibility ranging more than 30 meters. Thirdly, the ambient weather makes voyaging to remote islands easier. This gives divers a chance to explore deeper and virgin dive sites. The chances of sighting large sharks are also more as the sea life here is undisturbed. However, the high season means lesser discounts and more influx of tourists.
Dry seasons are a more pocket-friendly alternative and a good season to avoid heavy crowds. It has its own perks and losses. The months from July to mid-September experience strong south-east monsoon winds. These are responsible for turning the waters turbulent. The water temperature dips to 25 degrees Celsius. The experienced divers can enjoy diving despite these deterrents while beginners will have to put in some efforts, but it will be worth it. The remote islands become inaccessible during this time and are riskier. However, more sightings of whale sharks and manta rays are observed due to the plankton floating on the ocean surface. Hence, cruising will be a treat for the eyes. Some operators also provide the facility to dive alongside these creatures at reduced rates.
Most Picturesque Diving Spots in Seychelles
From ships wrecked on purpose to stunning granite rock formations naturally, the tranquil waters of Seychelles hold many mystical treasures that are waiting to be explored. Though whichever site you choose is unique in itself, some of them offer unparalleled panoramic sights. The top picks of scuba divers' favourite diving spots are:
1. One Tree Island
Corals of all hues scattered on granite rocks form a picturesque panorama underneath the waters near One Tree Island. A dive site famous for encountering fishes of all types, One Tree Island is amazing for learners and experienced alike. The water isn't very deep, and the visibility exceeds 20 meters in all seasons. Some names from the myriad of reef fishes roaming in these waters are hump-head parrotfishes, stingrays, moray eels and sometimes even whale sharks. Lucky ones can even spot the notorious ghost pipefish which is famous for pretending to be still like a seagrass.
2. Trois Bancs
Another majestically gorgeous granite rock formations under the sea are present off the west coast of the capital city, Mahé. Trois Bancs dive site is a treat to the eyes due to the steep-edged vertical rocks and little coves. The wild currents flowing near the rocks makes diving a little tricky and hence, generally, only the professional divers prefer going there. Megafishes, like reef sharks and pelagics, are a common sight here. Turtles and whale sharks can also be spotted once in a while.
3. North Island
Sandy bottom filled with a coral garden and granite cuts is what forms the topography of the dive sites at North Island. Situated to the north of Silhouette Island, this site has countless marine attractions and charming underwater scenery. Whitetip reef sharks, stingrays, spotted eagle rays and green job fishes are a common sighting here. The schools of small fishes passing every few minutes make it feel like a life-size aquarium.
4. Napoleon Rock
Far off from the southwest coast of Mahé lies the Alphonse Island. Abundant in both micro and macro fishes, this dive site is loved by those seeking a thrilling element apart from the breathtaking views. The strong ocean currents make diving challenging at times, but fun nonetheless. Maximum depth here is around 18 m. The coral reef below forms an angelic topography.
5. Brissare Rocks
Towards the north of Mahé lie the Brissare Rocks, a tiny yet stunning diving site popular amongst scuba divers in the region. The name comes from two rocky inlets forming the landscape of the region. Underneath lies a nice coral reef filled with intriguing corals and sponges of all types. Abode of gigantic turtle species and reef sharks, you will find plenty of fish life lurking in those waters.
6. Fisherman's Cove Reef
In close proximity of Beau Vallon lies a sloping terrain covered by chunks of coral reefs. This site is called the Fisherman's Cove Reef. Apparently, the favourite location for the novices, this site is great for photography. The draw for divers here is the pleasure of being able to swim alongside the magnificent Hawksbill turtles.
Another dive site near Beau Vallon, a renowned one amongst diving centres in that region, is the island called L?Ilot. The waters surrounding this petite islet are lined with corals and rests on granite rocks. The maximum depth here is around 30 m. Crayfishes, angelfish and manta rays are a common sighting here. Experienced divers love exploring the landscape of this underwater location, especially during nights.
Scuba Diving Centre for PADI Courses
To help the professionals polish their skills and the novices learn the art of diving, there are around 8 certified PADI diving centres or schools in the archipelago. Be it the customary short range dives or the more skilful night dives, training of all levels are of elite standards and handled by trained experts.
Packages offered by these diving centres vary in the features. Centres have chartered private yachts that are used as registered PADI dive boats. These boats are used for accessing exotic dive spots across the islands and provide guided diving trips. Since the corals are an essential treasure of the Seychellois people and need to be protected against human interventions, some PADI centres also conduct conservational trips with trainees to teach them the importance of preserving our nature.
The renowned PADI dive centres in the archipelago are:
1. Diving Cruises Seychelles Ltd
Address: Eden Island North Marina, Victoria, Seychelles
Timings: 9:00 am-5:00 pm from Monday to Friday. Remains closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
2. Big Blue Divers
Address: Mare Anglaise, Beau Vallon, Seychelles
Timings: 8:00 am-5:00 pm every day
3. Blue Sea Divers Seychelles
Address: N Coast Rd, Beau Vallon, Seychelles
Timings: 8:00 am-5:30 pm every day
4. Octopus Diving Center
Address: Anse Volbert, Côte d'Or, Seychelles
Timings: 8:00 am-5:00 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, it opens from 8:00 am- 2:00 pm
5. Blue Safari Seychelles Diving
Address: Alphonse Island, Seychelles Timings: 8:00 am-5:30 pm every day
6. Hawksbill Dive Center
Address: Baie St. Anne, Victoria, Seychelles
Timings: 8:00 am-5:00 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, it opens from 10:00 am-5:00 pm.
7. Seychelles Underwater Center
Address: Beau Vallon, Seychelles Timings: 8:30 am-5:00 pm every day
8. Whitetip Divers
Address: Paradise Sun Hotel, Côte d'Or, Seychelles
Timings: 9:00 am-5:00 pm from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, it opens from 9:00 am-2:00 pm.
Safety Tips to remember
Yes, the panoramic scenery deep below the seas will take your breath away, but stay alert and don't let that happen in the literal sense. A dive is a memorable experience only if fun and safety go hand in hand. So it's important to stay alert and practice caution at all times. The following tips will come in handy.
The basic rule is checking the safety and maintenance of your diving gear. Check all the valves properly before plunging into the water. Look at your gauges at regular intervals even when inside the water.
Never hold your breath underwater. The most important rule is to breathe normally and at all times, or it may cause serious injuries.
A range of proper ascending rate has been set and should be practised properly. You should always ascend slowly and safely at the right pace.
Keep a tab on the weather forecast. Step in the waters only when its safe.
Do not take any alcohols or drugs 24 hours before your diving. Your body should be relaxed and completely fit for an easy-going dive.
Do not attempt to dive beyond your limits. Test your comfort levels and dive accordingly.
Communication underwater takes place with the help of hand signals. Learn all of them thoroughly for safety.
Let the magnificence of multicoloured creatures cast an everlasting spell. Let the calmness of the sea make you listen to every heartbeat. And let the brilliance of nature make every moment feel alive. Go and experience diving at Indian Ocean's diving paradise, Seychelles.