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» 02 Jul 2015

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau.
A friend of ours shared this quote with us along with his adventures diving around the island and we simply had to share his experience with our valued readers so here goes….

“Are you saying that you have lived most of your life on a tropical island and you have never been Scuba Diving!?”

This is exactly what a friend of mine from inland Germany, blurted out at me in his finest Bavarian accent, five years ago. I was living abroad back then so I made it a must to book my underwater “baptism” as soon as I landed, on my next trip home. This is a move I will never regret as I discovered a whole new world, filled with countless wonders. In contrast to snorkeling, Scuba diving (interestingly, Scuba is the acronym for Self contained underwater breathing apparatus) allows one to go well beneath the surface while still being able to breathe. While beginners can go as deep as 10-12 meters on their first dive, a Master Rescue diver is trained to go well past 40 meters down, from surface to ocean floor.I still remember how magical it felt being able to breathe while gazing up towards the surface, the first time I took the plunge. Be warned…diving is highly addictive!

It simply blows your mind away and takes you to another dimension – to a place that exuberates a sense of freedom and calmness; to a whole new world of different amazing shapes and colors, where its inhabitants could not care less of all the havoc going on above the surface. Sadly, most of us Mauritians take for granted the pristine waters which surround our volcanic mass. Although commercialization and the wrath of global warming have started to take a toll on our marine life over the last few years, Mauritius is still a destination of choice for diving adepts; who do not seem to mind to spend big bucks on the trip to witness what our underwater world has on display. Mauritius is a paradise for divers. The coastline is long and diverse with reefs, shipwrecks, canyons and caves which altogether create an amazing backdrop for diving experiences. One can expect to see reef fish, stone fish, calamari, octopus, crayfish, crabs, dolphins, multiple storey sized rocks, and even the occasional whale or shark… If it’s in the water then the chances are that you can encounter one or all of the above (possibly even more) during your next diving trip!

The north of the island in itself offers at least 70 dive sites. It has something for all tastes and levels of experience. One of my favorite spots is the Stella Maru. A Japanese fishing boat, sunk on purpose at the end of its lifetime at the surface, to enhance marine life and allow algae and corals to grow around its frame and mast, 22 meters below. Going in and out of caves at the foot of the impressive Gunners Coin is also quite a thrill. Grand Bay aquarium has to be on the hit list too. Only 12 meters deep, very calm, mind soothing and a scenery graced with unbelievable marine life ranging from turtles to Spanish dancers (these are only large and colorful sea slugs!), the aquarium has all the ingredients to be a spiritual sanctuary. The west coast offers a fair number of dive sites too, from Flic en Flac down to Le Morne. The most famous one has to be “La Cathedrale”, where its signature stoned arches are known worldwide and unique to the region. The more adventurous and adrenaline seeking divers could make a trip down to Le Morne’s“Passe St Jacques”. The latter is known for being a daunting drift dive, for the simple reason that reef sharks tend to peacefully roam around. –

By Ashvin Boolell

Editor’s Note: We will be sharing more experiences in our upcoming edition so thanks for your patience and until then, we hope to have inspired you to add diving to your to-do list during your stay with us!

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