In April 2019, the Spotmydive team was able to discover the Mauritius Island, located in the western Indian Ocean, in the heart of the Mascarene archipelago, between the Reunion Island in the West and Rodrigues Island to the East. In the collective imagination, the Mauritius Island is an idyllic destination where one goes to relax and enjoy the beautiful white sand beaches. We were eager to discover it for ourselves and then give you our impression. Also, to know everything about this trip, dive in the Mauritius Island and follow the guide!
To get to the Mauritius Island from Paris, we flew directly with Air Mauritius. The flight, lasting 11 hours, connects Paris to Port Louis, the capital of the Mauritius Island. We embarked on a Airbus 350 with a capacity of 328 seats. The aircraft is comfortable with fairly spacious seats and a welcome kit including socks, a toothbrush and mosquito patches is available to all passengers. In front of you, a screen offers a selection of interesting films. The good surprise came from a detail, which for some, might seem insignificant but important on a long haul. Throughout the flight, the air conditioning was very soft and a small sweater was enough to be comfortable and not suffer from the cold. If you are planning to go to the Mauritius Island, Air Mauritius is a more than interesting option.
When we arrived in the Mauritius Island at 5.30am, we took a taxi to the hotel "Victoria Beachcomber Resort & Spa" located Northwest of the Island. On the way, we discovered a hilly, green sugar cane landscape fields. After an hour drive, we reached the hotel gate which helped make this trip possible.
"Beachcomber" is a Mauritian hotel chain with 8 hotels located along the coast. You will find 5 in the North, 2 South-West and 1 South-East. The location of our hotel, in the North West of the island had the enormous advantage of not being subjected to the easterly winds. The coast is, in fact, protected from winds and waves all year round.
The resort, in which we stayed, is ideal for a peaceful holiday as a couple or family under the sun. All rooms have ocean views and have a small terrace.
This hotel group has also taken an eco-friendly turn by banning plastic bottles, glasses and other straws harmful to local flora and fauna. A selection of local products processed on site were served at the buffet. Even the bread and pastries served are ‘homemade’. Finally, the hotel offers a variety of activities: spa, tennis, nautical club, beach volleyball, bocce, gym, Ping-Pong, billiards and, of course, scuba diving. You will never get bored.
The diving in the Mauritius Island aims to at as many people as possible, even if this destination is better for beginners and occasional divers. If you only want to dive twice a day for a week, it's not for you. The waters are calm, the visibility excellent and the total absence of current make the seabed discovery optimal. The diving center offers a wide selection of diving sites, almost all accessible to beginner divers.
For diving in the Mauritius Island, we went through François, a South African who speaks perfectly French and owns the 7 diving centers located in the Beachcomber group hotels. François, CMAS Instructor 3 *** lives in the Mauritius Island for 23 years and knows every diving site on the tip of his fins. The dive club is in the center of the resort so it is impossible for you to miss it if you live in one of the hotels from this chain.
For the first outings at sea, his partner, Gédeon or G for the intimate, had the great responsibility to guide us. Three departures are organized daily (9.30am - 11.30am and 1.30pm) which allows holidaymakers to leave husband, wife or children for only one and a half hours. To reach the dive sites in the Mauritius Island, allow about 5 to 10 minutes by boat. This one is secured to the buoy and the entry in the water is thus done systematically by a rear rocker.
The first dive in the Mauritius Island takes place on this iconic spot. Two barges, sunk in 1981 and 1982, lie on a sandy bottom 23 meters deep. The light effects set the scenery very interesting. These wrecks serve as a refuge for an abundant life: surgeon fish, leaf fish, moray eels and a species of clownfish with three white bands, endemic to the Mauritius Island. Tires are spaced several meters around the wrecks. One can also observe a metal installation which had for objective to become a support for the coral. The result is a little disappointing. This dive remains, however, exciting by the number of species discovered, the light effects and these two barges that hide many treasures.
The Coral Garden dive site is an ideal spot for beginners and contemplative divers. On a healthy coral reef, located about ten meters deep, you will discover a wide variety of tropical fauna. The shallow depth allows to admire the color palette of corals and its inhabitants. During our immersion, we met a dozen moray eels, a large octopus, a flat fish, a stone fish and a myriad of tropical fish.
For this second day, we reach the hotel Beachcomber Canonnier located 30 minutes drive further North. This hotel is named after the intact English fortress built into it. You must add to that 6 cannons that face the ocean and you will have a grandiose holiday decor. The place is amazing and offers magnificent sea views. The dive center of the hotel, also owned by François, is located at the edge of the water. The program today is to dive a little deeper and explore a site known for its green turtles.
This popular diving spot requires to go 30 meters down in the blue to reach the three underwater pinnacles covered with gorgonians. For the record, this dive site has been preserved from fishing which explains the proliferation of majestic gorgonians centenarians. On the top of one of the pinnacles rests an impressive anchor today covered with coral making this composition very photogenic. A slight current accompanies our outing along the pinnacles and when we go up the reef. During this aquatic outing, we met a number of scorpion fish as well as two big porcupinefish. Last Anchor is an unusual site that is worth visiting if you enjoy watching magnificent gorgonians and if you like to feel a slight current.
At this dive site 3 anchors are scattered on the reef. These ornaments, it is true, give great interest to this dive site. But the main interest of this reef is to welcome beautiful and big green turtles. We sometimes meet 4 or 5 during a single dive. These reptiles, champion of apnea, come to feast on the many varieties of coral present on the reef. Admire their beautiful carapace and their imposing silhouette. In the waters of the Mauritius Island, we find all 7 species of sea turtles in the world of which 3 are now threatened. Also, open your eyes the next time you go to this dive spot.
Alas, it's already our last day of diving in the Mauritius Island. François was kind enough to accompany us on this dive site which remains very emblematic of the island. After 10 minutes of navigation, we attach ourselves to the mooring buoy and then we set out to discover the wreck. The Stella Maru is a 50-meter trawler sunk in 1987 to form an artificial reef. The wreck, for many years, was lying on the sand until a cyclone put it right on its hull. You will not be surprised to discover one of its virgin flanks of coral life. The wreck awaits us, it stands out in the blue then it appears in front of us. It is still in very good condition and can be entered in several places. You will be able to go up the bridge and enter the captain's cabin. The front is accessible via a narrow corridor. Many marine species have colonized the wreck for our greatest pleasure. We observed two large Javanese moray eels, frogfish, nudibranchs, lionfish and octopus. It is definitely a dive to do and redo.