Luxury diving holidays in Mauritius

With its stunning variety of coral islands, dramatic volcanic formations and granite reefs the Indian Ocean is a mecca for divers.

Diving with turtles

Diving with turtles

In the first of our guides to luxury diving holidays in the Indian Ocean, we take a look at what’s on offer for divers in Mauritius.

Mauritius

With its variety of reefs and lagoons Mauritius is a divers’ paradise where you are likely to encounter a wide range of marine life from the small reef dwellers such as clown fish, stingrays, angel and butterfly fish to the larger snappers, groupers, turtles and sharks when you venture further.

Choose how you want to explore the vibrant underwater world at Constance Le Prince Maurice and Constance Belle Mare Plage with a range of different dive options available.

Underwater safari

Explore the teeming waters off the north, west or south-east coast with a diving safari led by an expert diver who will help you identify the fascinating marine life found in these waters.

Wreck diving

Diving in Mauritius

Diving in Mauritius

Experience the thrill of investigating a wreck and the creatures who have chosen to set up home there.

Swimming with sharks

Discover more about these beautiful creatures with a dive to a ‘shark pit’ where you can feel the exhilaration of swimming alongside reef sharks and others.

Night dives

Uncover the secret world of the ocean at night by flashlight. See creatures normally dormant during the day and see the ocean colours in a whole new light.

Other diving options in Mauritius include:

• Beginners dives
• Refresher dives
• Single dives

Find out more about diving in Mauritius at Constance Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice

Renowned marine biologist returns to Halaveli

We are delighted to be welcoming back renowned marine biologist Robin Aiello to the warm waters around Constance Halaveli in September.

Marine Biologist, Robin Aiello

Marine Biologist, Robin Aiello

The world-famous marine expert and reef conservationist first visited Halaveli in March 2013 when she ran weekly events sharing her knowledge and experience with guests in a series of dives and talks.

During her visit Robin will write a regular feature for our blog exploring the vibrant marine life around Halaveli and introducing readers to the glorious creatures that live off our shores.

A Harvard graduate and environmental management consultant, Robin spends most of her year on the ocean undertaking research which has most recently seen her swimming in the frozen waters of the Arctic.

Read more

 

The Moray Eel – love them or loathe them?

Marine biologist and guest blogger Robin Aiello takes a look at the much maligned Moray Eel in this month’s creature feature.

The Moray Eel

The Moray Eel

Robin will be returning to Constance Halaveli in September 2013, to run further dive courses and talks following her hugely popular visit earlier in the year.

You either love moray eels, or fear them.

Over the years moray eels have gained an unearned reputation as an aggressive, ferocious animal. In truth, however, they are reclusive and shy, preferring to flee or hide from divers by pulling into reef crevices.

How the moray breathes

Despite their long, snake-like appearance, moray eels are fish – not snakes. And like all fish, they need to have fresh seawater pass over their gills to breath. But, since morays are relatively sedentary fish, hiding in ambush to catch prey like crabs, octopus and fish, they have developed another way to ‘breathe’ – they gulp water by opening and closing their mouths. Many people misinterpret this behaviour as ferocious and a sign of aggression – but it is merely the eel’s way of breathing.

Their elongated, serpentine shape allows these fish to swim through the complex reef framework of nooks and crannies. To avoid getting cut and scraped by sharp coral, they produce huge amounts of mucus to coat their smooth, scaleless skin.

Marine biologist, Robin Aiello

Marine biologist, Robin Aiello

How moray eels catch their prey

When you look at the head of a moray eel their ‘beady’ little eyes seem disproportionately small. In fact, morays have very poor eyesight, and are nearly blind. So how do they find their food? By following their nose. They have a highly developed sense of smell and large tubular nostrils for smelling prey. They also have very good hearing, which helps them to hunt.

But what I personally think is the most amazing thing about morays eels is how they catch and eat their prey. In addition to several rows of razor sharp teeth, these fish have a unique weapon that, so far, scientists have not found in any other animal – a second set of jaws!

These jaws, called pharyngeal jaws, lie inside the fish’s throat, and when the mouth is opened to attack, they are propelled forward into the mouth to grasp the prey. As the mouth closes again, they pull back into the throat, taking the prey with them! How weird and amazing is that?

Find out more

 

Top 5 diving sites at Tsarabanjina, Madagascar

If you’re looking for a tropical island escape, served up with some of the best diving in the world, up-the-ante and head to Constance Tsarabanjina off the North West coast of Madagascar.

Swimming with turtles, off Madagascar

Swimming with turtles at Tsarabanjina

Tsarabanjina is a by-word for laid-back luxury – it’s a place to hunker down and immerse yourself in the surrounding natural beauty.

The area offers superb diving sites for all levels. Currents can be strong at times but dive masters will always assess conditions.

Here’s a taste of what you can expect.

1. The 4 Frères

Four small volcanic islets are situated a 15 minute boat ride away from Tsarabanjina.

  • First Frère - offers a succession of slabs paving a gradual slope stretching between 5-18 metres deep. For divers of all levels, but the current could make things difficult for inexperienced divers at times. Here you’ll find great varieties of soft corals and sponges with dotted-blue rays, crayfish, groupers of all sizes, turtles and moray eels.
  • Second Frère - offers an impressive dip, descending some 27 metres and lined with big oysters and soft corals. Sea creatures include turtles, jack fish, king mackerel, yellow snappers and grunt fishes around slabs lying deep down at the bottom. Reserved for level 2 divers.
  • Fourth Frère – more slabs of all sizes lying on a 45° slope, going as deep as 25 metres. A refuge for huge shoals of yellow snappers, groupers, crocodile fishes, scorpion fishes and colourful corals. A great experience for divers of all levels.

2. The Tétons

Beautiful coral

Beautiful coral

Two small rocky peaks which peer out of the surface, close to the 4 Frères. Below the surface, you move through a labyrinth of slabs, corridors, and grottoes between 5-22 metres deep.

You’re likely to see huge groupers, crocodile and scorpion fish, and friendly platax fish. There’s also a very beautiful sponge garden. Accessible for divers of all levels.

3. Vatobe

A few minutes off Tsarabanjina, 2 underwater reefs on a sandy plateau at about 14 metres deep. It’s a descent in deep blue waters on a very colourful reef.

You’ll see an impressive shoal of yellow snappers, fusiliers, angel fishes, groupers, balloon fish, jack fish and crocodile fish. Accessible for divers of all levels.

4. Kassimo

Some 15 minutes north of Tsarabanjina, this is a long underwater barrier lying between 5-15 metres deep, covered with corals of extraordinary colours.

Diving in Madagascar

Diving in Madagascar

There’s rich and abundant fauna of snappers, diagramme voiliers, grunt fish, groupers, fusiliers, and enormous sting rays. Occasionally you’ll see a grey or white-dotted shark and a giant loach. Accessible for divers of all levels.

5. The 2 Soeurs

Two tiny islets facing Tsarabanjina, on a sandy plateau lying 10 metres deep. Here there are some beautiful potato-shaped corals inhabited by variegated fauna made up of grunt fish, snappers, fusiliers, groupers and angel fishes. An easy dive for all levels.

Top 3 diving sites in the Seychelles

The Seychelles is one of the greatest places for diving in the world. Featuring no less than 6 national marine parks, there’s an abundance of spectacular scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities.

Top 3 dive sites in the Seychelles

Top 3 dive sites in the Seychelles

The Seychelles is on the African continental shelf which means the sea is shallow in most dive sites (12 to 15 meters) which makes it perfect for novice divers who might be a little nervous – but it also has wildlife and wonderful diving experiences (such as wrecks) for established divers.

If you’re planning a luxury diving holiday, our diving experts at Constance Ephilia Resort, Seychelles, have come up with their top 3 dive spots, along with information about how to get there and why the dive site is so special.

1. Trois Bank

Location
Situated about 5 miles south east from Constance Ephelia Resort

How do you get to it
20 minutes by boat

What standard of diver do you need to be to visit it?
Experienced open water divers

Typical dive
The maximum depth at this site is 23 meters. With nice granite rocks formation, coral formation raised nearly to 4 meters to the surface; you could swim through these rocks.

Marine life
There are around 15-20 grey reef sharks most of the time. Groups of octopus, eagle rays, school of barracuda, bat fish, reef fishes and morays.

Visibility
Fantastic – most of the time 20/30 meters or more.

2. National Marine Park, Cap Ternay

Location
Next bay from Constance Ephelia Resort

How do you get to it?
12 minutes by boat

What standard of diver do you need to be to visit it?
Anyone from beginners to advanced qualified divers can enjoy this site.

Typical dive
Very calm bay, beautiful coral reef full of marine life, starting from its shallow reef (about 1 metre) to a maximum of 24 meters.

There is a large flat reef area with a gradual drop off from about 6 meters to 24 metres at 45 angles.

Diving with a Manta Ray, Seychelles

Diving with a Manta Ray

Marine life
Beautiful reef fishes, morays, lion fish, turtles, humphead parrot fish, trumpet fish, clown fish, and many other species.

From August to September, it is easily to meet the giant whale sharks and sometimes also the dolphins.

3. Dredger Wreck

Location
1 mile far from Bel Ombre Area, North/West coast Seychelles

How do you get to it?
20 minutes by boat

What standard of diver do you need to be to visit it?
This site is better suited to divers with experience of open water diving – more advanced divers are preferred.
There’s a small dredger (about 15 meters) for divers to explore. It was sunk on purpose for divers in the mid 80s. It lies at 27 meters depth near to a nice reef.

Marine life
The dredger wreck has created a nice hiding place for cat fish, morays, lobster, stone fish, lion fish, and scorpion fish. Big school of yellow snappers that cover the whole wreck.

Sometimes giant puffer fish and school of bat fish can be spotted, sting rays in the sand. In the mid water (above the wreck), there are always visitors like school of jack fish, fusilier and job fish.

Find out more about our luxury diving experiences at the Constance Ephelia Hotel, Seychelles.