Take a Dive on the Wild Side: Seychelles, Africa
The Seychelles archipelago is situated east of Africa in the Indian Ocean. Made up of 115 islands and 41 inner granite islands as well as 74 outer coral atolls and reef islands, Seychelles is not the easiest destination to reach, but it is worth the effort.
While you will find exceptional dives that are teeming with wildlife and suitable for all, Seychelles offers some unique adventures for experienced divers. Those who prefer their diving a bit more on the exotic side will be pleased with the offerings of Seychelles.
Diving Opportunities for All
Seychelles is renowned for its clear turquoise water, enviable visibility, and variety of dives. You will have the chance to drift, swim in caves, glide between granite pillars, explore walls, and cruise several wrecks. While the effects of coral bleaching caused by El Nino in the late 20th century are still evident at many dive sites, much of the area has made a nice recovery so you will likely have to share the water with other travelers who have also heard as much. For those who love their fellow man, just a little more when he is at a distance, nothing beats diving Aldabra.
Elite Diving for the Lucky Few
Diving Aldabra, the most remote location in the Seychelles, takes some planning, a reliable operator, and good luck. Since it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will need to receive special permission from the Seychelles Islands Foundation prior to your dive and that could take upwards of two weeks to be processed. It is something of an elitist dive and not suitable for novices. Aldabra is beautiful, wild, and festooned with life. According to Sir David Attenborough, it is “one of the wonders of the world” and you will certainly concur after your first time diving there.
Aldabra’s remote location and a limit on the number of divers who are granted permits gives you an enviable experience of an unspoiled dive site that few have had a chance to visit. At Conny’s Channel, you can dive to an average depth of 40 meters with a rapid current that can be dangerous. This dive is one that usually generates superlatives like “unimaginably beautiful,” “spectacular,” and “exceptional” from even the most reserved divers and deservedly so.
Increased Sightings of the Dugong
The wildlife is abundant and includes lemon sharks, barracuda, tuna, manta rays, and all sorts of colorful fish. A surprising highlight of Aldabra is the opportunity to see dugongs. The dugong, vulnerable to extinction, is the marine relative of the elephant. This gentle sea mammal has seen a 90% decline in population in the last 30 years, and the sightings at Aldabra are an encouraging sign that nature can rebound.
Aldabra Main Channel is a challenging drift dive. As with Conny’s Channel, you will need to negotiate a strong current that requires navigational skills and buoyancy control. The reward is translucent water and exceptional visibility besides an array of marine life and coral. This area is highly bio-diversified, and you can expect to encounter a wide variety of pelagic fish, sharks, tuna, grouper, and even whale sharks. Aldabra hosts a breeding population of Hawksbill turtles, and this is the place to see them.
Diving Aldabra proves that while perhaps the best things in life may be free, sometimes you do indeed get what you pay for.