Clear blue water, amazing marine life, exotic reefs, and unexplored depths make the Seychelles Islands one of the greatest destinations for scuba diving in the world. With the majority of waters outside the cyclone belt, the Seychelles is perfect for both novice and expert divers, and dive centers with specialized diving courses are offered across both the Inner and Outer Islands. With visibility up to 30 km in some places, the Seychelles boasts the Indian Ocean’s first marine park and several resorts that offer PADI certified dive shops. Divers planning a trip to the Seychelles should be prepared for an unforgettable diving experience that Jacques Cousteau himself considered unparalleled. An incredible underwater world awaits you, so don’t forget your dive camera!
1. Planning Your Trip
The first concern for most seasoned divers is when are the best diving months? In the Seychelles, diving is enjoyed all year round, but the calmest waters are available in March through May and in September through November. Not only is the water warmer in these months, the dive boats can also reach more remote locations, which is especially exciting if you’re diving in the adventurous waters of the Outer Islands. Monsoon season, from June until August, might cut down on a lot of visibility, but this is mostly due to the waters being filled with plankton. The plankton attracts whale sharks – a popular draw for many divers and snorkelers in the Seychelles. So even if you happen to visit the country during a windier time of year, you could find yourself submerged with those amazing, 10m long creatures.
2. Inner vs. Outer Island Dives
The Inner Islands of the Seychelles are basically the granite tops of a submerged mountain range. These are the more northern islands, famous for their rich array of tropical fish, turtles, and sting rays that live among the underwater boulders. There are also several amazing wreck dives around the Inner Islands, including the famous Ennerdale, a British tanker from the 1970s that weighed nearly 50,000 tons. It’s now home to eels, barracudas, and schools of exotic fish. The southern Outer Islands are coralline. They make up close to half of the total area of the Seychelles, but they only house around 2 percent of the population, so there’s a great possibility to scout unexplored territory on land and in the water. The Outer Islands feature steep wall drops, underwater canyons, and coral reefs with huge populations of green turtles. Exploring the diverse dive sites in this area is an amazing and varied experience.
3. Finding Equipment
For the experienced divers who want to bring their own diving equipment on vacation with them, it’s nice to know Air Seychelles offers a 10kg allowance for free sporting good equipment. Bringing your own equipment can be preferable for some divers, but virtually all dive centers around the islands offer modern rental equipment and repair facilities. If something goes wrong with your own equipment, it might not be as easy to get it fixed, depending on the rules of the dive center and the availability of parts, so renting your gear is often the easiest way to go. Seychelles diving equipment adheres to strict safety guidelines and is regularly inspected for quality.
4. Education and Safety
If you’re not yet a certified diver, the Seychelles is a great place to earn certification, with courses available for full certification as an open water diver taught by PADI instructors from all over the world. The dive centers in the Seychelles are also a great place for people who have never tried diving before – introductory courses and basic qualifications are also available. If you are certified to dive and plan on deep sea diving, you should make sure to bring your certification with you in order to be allowed to dive. Divers at any level who have had medical issues in the past will also need a note from their doctor stating they are fit to dive. If you don’t have one, you might need an examination from a Seychelles physician before you can get in the water. The diving world in the Seychelles is strictly organized and regulated. It is recommended you time your last dive at least 24 hours before you fly, to avoid decompression. If you’re taking helicopter flights between the islands, you should wait at least 12 hours.
With 115 islands spread across remarkably clear blue water, the Seychelles is one country that every professional diver has to visit. The amazing topography combined with some of the most diverse marine life in the world will appeal to both novices and experts alike. Many tourists travel to desert islands to lie on a beach by turquoise water. But some visitors are after adventure, and scuba divers know that the best adventure is found under the surface.
Amy Nielson is an avid blogger who writes often for travel sites. You can follow her on Twitter @NielsonAmy.