Three years ago when I first started writing about Mauritius as a diving destination PADI had the World’s largest Oceanographic state with a GPS Mauritius pin firmly planted in….. Majorca.
Mauritius has just overtaken South Africa as the PADI Dive Centre hub for the Indian Ocean Region with the most PADI centres. It is also becoming a conservationist’s delight, with plastics control, recycling and environmental controls, coral re-growth and increasing juvenile hatchings as the controls on fishing on the reefs take effect.
Many people start diving at Flic and Flac, where year- round diving is difficult, there is a lot of landmass pollution because of the rivers, and the highest population on the island has also come with its own environmental problems for divers, with dead and dying corals and unbalanced marine life. Strangely this area has sadly become the most well -known for diving.
Now that the Northern Reefs are becoming better known, divers are coming for a month at a time and they may never dive the same reef twice in the North with the discovery of the exceptional diving around the Northern Islands.
Mauritius now has 40 registered PADI diving centres to South Africa’s 39. Previously unknown as a diving destination, Mauritius has become a popular place for tourists who want to Discover Scuba or take a PADI course or two. I had a coffee at the Pereybere Beach Café with Anders Heegard who is the Regional Manager of PADI for the Indian Ocean and Africa, where he has been for two and a half years.
He started in Denmark with cold water diving, and decided to do a PADI qualification, which was readily available in Denmark.
From there his career in diving has trended steadily upwards. “I went from Dive Master, to Instructor to Course Director, to Dive Centre manager, part owner, and eventually I was approached by PADI to become a Regional Manager.’ Said Anders.
He is energetic, a passionate diver and a PADI guru.
His recommendation to young divers who want a career? “Keep training and strive to become a better diver with every dive. We never stop learning, and for a career in PADI, it’s about teaching people, knowing the system, it’s about knowing about the structure of the organization.”
This man has done an incredible amount of work for diving in the Indian Ocean in two and a half years, both with his presence in his region, his dedication to diving centre support to his indefatigable attention to detail in his PADI Pro posts on Social Media.
Anders sees Mauritius as a natural PADI training ground for divers. It’s is an obvious choice as a diving destination for training, with its benevolent climate, year- round warm water, excellent year -round visibility and its superb safety record, together with an abundance of places to stay from 5-star resorts to tiny AirBNB apartments, a great social life, and lots of things to do. With 40 PADI Diving Centres and 3 resident course directors, this is a great place to kick start a diving career.
Words: Jill Holloway
Copyright Ocean Spirit: www.osdiving.com
Pics: Ronan Joffrennau and Jill Holloway