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Diving Mauritius and the Mauritian Scuba Diving Association

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Mauritius is safe, well disciplined and Coronavirus free. Our lockdown ended on Friday 15 May, and as soon as our border re-opens we welcome you to dive with us on the World’s most Romantic Island.

When I first started diving in Mauritius I checked its safety records and I could not find any reports of diving accidents. This is very unusual as it’s clearly a diving island, with some very deep spectacular tec diving reefs, plenty of strong currents and dramatic deep drop-offs. But no diving accidents?

It took a while to understand because communication is not their strong suit, but its because of the MSDA. The MDSA was started in 1989 to ensure that diving in Mauritius would be professional, safe and standardized under a professional body.

With a dated website and volunteer officials all of whom are busy scuba divers and diving business owners, the MSDA has done the incredible.

Originally established to ensure that diving centres would follow proper scuba diving protocols, MSDA is an Association, and all its officials are volunteers from the diving industry. There is a small office staff that executes the MSDA recommendations. The MSDA also sells insurance indemnity forms that protect both the client and the diving centre. MSDA is affiliated to both CMAS and French Federation, both of which are similar diver training associations.

PADI is of course a commercial diver training and marketing organization so is not affiliated to the MSDA, but most Mauritius diving centres also belong to PADI. In fact there are more PADI diving centres in Mauritius than in South Africa.

French Federation regulations are very strict, and Mauritians are always obedient to licensing and regulations so diving in Mauritius is simply safer. French Federation allows only four divers per dive leader or instructor. Diving centres are checked for hygiene, oxygen, safety, life saving devices and staff training in first aid.

Mauritius is therefore exceptional in its management of diving centres. These can vary from the expensive Resort diving centres to the one man one skipper small boat operators, to the big commercial high- profile diving centres near or on the Public Beaches. They are all licensed by the Tourism Authority, and all are checked by MSDA.

Strangely, Mauritius has not really been promoted as a diving destination. In 2016 it was not even on the PADI website, and a search for diving in Mauritius led to Majorca.

Mauritius offers superb wreck diving from 16 metres to 40 metres, where nobody died in the sinking of the wrecks and many of them are confiscated fishing trawlers. Divers get a lot of satisfaction out of this knowledge.

There is a large and energetic turtle population, where the endangered Hawksbill species may be breeding on one of the outer Islands so we are all looking forward to exploring these remote islands.

Specific species are plentiful, with 11 different Moray eel species to be found on a single reef. Drift diving is possible with strong currents and huge schools of eagle rays.

Fabulous shark diving in washing machine conditions under the Northern Islands, where four different species of shark are regularly seen, and sharks occur naturally.

Macro life that is in some instances un-described, rare and seen only in this Indian Ocean Island on the tip of the Mascarene plateau. Corals are re-growing, and there are many different species of coral, both hard and soft.

The water temperature is below 29 degrees, so there is no threat from global warming in Mauritius, and our corals recover rapidly if there is over-fishing. The upwelling from the Southern Ocean in our June to September winter bring upwellings of plankton, and since the Indian Ocean is also the breeding ground for whales it is a whale sanctuary under the IWF regulations. The 2.3 million square kilometre portion of the Indian Ocean that forms the Oceanographic State of Mauritius’s waters are protected by the EU.

In place is the Europeche contract in exchange for fishing right in its waters. We don’t have the resources or the manpower to protect our marine resources, but Mauritius has solid contracts and good friends who do. It’s a great place to dive – come and see for yourself!


Jill Holloway lives in Mauritius and at Sodwana Bay Isimangaliso Wetland Park in South Africa. A PADI qualified Nitrox diver with over 1,500 dives, she is a passionate observer and preserver of the marine environment, and has a database of over 35,000 fish pics and hundreds of Gopro videos on fish behaviour, which she shares with her readers.

Dive Training Blogs

Deptherapy returns to its Roots – Part 1

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Over the next seven days, join Richard Cullen from Deptherapy as we publish a Blog about the charity’s recent expedition to Roots Red Sea, El Quseir, Egypt.

Deptherapy made the very brave decision to book an expedition to our home in Egypt as soon as Roots Red Sea received their certificate from the Egyptian Authorities that the camp and dive centre was COVID secure. Roots is one of very few resorts to receive a certificate from the Egyptian Government.

We arrived in Roots the day after they re-opened.

Getting together an expedition was a major task. Very few Approved Medical Examiners’ of Divers or Dive Referees are conducting consultations at the moment. Availability of beneficiaries and the requirement to quarantine on return from Egypt affected the number of beneficiaries available.

There was also a requirement to pass a COVID PCR virus test within 72 hours of travelling.

We had decided on a small expedition and on the day of travel we had six flying to Egypt.  Unfortunately, Chris Middleton had to drop out the day before we travelled after emergency wisdom tooth surgery.

Our group comprised of Richard Cullen, Michael Hawley, Tom Oates, Tom Swarbrick, Keiron Bradbury and Corey Goodson.  Keiron was undertaking his RAID Master Rescue Course and, as it turned out, Corey was undertaking the RAID Open Water 20 course.

A deserted Gatwick Airport at 0900 on 10 October

Our outbound flight was before midday on Saturday 10 October and I must admit we were all shocked at how deserted was.  Checking in with easyJet took minutes and when we boarded the plane, we found it less than half full.

Corey is a paraplegic since a car accident two years ago while he was training prior to joining the Royal Anglian Regiment.  Corey has no sensation below the waist and is unable to use his legs.  The cabin crew on our flight were quite amazed to see the two Toms and Michael lift him from his wheelchair and place him in his seat for the flight.

Mask protocols were strictly observed by the team, the flight was uneventful, and the easyJet Cabin Crew superb. We also took a digital thermometer to check temperatures prior to flying.

Corey having a pre-flight temperature check

Hurghada Airport was very quiet and we moved through Immigration and collected our baggage in very quick time.

Two things to note:  If you are travelling to Hurghada you need to complete a COVID declaration for the Egyptian Authorities. If not, you have to fill out the rather lengthy form when you arrive.  You can undertake a COVID test on arrival at Hurghada Airport but the queues are long.  It costs much less than the tests we had done in the UK – BUT – you are required to be quarantined at your hotel until the test result comes through.  This means two days with no access to resort facilities.  If the test comes back as positive you have at least two weeks being confined to your room.

COVID guidelines

Transport to Roots was, as ever, on hand and we were soon at the camp and being briefed about the COVID arrangements.  A lot of work has been put in place to make Roots COVID compliant – and all at considerable expense.

None of the usual hugs with the Roots team and you have your temperature checked every morning and every time you return from the dive centre.  Your dive kit is sterilised every night ready for the next day’s diving.

Sterilised Dive Kit

We all felt very COVID secure.

Check back for tomorrow’s Blog and our first day diving…


Find out more about the work of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education at www.deptherapy.co.uk

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And the winner of our TUSA Paragon S Mask competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a TUSA Paragon S Mask from our good friends at CPS Partnership!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Lee Evans from the UK.

Congratulations Lee – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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