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Mauritius: where the world loves to learn to dive



Ocean Spirit Dive Centre in Pereybere has just been awarded PADI 5 star status after training more than 120 divers in the past five months. Jill Holloway reports on the dive training boom in Mauritius.

Mauritius, with its calm barrier reef, enclosed lagoons, turquoise blue seas, great visibility and exquisite corals, has become incredibly popular as a diver training centre. You can do a zero to hero PADI diving course with Barlen right here in Pereybere. Or bring your family – we have whole families coming here and learning to dive, checking into a self -catering apartment or villa, and enjoying a great holiday together.

Many families choose to spend their holiday money on diving rather than luxury accommodation, and they leave the richer for the experience. Most dive centres can assist you in finding accommodation options, from ultra- luxury resorts to studio apartments. All tourist accommodation in Mauritius is registered with, and inspected by, the Tourism Authority, so you are pretty well guaranteed wifi, air con and clean sheets.

A Discover Scuba course, followed up with an Open Water diving course, are a great way to spend a holiday with the family. Mauritius, always popular with honeymooners, hosts a new generation celebrating an engagement or marriage with a dive course together. One guy actually proposed in writing on a dive slate and he and his new fiancée came up to the surface wrapped in each other’s BCs and celebrated at the dive centre late into the evening.

I did my Advanced course in a disused quarry in Johannesburg. It was cold, dark and deep. The viz was less than a metre and it was no fun. We had to navigate using instruments alone, with no margin for error, because you could only see half a metre. I watched as my buddy failed his navigation, powering past the marker point 30cm below us on the mesh platform, in the shocking viz. Mauritius, undoubtedly, does it better.

Three months ago, I watched Janet Aurore do a PADI DSD course in the exquisite lagoon at Pereybere in the north of Mauritius. I dived with her last week after she also gained her Advanced Nitrox qualification. She soared and glided in the deep blue of the Silverstar wreck, blowing bubble kisses for her family back in China, and I realised that this is what Mauritius is really about. Confidence in the water, the soaring joy of diving, and the exquisite deep blue water and white sand. Mauritius is really a great place to learn to dive.

It’s also a great place for gap year students to spend time. Many dive centres offer a three month training internship, so it really is worth investigating. (“You’re spending your GAP YEAR IN MAURITIUS! Wow, dude, take me with you!” was the comment of the son of a friend).

Mauritius is a clean living Island. Drug import controls are so stringent that I have to get a doctor’s prescription for my vitamin supplements and the packages are opened by customs anyway. I have yet to see a prostitute but I suppose because Port Louis is a sea port there must be some. However, this is an island where family life is important, and where parents and kids spend a lot of time together.

The local Pereybere PADI Course Director, Barlen Veerasamy, runs regular Instructor training courses at incredibly competitive prices. He also arranges accommodation for his students in and around Pereybere. Barlen is a great, hands on teacher and has qualified many of the excellent Mauritius Instructors here. He qualified the hard way, at the age of 14. Barlen was cutting sugar cane in his school holidays to pay for his diving courses. He spent many years carrying tanks before he finally realised his dream of owning his own dive centre.

If you are an adrenalin junkie and want to go the deco diving route, Olivier Fayolle is a specialist SSI Course Director in TEC diving. He has 20 years of experience in training divers and recently sold his diving business to focus on multi-level diving, deep diving using decompression techniques, and mixed gas diving. With the water clarity, Mauritius is a fabulous place to take a deep diving deco course.

So, if you want to learn to dive, Mauritius is the place to do it.

Words and Pics: Jill Holloway; Coral Pics: Abdul Khathlan

Copyright: Ocean Spirit, Mauritius




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.

Marine Life & Conservation

Our Seas urge Scotland to bring back Inshore Limit



Our Seas call on Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and the Scottish Government to follow their own policies and stop the chronic destruction of our seabed by urgently reinstating a coastal limit on bottom-trawl and dredge fishing. Sign the petition here.

Scottish coastal seas have been driven into decline due to decades of mismanagement. Destructive bottom towed fishing gear has had free access to over 95% of our inshore waters since the 1980’s, to the detriment of habitats, biodiversity, fisheries, and communities.

In 1889 a law was passed to protect fish stocks and small boats by banning trawling (except by sail) from within three nautical miles of the shore. Catastrophically the law was removed in 1984 against a backdrop of the industrialization of fishing technology, breaches of the Three Mile Limit, and declining offshore fish stocks.  Access to the inshore appeared to improve catches for a short while, but inevitably led to the rapid decline of fish stocks as seabed habitats – vital nurseries and shelter for many species – were destroyed.

See the trailer of their film The Limit below:

Our Seas are asking you to sign their petition to Bring Back the Fish and Bring Back Scotland’s Inshore Limit. You can sign the petition by clicking here.

For more information about the work of Our Seas visit their website by clicking here.

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And the winner of our AP Diving 45M Ratcheted Pocket Reel competition is…



We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win an AP Diving 45M Ratcheted Pocket Reel from our good friends at AP Diving!

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

And that winner is…

  • Simon Nicholls from the UK.

Congratulations Simon – 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 right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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