The best of all dive worlds collide in Mauritius, where wrecks adorned in corals host macro and pelagic life in a riotous party.
When I first rolled back into the African island’s turquoise waters, I had no clue what awaited me. I plunged into a diverse oasis of sperm whales and bull sharks in the south to hundreds of turtles and nudibranch in the north. On the first night dive here, my decades-long search for the holy grail of all nudibranchs ended: There, in all its twiring glory of a flamboyant flamenco, was the Spanish Dancer!
Lying in wait amid this biodiversity bonanza are wreck dives are suitable for all levels. Most of them rest intact in crystal-clear waters, offering an incredible underwater water adventure and critter treasure hunt. Here are just a few of my favorite wrecks off the north-western coast.
The Djabeda is located just off the remote Mauritian island of Coin de mire, a beautiful nature reserve popular for dive and snorkel trips. Sitting proud and upright on the sandy bottom, this old Japanese fishing boat is a real show stopper at 144 feet long.
Over the decades, it has become rich in marine life. Decorated in various soft and hard corals, you can expect to see the likes of tuna and giant morays swirling around, octopus hiding in the hold, scuttling porcelain crabs and even rare leaf fish. If you’re lucky, you may even be visited by dolphins during your dive.
It’s quite common to come up against strong currents as you approach the wreck and therefore very easy to miss it entirely! Given the conditions and the average depth of 82 feet (max 115), this wreck is reserved for advanced divers.
If you love macro critters you will be in for a treat! Emily & Waterlily is a popular dive site not for the beauty of the wreck itself but for the stunning abundance of marine life that covers the two barges. As an underwater photographer, I could have spent hours just on Emily let alone, even though Waterlily is just a fin kick away. The list of life is endless: a variety of soft and hard corals, technicolor nudibranchs, vibrant schools of anthias and a geometric moray eel, a species brand new to my log book. There are also lots of little pockets of clownfish and vibrant anemones, which you can never get bored of seeing.
Love was clearly in the water when I visited. The famous Cardinal fish were brooding eggs in their mouths and clownfish keep watch on the clutch of eggs clinging to the edge of the barge.
Lying flat on the sandy bottom at max 82 feet, both wrecks are very easy to glide around given their flat silhouette, making for a calm and relaxed dive, ideal for first-time wreck divers.
Purposely sunk in 2018, this fishing vessel is still relatively unexplored, but don’t let this put you off. This gem is so hidden that even the skippers sometimes struggle to find it.
A blanket of soft pink corals covers the wreck. From my experience of diving in the Indo-Pacific, I know that these pink tree-like corals are the ideal habitat for Candy Crab, so during my dive I took off along the mast to inspect each one. Low. and behold, camouflaged right on the tip of one of the corals was a beautiful spikey Candy Crab. Even my dive guide had never seen one in all his years of diving in Mauritius. You never know what surprises you’ll find if you look hard enough.
The varying depths of this wreck make it perfect for divers of every. It starts at about 46 feet deep, stretches down to approximately 82 feet, so you can test buoyancy as you glide through the bridge and take a photo with the enormous propeller!
It will not shock you that this site is named for the three enormous anchors that are said to have laid here since the 17th century. While not a true wreck dive, nor the most beautiful site—it’s mostly rocks—the anchors provide an incredible backdrop to one of the best dive sites in Mauritius for turtles, with depths between 39 and 72 feet. On one dive alone, we spotted 18 different Hawksbills and one giant green turtle having a good scratch on the reef. You’re also likely to encounter nudibranch, moral eels and endemic clown fish.
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