With sparkling warm waters and myriad opportunities for granite and coral reef diving, it is not surprising that Seychelles is a popular diving destination. The inner islands, the remains of a submerged mountain range, rest on a shallow plateau that has encouraged prolific growth of marine life while the outer islands in the southern arc of the archipelago are largely uninhabited and present the experienced diver with excellent diving spots, wall and cave dives where few have gone before. Sightings of turtles, rays and shark are relatively commonplace with seasonal visits by whale sharks a spectacular bonus. All diving is supervised by internationally qualified and insured dive-masters or instructors with a number of courses of instruction available at internationally recognised centres and resorts.

Seychelles offers some of the best diving in the region. You can go on a diving tour and swim among some of the most colorful fishes or you can take SCUBA diving lessons in the hotel pool. Every November you can also take part in the islands’ annual underwater photo and video festival.

In addition to the many surfers who find their perfect wave in the Seychelles – many divers find “home” in this tropical paradise thousands of miles from anywhere boasting excellent diving in spectacular surroundings. Seychelles is a group of about 115 islands which lie 1600 km (990 miles) off the coast of east Africa. The islands are predominately made of granite and, due to oceanic isolation, have managed to preserve a large number of unique species such as giant tortoises. Minimal currents, abundant fish, colourful corals and an above average chance of seeing large pelagics (such as manta rays, turtles, and whale sharks) make this a top dive travel destination.

The three central islands are Mahé, Praslin and La Digue, all of which are granitic, while the outlying islands are coral atolls. Aside from palm-fringed beaches and superb snorkelling and diving, there’s also plenty of forest wilderness with an abundance of wildlife. Diving, particularly around the outlying islands is popular and diving is offered both from dive centres on the islands or from a number of live-aboard dive vessels with good facilities. Seychelles has four marine national parks, and more than 150 species of tropical reef fish have been identified.

In 1997 Seychelles was affected by coral bleaching caused by the El Nino weather pattern which resulted in some hard coral mortality, mainly of branching Acropora species (finger corals, stag-horns etc). Since then there are visible signs that the reefs – like many other areas affected by this natural phenomena – are recovering. And it is important to note that the amount of fish has not been affected.

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