Surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Nosy Be is one of main islands dotted along this coast that is visited by those looking for relaxation on the beach, snorkelling and scuba diving. Diving is possible throughout the year in Madagascar though October through December are our favourite months when water temperatures between 25 and 28’ and they offer crystal clear waters.
Enticing divers from around the world, these islands draw enthusiasts to dive off rigs, catamarans, islets and even straight from the islands. There is also diving off some southern beach resorts around Ifaty. Dolphins and manta rays float through these waters.
Depending on where one stays, diving can be included once or twice during your stay at a resort or live aboard a catamaran sailing around the islands. Spend the days rising at dawn and watching the sun rise across the waters, after a fresh fruit breakfast, take to the waters and dive over coral reefs for an hour before boarding again and enjoying lunch followed by a well earned siesta, then another dive looking for rays and larger fish before spending the end of the day with a cocktail on the deck. Indulgence!
Off the coast of Isle St Marie on the eastern side of Madagascar there are even more diving opportunities. Shipwrecks entice divers and beckon them to explore – you may see humpback whales in season (between July through October). The Ile Aux Nattes offers beautiful corals.
Other notable sites include Point Alebrand which is beautiful with a sandy bed, La Cocteraie and Paroi des Merous. Sea life here is fabulous with barracuda, rays, gray sharks, grouper, Humphead parrotfish,turtles, and tropical fish of very shape, colour and hue. Kingfish pass by and pufferfsh try to ogle you as you concentrate on taking an underwater picture of an angelfish.
Back in the north, the Mitsio archipelago is a group of lovely islands to sail around, buying fish for dinner but also seeing them under the waves, whilst being led by experienced dive masters.
Around these islands the landscape below includes gullies and flat open sandy beds framed by rock formations rising up out of the deep – all contributing to a diverse landscape filled with neon flashes of tropical fish. Between dives perhaps watch the humpback whales as they breach – an incredible sight.
Padi diving training courses are also available for those that want to learn in a beautiful environment. The boats generally carry five to seven divers with 40 tanks, regulators and diving kit. Wetsuits and flippers are available for hire, along with compressors and equipment for night dives