A holiday in Mauritius calls up images of softly waving palm trees, lazy days lying on the white sandy beaches while the tranquil sea sends white-tipped wavelets washing over the shells on the edge of the shore, while polite and smiling waiters bring cool refreshing drinks and tasty tropical snacks.
However, to play the part of the indolent visitor is to miss much that Mauritius has to offer. Mauritius’ coral reef is ranked 5th in the world and the reefs brim with sea life, a wide range of species from fish of all shapes, colours and sizes, including the unearthly beautiful angel fish, moray eels, lobsters and shrimp. The ungainly spiked lion fish and the sinister barracuda can also be spotted by the careful viewer and lucky swimmers have seen the lovely sea-turtle and much-admired dolphins. The climate of Mauritius is superbly warm, the water temperature even reaching as high as 29°C in summer; making it simply fabulous to swim in the turquoise waters.
Mauritius abounds with luxury resorts and accommodations to suit the most discerning tastes and most of the resorts come with activity packages, from touring the island and viewing wildlife to boating and fishing charters to sporting activities including water-based ones like scuba diving, snorkelling and surfing.
There are several caves into which it is possible to dive; which gives the diver a completely different experience of the underwater world. Robbed of much of its sunlight the shadows in a cave hold unknown mystery, and occasionally startled fish and eels that race past in a flurry, making a break for peace and quiet once more! The light filtering down, sometimes at unusual, sharply-defined angels creates an almost holy effect, soothing the soul and helping us mere humans realise our small place in the world.
One of the caves is even called the Cathedrale, so strongly does the high ceiling and silent shadowed interior resemble a place of worship. Very professional divers may not be stimulated by the tourist ‘package-dives’ as they are very much geared at the amateur diver who does not have great experience; nor does the dive last very long; however to holiday-makers wanting a touch of adventure and a glimpse of the hidden underwater world, they are perfect. It is necessary to have some dive experience before undertaking one of the tours, but many resorts and dive centres will be able to give the necessary training and award the required certificate. Some more experienced divers have likened the Mauritius cave diving experience to the best dives in the world; comparable with the best of the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.