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Mayotte > Guide > Discover Mayotte > Lagoon and diving at Mayotte

Diving at Mayotte: treasures in a vast lagoon waters safe

Mayotte diving is a great abundance of corals of all shapes and a wide variety of tropical fish in a huge lagoon with safe water. The other particularity of this lagoon is to have a double barrier reef: one away from the coast of 3 to 15 km, almost continuously around the island, cut by several passes, one of which, the happening in S, is known worldwide in the middle of the dive. And the second at 200 or 300 meters from the shore, therefore, accessible without any difficulty with fins, mask and snorkel and often very beautiful (especially in the south around the peninsula Sazilé, south of Bouéni, in the west, off the beaches Tsohoa, Mliha .... and around the islands of Bandrélé, Bambo, Choazil ...)

Like the other islands of the Comoros, Mayotte is of volcanic origin. The ribs are cut: there are deep bays lined with mangroves, rocky capes, peninsulas and a quarantine of sandy beaches of all sizes and all color, white sand to black sand through the 'ocher, gray, brown .. There are a million years, Mayotte was surrounded by a fringing reef, which then evolved into a barrier reef, among other things, the gradual sinking of the island.
A double barrier reef

The island is now surrounded by a barrier reef is 160 km long, almost continuous, interrupted by several passes, one of which, passing in S, is known worldwide in the middle of the dive. This barrier defines one of the largest coral lagoons in the world, with an area of 1500 km2 and a width varying from 3 to 15km. Its average depth is 30 to 50 meters, it can reach 80 meters in the passes.

The lagoon of Mayotte distinguished by the presence on some of the perimeter of the island with a double barrier reef 18 km long, that feature is not found in two other places in the world (New Caledonia and Fiji).

Recreational diving takes place almost exclusively in Mayotte in a dozen clubs. They are subject to French regulations governing the practice of recreational diving. Scuba diving off club remains a marginal activity.
Funds rich and varied

Underwater fishing sports, which is forbidden in the lagoon but allowed beyond the barrier, is also quantitatively rare.

From land to sea, several types of media campaigns in the lagoon Mahorais.

    * Fringing reefs: a total length of 180 km and an average width of 300 m, they are composed of reef flats, often non-degraded, and beds of shallow depth (less than 10 meters).
    * The central part of the lagoon: it is dotted many coral reefs and "potatoes".
    * The internal slope of the barrier: it is characterized by the presence of many coral blocks where soft corals and sponges proliferate.
    * The outer slope of the barrier: it has rich coral spurs branched or large walls. The water is clear and meets large pelagics are common.
    * Passes: a depth of 60 to 80 m, the currents can be powerful during periods of high tides.

Mayotte has two marine reserves: the wilderness fishing Longogori, called "S Pass", and the marine park and land Saziley. These two reservations to the east and south of the island occupy an area of 13.2 and 21.5 km2, slightly more than 2% of the lagoon.

In order to preserve the coral funds, the main dive sites of the lagoon are equipped with mooring buoys. Anchoring is prohibited in the 2 marine reserves. There are no wrecks to explore in Mayotte.

Diving in the lagoon occurs most often in very good conditions. The average water temperature varies, depending on the season from 24 ° to 30 ° C. The barrier reef protects the lagoon inside the swell of the sea. Winds, and therefore the chop, are moderate. Except in passing, the current is almost zero. Large predators (sharks ...) remain outside the barrier.

However, water is not always clear. The best months for the transparency of the water are: June, September and October.

No need to go very deep: the richness of marine life on the flats, the "potato" and along the walls can make beautiful dives at depths reasonable (10 to 20 meters). Swim to the surface with mask, fins and snorkel is often sufficient detail.

All these characteristics make Mayotte as the dives are in very safe conditions.

Laurence de Susanne -