When planning your honeymoon, or even when planning your summer/winter holiday away, perhaps you should consider North Island in the Seychelles. Because, now is the time to go. News just in from the activity’s manager, Daniel Magnan – a born and bred Seychellean – he has confirmed that now, October is the best time of year to go. As the change in seasons take place, the seas surrounding North Island are stunningly calm which means diving is beyond spoiling. Although it is a ‘round the year’ diving destination, this month as well as November, the underwater visibility stretches for a mind blowing 30 metres, combined with the warm equatorial waters that can reach up to 29 degrees Celsius, this has to sound just pure bliss! If this doesn’t sway you, in the last couple of months there have been numerous Whale Shark sightings and even a Humpback Whale.
The Indian Ocean itself is rich in beautiful and electric coloured exotic fish as well as a vast variety of coral life. A quiet sanctuary with a flurry of activity surrounding you. You will be entering a different world where space and time warp, where you can encounter creatures large and small – from the endangered Hawksbill and Green Turtles to the serene Manta and Eagle Rays, steely barracudas glinting in the rippling sun light and playful bat fish to quirky clownfish, colourful nudibranch and much more. Like a safari within the bush, marine safaris are just as exciting, you never truly know what will be waiting for you around the corner!
This year has been a record-breaking year for Green Turtles which have been emerging from North Islands pristine white beaches in their droves. Every night throughout August, there have been about 3-5 emergences of small green turtles, fighting their way to the shore line and off into the deep blue sea! This is many more than previous years gone by and in fact many more than have ever been recorded in a single month.
They have surpassed their aim in tagging 30 Green Turtles within this single season alone. 34 new females have been tagged and they are still counting! A further 11 Hawksbill Turtles have been tagged also resulting in a grand total of 228 Hawksbill and Green Turtles combined. The Island has seen the number of Hawksbills utilising the island double, together with a remarkable 6-fold increase in the number of Green Turtles. As the Green Turtle season draws to a close, the Hawksbill Turtle season will be beginning to pick up, presenting a year-round opportunity to witness fantastic turtle activity on the beautiful North Island – truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to add to the bucket list, and soon to be ticked off.
North Island is a renowned top dive site throughout the world. With over 20 dive sites within close proximity, each just as stunning as the last, offering a diverse range of topographies and unique marine sightings. For those PADI Open Water Divers, here is a little insight into their top 5 sites:
Sprat City has a huge variety of fish life that teem around three coral mounds including seasonal shoals of sprats that inhabit the reef from late June making it near impossible to see the reef – hence the name! other common sightings include Great Barracuda, Fulvie Kingfish, Golden Pompano, Golden Kingfish, Regal Angelfish, Humphead Parrotfish, Napoleon Wrasse, Powder-blue Surgeonfish, blue banded surgeonfish, unicornfish, white tip reef shark, variegated Lizardfish, Emperor Angelfish and Oriental Sweetlips – apart from sounding like the beginning of a fairy tale or an introduction to a confectionary shop, this is a stunning dive site.
The Cathedral is another site highly rated by the dive team at North Island. This stunning location allows divers to swim alongside granite cliffs meaning when you look beneath you, the underwater scenery is simply breath-taking. The experience divers amongst you are able to swim between the deep cracks with the sounds of the waves breaking overhead. The shark activity and gamefish sightings are also supreme.
The Aquarium is a shore entry dive during North-West monsoon with shallow depths that make this a top spot for Discover Scuba Divers. Aptly named, the Aquarium is full to the brim with marine life – you can expect to see spotted eagle rays, juvenile hawksbill turtles and perhaps the resident gentile Gray Reef Shark.
Twin Anchors is the fourth top dive spot that incudes stunning topography and copious coral life. Again, aptly named, there are two anchors that are situated within this spot. A unique encounter here is the Orbicular Batfish appearing as ghostly figures that circle divers. If divers are quiet enough, the fish will approach and nibble their fingers.
The final top dive spot around North Island is the Coral Garden. Excellent for drift diving, it is approximately 900 metres long from North to South of the island. Fantastic fun to swim around whilst looking for small aquatic animals while large gamefish swim above your head. Turtles, sharks, lobster and rays are often spotted here along with the odd pod of Bottlenose Dolphins feeding on passing schools of Mackerel. As I mentioned before, like a bush safari, you never know what is lying around the corner – expect the unexpected and you won’t be disappointed!