Above water a paradise, but below water only average
Yeah, I know. Under water only average sounds a bit spoiled. But compared to other regions of the Indian Ocean I’m afraid it’s true: The reef sections we visited at Praslin (including on our night dives) weren't exactly overwhelming. The fish density was sometimes high and sometimes really impressive, but the coral growth and the fish diversity was nothing special. Comparing the three places, we rate Madagascar (Nosy Be) the best, followed by the Seychelles and then Mauritius.
But the Maldives are much more interesting. The underwater feeds, which we last did in the Maldives with morays 16 years ago, were especially exciting. Group member Rainer Nagel was there last time, and there was a sense of deja vu when we saw him back in front of a moray with the JBL food can. The food we took with us was very well received by the fish. But we noticed that the animals were still very shy towards divers and at the beginning they were very hesitant about the food we were offering. The spell was usually broken when the first fish, mainly wrasses or damselfish, accepted the food. This is also how it is done in the aquarium: fish with a good appetite are added to food deniers and the food envy also makes the deniers eat.
At Praslin we finally caught sight of the palette surgeonfish (Acanthurus hepatus), which we had been looking for all the time, though only adult ones. There was no sign of any young fish! If you want to get close to shy and rare fish, you have to carefully approach the cleaning stations. The fish being cleaned allow divers to approach much closer (50 cm) than they would ever allow in open water or in the reef.
But above water the Seychelles are definitely world class. The combination of granite rocks, palm trees and turquoise water takes your breath away. A visit to the national park Vallee de Mai is also worthwhile, as there one can see the famous and most expensive "coconut" of the world, the Coco de Mer.
The sixth part was a report on Mauritius: JBL Expedition Indian Ocean: part 6 - Mauritius, a jewel in the Indian Ocean
The eighth part is about the dream island La Digue: JBL Expedition Indian Ocean: part 8 - the island paradise of La Digue