Liveaboard Diving in Praslin
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A PRASLIN LIVEABOARD
Liveaboard diving in Praslin offers crystal-clear waters considered excellent for scuba diving. Praslin lies 45km to the northwest of Mahe and is the Seychelles' second largest inhabited island, which used to be known as Palm Island due to the numerous amounts of them (6 endemic). In 1768 the island was renamed in honour of a French diplomat, Le Duc De Praslin. Renowned for its’ World Heritage Site, the Vallee de Mai Nature Reserve, this ancient forest is home to the curiously shaped double coconut, the coco de mer, as well as the Black Parrot, unique to Praslin. Praslin embodies the picture perfect beaches, stunning flora and fauna, beautiful scuba diving and a relaxed ambience making a Praslin liveaboard an excellent choice.
To dive Praslin in combination with nearby islands of La Digue and Curieuse, the best way is by Liveaboard. Whatever your budget, Liveaboard.com offers a great range of liveaboards around Praslin.
Praslin is located on a sandy bank with relatively shallow waters making it ideal for divers of all levels. The crystal turquoise waters are dominated by impressive granite boulders and the marine life is rich with lyretail anthias, angelfish, boxfish, unicornfish, surgeonfish, parrotfish darting amongst sponge-clad coral formations, while reef sharks, sting rays and turtles glide silently by. A closer look will reveal pipefish, octopus, lobsters and morays. There are a number of dive sites to choose from with depths ranging from 8-20m. Night dives are just as intriguing giving the opportunity to witness nocturnal creatures out in the open. Look out for barracuda, whitetip and grey reef sharks, eagle rays and the illusive whale shark (in season) in the blue. Currents vary with good visibility and warm temperatures.
DIVE SITES / AREAS OF PRASLIN
There are approximately 17 dive sites in the area, and Praslin liveaboard itineraries will generally include:
St. Pierre is situated within the Curieuse Marine Park. A shallow dive of 8-10m, it presents as an excellent night dive for seeing octopus, lobster, Spanish dancers, sea hares and more. Ideal for macro photography.
Ave Maria is a small rocky island between Praslin and the Sister Islands. A great inshore dive site, its vertical walls offer diverse fish life with regular turtle sightings.
White Bank is situated just around 200 meters west of Ave Maria and boasts large submerged granite boulders down to 18m. Sponges and corals cover the rocky outcrops while napoleons and giant groupers can be found amongst them. Shoaling barracuda and jack fish occasionally pass by.
Sister Bank is a great drift dive over dramatic rock formations and swim-throughs. These provide shelter for shoals of snapper and the extremely rare Armitage angelfish. Shoaling Bumphead parrotfish, fusiliers, Hawksbill turtles and clown triggerfish are usually seen here as well as barracudas and the occasional grey reefs.
South Mariane Island is an advanced dive and probably one of the best in the country. The current can be strong but this usually guarantees grey reef sharks, eagle rays and barracudas past canyon drop offs. The underwater topography mirrors the surface with dramatic underwater pinnacles, alongside precipitous walls and narrow gullies.
TOP TIPS FOR DIVERS
The best time to dive Praslin is from March to May and September to November when the water temperature is at its warmest of 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit) and visibility remains good (up to 30m). Some dive areas are tailored for the more advanced diver so it may be better to check with your Praslin liveaboard cruise what dive experience you need before deciding your itinerary. It is possible to rent equipment on most cruises although it is recommended to have your own gear.
GETTING TO PRASLIN
Air Seychelles, Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Berlin, Kenya Airways, all fly into Mahé’s Victoria International Airport. Air Seychelles run domestic flights from Mahé to Praslin where your Seychelles liveaboard will depart. You can also reach it by high-speed ferry.