12 destinations to dive in France “outside metropolis”

When the “diving in France” is exported around the world, there is something to marvel.

Do you know that diving in France is also exploring new and wonderful places scattered around the globe?

And if we embarked on the discovery of all these destinations … who also do diving “Made in France” ?

1 Saint Pierre and Miquelon

© Pexels | Pixabay

To dive in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, you must first be able to set the scene.

Tiny archipelago of 242km2 south of Newfoundland (and therefore north of the American continent), St. Pierre and Miquelon is divided into two. On one side Saint-Pierre which welcomes more than 85% of the population and the other Miquelon larger but much less populated.

Now that we have set the scene, it is easy to understand that diving in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon is carried out in super equipped mode from the point of view of thermal insulation.

A dry suit is appropriate for every dive (Canadian divers usually do their dive training directly using a dry suit) because the waters are (very) cold and the climate is not really mild (mists and rain are common)

This is probably not the best place in the world to do an intro dive, but divers looking for unusual dive sites will be conquered.

In addition, diving on the coast of this archipelago promises surprising encounters: Crabs, lobsters, sea lions, anemones, … in a rocky setting that is worth seeing. For the lucky ones, the underwater observation will be graced with small diving penguins engaged in snorkeling, seals (gray, hooded or Greenland), dolphins (white beak or white flank), … and why not whales , killer whales and humpback whales! What happiness in perspective!

All under the attentive gaze of puffins and guillemots.

West Indies

The Caribbean includes 4 “Made in France” dive destinations located in the middle of the Caribbean, some 6,000 km from the metropolis.

Globally we find, off these four islands, the same diving characteristics: warm waters (rarely below 27 ° C), good visibility, rocks and canyons, wrecks, … all immersed around paradisiacal islands offering tropical vegetation, abundant and lush. A specificity of the dives in the waters of the Caribbean is that they are really accessible to all.

Whatever the level of diving, from beginner to confirmed, it is possible to find a site that will leave us a fabulous memory.

You will find a lot of  boxfish, trumpets fish, lobsters, shrimps, but also turtles, rays, barracudas, nurse sharks, wahoo, angel fish (magnificent and enormous) or dolphins if you are lucky.

It would seem that whales can be seen from time to time.

The very characteristic fauna of this part of the globe is noticed by these sponges really gigantic and terribly impressive. The barrel-shaped sponge, Xestospongia muta or barrel of rum, can measure up to 2m high and 1 to 2m in diameter!

It is good to discover all these wonders in a water that allows diving in a 3 mm shorty.

On each of the islands, it is also possible to explore wrecks.

Below, some remarkable sites of each of the islands:

2 Guadeloupe

© DifferentDive | DDIVE

Diving in Guadeloupe without exploring the Cousteau Marine Park at “Les Ilets Pigeons” would be a real shame. It is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Guadeloupe. The protected site is full of fauna and flora and offers the particularity of discovering hot springs underwater (sometimes very hot). A little further south, the wreck Augustin Frenel (artificial reef) is worth the detour.

Despite the fact that the dive centers seem to be on top of each other, and that it looks like a diving industry, once in the water (preferably in the low season), it is possible to savor the dive without any crowd.

In the abundance of centers on the beach of Malendure in Bouillante, it is not easy to make a choice.

Other dive sites are also recommended in Guadeloupe: the “Sec Pate” in the “Canal des Saintes”, the caves in Port Louis, the meeting with leopard rays at Sainte-Rose or a day off at Saint-François to cross pods of barracuda.

Many opportunities to vary the pleasures and to multiply the experiences.

3 Martinique

© DifferentDive | DDIVE

Location of my first immersions in the Caribbean, I have a special affection for diving Martinique which reserves wonderful surprises to who knows how to be surprised.

On the north-west of the island, Saint-Pierre Bay is the favorite place for wreck lovers: Roraima, Dalhia, Biscaille or Tamaya (reserved for specifically trained divers) will amaze many divers.

At the exit of Saint-Pierre in the direction of the north, the islet with the pearl astonishes whereas the canyons of Baboly allow immersions in a spectacular environment whatever the level of diving.

South of Fort-de-France, the typical sites of the Caribbean offer dives for all levels. A beautiful wreck (the Nahoon) also deserves a stop to dive unless you prefer a half-day excursion to the diamond rock (not to be missed!).

4 Saint Martin

Heavily affected by hurricanes, it is difficult today to imagine a departure to this destination. It will probably take some time for the island to regain a rhythm of life and clean the tracks of the passage of the hurricane on land and seabed.

© Kendallpools | Pixabay

One of the peculiarities of this small island is the separation into two parts: one French and the other Dutch. But the really interesting point is the creation in 1998 of a marine protected area of ​​2907 hectares in order to bring turtles back to their places of laying. Many dive sites are unavoidable: sites and wrecks around the Creole Rock, drifting around the dry One Step Beyond (stingrays and nurse sharks) or the wreck of the Proselyte (galleon that sunk in 1801), …

5 St. Barthelemy

Like its neighbor Saint-Martin, the island of St. Barthelemy was swept by the hurricanes of September 2017 and will have to go through a reconstruction phase.

© Somme Thomas

Very clearly the island reserves itself for a very “high-end” tourism and proposes quiet beaches, small creeks and coves scattered on its littoral and landscapes punctuated of three mornes coming to give him relief.

On the diving side, it should be noted at the outset that most sites and wrecks are accessible to divers of all levels.

Mostly shallow with hot water all year long, the dive sites allow enthusiasts to discover a fauna and flora typical of the Caribbean: turtles, barracudas, trumpet fish, tarpon, …

Note however that it would be possible to see whales on the surface just before immersing themselves and listen to them singing especially on the Roches Rouges side (-23 m)

Pacific

6 French Polynesia

© DifferentDive | DDIVE

Difficult to talk about diving in France without mentioning Polynesia.

A paradise for divers, Polynesia offers dive sites in clear, warm waters full of underwater life.

The climate being favorable almost all the year, there is only the embarrassment of the choice to go in this destination requiring however a relatively high budget.

When we think of diving in French Polynesia, from the start, two atolls are needed: Fakarava and Rangiroa

In Fakarava, diving enthusiasts can discover the richness of the North Pass and the South Pass not to be missed for its unique show of the “wall of sharks” (to discover urgently in this article)

In Rangiroa, it is the Tiputa pass that has all the desires: dolphins, eagles rays, barracudas, … impossible to miss a dive in this environment more than favorable, the show in diving is everywhere.

The other islands of Tuamotu and Polynesia also offer an interest in diving. Let’s mention Tikehau, Bora-Bora, Moorea, Rurutu, Hiva oa…

7 Wallis and Futuna

Deciding to go dipping your fins in the warm waters (29 ° C all year round) of Wallis and Futuna, gives you the guarantee of going to meet an atmosphere like the “end of the world “.

This is the authenticity of two small islands lost in the heart of the Pacific.

What are divers looking for when they travel there? Most certainly unusual dives in environments at the antipodes of mass tourism.

8 New Caledonia

© gdoumay | Pixabay

New Caledonia diving is still the second largest reef barrier in the world, a huge lagoon and a protected environment (UNESCO World Heritage) that will delight the most demanding divers.

The variety of sites is immense and the water relatively hot: from 28 ° to 20 ° C according to the seasons
From north to south and from east to west, there are many dive sites not to be missed in New Caledonia: the Isle of Pines for its vertiginous drop offs and its wonderful gorgonians, the Boulari pass, the sites of Bourail and Koumac, the wildlife of incredible wealth and black limestone formations in Hienghene, Lifou Island, …

No doubt that New Caledonia will seduce the most demanding divers; In addition to the incredible variety of multicolored fish, sharks (white tip sharks, leopard sharks, …), rays and other turtles, New Caledonia also allows diving with dugongs (parent of manatee), dolphins and, with luck, humpback whales or nautiluses 🙂

 

9 Clipperton

Nicknamed “the island of passion”, Clipperton is a tiny island of volcanic origin located 1.300 km south of the Mexican coast. Uninhabited, this island interests scientists who want to establish an international research base.

Only a few passionate divers have had the opportunity to dive in the rich waters of Clipperton.

Indian Ocean

10 Reunion

© tofprod | Pixabay

Reunion is regularly on the headlines because of sharks.

However, reading the article “Should we really be afraid of sharks?” Could reassure those who have a negative image of this great predator, the fact remains that the fight is raging between the sharks defenders and those who wish to drive them out of Reunion waters.

If the island is a jewel of natural wealth on earth, underwater, the seabed also book surprises.

A perfect island for combining terrestrial and marine discoveries and / or when divers are accompanied by non-divers.

11 Mayotte

© glittermayotte | Pixabay

A small marine sanctuary on the outskirts of Africa, Mayotte is a destination of choice for those wishing to observe humpback whales.

Every year between July and October, humpback whales swim in the warm waters of this part of the ocean to give birth.

If the multicultural side of the island seduces with its strong African footprint, diving, Mayotte promises unforgettable encounters: sharks, manta rays, barracudas, surgeon fish, groupers, dolphins and even dugong (to discover here). On land it is the lemurs that charm us and turtles that come to lay during the night on the beaches that amaze us.
If by chance you plan to do dives in Mayotte, do not miss out on 3 remarkable sites: the S-pass, the Bandrélé Pass and N’gouja … a lot of happiness and wonder in perspective

12 The Scattered Islands

Is this the destination of divers who have already been around the world?

The scattered islands, surrounded by coral reefs, are located in the Mozambique Channel and north of Reunion Island. Four of the five islands are classified as nature reserves, which allows a great biodiversity to settle. The regulations in terms of navigation are very strict. To dive in, it is better to provide an accredited operator (and a budget)

And after ?

If you have exhausted these 12 destinations, perhaps you will have the immense chance to dive off the Archipelago Kerguelen, that of Crozet Saint Paul Islands or New Amsterdam?

Like Adélie Land in Antarctica, these destinations are not destinations accessible to diving and remain ultra-confidential exploration sites.

Convinced that diving in France is present all around the globe? What will be your next destination?

Post a comment below … it will make me really happy to discover all that diving brings you

Good bubbles and do not forget to be happy 🙂

Helene

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