Diving in Mayotte: the South, kingdom of sea turtles

Diving with turtles in Mayotte

My second part of the discovery of Mayotte is the south of the island. In N’Gouja my goal was to dive with turtles but also to dream of crossing a whale and enjoying all what this lagoon unique in the world could offer me.

N’Gouja where diving with turtles is a must

For this stop, I stay at the Jardin Maoré, a well-known hotel in Mayotte for its location on the beautiful beach of N’Gouja. High nesting place for sea turtles.

The hotel is made up of small bungalows scattered in a tropical garden. The restaurant offers delicious dishes. I can finally eat something warm after my three days “raw and cold”. The beach is beautiful and allows you to admire beautiful sunsets.

Coucher de soleil sur la plage de N'Gouja
Coucher de soleil sur la plage de N’Gouja | © Different Dive

It is in the jardin Maoré that I will feel a strong tremor shaken by the earthquakes that has been shaking the island for a few months. Strange feeling that someone is moving the whole bungalow. This is also where I will be able to admire the most lemurs.

Des lémuriens dans les environs de l'hotel du Jardin Mahoré
Lémuriens | © Different Dive

I don’t have a dive scheduled for the day of my arrival as the centre is closed. I forgot to check this when I booked. So I take the opportunity to snorkel. The show is everywhere. Turtles graze the underwater herbarium on all sides and I don’t know where to look. This beach offers the incredible opportunity to work on its snorkeling abilities to dive with turtles in Mayotte… without knowing how to dive. This place made me think a little (better) of the bay where I had the opportunity to cross a lot as well.

[Find out more here about this fascinating bay? It’s HERE ]

Une tortue marine broute l'herbier sous marin de la plage de N'Gouja
Silence, je broute | © Different Dive

First dive south of Mayotte: where bloggers meet

The next day, I have an appointment with “Moray Eel”, a blogger diver who lives in Mayotte. She animates the blog travel and bubbles that I recommend if, like her, you love to travel. We agreed to meet and dive together. It is with the Abalone Club that we will explore the North “Boat Pass”. The welcome is tea and coffee. But the impatience is there; I secretly dream to see a whale in the pass.

Hélène et Moray s'apprêtent à plonger au sud de Mayotte
Plongée entre blogueuses | © Different Dive

No luck for this dive: no sharks, no dolphins, no whales… but all the life specific to this beautiful region of the world: magnificent gorgonians, moray eelsfish, soft corals,…

The temperature in the south of the island is one degree cooler than in the east. When I see goose bumps on the legs of divers dressed in 3mm shorty, I am pleased to have taken my 5mm suit with me. I’m good, comfortable. Unthinkable for me to be cold in this part of the world.

On the way back, we all talk together in the shelter of large mangroves and a planter (local cocktail) offered by the club.

Second day of diving: all the best

The next day, I dive with the Maoré Lagoon Club  directly attached to the hotel on the N’Gouja beach. Carole and Olivier welcome us and we step on their boat with some other divers towards the “Sada” pass.

Suddenly, Olivier stops the boat. A shoal of bottlenose dolphins revolve around us. He offers us to go into the water. Don’t tell us twice. And in a few moments we are all in the water surrounded by dolphins who are obviously having fun with us.

When our fin friends move away, we board to get to our spot quickly.

Dive to the Sada Pass.

We will perform two magnificent dives at the Sada Pass. This is what the underwater world can offer us, it’s wonderful. These dives will leave us with an warm feeling of gratitude to be able to live these experiences.

This is where I’ll see my first porcelain crabs, a white frog fish, jacks,… But also, that I will be surrounded throughout the dive by the song of the whales. Unique moment etched forever in my memories.

Un crabe porcelaine peut être aperçu si vous allez plonger au Sud de Mayotte
Fragile ? Magnifique crabe porcelaine | © Different Dive
Un poisson frog fish blanc lors d'une plongée à Mayotte
Frog Fish | © Different Dive

No sooner have we got back on the boat than we see a couple of sea turtles busy breeding on the ocean.

When going back, Olivier plays with the dolphins that race us and have fun in the waves created by our boat.

That day, I return with an emotional heart at the beach of N’Gouja.

Later in the evening, I will (almost) not be disappointed to have missed the “emergence” of baby turtles a few dozen meters from me. Anyway, I’ll be back.

Third day of diving: diving with turtles in Mayotte, really?

For the third day of diving, I take my partner for a dive with the Abalone club. Since he had not accompanied me the first time and since the Maoré Lagoon is closed, we look forward to this extra dive.

Yet an unexpected event occurs. We are woken early by our neighbors from bungalows who urge us to come to the beach. A turtle finishes its laying by hitting the sand. We don’t get too close in order not to disturb her when suddenly she leaves her place of laying eggs. The impressive turtle will take more than half an hour to reach the sea at the cost of considerable effort. The show is amazing and makes me forget the baby turtles that I could not see the day before.

Des personnes observent une tortue qui rejoint la mer sur la plage de N'Gouja à Mayotte
En admiration | © Different Dive

I stay a long time on this beautiful beach dreaming of these horizons that I would never know.

But already, it’s time to join the dive club.

Once again, we will not be disappointed: gorgonians, turtles, corals, sponges, juvenile schools, turtles, lion fish, … And even a manta ray that will come to greet us at the end of the dive.

What happiness

Une merveilleuse anémone rouge.
toute de rouge vêtue | © Different Dive
Une raie manta dans les eaux de Mayotte
Merveilleuse rencontre de fin de plongée | © Different Dive

My opinion on my stay south of Mayotte

Le jardin Maoré ( ➡️ more information HERE ) 

I like: idyllic situation on the beach of N'Gouja, lemurs, turtles all over the water, laying and the opportunity to observe an emergence (I said, I'll be back), the restaurant offering very good cuisine , bungalows with sea views 
I like less: aging infrastructure, the hotel would certainly deserve to be renovated to be in line with the asked prices.
Le sud de Mayotte abrite des plages de cartes postales
Plage de rêve | © Different Dive
The Lagon Maoré Diving Club ( ➡️ more information HERE )

I like: its location next to the hotel on a beautiful beach, close to very nice diving spots, very good organization, availability of team members who do not hesitate to stop to play with dolphins for example, spacious boat fast and stable, tea and biscuits between the two dives, good knowledge of the sites. Nothing to say, the "diving" side is perfect.

I like less: difficult to have a contact by email, welcome is distant (the managers did not speak to us once on the boat but discussed a lot with the regulars), the club deserves to be modernized, the club is closed certain days of the week (point of vigilance when booking the stay)
Une personne au fond d'un bateau se demande quand il faut appeler les secours en plongée
Sur le retour de plongée | © Different Dive
The Abalone Diving Club ( ➡️ more information HERE ) 

I like: the very friendly welcome, invested instructor generously sharing his love of the sea (I forgot his first name), biscuit and drink offered at the end of the dive, the staff "takes the time", space to let dry your equipment between two dives, large space with shady tables to be able to exchange at the end of the dive with others, showers and toilet, easy to park

I like less: the situation, the way to the boat at low tide on a beach that makes less dream, the infrastructure in the shipping containers (at the time the project was to transform everything). No fresh water on the boat (there was a bottle that seemed to hang there for a very long time)
Le bateau du club Abalone s'apprête à emmener les personnes plonger au sud de Mayotte
Le bateau du club Abalone | © Different Dive

Diving south of Mayotte

Very clearly, I loved the dives south of Mayotte in the kingdom of sea turtles. In the South, it is finally equipped with my fins, mask and snorkel that I was able to dive with the turtles in Mayotte.

Morning dives are drift dives that take place along the drop-off of the Great Barrier Reef. Take 30 minutes of boat ride (in a dreamy landscape, it must admit). The waters are clearer and marine life richer. I didn’t test the afternoon dives in the nearby lagoon or the night dives. (Not on the program when I’m there).

I loved the visibility of the water, the thrensity of underwater life, the turtle paradise in N’Gouja, the song of whales (when you’re lucky), the colors of the corals, the wild side, the majestic Sada pass ,… And everything else.

And since I could not observe any emergence or cross a whale during a dive ... I'll be back

Have you ever been diving with the turtles in Mayotte? Do you know this southern part of the island?

Feel free to leave me a comment directly on the blog. I’ll be happy to talk to you.

And above all… remember to be happy 🤗

Hélène

[What if we stay in touch? ]

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