Comoros - Scuba Diving in Moroni


I had no expectations, not for the dive center and not for the dives. Therefore I was positively surprised on the whole experience. The dives are not cheap, but for the remoteness of this country and the associated low number of tourists and divers, there is not much more to ask for. 

There is only one diving center in the whole of Comoros. This is on Moroni on the beach Itsandara. The small beach is very busy with locals doing sports even early in the morning.


The owner offers hobby diving only as a sideline. With so few tourists something else makes no sense. He is probably one of the only professional divers in the whole country. The main source of income for the base is diving jobs for underwater work all over the country. Since it is the only dive center, they are the only place to go for any jobs in Comoros. So when a customer or tourist shows up for diving, the owner and his crew make time for it.


The owner is a local and speaks perfect English and is actively reachable via Whatsapp. 

For Comorian circumstances, the dive center is in very good condition and has equipment for rent for larger groups. Have planned the whole thing several weeks ago with the owner. Unfortunately, the diving originally planned for yesterday was not possible, because the compressor had a problem and so my diving had to be postponed to today.




Today they scheduled for me and in the afternoon they have an order to prepare a buoy for mooring a high water vessel. So the second dive went in the same direction as the location of the buoy. At the same time before the second dive, the dive guide was able to briefly check certain things on it before we started the second dive.

At 7:00 I was there and on time also the owner or dive guide. 


We went through the formalities and the selection of the equipment. As I said, for Comorian conditions it all is in very good condition, but due to the remoteness of the country, you have to turn a blind eye to the equipment. For example, the wetsuit is not "the newest" and has "some scratches" or the O-ring to the bottle can just bubble a little. It's not great as there is the constant little sound from behind, but it's basically not a problem.

The boat driver and the dive guide preparing the boat and then departure.



I was the only diver, so I had to "rent" the guide and the boat driver. The whole costs including equipment 60 euros per dive. Understandably, a single dive is not worth it for the crew, especially with only one customer, and so at least 2 dives must be made. So two dives are 120 Euro and lasted in my case from 7:00 to 12:30.

The first dive was a 15 minutes boat ride from the shore, at a reef near the Golden Tulip Hotel.




Unfortunately, the weather changed from sunny to cloudy but it seemed it will change quickly again in a few minutes. So we waited a while on the boat. After 15 minutes, however, it seemed to get worse and so we went in the water.

The visibility was good and there were more corals and animals than I expected. Also a good thing is there is no coral bleaching visible.





The first special creature I saw was a the black and white seasnake. A poisonous seasnake which was on the hunt for food.







After the first dive, we drive back to the beach for a one-hour break. Without the sun it was quite chilly, even with a 5-millimeter wetsuit, especially after getting back on the boat and when driving back to the shore.  At the base, there are no showers or running water (no toilets either).

About an hour later we reloaded the equipment and drive to the second spot. The reef for the second dive was on towards south of Moroni. The ride was interesting as it was possible to see the island from a different angle.




The reef was near the harbor where the guide is working as a professional diver when he is not guiding tourist divers for fun dives. We had a quick stop at the buoy for transport ships. Part of the dive guide's job is to keep the buoy up and running so the huge supertanker ships can dock there.

We stopped after 10 minutes of driving. I didn't expect to find a nice intact reef here. But I was wrong as there was a turtle, a lot of stonefish and crocodile fish, as well as sea snakes and rays buried in the sand.











After 55 minutes under the surface, we finished the dive and drove back to the shore. Unfortunately there are no showers to wash off the salt, but they have some bottles with rain water to wash off the the worst and clean small equipment, like camera, mask and torch.

The timing was as predicted, we finished at around 12:30pm. The dive base is in the middle on the picture, right there at the beach on the right side of the tree.




Conclusion:

The diving itself is much better than I thought. Of course, you pay for the uniqueness of diving in Comoros and for private dives without any other divers around. 


Excellent visibility and calm waters even with cloudy weather above. Very busy reefs with special fish, lots of fish like crocodile fish, stonefish, rays, sea snakes, nudibranchs. Too bad the weather didn't cooperate that morning. Surely it would have been much better with the sun above, but the boat ride with a view of Grand Comoros, the visibility underwater and was even great without it.

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