Diving in this Archipelago really left me stunned, never before had I seen such beautiful coral diversity and marine life. Every single dive I did during my stay I saw something new that I had never seen before in over 1000 dives which included other fabulous locations such as the notorious Maldives just off Sri Lanka.

Firstly let me introduce myself, I'm Jonny and have been a diving instructor since March 2000. I have dived many locations around the globe and clocked up some serious underwater time. While in Mozambique very recently April through to mid July 2007 I had the opportunity to dive one of the most spectacular coral reefs in the world. On returning home I was feeling homesick for the underwater world and wanted to find out more about the area when I came across this Blog. So I thought I'd let people know what lies beneath the waves in this almost untouched coastline of Mozambique.

The diving offered in the Archipelago really caters for all types of divers from beginners to the very advanced. Beginners will enjoy the sites with sandy bottoms and coral blocks to swim around with the opportunity to see huge turtles resting on the sandy bottom next to some of the biggest coral blocks. Small electric torpedo rays, the classic blue spotted stingrays and sometimes extremely large pointed nose stingrays. While advanced divers can dive in the channels between the islands and see some huge fish drifting in the strong currents. Some of the deeper 12m+ sites in this area are a must see and one of the best wall dives in the area lies just off the North Eastern point of Ilha Quisiva itself.

I was not prepared for what lay beneath the waters of the Quirimbas Archipelago and the people who joined me on my dives were just as amazed by the beauty of this underwater landscape. Most people believe they are the most untouched and pristine coral reefs around and I would have to agree with them. Many sites boast stepped walls allowing for various levels of divers, some walls with sheer drop offs to 40m or more. It is not uncommon to find small swim throughs in the walls as well as huge holes penetrating deep into the wall where I have seen some of the biggest shells of my life, a giant tritan shell almost 50cm long or more.

Big thrills on some of the dives I did in the Quirimbas were, safety stops with wild Dolphins, seeing huge dog tooth tuna's, swimming through schools of huge silver batfish of more than 300 which tend to be resident on some reefs, spotting the almost impossible to see paper fish, seeing well in excess of 50 or more different Nudibranchs and seeing the stunning colours of the electric blue and yellow ribbon eels. Divers might receive a very big surprise and see humpback whales breeching the water just a few yards from the islands or your boat, although it is not advisable to try scuba with the whales due to their sheer size.

The geography of the area indicates that there should be a presence of large sharks in the area especially due to the strong currents. A whale shark was spotted on the surface on one of our dives and on a few occasions Manta Rays jumped from the water. Although during my time underwater I only saw one small white tip reef shark, I do believe that the diversity of cleaning shrimp and wrasses found on some reefs suggests that these may be used by manta's and sharks for cleaning during the early sunrise hours, but I never had the opportunity to check out these sites during my stay at those early morning hours. There is still plenty of research and dive site investigation needed in the area as there is only one very small operation running from an island further north.

Hawksbill Turtle near Ilha Quisiva - Photograph by Peter Cronje

Nudibranchs around Ilha Quisiva - Photograph by Peter Cronje