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Africa Forum > Dive Atoll Bassas Da India
posted : April 2, 2009 Post subject: Dive Atoll Bassas Da India
Dive Bassas Da India – Atoll of Mozambican Coast

To book, email info @ scubamozambique.com 1st trip 24 May 09, 2nd trip July 09

Join Our 1st Exploratory Dive Trip to Bassas da India

Yes, you can now dive Bassas da India. Scuba Mozambique is proud to launch its first dive expedition to Bassas da India 24 May 2009. This live-aboard trip is for 13 days of which 10 is on sea and 3 on land.

Being the first of many trips, this 24 May excursion will be an exploratory trip where our hand selected dive master, Johan Boshoff (see profile below), will for the first time dive these unexplored reefs.

We have all heard stories about the fantastic diving at Bassas. These stories are from dive clubs or groups of friends that charter yachts and just go dive. Scuba Mozambique however will be the first company to bring you guided live-aboard’s on luxury yachts to Bassas da India. The yachts used are very exclusive and the divers are kept to a maximum of 6 per boat. The excursions are done 2 boats together at a time.

The Marine Rich Waters of Bassas Da India

As the conditions are as near pristine as one can get the fish life around the atoll is prolific and all species are of noteworthy size. Expect the BIG five, big sharks - oceanic white tips, silver tips and grey reef sharks, hammerheads, shoals of large tuna, barracuda, kingfish and many other large reef fish - of all species.
Explore gently sloping reefs passing giant table corals until you reach the edge of the drop off that plunges from 20 metres down into the abyss - watch out for the vertigo! Schools of rainbow runners and kingfish occupy this deep blue along with yellowfin tuna, silver tip shark and hammerhead.
In the shallower water you can explore coral outcrops spread across a sandy bottom where large schools of parrotfish, fusiliers, anthias and solitary groupers mix with moray eels, wrasse, butterfly fish and angelfish.
Because of the depths of the wall dives, time is spent snorkelling or fishing in between dives. Swim through huge schools of yellowtop fusiliers and have close encounters with giant kingfish (up to 50kg) and watch parrotfish feeding at low tide along the exposed coral with their fins out of the water.

Though the atoll is fairly well charted, and has been so for centuries, it is a most treacherous reef simply because it cannot be seen at high tide. For this reason it is a graveyard of ships. Nobody seems to know exactly how many _ but the place is littered with wrecks, perhaps as many as a hundred. Some of these wreck are centuries old, others more recent.
The most famous of these is the Santiago, a Portuguese East Indiaman that ran aground here en route to Goa in 1585, the remains of which are still is visible on the reef. Salvage divers have recovered around 10,000 Spanish pieces of eight emeralds, jewellery, 20 bronze canons and a rare Portuguese nautical astrolabe from this wreck site. The 4.5m long anchor lying on the reef-top visibly identifies this wreck.

The Itinerary

Day 1 - Fly Johannesburg to Vilanculos. Overnight Vilanculos at Casa Rex.

Day 2 - 7 am Boat departs Vilanculos harbour. 9 am Arrive Bazaruto Island. Two dives on Two Mile Reef. Lunch. After lunch depart Bazaruto on route to Bassas Da India.

Day 3 - Late afternoon half way to Bassas Da India.

Day 4 - Late afternoon arrive at Bassas. Dive.

Day 5 to 9- Aiming for 12 dives during these 5 days.

Day 10 – Dive, Dive. Late afternoon Depart Bassas on route to Vilanculos.

Day 11 - Late afternoon half way to Vilanculos.

Day 12 - Late afternoon arrive at Vilanculos.

Day 14 - Overnight Vilanculos at Casa Rex.

Day 15 - Overnight Vilanculos at Casa Rex (spend extra night due to flight schedules). Fly Vilanculos to Johannesburg.

The diving

The depth of the dives will be determined on site. The dive group is usually dropped at 10 meters. Most dives are done between 18 and 40 meters. You do not need to dive deep to experience the awe of Bassas. Diving takes place on the North East side of the island where the reef slopes down very gradually. It is a relatively long swim before you reach the drop off or rather wall. Should the group of divers all be very experienced deep divers then it is their choice as a group whether they are going to dive the wall or not. The drop off is bottomless so the danger factor here is high indeed. Scuba Mozambique strongly recommends shallow dives only. The dives that you choose to do is entirely your choice and you need to take responsibly for your own safety. You can definitely spend many days diving the shallows of Bassas venturing to some of the many shipwrecks that plague the North East side of the atoll. This wreck graveyard is host to the most incredible ecosystem and marine life waters that you will probable ever experience.

Dive leader profile: Johan Boshoff
Johan Boshoff is one of the first registered Underwater Marine and Shark Guides in South Africa. Obtaining this qualification was aided by the years of experience in diving and being a Dive Master and Instructor as well as being the Chief Editor of the Divestyle magazine from 2005. The Magazine is the leading scuba diving magazine in Southern Africa. He is also an underwater videographer, photographer and a presenter for a Local TV Production on South Africa’s local television.

Johan developed the Marine Life Educational CD for household use. It is a user-friendly computer programme with more than 4 000 full colour photographs of Marine Life that will help divers and non-divers identify and learn more about the life in and around the ocean.

‘The Dive spots of Southern Africa’ is an indispensable guide book for all levels of divers, developed by Johan and his wife Amilda. Through extensive travel and diving, Johan and Amilda brings you their view of dive sites in Southern Africa with important info, full colour photo’s of dive destinations, accommodation, facilities and descriptions of different reefs and fresh water sites to be dived locally as well as in neighbouring Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia.

Individual dive sites are star rated and include conditions, access, depth, marine life, accommodation, facilities and travel tips. Detailed full colour illustrated maps provide the reader with dive site locations and reef information.

Johan was involved in a number of television productions for 50/50, a wildlife program. He also produced a documentary with Johann Botha called ‘Beyond 50m’ that was broadcasted in 2007 on South African television. Some of his other footage for documentaries was used by National Geographic, French and German television.

With all of the above mentioned experience in television productions, being editor of Divestyle, marine education and diving itself, Johan rates as one of the most experienced divers on the South African coast.

Requirements / Must know

To join Johan Boshoff, our dive master, we invite 10 divers to discover and dive these unchartered waters for the first time. All divers must be able to dive on a self lead basis as this will be the first time that our dive master will dive at Bassas da India. All divers must have 100 minimum dives logged. All divers must be at instructor level or higher. All divers must have done some technical or deep diving. Reefs at Bassas start at around 18 meters but the wall dives are bottomless. All divers must have extremely good insurance, travel and medical, as the remoteness of this location increases the danger factor drastically. Bassas da India lays 48 hours boat ride from the mainland of Mozambique. There is not a decompression chamber anywhere close by and rescue is almost not possible at all. The owner and skipper of one of the yachts, Rui, have many times explored Bassas taking fishing charters and private customers there. Rui knows the waters well and has also dived there several times. Rui is a CMAS diver but he is not a dive master. Rui will not accompany the dives
as he will be the skipper and the man in charge on the boat. He is there to offer advice and assistance though to our boat leader and qualified diver, Johan Boshoff. Currently he has skipped 8 trips to Bassas and back, one of which he spent 3 weeks there. Only diving on computer will be allowed.
We do not guarantee weather to and at Bassas da India and it is the skippers’ prerogative to turn around if weather conditions are unsafe. Client will have no claim against Oceans Islands and Safaris or Daledna CC (Scuba Mozambique), if trip is interrupted by weather conditions.
Rates: R58 420-00 per person.

Scuba Mozambique is working with the French to obtain permits to dive Bassas and permission will be obtained in a couple of weeks.

Includes flights from Johannesburg (South Africa) to Vilanculos return. 3 Nights accommodation on mainland Vilanculos in luxury guesthouse. Airport transfers. 10 Nights yacht charter to Bassas. Dive Gear rental. Preferable you should bring as much of your own gear as possible. All meals and drinks on the boat.