To visit one of your favourite destinations a second time at a different time of year might present you with a different picture of it. Christmas and New Year was ideal, with few days off work you could get a real long vacation. So I choose Mayotte again (see undercurrent instant reader report Sept. 09). It would give me a warm climate with only 2 hours plus GMT, so no jet lag at all. Again I went on the Boeing 777 with Air Austral starting from Paris via Reunion. A heavy downpour welcomed us on the island. My arrival was a Sunday, everybody seemed to be on last errands for christmas, so it took us 4 hours to reach Jardin Maore Resort. First it took nearly 1 hour form my suitcase to drop onto the carousell. A traffic jam was waiting for us on our way to the ferry, we had to wait for the next boat to reach the main island. In one of the smaller villages a marriage celebration blocked the road. In life and on vacation sometimes everything comes together. Lucky for me, the rain stopped as sudden as it had come, sunshine, blue water and a lovely beach greeted me on arrival at Jardin Maore. I had booked my dives in advance by e-mail and planned to only join the deeper morning dives at the barrier reef outside the lagoon. Dives inside the lagoon mostly had bad vis and I just love walls and going deep. Nitrox was for free. To renew my impressions of the last visit, I immediately went snorkeling inside the bay. On my way to the house reef I already encountered 12 turtles feeding on seagras. Then I swam into plankton thick as pea soup on the surface. It was disgusting to feel that stuff on your cheeks and lips, luckily there were no stingers in between. You really had to sort of shovel your way through this stuff. It was a layer of aproximately 20 cm thick plankton. For three days we had this soup inside the bay, then all of sudden one morning it was gone. The Zodiac from last time here had a puncture. Now you reach the outer reef on a two engined steel boat with sun protection and enough space for your gear camera etc. On our fist morning a big school of dolphins accompanied us jumping and somersaulting out of the water. The walls again were beatiful, huge Gorgonia, good fish life on and around the top of the reef, a little less on the drop offs. A bunch of barracuda, sweetlips, yellow snapper, fuesseliers were swimming around. Once in a while we saw a turtle or a shy shark way below us. One day when we kicked along the wall at around 30 m I saw some movement below, not sure what it was fish or something else. Coming closer near 40 m I recognized 12 bigger squids of aproximately 80 cm which seemed to be in some mating frenzy. I was impressive to see these animals swimming around each other, touching and changing colour all the time. I love to watch this creature with it´s undulating seam all around the body. I dropped down to 47 m watching this, which was not too good an idea diving on EAN 32 and my computer complained with beeps. There were some big trigger fish around which I´m not afraid of, but keep a safe distance. In the Maldives I had some bad experience you can still see a tiny mark on my fins of that. Even so at this time I watched them carefully one guy maybe remembered me and came onto me like a whirlwind. Only wild kicking kept him away but he tried several times to attack me. I hate this as it surely increases your pulse rate tenfold
Two times dolphins approached us under water, a fey bigger sting rays were down on the sandy bottom. Only once did we jump into current and raced along the reef. Then there definitely was much more action around, jacks and barracuda cruising around and fish of every size all around us, a huge grouper passed below us, on top of the reef a napoleon swam by. One day they talked me into a night dive inside the bay. There is a small sailing boat on the bottom at around 18 m. Lots of small stuff in the beam of our torches. With the shadows created by our lights it gave an eerie and bizarre picture. Water on the surface was 29 C deeper down still warm 27 C. I went with a 5 mil which was just fine. Vis most times was good at around 40 m plus, only few times we had to swim through some kind of fog with less than 10 m visibility. Weather most days was good and sunny with temperatures reaching 36 C. Only my last few days were cloudy with some showers in between and strong wind. During my stay there 7 turtles came at night time onto the beach to lay their eggs. I would have liked to see some babies crawling out to reach the sea, but nothing happened. Mamoudzou the capital is worth a visit. The market is a hotspot of colours and one big hurly burly place, cheap mango lychees fruits and spices of all kinds, vanilla and ylang ylang you will find there.