Following on from Part I of Original Diver Neill's exploratory dive expedition to the remote Outer Islands, the team leave Astove to discover the virgin waters of Cosmoledo…
The Remote Atoll of Cosmoledo
After experiencing world-class diving in Astove it was on to our next stop, the atoll of Cosmoledo, where our home for the next few nights would be a new lodge on the magically named (apologies for the pun) Wizard Island. And I do mean new; we were the first dive group ever to have stayed here which was very special.
The island is a short 90-minute boat ride from Astove and when you come into Wizard Island, you are immediately struck by the remoteness of the place. I was running around like a child with a big grin on my face just at the beauty of the location.
And then you explore the camp which is extraordinary. Built from nothing in three weeks, accommodation is made up of old shipping containers that have been stylishly decorated and proved to be very comfortable lodgings. The main area is a safari-style tent, and everything is condensed into a relatively small area. The idea was to build something that, when all is said and done, can be taken away to leave the island almost as if no-one had ever been. Preserving the environment is very important here.
Diving the Final Frontier
On to the diving which, much like Astove, is world-class (without exaggeration). The best thing, at least in my opinion, is how exploratory it feels - here you are diving sites that have likely never been dived (we even named one!). There has been diving before from liveaboards and private vessels that have come through but given the atoll is geographically large, there is a lot still to be explored. This does present risks in that if you are exploring, sometimes what you find isn't very good! We jumped in for one dive in an area where fishermen had been seeing a lot of fish and sharks and ended up aborting the dive after 30 minutes as there was nothing to see. But that's part of the charm.
What to See
Much like Astove, the coral is varied and healthy. I would say Astove pips it but it's still excellent. The fish life is also varied and in large quantities though on our trip, we were surprised at the lack of pelagics. We were expecting more here, particularly as the fishermen have regularly been seeing a lot of sharks - bulls, tigers, hammerheads - but we saw very few. All the conditions are there for sharks and it could either be we were just unlucky, or that we just didn't know where to look (to the point above about this being exploratory).
Away from the diving, the fishing is some of the best in the world, and you can explore the bird colonies and the islands of the atoll but as with Astove, this is a place you come to with a purpose. Wizard Island is a lovely place to relax with pristine beaches and clear blue seas but most of the day is spent out exploring.
For me, this was the gem in the trip, largely down to the location. It's somewhere I would return in a flash.
The Finale: A Luxury Private Island
After a week on Astove and Cosmoledo we sadly said farewell as we took the boat back to Astove and boarded our small plane. Some of the group travelled straight back home and some of us spent a couple of nights on the lovely island of Alphonse for a bit of comfort at the end of the trip, and of course a little more diving. You can read this blog from my previous trip to Alphonse in 2017 which started this whole adventure. It's a special place and the birthplace of sailfish snorkelling!
Finally, one more night in Mahe before our journey back to the UK armed with stories of our epic adventure to the Outer Islands of the Seychelles!
Interested in a pioneering diving expedition in the Outer Islands? Get in touch with one of our team to organise your epic adventure.