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Dive Review of MSY Elegante in

MSY Elegante: "Economy liveaboard a bit rough around the edges but great whale sharks", Dec, 2019,

by Jennifer Widom, CA, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 11 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 11390.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 3 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 3 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 3 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments The MSY Elegante is one of a small number of liveaboards that spend time in Djibouti during the winter whale shark season (roughly November-January). Two of the boats, Lucy and Nemo, appear to be relatively upscale custom dive boats and take more than 20 divers. Two others are repurposed wooden schooners, including Elegante, which takes 14 divers. Elegante caters primarily to Italians, though we had a few Americans aboard (us), one Swiss, and one Brit. Everyone was there to see the whale sharks, which are quite reliable particularly when snorkeling. (We didn't see any whale sharks while diving, although one group had a brief encounter.) We looked for whale sharks during 3 of our 6 days when we were in the prime area, with great success on two of them; we also did 2-3 reef dives every day. The regular diving certainly doesn't match up to the coral triangle, but the reefs are healthy, and the fish, rays, and turtles are plentiful. Visibility was 30-40 feet, the price one pays to have the whale sharks around.

The boat is aging and schooners aren't really laid out for diving, but the boat and routine were set up well enough to get the job done. The cabins are on the small side but they're clean and en suite; none seemed to have working air conditioners and some had significant generator noise. The Sudanese boat crew also pretty much just got the job done, with the exception of one charismatic dinghy driver -- thanks Mamoun! The divemaster/trip-director was a young Italian who ... you guessed it, got the job done, albeit rather passively. There was a second divemaster who seemed somewhat inexperienced and mysteriously stopped diving partway through the trip, leaving us just one guide for 12 divers (though the experienced group and easy conditions made it no issue). The strongest suit of the boat operation may have been the food: meals were plentiful and ranged from good to delicious. On the other hand, snacks and beverages were a bit limited, communicating the requirements of one of our group with strict gluten-free restrictions was difficult, and the stomach issues that struck a few passengers were likely food-related.

We admired the more upscale liveaboards from afar, though the number of divers would be a real concern -- whale sharks are a lot more fun to snorkel with when there's not a huge crowd. The high point of our trip was when most of our passengers were on an optional land tour, and the remaining five of us swam with a friendly whale shark for a good part of an hour. That experience, along with the pleasant reef diving, made the trip a worthwhile one.
Websites MSY Elegante   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving worldwide
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, dry Seas choppy, no currents
Water Temp 83-84°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20-40 Ft/ 6-12 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions [Unspecified]
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? no

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks > 2
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 2 stars Large Fish 3 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments [None]
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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