Best of the Maldives
Liveaboard - Indian Ocean
Travel to Dive Day 2
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Having booked onto a 'Manta Madness' itinery, it soon
became clear that we weren't following the script, it turns out that
there was a mix up between the tour operator and the boat and instead,
we were on a 'Best of the Maldives' itinery. It gave an opportunity to
see some fantastic variety, though it did mean I didn't get any Manta
Fellow passengers: David, Clive, Neil, Gary & Serena, Ivor & Susan, Monty (Neil) &
Rosie, Kevin & Natasha, Thomas & Tamasin, John & Ronnie,
Dyfed & Alison, Wayne & Alison and Alexander & Abigail.
Crew: Ashra, Rauf & Sid (dive
guides), Imran & Vicram (food & beer), Momahed, Ranuman,
Kausaru, Ankta, Hameed, Addore, Aldulla Jagey, Amir, Lakmal, Alli,
Aulaadhu & Captain Hameed. Trip director: Mary.
I was travelling with a new camera housing and a strobe for the
first time and it's fair to say that my photo's weren't anywhere near as
good as I'd hoped.
Needless to say anything we saw was a million times more stunning than
any of the ropey pictures I managed to take. Anything we saw 'in the
blue', at night or at any sort of distance wasn't really photographable
with my meager skills, but were nonetheless highly impressive.
Leaving Heathrow, WH Smith's view of everything we Brits can't possibly do without when we leave Old Blighty...
Taxi ride from Male airport to the boat - a bit nicer than the M25 to Heathrow...
We spent the afternoon waiting for the Emirates flight and watching the boats and floatplanes buzz around Male...
Dive Day 1 (3 dives)
I didn't take my camera out on the first dive day, while I got used to
the buoyancy, etc - big mistake that turned out to be as it was the
only day that I got to see Mantas on what I still thought at that time
was to be a Manta Madness trip.
Dive 1 - Kurumba Reef, Vihamanaa, North Male Atoll - Plenty of reef
fish - Titan Triggerfish, Bat Fish, Trumpetfish (gold), Clownfish &
Dive 2 - Lankan Manta Point - North Male Atoll - A fantastic trip to a
cleaning station, with up to 4 huge and beautiful mantas at any one
time - stunning.
Dive 3 - Rasdhoo Madivaru, Rasdhoo Atoll - Sunset Dive - Morays on the move, Leaf-Fish, Pufferfish, Trumpetfish (silver).
Dive Day 2 (4 dives)
Dive 4 - Madivaru Out - a 05:30 start for the hope of seeing Hammerhead sharks.
The odds were 50:50 and they were seen on the previous week, alas we were the wrong 50.
Everyone composed and ready to go on the dhoni...
It was so early that there was still bioluminescent plankton in the water.
A large jellyfish that floated by...
Dominic's (owner's brother) hand as he broke the surface after the dive - a slightly eerie view...
The dhoni coming to pick us up and
time for me to wrestle to get my fins off, which would sucker on to my
feet during the dives...
Dive 5 - Rasdhoo Madivaru
A dive where there were Eagle Rays and Sharks out in the blue.
Damselfish on an Acropora coral...
A Vermilion Rock Cod & Clam combo...
Big Nosed Unicornfish - we saw a lot of these chaps who seemed to enjoy playing amongst the bubbles we produced...
Dive 6 - Maaya Thila (pinnacle), North Ari Atoll
Sharks hunting above the pinnacle, this was an amazing sight as they
would cruise as a pair and make occasional sudden lunges into the
shoals of fish...
Whitetip Reef Shark...
Dive 7 - Maaya Tila, North Ari Atoll - Night Dive
I've not been overly impressed by night
dives in the past, but this one was billed as something special and it
No photo's, but there were a
plethora of sharks and trevallies hunting, as well as free swimming
moray eels, stingrays and a large turtles sleeping in overhangs and
caves, well worth getting wet for!
After dinner we were treated to
Maldivian drumming on the deck - to the untrained ear, it was not
always easy to pick a regular beat...
However, Rauf had no problem though...
Next stop - Dive Day 3
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