Sharks, Rays & Macro

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Sharks, Rays & Macro???

ASC 4622The Usual Suspects were not the only marine life seen our 10-night liveaboard through the central Maldivian atolls, guests and guides alike were to be delighted with the numerous macro critter findings too! Throughout the day we welcomed our new guests aboard the Maldives Siren. Coming from all over the world – USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Finland & Canada- It had been a long day of travelling and though everyone was eager to get wet, it was time to relax, have a beer, get set up & ready to hit it hard the next day!

Turtle-reWe began our 1st day of diving on Secret Thila, Laamu Atoll – which was super relaxed, with great vis & already tons to see! White eye morays, spiny lobsters, barracudas & fish everywhere! We then started making our way north for some channel diving. Vadinolhu lacked a channel current, but the strong ocean current took us along more of the beautiful reef than we’d ever seen – so many groupers, snappers as well as turtles! Then at Thaa Atoll’s, Dhiyamingili, we most certainly were not disappointed – Napoleons, white tips, honeycomb morays & the biggest green turtle I’ve ever seen!!! We then headed to anchorage where our eager night diver Peter had a relaxing dive on a giri whilst the rest had a more energetic dive into the bar!
Day 2 took us into Meemu Atoll. Kurali Corner did us proud again with for sure 4 different mantas cruising about for the majority of the dive!! Another channel as well as a thila dive showed us our ‘usual suspects’ – huge schools of fish, healthy hard corals & on Tom’s Thila we found a beautiful nudibranch, Chromodoris Tritos, endemic to Maldives – who says its all about the big stuff?!!

coralOur third diving day began with a relaxing drift at Muli Corner – schools of snappers, groupers, Napoleons, white tips and an octopus. But then things got exciting!! At Gaahuraa….huraa the current picked up enough to finally bring in some action, we hooked into the corner to watch the show as at least 12 grey reef sharks many baby or juvenile, with white tips & silver tips as well! Trying to upstage the sharks, our attention was drawn away by a group of 18 beautiful eagle rays flying in formation! Oh yeah, don’t forget the Napoleons, snappers, groupers and morays!! For our 3rd dive, we checked out a channel we’d not had time to dive before – Vattaru Channel on tiny, uninhabited Vattaru Atoll. Being the only channel in this atoll, currents were a bit odd but still provided a ton of life & great corals! Marble rays, black & midnight snappers with the jacks & fusiliers on the corner, a cute juvenile midnight snapper & we discovered here that Simon was our ‘moray whisperer’ – even making friends with a black cheek!! We made it to Vaavu in time to anchor at Rakeedhoo & a couple more people joined Peter for the night dive.

ASC 4611An outgoing current at Rakeedhoo is not normally ideal, but today was perfect ! The big schools of fish were just a bit further away from the reef, giving us more time to enjoy the beautiful corals & to find several leaf fish, octopus & to spend some quality time with the 21 bumphead parrotfish!! We then headed to the far east of the country to be wowed by the soft corals of Fotteyo. Greeting us on descent were 9 Napoleons! Also there to say hello were some grey reefs & white tips, octopus & many many morays! Then, just as we ascended from the overhangs, we were treated to a ballet by 15 eagle rays, all of which seemed totally nonplussed by the photographers & videographer, just doing their thing!! Our 3rd dive of the day at Dhevana Kandu gave us 12 more schooling greys with some white tip friends & if you aren’t sick of sharks yet, the night dive at the Jetty was just icing on the cake! We were the only divers in the water and after a somewhat slow start, the 30 nurse sharks came right to us! I had to hit the deck a few times to keep them from just swimming into me! So beautiful to watch! With all the giant trevallys & marble rays cruising around, it is hard to know where to look. Even Mary couldn’t take her eyes off the nurse sharks above her when one accidentally bumped into her!!

ASC 4905After watching even more schooling greys & white tips at Miyaru Kandu the following morning, we crossed over to S Ari Atoll. The search for whale sharks was unfortunately not successful, but we got an extra dive in at Bodufinolhu & a relaxing night dive at Machchafushi Faru. A nice, lazy, recovery day from all our shark excitement! The following day at Kudimaa Wreck – love this little wreck – we found some new nudibranch for Karlheinz & everyone was very excited to see the black giant frogfish make an appearance again!! We then made a relaxing dive at Radhigga with more grey reef sharks & very healthy corals. After some requests for soft corals & reports of mantas there, we headed for Pannetone. Sadly, no manta, but for those able to see them through the washing machine currents – the corals are amazing!! Everyone came up laughing at the crazy ride in any case – just wishing it could be slower to enjoy more. We wrapped up the day with a twilight dive at the beautiful Dega Thila. With the glassfish back, it is pure magic!

ASC 4453Onwards & upwards into N Ari Atoll we started diving thilas in earnest. To mix things up, we also dived the Fesdu Wreck for some great macro & healthy corals on the neighbouring wall. That afternoon & night was spent at Maaya Thila with all the shark & hunting action. Hafsaa with the greys & baby white tips, was the last stop in Ari Atoll before heading to Rasdhoo Atoll. Where Madivaru Corner as usual had something for everyone. There we enjoyed some relaxing drift dives with healthy corals, Napoleons, eagle rays & of course more sharks! A relaxing sail back to Male, wound up our superb diving trip, reliving our time aboard with a brilliant slide show & videos from guests & guide Shaf – followed by the BBQ dinner. Thank you everyone for joining us!! We had a great time!!

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