Photography in the Southern Maldives

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Photography in the Southern Maldives

Reef-Scene---Marc-SticklerOur first day aboard the Maldives Siren we opted to take it easy, set up all dive equipment and camera gear and enjoy the beautiful Maldivian sunset. For a first dive of the trip we chose Vilingili Giri , pinnacle inside Gaafu Atoll with beautiful hard corals and no currents to ease us in gently but our second dive was a bit more challenging and exciting; Vilingili Kandu. This dive never disappoint us with its school of barracudas, tuna and many grey reef sharks all along the drop off of the channel. We followed up with a dive at Rasheed Thila for the amazing hard coral garden with good macro finding many cleaner shrimp and a ghost pipefish. An interesting and varied diving day!

Fish-school---Walter-LadensteinWe kicked off our third day with a return to adrenalin pumping Vilingili Kandu where we had an amazing dive with a silky shark following us around in the blue, barracudas and grey reef sharks were schooling on the drop off meanwhile tuna and trevally were hunting on the schooling fusiliers. For our second dive we chose Koodoo Kando and once again sharks and eagle rays were seen playing with the gentle current on the entrance to the channel. During lunch Captain Ashraf moved the yacht south to Nilandhoo where we dived the thila and house reef spotting leaf fish and the Maldivian sponge snail Kuredhdhoo Kando provided a beautiful dive with a mild current, big school of bonitos, jacks and grey reef sharks all together. A great start to our fourth day. The current then picked up for our dive at Nilandhoo Kandu bringing a school of 50-60 sharks close to the drop off – we hooked in a few metres away and enjoyed the show. Our afternoon and night dive were focussed on the macro subjects once again at Nilandhoo Giri and Vodamula Island. Then after dinner our trip host and photographer, Marc Stickler, gave a presentation on “Earth and Ocean Forming”.

A gentle drift dive at Vudamula Kandu started off day 5, whilst a dive at Funandhooviligili Kandu had us drifting gently along the outside wall and into the channel to see Napoleon wrasse, stingrays, leopard shark and ghost pipe fish as well as grey & white tip reef sharks and a few turtles. For our 3rd dive of the day we jumped in at Funandhoo Thila to find Tuna, rainbow runners and trevally hunting on a large school of silversides.

Leopard Shark1-reDives at Kondey Kandu and Gemanafushi Beyru were our choice for day 7 of this liveaboard safari, with sightings of reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse, turtles, schools of midnight snapper and barracuda as well as eagle rays grey reef sharks even 2 blue marlins passed by to check on us! After a delicious dinner from chef Alibe our guests relaxed in the lounge to view the trip photos taken thus far. The following morning we got a late start to put us on a different time schedule to the other 2 yachts in the area of Mareha Kandu and we were rewarded with a channel only for us; full of grey reef sharks, eagle rays, 6 sailfish and couple of Napoleon wrasse. The second dive we did outside wall of Gemanafushi and again had a great dive finding a Leopard shark chilling on the bottom, eagle rays, and numerous green turtles and of course plenty of colourful reef fish providing excellent subjects for the photographers. Moving south to Gan we dived to Mafzoo Thila with its stunning gorgonian fans and rounded up the day with a macro critter hunt at the Veraaviligilla House Reef; leaf fish being one of the favourite finds. Marc gave us a presentation on ocean currents and how they reflect on the weather, reef types and evolution of the reefs.

Pink soft coral-reAt Gan Beyru’s outside wall we dived amongst the beautiful hard corals, spotting mobula and sting rays swimming around after this dive we start moving back northwards along the Easter edge of the atoll stopping again at Mareha Kandu where we enjoyed watching schooling eagle rays sharks and barracudas. A beach workshop followed with the guests practicing their shots of the setting sun before we all enjoyed a dinner at our “sand whale shark” table. For the final dives of the trip our guests voted on their favourites and returned to those sites for another crack at the schools of reef sharks, whilst some preferred a return to the no-current macro dives inside the atoll. Then the final photo opportunity arrived as we hoisted the sails of the Maldives Siren and cruised northwards to anchor for the night before our group would disembark for their flight to Male from Koodoo. Some superb photos taken and fantastic dives enjoyed by all, we look forward to seeing Marc and the Fish and Trips group once again!

Photos by – Marc Stickler

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