Maldives Siren graduates from SharkSchool…

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Divers attend SharkSchool…

sharkThe Maldives Siren was pleased to welcome aboard our guests from Germany and Switzerland together with Dr. Erich Ritter, a shark-human interaction behavioural specialist, whose research has dispelled many myths and opened new doors in this field of study. Once equipment was assembled and checked, time was given over to relax, and look forward to the adventure whilst attending ‘SharkSchool‘.

Leopard Shark2-reOur check dive at Vilingili Giri  provided immediate results, with a leopard shark spotted during our descent, a good omen for trip ahead. This continued as we enjoyed the company of a large school of grey reef shark patrolling the entrance of the channel at Vilingili Kandu dive site. Our drift dive at Koodoo Kandu saw the return of the grey reef, accompanied by numerous tuna and green sea turtle. Capitan Ashraf repositioned the Siren to Whale Shark Point at Rasheed Giri for our night dive, as Dr. Erich gave a short presentation about the course.

Unfortunately, no whale shark attended the evening class, but the following morning Vilingili Kandu hit the mark as schooling barracuda and grey reef sharks passed through the channel, then it was south to Nilandhoo Kandu where our second dive gave more ‘shark action‘. For dive three we chose Nilandhoo Giri for a relax afternoon viewing, after which Dr. Ritter continued his course with an informative seminar.

Napoleon wrasse

Day four started with a large school of grey reef sharks, green turtles and a solitary leopard shark resting on the bottom just inside the channel. We then visited Kuredhdhoo Kandu where the current was slightly stronger, however plenty of reef sharks were present, schooling jacks and midnight snappers were at the drop off, whilst Napoleon wrasse and the green turtles drifted into the channel.

Dr. Erich provided an hour’s lecture as we started venturing further south for dive 3 at Vodamulaa Kandu. At the start we sighted eagle rays and Napoleon wrasse, then reaching the channel watched the sharks enjoying the current, before we drifted inside to appreciate the beautiful hard coral gardens. Back on board the Maldives Siren Dr. Ritter reviewed the dive and continued his fascinating lessons before we dived back into the water for our night dive at Vodamulaa House Reef.

We began our fifth day searching the blue for hammerhead sharks, unfortunately none were spotted though we would not be disappointed in our endeavours during the adventure. Grey reef and our first encounter with white tip sharks were enthralling as they played in the current of the channel. We then relocated to a particular favourite dive site, Mareha Kandu, as Erich held a further lecture of the course during the surface interval. Schooling eagle rays, sailfish, barracudas, grey reef sharks, Napoleons, green turtles and so much more were all present. Erich then added on to his earlier lecture before our evening dive at Mareha House Reef.

Shark school with Dr Erich Ritter aboard Maldives Siren

Our following two days of diving were superb with mobula rays, grey and white tip shark, a huge variety of reef fish and stunning corals, schools of jacks, trevally and various snappers to name a few which often encircled us. After our night dive at Kondey House Reef our skipper moved us to Nilandhoo where we moored to continue our search for Sphyrnidae.

With a strong current greeting us on our first dive of day eight we remained near the corner of the channel looking at a shoal of grey reef sharks, until a huge hammerhead emerged to check on us – our quest achieved. We then ventured in locating a leopard shark hiding as an eagle ray flew past. Dive two at Kuredhdhoo Kandu commenced with a drift from the outside wall where we saw more mobula rays with Napoleon wrasse among others, and concluded with a long sweep back into the channel with all the usual suspects present. We returned to Nilandhoo as Dr. Ritter elaborated further in ‘SharkSchool’.

Day nine was focussed on the behavioural characteristics exhibited by sharks as we dived Nilandhoo Kandu.Visits to Vilingili Kandu dive sites gave us more schooling grey reef, silky, black and white tip sharks and marlins as we ascended from our third dive. Later Dr. Ritter reviewed the action and continued the course before we concluded our day’s diving at Vilingili Giri.

At the start of the final day the group decided to make the last plunges of ‘SharkSchool’ at Vilingili Kandu, where we watched schooling of grey reef sharks as tuna and marlin passed through, whilst rays were seen to along the drop off. Green sea turtles returned as various reef fish drifted by.

A wonderful way to end a fascinating trip as Dr. Ritter concluded his course into pelagic behaviour, warmly appreciated by the ‘students’ aboard Maldives Siren.

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