Maldives Siren plays in kandus
Maldives Siren plays in kandus…
For our final southern cruise we welcomed our guests from all around the world who spent their first afternoon relaxing and getting to know each other. A few had visited us last year so it was like a ‘school reunion’ aboard the Maldives Siren, meeting friends again. Once the compulsory paperwork was completed and equipment set, Master chef Alibe prepared a delicious dinner and the inevitable swapping of dive stories commenced, over a couple of beers.
Our check dive was nice and gentle at Vilingili Giri, and this was followed by a plunge at Vilingili Kandu with a medium current, so everybody got some reef hook action to enjoy the grey reef sharks playing in front of us. The weather was a little bit erratic on our first day, so we moved further south of Vilingili Kandu. A great drift dive into the atoll with 20 or so green turtles, reef sharks and Napoleon wrasse. As it was a bit on the chilly side in the evening everybody skipped the night dive, and instead opted for a cold Carlsberg.
A good night’s rest gained we were all ready for some more current, and shark action! We started at Vilingili Kandu to prepare ourselves for the ‘real’ current at Kooddoo Kandu. Grey reef sharks were present in large numbers with white tips also spotted and several guests also saw a silvertip shark. In the afternoon our skipper, Captain Ashraf, moved the Maldives Siren further south, and we had a somewhat more chilled dive at Nilandhoo Giri. A few of the braver divers joined Cruise Director Dima on the first night dive of the trip and spotted shrimps, crabs and some very colourful nudibranch.
Day three began with two kandus and rather strong currents, but as we all know – sharks love currents and that’s the reason we go into the channels! The displays by these fascinating creatures were non-stop as we drifted inside the ‘kandu’. In the afternoon, we headed down to dive Funandhoo Thila, where an amazing amount of fusiliers and surgeon fish were present.
Thomas Erbe, part of Siren Fleet’s operations team, ‘buddied-up’ with four of our guests for the night dive, where Dutchman Martijn saw his first ever leopard shark, cruising directly in front them. As there was only a very mild current the next morning it allowed for a relaxed dive at Funandhoo Kandu and Kondey Kandu, with many sightings of a silvertip shark, plus grey reef sharks and tuna. As always in the afternoon, we chose some gentle dive sites for great corals and a large variety of reef fish.
We visited Dima’s favourite site for the beginning of dive day five – Mareha Kandu, and nobody was disappointed: Eagle rays, grey reef, white tip and leopard sharks, varieties of tuna and Napoleon wrasse played in the mild current in full view. Since it was such a great dive, all our guests ask if we could do it again – of course! So after a couple of hours on the surface we were back under the water for another spectacular dive! The afternoon and evening were spent at Mafzoo, our southern-most point of the voyage, where Thila was looking beautiful, as large schools of fusiliers and surgeon fish added colour. Our culinary wizard, Alibe, created a ‘work of art’ in the form of a birthday cake for Andreas for the evening’s festivites – naturally a few bars of ‘Happy Birthday’ accompanied the ceremonial cutting of the cake!
After a pleasant morning dive at Gan Island, we began our return north to revisit our season’s favourite, Mareha Kandu. This channel has never disappointed with the resident school of eagle rays, numerous grey reef sharks and always provides the chance to see leopard sharks. Instead of a night dive, everybody enjoyed sangria on a little island nearby, whilst watching another stunning Maldivian sunset.
We dived at Mareha and Kondey Kandu the following morning before the voyage continued north. The school of eagle rays seemed to be sending us on our way with a wave, just as a pair of mobula rays passed by. All our guests loved the Kandus, so for the last full diving day we chose only channels: Nilandhoo, Kuredhoo and to top it off superbly, Vilingili Kandu.
As only a few of our guests wanted to dive the final day, and by popular demand, the search for more sharks was on! Plenty of white tip shark were seen, and a large school of grey reef sharks was patrolling the entrance – mission accomplished ! Alibe prepared a lovely BBQ in the evening, and we all gathered afterwards to watch a great video, brilliantly prepared by Dima.
We said our goodbyes, with another reunion in mind for the future aboard one of our sister ships in the Siren Fleet. A great final adventure in the southern Maldives! Next to come – Best of Male, Ari and Rasdhoo!!