The place for a sharky New Year
The place for a sharky New Year
The Maldives Siren welcomed her guests on board from almost every corner of the world – Brazil, Canada, UK, Holland, Sweden, Germany, Russia, Australia & the 2 of us from South Africa – thrilled to be joining the Maldives Siren for the 4th time! The first day was spent settling in, being briefed on the activities & safety aspects on board as well as getting to know each other over delicious snacks & a couple of beers.
We could hardly wait for our 1st day of diving which started with a check dive at Kurumba House Reef. What an intro! Black tip reef sharks, batfish, Moorish idols, beautiful longfin bannerfish, tuna, morays, elegant squat lobsters, a peacock mantis shrimp and, joy of joys, even an eagle ray were all there to greet us! We then crossed over to Rasdhoo Atoll for the 2nd dive & were not disappointed at Madivaru Corner. Added to our list for the day was a hawksbill turtle, more white tips & grey reefs, Vlaming’s doctorfish playing in our bubbles, swarms of anthias, blue trevally & emperor fish hunting, snappers, tuna, garden eels. Later, on Fan Reef, the excitement was high when Megan showed us the purple/pink leaf scorpionfih as well as an Halimeda ghostpipefish! The guests were so delighted with the day’s diving & could hardly wait for the 1st relaxing night dive of the trip.
After our early morning dive in the blue, we moved over to N Ari Atoll where we spent the afternoon & night diving the infamous Maaya Thila. Having already dived there several times, we were thrilled to note that since our last visit there, the numbers of grey reefs sharks have increased – including several juveniles! Many white tips added to the toothy numbers. Swarms of neon & lunar fusiliers and glassfish added to the charm of the site along with 1 massive great barracuda & some eagle rays! The white tips & grey reefs came out in force to hunt during the night dive together with many marble rays, giant trevallys & hawksbill turtles – what a treat! We started the next day with a dive at Fish Head where we once again saw at least 5 adult grey reefs with some white tips swimming about, oblivious to our presence. The resident turtles posed for many photos with the photogenic sweetlips & groupers in the background. The rest of the day was spent diving on thilas covered with really healthy hard corals & overhangs decorated with beautiful soft corals. A school of barracudas and jacks added to the joy of diving these thilas.
The last day of 2012 started by being entertained by up to three mantas enjoying the jacuzzi effect of our bubbles at Rangali Madivaru!! When we could drag our eyes away from the mantas, we also saw a large silvertip shark come by to check us out! Afterwards we headed to what would end up being on top of the list of our favourite dives, Bodufinolhu Thila. What a treat there was in store for Camilia & Rodrigo’s 100th dives! Tunas, anthias, white tips & grey reefs and the highlight: eagle rays along with up to 40 mobulas just swimming about all joining in our end of year celebration!! New Year’s Eve was fantastic. After one final relaxing night dive for the year, we were entertained by the crew performing the Boduberu (traditional drums & chanting) & were treated to yet another delicious meal prepared by Chef Alibe including a roast turkey & a beautiful cake decorated with Happy New Year 2013. The party continued well after midnight with several bottles of wine & champagne being enjoyed.
On the 1st day of 2013 we moved over to Vaavu & were rewarded for not partying too hard the night before by jacks & sea breams hunting, at least 12 grey reefs & 10 white tips on the corner at Dhevana Kandu. A Jenkins ray & an octopus tried to steal our attention away though whilst a huge pod of dolphins were waiting for us on the surface and we were overjoyed to be able to snorkel with them! The night dive was promised to be one of the highlights of the offered night dives. It did not disappoint! We were greeted by so many nurse sharks & marble rays swimming around, over & under us as well as jacks, giant trevallys, black & white tips, a friendly octopus, jenkins rays & 3 beautiful eagle rays…wow!! What a perfect beginning to a new year!
After a good night’s sleep, we spent another wonderful day diving with several pregnant white tips & up to 8 baby grey reefs at Miyaru Kandu. The second dive was one of the highlights of our channel diving – Fotteyo – so much so it was agreed we needed to stay put to check it out again! The soft corals in the overhangs are breath-taking anytime – beautiful vibrant colours – but with slightly more current on the 2nd dive, they all opened up showing off their full glory! We were thrilled to find several leaf fish, 1 which was guarded by an ‘alien-venom-injecting’ black-cheek moray (Ulla was not aware that blood looks green underwater!) One last dive in Vaavu at Rakeedhoo Kandu treated us to 3 groups of bumphead parrotfish (30 in total) before we moved over to Meemu Atoll where we spent a couple of days enjoying exhilarating channel dives, the last of which was at Kurali Corner where we saw 3 mantas, groupers, eagle rays, garden eels and a beautiful little flatworm. Our dives in Thaa Atoll included all the usual suspects plus many sharks, a mobula, a very stressed balloon puffer being harassed by a giant moray & a beautiful hawksbill enjoying a leisurely meal.
Our final day of diving was in Laamu where we enjoyed an exhilarating channel/drift dive, finding a sleeping white tip under one of the coral block we had hooked in to in order to watch the groupers, marble rays & 100s of anthias struggling in the current. Back on board, we enjoyed a sumptuous BBQ whilst chatting about the wonderful days we had spent together & the memories we had made. Plans for future trips were aplenty! Thank you, from all of us, to the magnificent and dedicated crew of the Maldives Siren for an absolutely wonderful trip!!