Maldivian Shark Adventure
Maldivian Shark Adventure..
On this trip back to Male from Laamu, we welcomed guests from Germany, Switzerland and Finland, England and South Africa aboard the Maldives Siren and after settling and we had time for some snorkelling on the house reef to ease us into this 10-night liveaboard safari. For our check dive we returned to the house reef before Captain Ashraf lifted anchor and we cruised to Vadinolhu for our first channel dive, where we were already treated to sightings of white tip reef sharks and a Napoleon wrasse. Our morning dive today was at Munnafushi Kandu where we saw several white tips and Napoleons patrolling patrol around in the current before we went for a fast drift up the channel. What a ride! But our daily highlight was at Meemu Atoll’s Kurali Corner with the 3 manta rays at the cleaning station, along with eagle rays, stingrays, barracuda and more Napoleon wrasse as well as a few smaller critters including mantis shrimp.
In the morning the Maldives Siren sailed to Muli where we dropped into a strong current at the corner, surprisingly all the big fish seemed to be still asleep but then we had plenty of action at Hakurah Thila where 3 male White tips competed for the attentions of the solitary female; in a quite vicious get together. We also found a big red frogfish which was perched on the reef edge, whilst during our third dive of the day, at Vanhuravali Kandu, we found ghost pipefish, as well as white tips, grey reef sharks and a manta ray!
Early the next morning we awoke at Vaavu Atoll to dive Rakeedhoo Kandu, Golden Wall and Miyaru Kandu; which was the favourite day dive thus far providing the much anticipated big fish action. Numerous grey reef and white tip sharks cruised around us and a squadron of some 20+ eagle rays flew in. The day’s diving was rounded off by our all-time favourite night dive at Alimathaa Jetty; nurse sharks, black tip sharks, sting rays and huge trevallies – what’s not to love right? For our last two dives on Vaavu Atoll for this liveaboard safari we visited Miyaru Thila and Kunawashi Kandu where we had some rather strong current, bringing with it Grey Reef sharks and Eagle rays who stayed to play in front of us. Then it was time for our crossing to Ari Atoll and afternoon snorkelling with whale sharks. Then as the sun went down we made our night dive at Dhigura Arches returning to the yacht we delighted in having 3 manta rays busily consuming plankton eased in their task by our floodlights! A great show.
The next morning we headed back to the Arches and spotted 4 manta rays along with several moray eels. Whilst after our breakfast we boarded the dhoni to intending to go for some whale shark snorkelling. It appeared to be peak hour traffic so instead we opted to dive the reef and where rewarded with 3 whale sharks during the dive! The next 2 days were spent diving a variety of the sites within Ari’s north & south atolls, including Holiday Giri and Aryadhoo Jetty, Kudimaa Wreck, Omadhuu Thila, Fishhead and as always an action packed night dive at Maya Thila; known for its hunting white tips – a thrill for any dive trip.
For our last full day of diving we were woken up by some rain and rather choppy seas, so we delayed a little before heading to Hafsa Thila for our first dive. The Captain then lifted anchor and we headed for Bathala Thila for the second dive of the day, with sightings of sharks, parrotfish and several nudibranch species. Rasdhoo Atoll was the scene for our night dive spotting octopus and lobster before our final two dives the next day at Madivaru Kandu. As expected our trip culminated with white tips & grey reef sharks, batfish, barracuda and the surgeon fish that like to “buzz” in your bubbles throughout the dive. Then it was time to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic cruise back to Male as the crew washed the gear. All in all we had an action packed trip, both in and out of the water and it was superb start to my time aboard the Maldives Siren.
Photos by Uli Kallenbach