Reef Ecology in the Maldives…
For the 11th trip in the Maldives the year we welcomed back Dr.Bent Christensen who would be hosting our Reef Ecology speciality trip, making presentations about Sharks and Rays, Corals and general fish life for our divers from Italy, Germany and Austria. Bent also brought with him some cool gadgets, including a UV light and yellow glasses, to see what the Reef looks like under different conditions; that is pretty cool to see.
Manta Mayhem in the Mid-Maldives
First day aboard the Maldives Siren and we decided to take it easy, set up the gear do all briefings and paperwork and enjoy a cold beer then the next morning we starte our diving off at Back Faru, a long gentle drift dive where eagle rays, black tip reef sharks and numerous moray eels was spotted. Our second dive took place to Nassimo Thila; a beautiful pinnacle with lots of fish and different colored soft corals, the day ended with a dive at Boduhithi Thila where Napoleon wrasse, Honeycomb Moray ell and even 2 Manta Rays were seen. Afterwards Capitan Ashraf lifted anchor and we start moving west to North Ari Atoll eagerly anticipating the shark action we would have the next days.
From Russia with love of diving…
They arrived from Russia, with a love for diving, so after formalities completed Maldives Siren headed to Huvadhoo Atoll for the start of our liveaboard adventure in the kandus and atolls, enjoying dinner during the cruise. Our first dive day started with equipment assembly, briefings and check dive at Vilingili Giri where leopard shark, ghostpipe fish, leaf fish and green turtles were spotted. We then dropped in at Vilingili Kandu, which showed its beauty as always with many grey reef sharks, schooling chevron and great barracudas.
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.
Divers attend SharkSchool…
The 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‘.
Photography in the Southern Maldives
Our 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!
Sharks, Rays and Plenty of Small Stuff
For our second trip in Gaafu Atoll we dived the famous Vilingili Kandu first thing in the morning and even though the currents were not as strong as our last trip, the sharks were still around as well as eagle rays and Napoleon wrasse, whilst in the afternoon guides Enrico and Dima choose a large Giri to give our guests a chance for some macro shots. Generally the currents tends to get stronger in the afternoon so we decided to stay away from the Kandus and do some more relaxing dives inside the atoll. The next morning the current was strong so we split the groups and whilst 4 brave divers went for the strong current into the Kandu the rest of the divers went for a gentler dive at Giri close by. During breakfast Captain Ashraf moved the Maldives Siren further south and with much milder current we dove Maareha Kandu, one of my favourites channels. Grey reef sharks, eagle rays and trevallies were all seen at the entrance into the channel. For the afternoon we choose a beautiful house reef at the little island of Airagathaa with amazing hard corals and smaller creatures. A few of our guests went for the dive whilst others enjoyed some wine and beer for the typical Maldivian sunset.
Shark Diving in the South
Our first full trip in Gaafu Atoll for 2014 we welcomed aboard divers from all over Europe , Asia and Australia and got our first great dives underway searching for a repeat of the previous trip with hundreds of reef sharks in the channels. Success came at Nilandhoo and Vilingili channels where we marvelled at the swathes of white tips and grey reefs that were gathered there. After our few engine issues were resolved we headed south we dived sites like Nilandhoo, Kuredhdhoo and Mareeha channels. For the night dives we chose giris and Farus around the area for some calmer waters. Just the way we like it! Other sightings for our first days included leopard sharks, batfish, sweetlips, eagle rays and turtles.
Hammerheads, mantas and sharks sharks sharks…
With the Southern Atolls diving season ahead of we got all set with a check dive at Kurumba House Reef, Male, before we began our long journey that would take the Maldives Siren through Felidhoo, Vaavu, Meemu, Thaa and Laamu atolls before we would reach our final destination Huvadhoo (Gaafu). We stopped at South Male Atoll to dive Vadhoo Caves, the Kuda Giri Wreck and Heart Giri and see schools of trigger fish, moray eels and the Maldivian sponge snail. On the second day we introduced our guests to the type of channel dives that lay ahead of us. At Kanuma and Ranikan Kandus the currents were mild but we still delighted in seeing reef sharks, Napoleon wrasse and schools of sweetlips before jumping in at Alimatha Jetty for a rare treat of mating nurse sharks!!