First Trip of 2014

First Trip of 2014….

diversthe Maldives Siren crew and I were joined by guests from Germany, Switzerland, America, England and Australia. After Boarding in Kaadhoo and completing our briefings, we headed into the water for our check dive at Kaadhoo Giri, where guests quickly got reacquainted with diving. The next day we dived at Secret Giri, Fushi Kandu and Vadinolhu, getting our first of what were to be many sightings of reef shark and Napoleon wrasse, on this 10-night central atolls liveaboard safari.

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Sharks, Rays, Wrecks and Critters

Sharks, Rays, Wrecks and Critters…

Nurse-sharksIts super-special Christmas and New Year trip for this next dive adventure aboard the Maldives Siren. We welcomed our guests from Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, Greece and the US and after all were settled in, briefings completed and dive gear set up we headed out in the dhoni to Kurumba House Reef for our check dive; a nice easy dive to start us off with a few little critters and sightings of eagle ray and white tips for our rebreather divers. The rough Seas outside the Atoll meant we opted to stay within Mal for a further two dives at Maagiri Cave and Fedo Wall before catching the south tide to reach South Ari Atoll with an overnight crossing. Despite the oncoming storm the visibility for the dives was good (25m / 90ft) and we spotted moray eels, nurse sharks and a couple more white tips.

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Maldivian Shark Adventure

Maldivian Shark Adventure..

several-white-tips-sharksOn 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.

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Maldivian Dive Adventure

Sharks and Rays on our Maldivian Adventure..

machafushi stern 1For this trip aboard the Maldives Siren our divers came from all over Europe, boarding in Male on a very hot day we made the decision to leave the harbour right after our clearance and cruise towards Rasdhoo Atoll. The check dive the following morning was great with sighting of 3 different kinds of sharks and our first taste of the currents in the Maldives. As is usual on any Siren Fleet liveaboard, we tested our underwater recall system during the dive, made our personal checks and practiced deploying SMBs in readiness for the dive days ahead. The next dive was already one of my favourites, “Madivaru” never disappoints with the sheer amount of fish life. During lunch Captain Ashraf drove the yacht south into Ari Atoll for two more great dives at “Bathala Thila” and “Maaya Thila”, again with a fair amount of shark action on both dives. The following day was another “Big Name” day with “Hafsaa Thila”, “Fish Head” and a great night dive at the “Machafushi Wreck”. Sharks, schools of fish, turtles and Napoleon wrasse…. Would it get any better?

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Big Fish Galore

Big Fish Galore….

manta rayAfter my absence for 6 months, it felt good to be back in the Maldives. Sunshine and calm sea welcomed our 12 guests from around the globe; all keen to explore the 5 different atolls we offer during this itinerary. Our 10-night liveaboard safari got underway with a check dive at “Lankan Point” and though we did not see mantas this time we had our first encounters with white tip reef sharks, dogtooth tuna and green turtles. Back on board, we were treated to the first of many amazing sunsets and delicious meals from chef Saman, producing big smiles and full bellies all around. A beautiful morning with sunshine and a little breeze awaited our guests for the second diving day. Cruise Director Ernesto chose “Nassimo Thila” for the first dive of the day followed by a return to “Lankan Point”. This time our luck was in with a manta sighting; we all thought that would be a good sign for the rest of the trip. During lunch break Captain Ashraf motored the S/Y Maldives Siren to the South Male Atoll for an afternoon dive at “Kuda Giri” and the small wreck right next to it for some macro “hunting” spotting ornate and robust ghost pipefish and the day finished off with a night dive at Vilivary Giri.

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Tom’s Swan Song

Tom’s Swan Song

diversFor the past year I’ve been lucky enough to live and work on board Worldwide Dive and Sail’s flagship the Maldives Siren. This was to be my last trip and I was hoping it would be a great one. Trainee Cruise directors Krista, Varis and new member Lars were taking the reins which left me to take a back seat and enjoy the cruise with a special guest for me, my mum! Arriving a day early Mrs Scuba Booth joined us from her domestic flight to Laamu ready to have a look at what I’d been up to for the last year or so….

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Cruising the central atolls

Cruising the central atolls

Guests-on-beach-in-maldivesFor our latest liveboard safari in the Maldives we made our check dive at Fedu Finolu as normal but with only twelve of our fourteen guests. One buddy team had been held up at home with bush fires raging around Canberra, Australia. Thankfully though they managed to get on a much later flight, to arrive later that night, shaken but very ready to get into the thick of the diving action the following day! We made our crossing to Rasdhoo. Starting out at the beautiful Bando’s house reef we continued on our way making our last dive in North Male at Maas Thila before crossing to do a late afternoon dive at one of my particular favourites! Unarguably the best dive site in the tiny Atoll of Rasdhoo is Madivaru Corner. On a bad day you will see large schools of Anthias, Midnight Snapper, red tooth triggers, Jacks, Giant Trevally’s and Barracuda. On a good day you can see just about anything. Today was a good day with sightings of grey reefs, huge Napoleon Wrasse and the friendliest Batfish a diver could wish to encounter.

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Manta mayhem in the Maldives Northern Atolls

Manta mayhem in the Maldives Northern Atolls

juve-eagle-ray---benWith an early arrival the guests stepped on board the Maldives Siren accompanied by repeat group leader Roberta Cwiertnia. The early arrival gave us time to make a relaxed first check dive on the outside reef of Daharavandhoo Island. With everyone weighted, checked and grouped we decided to risk the weather and make a night crossing to Noonu Atoll. The risk paid off with a smooth night crossing. We awoke bright eyed and bushy tailed to a beautiful sunrise to dive at what is unarguably one of my top 5 dive sights in the whole of the Maldives, Christmas Tree Thila. I’ve ranted about it before but I really can’t express the beauty and interest I find on this tiny Thila. The past few times I’ve been here the site has been completely covered in glass fish. This time they seem to have been mainly snapped up by the marauding dog tooth tuna, jacks, bluefin trevally’s and bonitos leaving only small scared pockets hunkered down in the overhangs. A fantastic dive to be sure though with sightings of grey reef sharks being harassed by jacks wanting to scrub up against their sand paper like skin.

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Shark Seduction in the Maldives

Shark Seduction in the Maldives

diver-with-mantaFourteen Australians arrived on time, together and ready for some fantastic diving in the Maldives! Day one was spent catching up, organizing dive kit and making a fabulous check dive on Kurumba House Reef where we spotted several black tipped reef sharks. This Maldives Siren trip was well underway and by day two and we were straight into the Maldivian dive action with manta rays spotted on Lankan Reef and a deep wreck dive at the Maldives Victory. This Goliath sank in 1981 after hitting the reef at full speed. It sank upright and sprayed its cargo of luxury items all over the sea bed. All that is left today is a hold full drinks bottles, bags of concrete and cassette players but with a lighter current than we often experience we were able to explore every her deck in full.

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Grey Reef Shark Action

Grey Reef Shark Action

Grey-Reef-Sharks---MaldivesA staggered arrival of our guests for this Maldives safari, left 10 of our guests getting wet early on Dharavandhoo Faru for their check dive. The next day our whole group had arrived so it was time for a dive at Dharavandhoo Thila. With a steady current running over the lip of the submerged pinnacle, we had thick schools of red tooth trigger, surgeon fish, midnight snapper and a myriad of other fish life dancing in the current. Heading out the same day we treated our divers to what is arguably one of the best dives in the whole area; Christmas Tree Atoll. This absolute gem of a dive site is currently completely covered in glass fish, so much so in fact that it is difficult to see the Thila from any distance and when you push your way through the cloud of fish it is nearly impossible to see your buddies as the curtain closes around you! Truly incredible! The usual suspects awaited us with white tips, grey reef sharks, dog toothed tuna and blue fin trevally. The day finished on a truly successful expeditionary night dive on Fodu Faru. The soft coral overhangs revealing stone fish, banded boxers shrimp and Maldivian sponge snails.

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