Central & Southern Maldives- A Winning Combination

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Central & Southern Maldives- A Winning Combination

Trip-report-3Joining the Maldives Siren were a tight knit group of experienced divers who have dived together many times through the years and are also veterans of other yachts of the Siren Fleet. After pretty much showing me around the boat during our initial briefing it was down to beers and snacks and some good catching up! Our Central Southern liveaboard cruise started in earnest at Thinadhoo giri only a ten minute cruise from the airport and an ideal site for a check dive but the real highlight of our first diving day was at Kuredhoo Kandu. As with many of our channels here in the south Karedho is known for strong currents. Our experienced bunch were not disappointed. After hanging on the edge of the channel, regulators flapping and watching grey reef sharks emerge in the gloom we let go for a roller coaster ride into the atoll. Once we’d come to a dead stop in a large bay inside we had time to admire green turtles, white tip reef sharks and a large whiptail ray on the sand!

trip-report-1Day two also saw us dive one of our southern atolls, Villingili is one of our favourite sites and disappointed we were not. Out in the channel over 40 grey reefs circled and paused in the current to be cleaned while down the wall we saw huge schools of 4 striped snapper, green turtles, white tips, eagle rays and ginormous Napoleon wrasse. The vis was incredible inside the channel and we had great views far across it. The two last dives in Gaafu Alifu Atoll we did at our macro spectacular Matu Giri. Leaf fish, Comensal shrimp, Long nosed hawkfish and an assortment of nudibranch were waiting there to be spotted. Straight after our night dive we headed north out of the atoll for our ten hour night crossing!

Manta ray-reWe awoke on day three in a brand new atoll ready for a brand new adventure. Secret Giri in Laamu is a small reef found by the Siren only a few trips ago. A great macro dive where we spotted mating octopus and ornate squat lobsters hiding under their featherstar homes. Wishing for as calm a crossing as possible we grabbed a break in the northerly winds and made our second crossing over to Thaa Atoll. Where after a relaxing dive at Madifushi Thila we made a quick island excursion to sample strong delicious local coffee and equally strong but perhaps less delicious betel nut and leaves for afters!

tri-report-5On day four we explored a new Giri. After a quick check via snorkel we deemed it suitable and dived in to explore Kudey Thilla. This site was not just special for its beautiful hard corals, eagle rays, white tip reef sharks, blue fin trevally and abundant reef fish it was also our veteran diver Mary Ross’ 1500th dive!!! Congratulations Mary.

DSC04615The 14th of February famous as the day of love was our 5th day of diving. It started off wonderfully at Kurali corner where to our delight 5 manta rays had come to hover over the cleaning stations and be admired by us peering wide eyed from the sand. Asa Giri was our third dive where huge schools of glass fish had to be swept aside so we could see the dramatic overhangs and hard coral hideaways fro cleaner shrimp, boxfish and long nosed file fish. The evening ended with a surprise for our guest Richard who’d let slip it was his birthday. Our skilled chef quickly whipped together a delicious banana and chocolate cake, beers and cake were enjoyed by all. Happy birthday Richard.

trip-report-4Day 7 of our cruise turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. One of my personal favourites and maybe a favourite of anyone who dives there is Fotteyo Kandu. The front wall of this wide channel is peppered with caves and swim throughs jammed packed with the most alluring coloured soft corals. Many photo opportunities arose as huge schools of midnight snapper, humpback snapper and trevallys drifted in the current in front of this impressive topography. The day ended with the best nightdive there is to be had here in the Maldives. ‘The Jetty’ is a sight in Vaavu Atoll where almost every night great numbers of nurse sharks, marbled rays, black tips and giant trevallys congregate. Watching our divers gawp wide eyed at this spectacle is almost as much fun as watching the sharks themselves!

Trip-report-2On day 8 we dived at Miyaru Kandu which literally means shark channel. We were not disappointed when we saw schools of grey reefs, white tips and eagle rays. Our last dive of the last day was at another one of our favourites sites, this time in South Male the Kuda Giri wreck lies next to a small submerged reef. We found plenty of macro on the wreck before moving into the shallows to enjoy some fantastic swim throughs! This had really been a fantastic trip and with most of the ground on our cruise already covered we took the time to visit a tiny deserted island for beers, swimming and general larking about. A Fantastic trip and great memories made. Thanks to all!! Tom




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