Maldives Manta Magnet
Maldives Manta Magnet
Joining us aboard the Maldives Siren was a group of Ozzies from the GoldCoast. Spirits were high and everyone was keen for the diving to begin. Felidhoo Finolhu and the Kuda Giri Wreck got us started off in style with ghost pipefish, nudibranchs, moray eels and an eagle ray then it was off to Kandooma Thila for our first reef shark and Napoleon wrasse sightings of this 10-night liveaboard safari, plus 5 manta rays cruising behind the yacht during the night.
Moving on to Vaavu Atoll we dived Miyaru Kandu and Alimatha Jetty, which is always a favourite for everyone, as well as Fotteyo Kandu, Fushi Kandu, Fushi Faru and Golden Wall. Each dive brought something special from purple leaf fish and tiger cowries to nurse sharks and green turtles, octopus and banded sea snakes, along with the usual reef sharks and schools of snapper.
Crossing over to Ari Atoll was “smooth sailing” and once we reached the atoll we were kitted up and ready to dive Kudarah Thila which was full of schools of yellow striped snapper and big groupers. The weather had brightened but unfortunately that did not bring forth our luck with the whale sharks and only 1 manta was sighted, but we were able to snorkel with it for a few minutes. Dives at Machafushi wreck, Maamgili, Broken Rock, Five Rocks and Dhigaru Beyru we enjoyed sightings of giant frogfish, stone fish and anemone crabs before moving on to Moofushi Beyru and Maalhoos Thila, coming up from an otherwise great dive, just no mantas.
Fesdu Wreck and Lagoon were our next stop and we almost adopted a Chinese diver who had followed us instead of her own group – perhaps she’d heard that the Maldives Siren is a manta magnet at night? The crew hung out the lights to attract plankton and shortly afterwards the first manta followed by a second appeared by the platform. Readying ourselves another manta showed up and we all enjoyed the spectacle of mantas coming up close – certainly these guests with their Go-Pros got some great footage.
Next morning we dived the wreck once more and this time we were the only group as the other boats went before us giving more time and space on the wreck to explore, checking out the blue frogfish, flatworms and nudibranchs. After we headed for Fishhead to check out the schools of snappers and had the pleasure of seeing some huge tunas and grey reef sharks as well as friendly batfish. Hafsa Thila and Maaya Thila followed with plenty of giant trevally and reef shark action o nour last night dive of the trip. We submerged ourselves again at Hafsa Thila to be greeted by our special friend, the baby eagle ray who came up to each of us to say Hello! It was amazing as usual to see her that close and personal. From there we stopped at Bathala for the last dive before heading back to Male, having dived 5 atolls in the Maldives and enjoyed amazing marine life. Thanks everyone for a great trip!!