Reef Ecology in the Maldives
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.
Our diving got underway at Kurumba House Reef, Banana Reef and Nassimo Thila where the blue soft corals are always a delight. Meanwhile our crew worked on sorting a few generator issues before we headed out of Male to south Male Atoll. The next day we dived Velassaru Caves, Kuda Giri Wreck and had a great first night dive at Villavaru Thila, with soft corals, eagle rays, ghost pipefish, turtles, shrimps and crabs being seen throughout the day it was really a great refelection of the diversity of the reefs here in the Maldives.
The next morning after our first current dive on Kandooma Thila and the first sightings of our larger pelagics; white tips and grey reef sharks, we moved from south Male Atoll to Vaavu Atoll where we had a fantastic dive on Miyaru Kandu with Grey Reef sharks, Eagle Rays and big Napoleons. In the evening we dived the Alimatha Jetty where there were fewer sharks than usual but they all came much closer for a fantastic viewing experience. After two more dives in Vaavu Atoll at Fotteyo and Rakeedhoo, with pink leaf fish, mantis shrimp, tiger cowries and a pod of bottlenose dolphins, we crossed to the East into Ari Atoll. Our dives in Ari Atoll started off with the smaller critters; nudibranchs, pygmy octopus, halimeda ghost pipefish, Mantis Shrimps and numerous moray eels but for Enrico’s group they also had a manta fly by! We opted to go ashore at Rangali Island for a BBQ but just as our whale shark table was all set the weather gods turned against us so it was a mad dash back to the Maldives Siren to enjoy our dinner in the shelter of our dining deck
Fortunately the next morning the weather was clear again and we started the days diving with a Thila followed by Moofushi Manta Cleaning station where we saw 4 Mantas taking turns to come and get cleaned. From there we made our way to Fesdu Lagoon for my most favourite Night Dive. Mantas at Night! Whilst at the Fesdu Wreck we found a giant frogfish. From Fesdu Lagoon we continued to head north diving Maalhoos Thila where we got treated to many soft corals in the overhangs as well as grey reef sharks and white tip reef sharks.
Then at our last dive at Hafsa Thila we had the small Eagle Ray come up and forage for food all around us! The last two dives of the trip we visited Rashdoo Kandu; the first dive seeing hammerhead sharks in the blue and the second time along the wall and reef for reef sharks, eagle rays and schools of snapper. During the Evenings we enjoyed presentations from Bent Christensen about Sharks, Rays, Fish on the Reef, Anemonies and Clownfish, Corals and also photographic tips and tricks! Thanks to Bent and all of our guests, it was great to have you on board!
Photos included are by Dr Bent Christensen