It had been a year since I last dived at Dhonfanu Thilla but the myriad of fish life and stunning topography remained the same. The 5m (15ft) swim through here is packed with soldier fish, glittering with the dappled light that filters through the peppering of holes in the ceiling. A great first dive day of the trip was finished in Lhaviyani Atoll with a fantastic night dive at Kuredu House Reef, a wreck, a sleeping green turtle and bumphead parrot fish! It’s on the to do again list for sure this season for the Maldives Siren and her guests.
Things really started hotting up on day three when we had our official Hanifaru day in Baa Atoll. After checking the tides and taking some advice from the head of the Manta foundation Guy Steven’s, we planned our dives accordingly. On dive three we struck gold when, after surfacing the cry came from Mode our Dinghy driver that there were mantas feeding only meters away! After stripping off our dive kit we got straight back in to swim with these magnificent creatures. No matter how many I see it never gets boring. With Manta in the area we took our slot in Hanifaru and went to see if there was anything about. We got lucky. Eight manta rays were feeding right in the middle of the bay! Our semi pro photographers got some great shots of the action before having to be almost dragged away.
With our manta action satisfying the divers we opted to cruise south, personally I was really eager to get back to Ari Atoll after the time spent on the north but before we left we did another dive at my favourite Baa site. At Donfanu Thila this time we saw probably the biggest marbled ray I’ve ever set my eyes on. It was a really impressive specimen with at least a two meter span. The following day we had what was arguably the best dive of the trip. Madivaru Kandu is good when its bad and today it was fantastic! Grey reef’s, white tips, eagle rays and schools of densely packed fish blotted out the light as we perched on the edge of the drop of peering out into the blue. The night dive on day four was fantastic also. Maaya Thila is a famous night dive in the Maldives for good reason. Using divers lights to hunt, white tips, trevally and morays swim to and fro in a frenzy snapping up the terrified neon fusilier. Our guest Willie got some great footage of sharks rummaging in the corals, fighting for a last tasty tit bit.
Ari was providing some incredible diving as usual with Hafza Thila and Fish Head coming up trumps with tens of grey reef sharks. A Hawksbill turtle at Fish Head was so engrossed in his lunch of soft corals that our photographer extraordinaire inched forward until the dome port was literally touching the nose of the feeding turtle! Some very good shots were taken by all. Making good time on our crossing to south Male, the following day we dipped in on an earlier than planned dive at Medu Faru. Our macro loving and eagle eyed guest Luke spotting a leafy ghost pipefish among the flotsam and jetsam drifting in the channel. His spotting skills coming on a treat!
On our last day of diving we really got it right. Picking out some of my favourites we dived Embudhoo Canyon and Banana Reef. Clear visibility, bright sunlight and a myriad of really colourful fish was a photographer’s wet dream. In the cave at Banana Reef we had to wait as our photographers took shot after shot of the huge school of four striped snapper! A real high note to end on I believe.After a quick outing to Male city we settled in for the night to view our trip photographs and drink cocktails. Thanks to all and we look forward to seeing you aboard once again for the Southern Maldives Tour!