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Here’s a take on an exciting Maldives dive trip by Dominique from the Netherlands:
Experience the Diving Rollercoaster the Maldives
Pinpointing the highlight of the trip is hard to do as it was basically one on-going rollercoaster of amazing sights, experiences and people. One of the highlights for me personally was to see the abundance of fish, sharks and mantas, despite the worldwide decline in populations. I was happy to hear from our guides that it seems to be getting a little better with at least the shark populations in the Maldives this year. This was also witnessed by our group of divers as we were able to see lots and lots of baby sharks; white tip reef sharks, nurse sharks and grey reef sharks in particular.
When talking about real highlights, my thoughts dream back to the very first dive we did, as our ‘discovery dive’, where we were accompanied by a gentle 4 meter little-giant of a Manta Ray. At one point even 6 of his manta buddies joined up with him for a quick body scrub.
Highlights 1, 2, 3
The other highlights must be the two night dives we did:
The first one when we thought ‘maybe if we were lucky’ we would see feeding nurse sharks, at not even 4 minutes into our dive we were surrounded by both baby and large adult nurse sharks in a feeding frenzy. These beautiful golden-brown sharks would swim right up to your chest and legs and give them a little brush with their fins. Not to forget the huge giant trevallys which joined the feeding frenzy and which would swim just 10 centimetres in front of your mask while crossing from behind. The glow of the torches was used by them as an extra hunting tool which they seemed quite fond of.
At the end of the dive, while doing the safety stop on the sandy bottom, one of the Nurse Sharks decided one of the legs of a diver was a nice resting place for a few minutes between feeding frenzies.
The second night dive we joined 5 Manta Rays while they were gorging on plentiful of Plankton just below the back deck of our MV Virgo. For an hour we witnessed the acrobatic somersaulting and waving of the Manta Rays with open mouths. (not literally of course) Cruising at just 10 centimetre over our heads with mouths wide open so you could see the beautiful black and white striping on the inside of the Manta Ray’s mouth. Such amazingly gentle and beautiful creatures they are…you can never get tired of watching them.
The third highlight must be my first live encounter with 2 whale sharks on separate occasions while snorkelling. Seeing these gentle giants has been a dream of mine for many years and it has finally come true!
Diverse Dive Spots
Naming a favorite dive site of the trip is impossible as every dive site we went to was so different, although on paper they look a lot alike. Channel dives, followed by reef/wall dives in the drift followed by pinnacle dives with cleaning stations…nothing is the same. Although Maldives is not known for its beautiful corals like in other parts of Asia, there still are beautiful sights of hard corals with a healthy dose of fish living in and around them. The wreck dives give a nice change of scenery from watching all these beautiful graceful Sharks cruise by in the currents. At the wrecks the muck-divers can have some fun and look for the odd leaf fish, nudibranchs, glass shrimps, mantis shrimps and other small fish that inhabit these wrecks.
Personally I enjoyed (although at times a little scary) the medium-heavy current dives where you just hold on and wait till the Sharks come closer and closer by the dozen.
What made it even better, was that usually we had the dive sight to ourselves. Almost no other divers/boats joined us until the last minutes of our dive, which gave it a very unique experience.
All in all this Maldivian diving experience was amazing. Not just by the incredible diving only, but particularly the crew aboard the MV Virgo made it very special. Their incredible service-mindedness and friendly attitude made it a super comfortable week. The food was honestly the best food I have ever had aboard a boat. Every day the chef prepared different and delicious dishes from all over the world.
Not to forget the boat itself. The MV Virgo is a very luxurious and comfortable boat that is well appointed. At no point do you feel cramped as even the cabins are spacious. Nice sundeck with loungers, jacuzzi on deck, comfortable smoking area and even a nice deck on the back to enjoy the Manta dance or do some fishing.
The short trip to Malé city is also a nice change of scenery and a pleasant experience. It’s fun to get to know some insider information from locals on what atoll-island life is like.
I visited the Maldives to go diving in a location where I would be able to see some big pelagic fish (manta rays, whale sharks), sharks and the idyllic Atolls from the travel brochures and videos. My goal was to finally catch a glimpse of the elusive Whale Shark for the first time in my life while snorkelling/diving.
Visiting the Maldives in the future would be for the incredible diving. I would love to go back and enjoy more time with the manta rays as well as the sharks. Just can’t get enough of the thrilling big fish life of the Maldives.
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