A Maldives dive trip summary – by Marketing Assistant Renske
Who doesn’t immediately start dreaming of tropical islands, powder-white beaches lined with lush green palm trees and world-class diving upon hearing the words ‘The Maldives’? Well, I always do, so I was very excited to be joining a cruise on board Blue Voyager in the Maldives. To date, I’ve seen only 2 manta rays in my diving career, so I was hoping to add more manta sightings to my diving logbook. Little did I know…
At Male airport we were met by the cruise directors Cris and Nolwen and the dive guides Ali, Alsan and Thithi. Assisted by the dhoni crew we embarked the dhoni ‘Blue Shadow’, which conveniently docks right outside of the airport. On the way to M/Y Blue Voyager, we set up our dive gear on the dhoni. A drink, thorough boat briefing and a delicious lunch awaited us on board Blue Voyager before we were shown to our cabins so we could get settled in. Blue Voyager is a very comfortable liveaboard boat boasting 7 different lounge areas and there is even a jacuzzi on the top deck, free to use for guests when the boat is anchored. I used it twice during the cruise and it certainly adds to the exclusive experience.
The next day, after being served our morning coffee or tea in our cabin, which by the way is pure bliss, we attended the dive briefing in the sky lounge. Our first dive was scheduled at Kurumbaa Island, not far from the marina in Hulhumale. We were off to a promising start with blacktip reef sharks, a marbled and an eagle ray, a bunch of beautiful spotted moray eels and an octopus, just on this single check dive. On our second dive at Lankan Reef at North Male Atoll, a manta came along and joined us for our safety stop, which was fantastic.
I wish I could tell you about all of my dives on this trip, because diving in the Maldives is simply spectacular. However, that would defeat the purpose of a summary. I’ll have to stick with telling you about my two favourite dives of the trip: the manta dive at Dhigu Thila and the sharky dive at Huruvalhi Kandu. The manta dive began amidst schools of fusiliers, sweetlips and blue lined snappers so dense it felt like we were on a night dive. The water was a little murky, indicating that it’s full of plankton. Alsan, our dive guide, showed us an interesting swim through on the thila, after which we quickly swam back into the blue to find 5 to 7 mantas. They were feeding in the nutrient-rich water by performing their somersaults right in front of us. It was mesmerising to watch these majestic creatures, it feels like they come up close to make eye contact with you.
Our ‘sharky’ dive at Huruvalhi Kandu (Lhaviyani Atoll) was another highlight of the trip for me. Kandu means channel in Dhivehi – Maldivian language – and we were dropped near the corner of a channel that connects the Indian Ocean with the atoll. We were lucky to be dropped at the right time and the right place, with the right current. We went straight down to 30 metres and hooked ourselves into the edge of the channel, where hundreds of sharks were patrolling and hunting. Grey reef sharks, big oceanic silvertips, lemon shark, whitetip and blacktip reef sharks were all over the show. Other main actors were eagle rays, marbled rays, porcupine rays, sting rays, not to mention the tunas and the schools of jacks. A brilliant dive!
After every dive we were welcomed back on board Blue Voyager for either a well-prepared breakfast, lunch, or a tasty snack, which was not much later followed by dinner. Served buffet-style, the food was excellent and of a great variety during the 10 days’ trip. One afternoon mid-trip we took an excursion to an uninhabited island where we all enjoyed a few hours of beach time, swimming, volleyball. Sipping a lovely sunset cocktail, we watched one of the most amazing sunsets. The boat crew got creative and made a manta and whale shark in the sand.
All in all, it has been an amazing, unforgettable experience; it comes highly recommended!