Sometime in June of 2015, two of my friends, Bhushan and Anup, and I decided in doing a live aboard trip to the Maldives. For SCUBA divers, living on a boat is the best was to dive at various dive spots and typically lasts 6 days and 18 dives. When you dive off shore, you need to come back at night, whereas here we can cruise to different dive spots, while living on the boat and experience a lot more.
Having put a thought in place and sown a seed, we went about gathering people for this trip. First by word of mouth and later advertising thorough Fleetfoot Adventures on our Facebook page. Within a month we had 14 enthusiasts ready and waiting to explore the beautiful waters of the Maldives.
On 5th September we all landed in the Maldives and were then taken to our boat, Ari Queen. She was waiting for us with arms wide open. We settled down into our air conditioned cabins and stretched out that afternoon because we knew, the next few days was going to be diving, diving and more diving.
Ours was a motley crew. We had instructors, Advanced divers, Open water divers, Dive Masters and even a first timer with us.. All brought together by a common desire. DIVING!!
We did our first “check dive” off a resort called Kurumba. It was a simple dive. Just to check if our equipment was all ok and to familiarize ourselves with the underwater world. Result. All ok and waiting to get going, On the 6th afternoon we set sail to Vaavu Atoll, where one of the best night dive sites is situated. It was a 4 hour cruise and it was well worth it.
The place is called Alimatha and I kid you not when I say that while diving that night we dove with close to 100 nurse sharks, 100 plus sting rays, marble rays and Giant Trevally. Not to mention the grey reef sharks and white tips that were also around. Completely safe and awesome!!
Over the next few days, we did lots of dives, but I want to mention some of the highlights
- There is a dive site called Five Rocks. Its beautiful. Lots of over hangs very good live coral and zillions of fish.
- Kudarah Thila. Again just a gorgeous dive site. Great for an easy dive. Not much current and lots of fish life around. Get to see the rarely seen leaf fish and Octopus here. Trust me if you don’t have a set of trained eyes to spot these two, you can swim right past them and not know. Their camouflage is something else.
- Madi Thila. Luckily the visibility was brilliant on this dive and we saw 30-40 white and black tip baby sharks resting on the sandy floor. This place is like a nursery for sharks.
- Moofushi Manta point. Here we get to see Manta Rays, because this is a cleaning station and they come here to get groomed.. It like their parlour. But the highlight of my trip was not the Mantas, but sighting the elusive Zebra shark up close and personal. Amazing sighting
- Fish Head. Lots of fish, groupers and 3 huge grey reef sharks patrolling the reef. There were strong currents so we just held on to some rocks and watched the amazing sight literally swim by us.. to and fro.
- Maya thila. Rated by CNN as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world.. And that killed it! This site is beautiful. However ever since it was heard of by the world, every diver wants to come here. Now there is nothing wrong in that. Its just that when newly certified divers come, sometimes their buoyancy is not right and they end up damaging lots of fragile coral.
Overall it was a super trip. Great bunch of guys and girls. Awesome pictures taken by some of the best in the business.. Anup , Bhushan, Ankit, Claude, Neil and Subhash!
So when are we doing it again? Soon… Diving for us is like meditation..
The more you do it the calmer it makes you.