Diving is one of the past times for which the Maldives are best known. Tourists who come here for a beach holiday enjoy the feeling of being lost on an ocean tropical paradise. For divers, the waters lying to the north and south of the islands’ capital Male are a kind of Mecca. The water temperature is almost equal to the temperature of the air; usually ranging between 29-30 degrees Celsius.
It makes no sense to arbitrarily divide the Maldives into southern and northern atolls, because divers here make use of comfortable safari boats. If you have time, you can cover long distances and, after a few dozen dives, see a lot of things. Nobody can say just how many different species of underwater inhabitants you might come across.
This leads us quite nicely onto the matter of sharks. A diver who’s visited the Maldives doesn’t say how many sharks he saw, but rather how many species of sharks failed to meet him down under the water; there are countless examples to be found here.
Immersed in the channel; you dive to some depth, take a foothold via a reef hook and look on toward the slow moving blacktip and whitetip reef sharks. Even over the course of just one dive you’re likely to see a few dozen. Then you quietly move with the flow of the channel, only occasionally needing to kick with your flippers, watching the bright inhabitants of the reef from time to time along the way meeting with turtles. Many liken this part of the dive to watching TV. These kinds of excursions are readily available and taking them is like being inside a huge and populated aquarium with fish and corals, with each dive seeming like a journey to a different world.
Nurse sharks, Zebra sharks, Thresher sharks and Silk Sharks are rare, but they can be seen here with just a bitl of luck.
One particular attraction is diving with whale sharks. Should you be unlucky enough not to have met them during a dive, dive boat crews can coax them straight to your dive deck. At night a white sheet is lowered over the water and then lit up with a powerful spotlight. This “beacon” attracts scores of plankton and then the whale sharks come to have their dinner. Though this game may take several hours, you’re bound to enjoy swimming with these marvels of the sea.
At first light, get up and take a dip as the sun rises. In the water, at a depth of 20-30 meters, are the deepest blues. This is a place we like to wait and meditate for some minutes, like some underwater yogis. Finally, they come;. Hammerhead sharks rapidly pass beneath. Should you witness such a site, you’re sure to be hit with an incredible excitement and adrenaline. While you enjoy the spectacle and show your fellows under water signs such as “ok” and “I'm a little afraid", a big flock of Hammerhead sharks passes yet again. This is a dive that you’re sure to never forget.
You come to what is known as Manta Point, a place for mantas at the cleaning station. The entire group is located on a circle at the bottom and waits. At a depth of 15 meters sit for minutes, watching the leaf fish or even something smaller. And here, perhaps an hour later, they are come. These incredibly sized flying carpets quietly swim straight at you. Photographers in your group tend to do their best underwater photos and even, for many, the best in their lives. As you become familiar with the mantas who are the symbols of Maldivian diving.
Returning from a trip below the equator, our boat slows down. The divers rest on the sun deck after a dive, and see rising spurts of water mere meters from the desk; a blue whale erupts from the sea and shows his back. The whole group is excited as the captain claims that it was just a baby and soon we see his mother. All rush to their cabins for their cameras and take seats on the bow of the boat. From here we see, rising from the water in the distance, a huge cloud of fine droplets and the world's largest mother poses for cameras. The pictures produced today are sure to garner the envy of friends on social networks. Of course, it can’t be said that every safari invites its own miracles but, who knows, maybe you’re lucky just like us ☺.
We can talk about the underwater world of the Maldives endlessly, but you have to see it all with your own eyes and decide that this is a place you’ll want to come back to again and again.