The Maldives III – Exploring the ocean

10.02.2019

Our second full day was something I was very much looking forward to – seeing the amazing sea life underwater – and over water. Starting with my first dive trip on the Maldives and later the day trying to spot some dolphins.

As usual though I could not get out of bed fast enough, so breakfast was a rushed exercise. Though the Maldives breakfast of tuna with coconut served with roti was delicious. I certainly preferred the Maldive breakfast to the Continental – my better half thought slightly different.

While she had a break from me I headed off back to Dhiffushi Dive & Recreation Centre next to Cafe 420. Interestingly I only had to check fins and jacket as we dived without wet-suit. THe water was apparently warm enough. Other than that I got a regulator and that’s it. I always bring my own mask and dive computer. And I hoped my new Go-Pro would provide some nice videos. A quick ride with the electro cart (I loved that about Dhiffushi – only saw these little electro carts) and I was on the boat with one other diver – Robin from England.

It was not a large boat but enough space for a dive group. Certainly big enough for two divers, the guide and one helper. Unfortunately without any roof. And I forgot my head. So a great start. The tours offered. The dive centre offered only one dive per trip so we headed straight to the one dive site for our trip – Beru Corner at the outside of the atoll. I was rather excited to explore the Maldives underwater world and with my camera set (or so I hoped) I jumped in the very warm sea.

I haven’t dived for 4 month, but I felt I dived just the other day. It was great being underwater again. The visibility was excellent as soon we descent into the depth of the Indian ocean. We reached the coral reefs very quickly as it went down to the dark blue. There were certainly plenty of fish to see. Maybe I am spoiled a bit by the Red Sea, but the corals did not look as healthy as in Sharm – certainly not as colourful (something I noticed when I snorkeled the day before). Maybe the current is too strong. Though for us the current was perfect as it was very easy to go with the flow.

And it seems it was our lucky dive. After getting a nice view of a moray eel we had our first highlight – a beautiful turtle was looking for food in front of us. It was just beautiful. You can never experience such sight in a zoo or watching a video – watching them roaming freely in the water is something very special. And not even 5 minutes later we saw some other movement ahead of us. For a short whole I thought we just hit the jackpot and encountered a manta ray – but it was “only” two beautiful eagle rays. I have never seen one before, but boy, they look majestically when flying through the water. It was amazing.

We followed the reef full of more colourful fish. I know most divers (ok, knowing myself) are always hoping to spot one of the big fish, but even the smaller ones are just fun to watch. Though it is worthwhile not just looking at the corals, but also into the dark blue (who does not love the sight of it – seeing this strong colour and only hearing the sound of me breathing, there are not many more places I feel more relaxed). You might spot some large Napoleon fish as we did in some distance. And then towards the end of the dive I got once more supported. Below us, resting in the sand, we spotted some sharks sleeping. I have seen a small bamboo shark once in Vietnam, but never full grown sharks. Oh yes, I was very excited. Both Robin and I descended to get a better view, but the sharks noticed us and probably annoyed with the two strange looking creatures staring at them and interrupting their well deserved sleep the white-tip sharks decided to go away. I did not complain, as I could see them swimming as well now. Turtle, Eagle Ray, Napoleon fish and sharks. It was great – no, it was amazing.

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We finished the dive over a coral platform where we could watch (or play with) more small fish during our safety stop before surfacing again. Back on the boat, reflecting what I just saw, I felt happy. Happy and privileged to be able to see all of this. It was a great dive. I could have gone down for a second dive – but unfortunately there is only one dive per day. Instead we headed back to Dhiffushi – and I was able to enjoy now the beautiful light blue colour of the sea while the sun said hello. I actually enjoyed the dive so much I booked another trip for the following morning…

Dive Facts:

Site: Beru Corner

Max. Depth: 31.4m

Visibility: Good

Highlights: Moray Eels, Turtle, Eagle Ray, Napoleon Fish, White-Tip Sharks

 

Back on Dhiffushi it was time to look after my GF who might otherwise felt a bit alone, and we headed straight for lunch (as any divers will know – diving will increase the appetite). So of course we went to Cafe 420 and it was time to to head to the beach. But not before we tried some of the hammocks you can find everywhere on the island….

Fortunately we found two sun loungers – so we got VERY comfortable and enjoying the stunning view of light blue water, white sand, blue sky and Meeru island in front of us. Occasionally we saw some kite surfers doing some nice stunts. But other than that we just relaxed, read a book, poking our toes into the sand, going for the occasional swim and just enjoying this little paradise. If you really want to switch off – this is the right place. Peaceful – beautiful – lovely. The staff of Cafe 420 knew us by now and brought the drink we ordered directly to our loungers as well – great service. I could have stayed there until the sunset. However, we could not. As we had our dolphin tour scheduled.

We headed back to the guesthouse, got the cameras ready and just after 4pm we walked with two Australian girls to the boat of the guesthouse. They always leave a bit earlier to have a chance to watch dolphins with less boats around. Apparently the day before they had a great tour. I was hoping for the same.

Thankfully the sea was calm, the sky clear and the sun shining. So it was the perfect surrounding for the tour. Unfortunately one thing was missing – the dolphins. We covered two or three spots, the skipper on the radio to check with other boats, and after 30 minutes we were in the middle of a boat crowd – maybe 10 boats looking out for dolphins. And then they were spotted. You can imagine what mayhem it is if all boats try to turn around and head to the direction where the animals were spotted.

Thankfully we got a bit lucky and the dolphins were swimming under our boat and jumped out of the water next to us. You could only see them briefly, but even then you cannot help to notice how elegant and beautiful dolphins are. Being on a smaller boat was certainly helpful as we could follow them for a while, seeing them jumping out of the water. it was nice. Just to clarify, do not expect dolphins to do a show in front of the boat – these are wild animals and do what they want to do…

We followed them until they reached the open sea and it was time to get a last look at them at we turned around. It seems the guys who joined the day before were luckier, but at least we saw them. However, I must admit heading back to Dhiffushi I was not too impressed with the owner of the hotel. He raced full speed back to the island – while there was an absolute stunning sunset next to us. Due to the speed it was very difficult to take photos or fully enjoy the beautiful view. It would not have harmed if he would have slowed down a bit. I noticed this during the trip to the sandbank, and it was one thing I did not enjoy too much about the tours booked directly with Ohana.

We arrived too soon (for me) back at the island, and we both headed straight to the west part of the island to watch the sunset from there. It was not as spectacular as the previous evening – but still stunning. We also took the opportunity to enjoy a bit of the swinging chairs around the area.

For dinner we went once again to Cafe 420, where we had fried rice and a lovely chicken curry. Unfortunately at the time it seemed not too many food option, as some hotels cater for their guests. So the Cafe became our main food place. And there is worse to sit on the beach having a dinner, listening to the waves and see something I have not seen before – a moonset. The moon actually disappeared in the ocean. A great way to finish a very eventful, and lovely day.

 

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