The Maldives are a destination of choice for scuba diving. Their 26 atolls extending over more than 800 km offer a large number of scuba diving sites and opportunities to encounter the most mythical submarine species. To best enjoy these islands, I was advised to take a cruise with Maldives BlueForce. The 7-day cruise took place during the month of October, a transitional period between the rainy season and the dry season.
1st day, Saturday:
The instructors who guided us during the week came to welcome us at the airport. Once we were all together, we got on the Dhoni and reached our impressive cruise ship. The first day was a day of rest, welcome after a long trip. The crew gave us many instructions on the progress of the week and how to behave on the ship, which was called MV LEO and was 4 stories and 42 meters long.
The first night was nice; the sea was calm. The first dive took place before breakfast at Lankan Beru, near Male, the capital. It was a test dive in order to group people by their air consumption and to adjust some details. We were lucky to be only 10 divers that week, since the ship could accommodate twice that. This dive gave us a very positive taste of the week to come.
The 2nd dive was at EMBUDHU BERU, an amazing dive with an encounter with the Manta ray, 3 White-spotted eagle rays, and millions of triggerfish. The current was gentle.
The 3rd dive took place at night at Alimathaa Pier. It was a great surprise to find huge Nurse sharks, rays, and jackfishes there, who passed at least one meter away from us. It was also a very easy dive, 15m deep and without a current. A memorable dive.
It is also very nice to come back to the boat and have a hot buffet waiting for you; the food was simply magnificent, and quite varied.
The next day we changed atolls. After 3 hours of sailing, we left in search of the whale shark. We got on a Dhoni, which is the little boat that followed us and which we used to approach the dive sites. We went along the outskirts of an island known for whale sharks being seen there regularly during this season. After 20 minutes of observation on the bridge of the boat, we saw its silhouette and immediately went to join it underwater. It was a young shark but impressive all the same.
After a 2nd dive, we left to visit a neighboring island and its village, where time seems to have stopped.
At the beginning of the evening, an impressive night dive into the remains of the Machchafusi wreck filled us with emotions; a very full day.
We left that morning in search of the manta ray at the Camel Rock dive site. The day was rainy, and as a consequence, underwater visibility was a little bit reduced. We did 2 dives in order to see the 1st manta. It was not the best conditions to observe it. The rock at Camel Rock was beautiful in itself, with a huge static shoal of glassfish right in the middle of it. The 3rd dive took place on a huge pinnacle overflowing with life. At the end of the day, we returned to the neighboring island, deserted and a paradise for snorkeling and walking.
We did 4 dives on this day. An unexpected surprise at night for the 4th dive: the boat crew lit up the surface of the water with a spotlight from the back of the boat. We waited around 20 minutes before a manta ray appeared at the surface. The light attracts the plankton, which attract the manta rays who eat them. We were immediately equipped, and we went about 15 meters below the boat with flashlights. The incredible spectacle of the ballet of the manta rays lasted more than 45 minutes.
We did 3 dives that day and one in the hope of encountering hammerhead sharks, but without success. At night, the crew had prepared a nice surprise for us: traditional local songs accompanied by percussion. The mood was festive.
We moved closer to Male to dive in order to prepare to disembark the following morning. There, the dives were even more amazing.
This week was an incredible experience, with a very professional and friendly crew. If you want to know more about Maldives Blueforce, you can check this page which better describes their services.