So March has been super hectic for me. As I sit (well, I’m lying down) here and type this, I’m still wondering how I survived these past 3 weeks of March.
I nearly had to skip the Maldives trip due to overwhelming work, and I nearly missed my flight due to the sudden change of airline policy and I have to change the way I have been packing for dive trips the past 10 years. Too much stress!
Anyway, things are settling down, the trip went extremely well, and lessons have been learnt.
The MV Maldives Princess. If I only have one word to describe her, it would be WOW! Having been there previously, I thought that I would just enjoy myself to a lazy week of eating and diving, but she has managed to surprise me yet again! Now she has a huge slide, the new chef’s cooking is out of this world tasty, and the service from the crew is nothing short of fantastic.
The crew was there waiting for us on our arrival and they quickly took our bags and led us to the dhoni(that’s what they call the boats in the Maldives) that will transfer us to our home for the week, the Maldives Princess.
We arrived at night, and the crew had hot soup and bread as well as a Welcome drink waiting for us on board. A quick brief about the boat, and we were off to sort out our dive gear before going back to our rooms for a shower and sleep!
We started diving on day 2, and we did 3 dives.
First dive was a relatively simple check-out dive at the nearby Kurumba House Reef on North Male Atoll. The top starts off at a shallow 1-2m, perfect for snorkeling, and then sloping down to 30m to a sandy bottom.
We were greeted by a school of batfish during our descend, and the coral life here is healthy! Besides the colorful reef fish, here we saw tunas, fusiliers, boxfish, titan and clown triggerfish, and a couple of black tip reef sharks.
We surfaced to cloudy weather and rain, and the captain reckons we should head off to North Ari atoll right away to try out run the storm.
It was a 4 hour cruise from Male to North Ari atoll, and dolphins kept us company across the channel between the 2 atolls. Arriving at North Ari atoll, we quickly prepared for our next dive.
Dive number 2 was at Bathalla Kan Thila (thila means pinnacle in the local language), and it is the edge of a reef heading into the channel. The top starts off at 5m, before dropping off to 40-50m with a sandy stretch at about 35m. There was only a light current running on that day, but we still managed to see tunas, jacks, grey reef and white tip sharks amongst the millions of red tooth triggerfish.
Since we were in the area, we decided to wait until the evening to do our 3rd dive, which is at the world famous Maayaa Thila. Maayaa Thila in the North Ari atoll is well known for its night dive, where hungry white tip sharks, jacks, marble rays and moray eels all scour the reef to prey on sleeping reef fish. Maayaa Thila is a pinnacle that starts off at about 6m on top, and slopes down to 30+m with some overhangs all around. During our safety stop, I even managed to find an octopus out and about looking for food. In my opinion, the action at this dive site has slowed down, and there seems to be less sharks and rays seen here compared to before.
I’m gonna stop at day 2 on this post, and will continue documenting this adventure in the next couple of posts. Til then, dive safe!