Dive Day 4, trip day 6 (Thursday)
Breakfast roll call at 6.15am meant another interesting time listening to the dive brief for the pre-breakfast dive (Dive 11 for the week Rangali Madivaru), looking forward to this one as it appears to be a nice relaxing start to the day. Off we trot to the Dhoni and begin heading out to the open ocean alongside what can only be described as a true tropical paradise. As we descended it would appear that the visibility has gotten even better over night since the brief storm we had earlier in the week had now long passed. The sun is shining constantly now and the waters are so lovely and warm, some are even diving with no neoprene at all these days. Soon we were drifting gently along the reef walls, complete with rocky overhangs hiding all sorts of interesting soft coral hangings and fish life hiding from the sun as it streams down through the water. No dramas on this one and lots to see too including white tips, white mouth moray, baby clown trigger fish, banded pipefish to name just a few. Roger had another outing today dropping down to his deepest dive yet, certainly no deeper than 30m though……obviously!
Dive 2 (Maamigil) proved to be a fascinating drift dive once again with only a gentle current gliding us along all eagerly looking out for the whale sharks which are occasionally in the area. Great excitement was apparent just before we entered the Dhoni when Ian shouted ‘Shark’ at the back of the main boat. I think that maybe his own keen anticipation may have been playing tricks on his mind but who knows, they say Loch Ness doesn’t exist either yet many have seen it! I have decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did he see one as sadly we didn’t spot any others on the dive. Even at the end of the dive whilst doing a perfectly executed safety stop with Ian, Hayley and Jen we were all still gazing about us willing just a brief encounter – it just wasn’t meant to be I suppose. However highlights of the dive were seeing a turtle feeding, another one sleeping and many other fascinating sightings of rare and amazing creatures including white tip sharks, marble rays, bird wrass, parrot fish, morays and many varieties of sea cucumbers.
Dive 3 (Alimatha) Night Nurse! Well this sure was a treat, a twilight start moving into a night dive. We were all eagerly anticipating what had been briefed as something extraordinary, torches in hand we were waiting on the shout from the front of the Dhoni to go go go! All of a sudden we heard a BANG-HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS followed by a few nicely chosen expletives in a Middlesborough accent. My poor old pal Richard (who does appear in a number of these write ups’) got a blown high pressure hose. Fortunately unlike poor Ian earlier in the week this happened before the giant leap from the boat so it was all action to get Richard back up’n’running, there was no way we were going to let him miss this treat. Despite Richards despair the crew had quickly jumped to his rescue and within seconds his regs were now in possession of a shiny new HP hose and we were ready to leap into the slowly dimming ocean. As we descended we could see patches of torchlight all around and many snorkelers viewing this exciting scene from 20m or so above. As we grew closer to the ocean floor the amazing sight soon began to unfold. During our briefing we were told to ignore and not follow any nurse sharks on our descent as we would soon be seeing many more, it was also more important to maintain the group. Thithe and Ali worked hard to ensure we found a great view site and they carefully guided us to comfortable viewing points for the game to begin. Once we were all comfortably positioned they began squirting this cocktail of fish juice around the rocks and sandy beds surrounding us all. Almost immediately we were surrounded by hundreds of species eagerly trying to find the food they can smell but can’t find, then all of a sudden………………..from nowhere………………came these huge yet gentle nursing sharks………………..plunging into the sandy beds, clumsily bumping around and exploring beneath rocks, divers and anything else they could bump into while also digging their noses into the pure white sandy bed. Words cannot describe the incredible sight as it unfolded, time and time again searching for snippets of food. They gracefully glided in and out of the motionless divers, all dumbfounded by what they were seeing. This sight went on for over 25 minutes, then we were told to slowly make our way up the sandy slope to do what has to be the most relaxed safety stop anyone is likely to do, laying down on a pure white sandy slope. If it hadn’t been for the awesome sights we still had buzzing around in our heads I’m sure that most of us could have taken a nap there and then!
Other life we saw today: Nurse sharks by the hundred, Rabbit fish, pink whip rays, giant trevally, just too much to even mention to be honest!