Dive Day 5, Trip day 7 (Friday)
Dive 14 of the trip (Devana Kandu) First dive of the day and another nice little relaxing drop down to around 24m straight onto the rocky bed and a reef hook dive. Pretty uneventful and not a lot to report to be honest, just very nice to start the day like this. Hovering gently above the rocky bed, suspended by a thin rope, hooked into the rock we just lay there watching the fish and small sharks drift by at the start of their day. As with every dive you are surrounded by little macro life too so it is always worth a stare at the surrounding topography there are always some fascinating little critters to admire including nudis and all sorts!
Species spotted: Grey reef sharks, white tip, eagle rays, giant moray, octopus
Dive 2 of the day (Dive 15 Mirayu Kandu) Just a short move along the atoll to the next dive site brought us to our prelunch-post brekky dive. Again we dropped nice and quickly down onto the rocky seabed and a hook on once again. Sitting at around 24/25m we had a fairly short stop of around 10 minutes before it was time to release our hooks and drift into the channel. The current had picked up a little by now and we were soon drifting along at a fair rate of knots (probably around 6-8 knots watching the fascinating scenery change as we flew weightlessly along, trying to preserve our air to make it last as long as possible. All desperately aware that these awesome experiences were not going to last forever and we would now soon be returning to a level of normality (although working for Oyster nothing can really be described as NORMAL!) As we effortlessly glided along dozens of different types of fish, large, small and huge swam about almost in complete ignorance of the existence of these strange bubble blowing creatures. Nursing sharks were still about as well as Tuna and various types of Ray. A beautiful pre-lunch bimble over we gathered together and hung around Thithes SMB, lazily we just hung there until our count downs had finished. Time to surface and grab some more of the delicious feast awaiting us! I have added in a pic for our good friend Richard Dennis as his bouyancy skills have come on leaps and bounds over recent months, there he is hooked in and snapping away merrily! Good on ya Richard 🙂
Other fish life we saw on the drift: Tuna, yellow snappers, trigger fish, grey reef, eagle ray
Dive 3 (Kuda Giri Wreck) An amazing end to the day! Lunch done and evening plans were set (yes tonight was the eagerly awaited ‘Cards for humanity’ night!) we were all jumping into the Dhoni excitedly anticipating the only wreck dive of the week. We descended down and the wreck soon became obvious it was a huge purposely sunk former fishing vessel, almost perfectly upright with a slight tilt to the port side to make it that little bit more interesting. As it is a dive site the interior has been completely stripped but ironically they have sunk it in waters too deep to (legally) reach the prop and bottom of the hull. Obviously everyone sticks to the rules and doesn’t descend down to look at the prop sitting at 37m (ahem!). Hayley decides to do her ‘Titanic’ bit and sit (yes she couldn’t be bothered to do it properly!) on the very front of the bow of the vessel, arms stretched out wide. All that was missing was the music! The hilarious part was that she had rusty marks around her ‘nether’ regions for the remainder of the dive! Soon the wreck was explored and Ian, Hayley and myself decided to head across to the huge upstanding rock to the side to search out some macrolife. As we are exploring I heard the familiar tapping on the tank sound, knowingly I hunted around for Thithe as I knew we were going to be in for a treat. He was surely going to show us a happy surprise. And as always he didn’t fail us! We followed him up to some amazing little sights wondering what he had in store for us and eventually there it was, a stunning, albeit a little tight, swim through! YES! We had been very shy of swim throughs on this trip so it was great fun. Drifting down into a blind bend we carefully navigated our way through this tight little passage and as the daylight appeared there was freedom soon in sight. Great fun! We then traversed our way along the side of this huge rock observing hundreds of examples of macro life plus crabs of all shapes and sizes, moray eels, flatworm and pink eye goby.
Candy crab, torpedo ray, nudibranch, blenny, nemo, slug, cucumber etc
It had also been nice to see Fiona back on the Dhoni for another snorkel around, as we came back on the boat her face was beaming having had a great time snorkelling around while we had been diving into the depths.
Today also saw me seeing out one of my life’s all time highlights and top of the bucket list. I saw dolphins in the wild! They were surrounding our boat as we lunched in the mess. All of a sudden Ian shouted ‘Dolphin’, as we all shot to view through the window one of them twisted up and out of the ocean! In a sheer state of ‘rush’ I managed to stand on my sunglasses and flatten them! (Cheers Chris for straightening them up for me) We all abandoned our lunches to rush out on deck to view the spectacle, we were surrounded. You could see them under the water but not too many spinners although I did catch one on camera………………….I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My lifelong dream to see these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat was actually happening, right there in front of me. As they passed we saw what we initially thought were more but then it became obvious we were witnessing yet more variety of outstanding beauty………………an enormous pod of pilot whales. It was like a scene from Blue Planet happening live in front of us. Slowly rising and dipping back into the ocean on their journey to beyond, it was simply stunning. It was certainly one of the great highlights of this trip that just kept on giving.
Barbecue night tonight too so what a day. As the bell rang we made our way to the back dive platform where the barbecues had been set up…..what a sight to behold! The entire crew were there to serve up an enormous feast of Chicken, steak, fish and prawn kebabs as well as salads and a selection of potato, pasta and rice dishes. Far too much to fit on one plate and it seemed rude not to go back for more! As we were finishing off the crew then entered the mess parading yet more food. All having had what we thought was our fill they then appeared with a huge cake specially made for us as a goodbye! Delicious!