Dive Day 3, trip day 5 (Wednesday)
The morning again began with a freshly brewed cup of tea being brought to our cabins at the ungodly hour of 6.15, however if we are to have time to experience these amazing times then ‘the early bird catches the worm’. How right they are!
Again we were in for an extraordinary batch of treats in the sea. Briefing 1 of the day revealed that we were going to head off ‘for a day of cleaning’. The first dive (Himendhoo Rock) of the day was to head toward a Manta cleaning station. Briefing over we jumped in with keen anticipation, dropping down to a comfortable 15-20m we were positioned in a circle, just as we had done the night before, but this time surrounding a huge piece of rock. On this rock were hundreds of tiny fish all positioned ready and waiting from the Mantas to slowly glide in, not like the feeding frenzy we had seen the previous night, but more a graceful flight in to allow the cleaners to indulge themselves on whatever they could glean from the skin of the Mantas. Again and again they swooped in and then disappeared into the blue. We sat and watched this peaceful operation for over 40 minutes until slowly fellow divers had to retire from their positions in search of the surface as air depleted.
Dive 2 (Moofushi Manta point) briefing was a little more in depth as we were given a strict set of rules to adhere to. Mainly due to the human nature of us divers ‘fighting’ for a view as the 2nd dive spot we were heading to was an alternative but evidently much busier cleaning station. We were not left disappointed! There wasn’t too much jostling for a position either which I was particularly pleased about. Immediately we arrived at the station we were greeted but a stunning display of huge Manta Rays swooping in for their ‘wash’n’brush up’. Amusingly we were also told to look out for the baby eagle rays who seemed to have an identity issue (they think they are Mantas too!). They looked so cute swooping in, just like the Mantas, yet they were a 10th their size. Equally beautiful and agile just a little more cute. As air began running low we headed away from the station to begin our safety stops and ascents, the journey out was simply stunning as we were met by hundreds of bright yellow snappers and many other varieties of fish, nudis, barracudas and even a lone Spanish dancer jigging her way around Hayleys BCD eagerly exploring to see what this strange bubble blowing creature was! What an awesome way to celebrate your 100th Dive Kirsten, well done and many congratulations.
What wonders were in store for us in Dive 3 (Penattone) of the day? Exhileration can be the only word to describe what we had to look forward to. Some on the boat, Chris and Ian to name just 2, described this dive as a roller coaster. We were told to expect a medium current and to keep the reef on our left during the pre-dive safety briefing. As we dropped in it became very evident that we were in for a real fun ride as the reef was soon flying past us at a great rate of knots. Effortlessly we glided along taking in the sights of sharks, Tuna and yet more Mantas. This was going to make for an awesome 100th dive for Chris. I managed to find Chris as we flew along and got a handshake and photo opportunity to celebrate his 100th dive. Well done Chris, it was an honour to share this experience with you buddy.
Following Dinner we were treated to a great presentation by Albert our Cruise Director on the possibility of diving with Whale Sharks on day 4. Covering the laws and best practises as to how to behave around these beautiful creatures of the sea, my only hope is that all those that are lucky enough to get close to one are respectful of it. I had no idea that when they are close to the surface they are actually resting and warming up so they deserve to be left and not pestered. They really do deserve it.
Dive day 3 over and looking forward to what day 4 has in store. Now its time to enjoy this spectacular sunset over a cold beer or two in the bubbly jacuuzi on the sun deck. Yes this beautiful boat even has one of them!