Monday 5th February
6am call with a cup of tea at the cabin door. What new experience were in store for us this fine day? Safety and dive briefing over we headed over to the Dhoni for dive 1 (Kurumba). A check dive they called it, what a check dive! During this 40 minute submersion into the beautiful warm blue waters we saw Hawksbill turtles, Black tip sharks, White tip Sharks and thousands of other varieties of coral dwellers. If this was a taste of what we had to come then bring it on. What could dive 2 possibly have in store…………………………………………………
Following a hearty breakfast and time for a little R&R catch up the bells rang calling us for briefing no.2 (Rasfari). A few minutes later we were all back on the Dhoni gearing up for dive 2. None of us could ever have anticipated what this dive had in store for us. We were separated into the groups Albert had suggested and we dropped off the boat into the warm water. Negative entry, so we were quickly descending into the unknown. The reef was soon in sight and we all gathered for our swim along, keeping the reef on our right and just 7 or 8 minutes into the dive we heard the clacker from the guide. Coming in from ‘the blue’ was my first ever open water sighting of a Manta Ray! Majestically she glided toward us, like an undersea angel, followed by 2 more of these spectacular creatures. So aware of us yet seemingly inquisitive of us. What must they be thinking when they see us strange ‘’bubble blowing’’ blobs floundering about in their world? They glided in and around our group as if to try to work it out, then they were off, effortlessly, just as quickly and gracefully as they had entered, our lives they left it. My first Manta Ray experience was over. We then continued on, dumbstruck by what had just happened. There was just so much to see down there and enveloped in the warm tropical ocean I never wanted to leave. Air getting low, it was time to think about surfacing when all of a sudden another Manta came to say goodbye. Gliding in and out of our group, in what looked like slow motion, she came and then went. It was now time to begin our ascent. The buzz on the Dhoni was extraordinary, the spirit was so alive with the excitement of what we had all just encountered. Some people I had never met before, yet in just 24 hours, had now shared such a magical experience with. Discussion over pizza in the mess was filled with excitement and anticipation on what this week was to hold for us all.
Other species spotted: White tips, eagle rays, blue fin trevallies etc etc etc
Dive 3 – Rasdhdo Madivaru
The briefing included a very useful and informative talk by Sophie on the safe and correct use of a reef hook. Particularly for those of us that had never used one before. We were now heading down to the dive I had heard so much about before, we were going to hook on and watch sharks swim by on their journeys.
We all dropped in and down to the reef, swimming along with the reef on our right we dropped into a shallowish sandy basin with the strange sight of seeing divers hooked on to the rocks all in a line along the submerged atoll ridge. What were they watching? Some divers broke away leaving a nice wide space for our group to hook on and see what the others had all been watching. Before us was what can only be described as a ‘’shark super highway’’. One after another, White tip sharks effortlessly glided past us on there journeys to feeding and breeding grounds somewhere. For over 30 minutes we floated there watching these amazing creatures drift past us joined by Bat fish, Eagle Rays, Marble Rays, Jacks and Grey reefs all just going about their lives. Some interaction was amusingly sighted where some of the species sit above the divers, floating on their sides, allowing our bubbles to tickle their sides. 56 minutes we were down in all yet it past by like no time at all. Just 3 dives into the week and we have already experienced such awe inspiring moments, some on the boat stating that these dives have been the highlights of their dive lives so far, despite having had many hundreds of dives logged. Highlights of this dive were the sharks drifting by and the amusing sight of some of the fish using our bubbles as some kind of therapeutic massage. All did what appeared to be great SMB deployments although Richards was a bit keen as it flew to the surface all on its own! Luckily Eagle eyes Alison spotted it when she surfaced otherwise it was another 100 quid down the pan for Mr Dennis. As always he has the latest gear and it has it’s very own mini tank which makes every one on the boat, pre-dive, jump when it ‘pops’ as it is filled from the tank! Don’t think anyone else would have missed that if it had been lost! ?
Other species spotted on this dive: Tuna, Midnight Snappers, Cornet fish, Red tooth trigger fish amongst many others…..