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Maldives


2 weeks at Reethi beach resort in Baa Atoll

 

Population: 320,000m (UK = 60m)
Area:
300sq km (UK = 245,000)
Famous for:
Honeymoons and SCUBA diving
Cost of a can of Coke in a restaurant (the new standard!): £3.50!
Weather in September:
Hot and wet 30'C day, 26'C night .
Local food: Normal food. Pizza and pasta
Cost: £1200 flight and B&B. £250 sea plane transfer.


Day 1: Overnight flight via Zurich to Male

Then a 45min sea plane transfer to the resort.

A quick snorkelling session soon ended in disaster when Michelle's new underwater camera case started leaking water. Luckily the camera didn't get wet enough to break it.

 

Every evening they feed the stingrays. Quite an amazing sight.

They aren't dangerous. Unless you are Steve Irwin and unfortunately get stabbed in the heart by the stinger...

A rare and shy guitar shark also along for a free food handout.

So shy, the only way to get a picture was to plant the camera in the sea where he would be and leave the video running.

 

Day 2: Check dive

 

'Check dive' on the house reef in the morning where cleaner shrimps gave us a manicure,

 

Day 3: Stingray snorkelling

Before feeding time the sea is full of stingrays. I kept my explosive shark defence stick with me at all times.

Not really. It's the pole my video camera is mounted on...

Day 4: Diving at Hiru Caves

Disappointing dive with not much to see. At least Michelle's new camera didn't leak this time, but worryingly, the photos weren't coming out well...

Day 5: Hanifaru bay (trip 1)

Famous throughout the world (if you are into manta rays!) this is THE place for mantas. Diving is no longer allowed and the snorkelling is very well regulated to minimised the disruption.

There were about 10 in the bay that day.

Day 6:

House reef snorkelling.

Fruit bats everywhere

Day 7: Snorkelling trip to Island

An hour away was an uninhabited island with a particularly nice coral reef. On the way there a pod of dolphins joined us and raced the boat.

Day 8: Whale shark sensation!

On returning from an unexciting dive at Hirundhoo caves it suddenly got special when the dive guide said, don't put your gear away, we've just had reports of a whale shark nearby...

They are the top of the list of things to see. The dive guide had only briefly seen one before in 7 years of diving the maldives, and we got to spend 20minutes with this one.

 

 
 

...and if that wasn't special enough, when he left us there was a group of manta rays!

 

Day 9: Hanifaru bay (trip 2!)

Every birthday should include lots of manta rays so we took another trip to Hanifaru bay!

This time there were about 50 there, which is unbelivable numbers. Nowhere else in the world has such gatherings.

At one time I counted 20 I could see at once, and this one photo has 8 in it. Pity this was the day I forgot the wide angle camera... D'oh!

 

 

Day 10: Kitesurfing

Having carried all my gear a quarter way around the world (at the expense of other useful things, like clothes)
when a storm came by with some wind I took the opportunity to get the kite out.

 

However the wind wasn't quite strong enough to stay upwind so after an hour or so I was disappearing over the horizon and out into the Indian Ocean....Luckily the rescue boat had me covered!

Day 11: Hanifaru bay (trip 3!)

One last trip to manta heaven but only a few were there.

The afternoon was spent diving at The Pinacles

Day 12: Manta Diving at Nelivaru and The Blue hole

In over 100 dives we have never seen mantas. Today would tick that box

 

and the second dive site had a giant chimney-type cavern

Day 13:
Lazy day snorkelling

Pipe fish

Titan trigger fish

Day 14:

On the last day 3 baby lemon sharks appeared in the shallows around the island.

And then we went home...