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Adventurous liveaboards in the Maldives
  

 

 

 
Safari report autumn 2010

 

Trip report dive safari Maldives September - November 2010

Dear People,
Snow and cold, the weather here in the Netherlands is totally different then what I have been used to for the last couple of months. We have had again some beautiful safaris we want to share with you! I want to thank all guests who made this period to a success and I hope you also had a great time as Christian, Fevzi, Nienke and me.

The weather

Again we have been through a lot in the Maldives. Usually, you can expect a couple of days rain and wind around the end of October or early November when the monsoon changes. The climate proved to be utterly confused this time resulting in strong winds, rain and storm during the first 2 safari periods, 6 weeks earlier and three weeks longer than normal! The result: it was too dangerous to cross over to the Baa Atoll where we so badly wanted to go. From the boats who did dare to cross, two sank, one capsized and another one hit a reef in the poor visibility .

There seemed to come no end to the bad weather but when the wind disappeared in October the nice weather returned and it already started to look like high season! For the remaining four safaris we were treated on blue skies and a radiant Sun.

 

 

 

Routes

Because of the bad weather we could not cross the first safaris and we dived in the North Male, South Male and Felidhoo Atol. This however was not bad at all. When we dived at Lankan Finolhu (Manta point) where we were accompanied by dozens of manta rays! This dives site proved very popular with our great friends gracious friends so most guests took stunning images and videos. Our own small Hanifaru Bay.Also the Felidhoo Atol had some surprises for us; dozens white tip reef sharks, a big (!) family of grey reef sharks and some twenty Eagle rays we have been enjoying breathlessly for some time at Alimathaa.

During the third safari we finally crossed over to the Baa Atoll to go to Hanifaru Bay, but we soon fled for the very bad diving conditions, the water was as green as at home. This was not what we came for to the Maldives!
Fortunately, the Ari Atoll had the beautiful dive site Rasdhoo waiting for us, which almost always guarantees a lot of shark activity.
During the fourth safari we still got information about bad visibility (and not many Manta rays and no Whale sharks) at Hanifaru Bay, and we decided after a great dive at Lankan with some twenty Manta rays (and no other divers) to go look for a Whale shark in the south of the Ari Atoll. This was a big success; we found one !
After receiving information the visibility got better and the mantas were returning we head North again for the last 2 safaris via the Baa Atoll and later also via the Lhaviyani Atoll (the 6th safari).

map of the maldives

Hanifaru Bay

Because of the bad weather in the beginning of the safari period we could not reach Hanifaru Bay and once we reached Hanifaru Bay the activity was minimal and the visibility was very bad (all because of the aftermath of the storm). When the weather and visibility improved this all changed; the fifth safari we hit the jackpot! 100+ mantas were seen in one (!) dive. Clearly, this was Manta Madness! We did not have enough eyes, wherever you looked, they were everywhere! It was a beautiful spectacle of loopings, manta’s who were hovering in colon and almost-collisions. See also our movies on YouTube, Facebook and our website.

At the sixth and last safari we saw some 40 mantas. Because of the changing monsoon they were starting to migrate to the other sides of the Atolls. We expected to have a lot more mantas in the first safaris in Hanifaru Bay, but because of the exceptional monsoon change the people on the safaris in Ocotber were more lucky. Whale sharks were not seen any more in Hanifaru Bay from the moment the weather turned bad.

Mantas at Hanifaru

 

The Boat

The experience with the Dhinasha and crew is great, more so after changing the first captain after the second safari. The boat is a lot more spacious, more luxereous and a lot faster then out previous boat and also the Blue Dolphin and also the mechanical condition is a lot better even though we had some issues on some trips. Furthermore we had a fantastic Cook (Aita). What he can create in that tiny kitchen is a miracle. One (possible) disadvantage, using a dive safari as alternative for a diet is a no go!

During all safaris there is a big chance to see mantas, sharks, turtles and other big fishes but especially during the longer safaris there is more time to wait for the correct circumstances for whale sharks which enhances the chance to see this magnificent animal.

Until soon in the Maldives!


With kind regards,
Bas van der Mee

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