Pretty NurseUnfortunately the lighting was far from good on this pic, instead of getting the highlights on the face it ended up on the fin, but somehow I liked the angle at which I caught the portrait so decided to post it. Another fantastic dive in Alimatha, Maldives.
Not Shy At AllStingrays are probably even more present in Alimatha than Nurse Sharks, they are absolutely not shy and will literally push you out of their way.
Manta Close UpsOne of the most fascinating and almost deeply psychadelic dives of my life. Great experience. Unfortunately I was not able to get a shot with perfect lighting and not overfilled with backscatter.
Magical MantaOn this dive the mantas were in no rush to leave. Infact we left before they did :)
Top 3 Night Dives in Central Maldives
The Maldives is a fantastic destination with many different sides to the varied diving available in the Jewel of the Indian Ocean.
One of these sides is fantastic night diving.
Below I have listed 3 night dives that are truly staples in most liveaboard aka dive safaris itineraries, and if you have not yet been diving in the Maldives you are most likely going to visit one of these sites when you do.
Alimatha is a Dive Site located that in Vaavu Atoll that houses a popular resort in the Maldives. The dive site itself is sometimes referred to as 'The Jetty' - as the sand banks where most of the actions happens are located not far from the main jetty of the resort.
In a nutshell you jump of the boat, find a nice patch of sand and sit down for the hour long show.
The video below will sum up that dive perfecly.
One of the reasons for the incredible action at this resort is the fact that in the evenings, the resport staff clean the fish for dinner on the jetty and throw the guts into the sea, creating an attractive buffet for Tawny Nurse sharks, marble rays & giant trevally.
The Dive is truly intense from the moment your in the water - we were instantly surrounded by nurse sharks that weren't just unafraid but behaved a bit like arrogant cats that would rub up on your legs to the point of awkwardness.
The only way that I would describe this dive is 'hectic'.
There is such a frenzy of activity going on all around. The light from the cameras or the torches attract giant trevally who swim towards the light, i.e you, until you either cover it with your hand or they bump into you and move onto another target.
Most of the dive is spent sitting on the ground with the activity circling you. Really cool experience and some intimate interactions with cowtail stingrays, nurse sharks and giant trevally.
The site is generally a large open sandbank that gets progressively deeper the further you are from the jetty with some rocks strewn about and makes it very easy to see marine animals, even in the dark.
You can read a very detailed account of the dive here.
#2: Maaya Thila
Maaya Thila, much like Alimatha is another legendary night dive in the Maldives. From the minute you jump in the water - you instantly thrown into a feeding frenzy.
The top of the Thila has a plateau which basically is home to most of the action, although below the lip and around the pinnacle, slightly deeper has equally intense activity with less divers around.
Mostly the marine animals present were nurse sharks, white tips, giant trevally and a couple of varities of sting rays. Unlike at Alimatha, the format of the dive was less based around sitting in the sand and observing the activity circling you and more around exploring the pinnacle.
The only downside to the dive, like so often is the amount of divers.
This dive was probably the top 5 dives that I have ever had.
It is easily one of the most amazing experiences you can have in the Maldives, but unfortunately its a bit of a hit and miss experience.
The lagoon in which this dive usually takes place has nothing else and therefore changing the route of the is a risky, since if the mantas don't come - you have a boat full of guests that are going to do a mediocre morning dive. If they do come, you'll have the happiest group of divers ever.
The format was to park the main boat inside the lagoon and turn on the massive light at the back of the boat. The enormous beam surely enough created a thick soup of plankton at the back of the main boat and within 40 minutes or so the mantas came.
To avoid scaring them away we didn't rush in the water and observed them for atleast 30 minutes from the surface. Once the mantas were comfortable and settled into their feeding routine, the dive guides collected all of our torches and got in the water creating a circle of torches stuck in the sand facing upwards, i.e setting a stage.
With light from the torches coming from the bottom and the massive light from the boat shinning down - it really did look rather theatrical.
Next, we quitely got in the water from the side of the boat and settled down on the surface forming a larger circle around the circle of lights and for the next hour or so observed the mantays swimming around and through the stage, performing a variety of circus like maneuvres.
This interaction was really felt really long and intimate, the mantas clearly knew exactly were there sometimes passing 2-3 inches over our heads. It felt as if they were happy to show themselves off to us.
The dive was shallow, around 15-18 metres, and we barely consumed much air since we didn't move. Around 60+ minutes later we surfaced and the mantas continued their dinner while we esctatically moved onto ours.
The Maldives is one of the destinations that are truly amazing, and I don't think its possible to get enough of diving there. If you have never been diving to the Maldives, you really need to.
There are a couple of resources that you might find useful in exploring Maldives as a destination.
- Overview of Diving in the Maldives
- Directory of Liveaboards in the Maldives
- Directory of Dive Shops in the Maldives
- 'My First Liveaboard Experience in the Maldives'
- Channel Diving in the Maldives.
Hope you enjoyed that, or found it useful.
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