Emperor Serenity Maldives Trip Report, 13 – 20 August

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Mantas galore with Emperor Serenity and guests in the Maldives… “For some of our guests it was their first personal experience with these giants of the ocean and one they would always remember.”

LANKAN MANTA POINT

Not the best of visibility but we didn’t care as that’s what mantas love! But at Lankan Point these magnificent creatures are not coming in for feeding, they are coming in to be cleaned and to socialize with other mantas coming in for the same reason. We enjoyed just a small current today and the marine life was quite exceptional, especially in this particular area where we don’t necessarily dive for the corals and fish; there were masses of fusiliers being hunted by snapping jacks and dogtooth tunas. Large numbers of snappers of every size and design added a great splash of colour. We stayed clear of the titan triggerfish (who was enormous) but got up close and personal with the hawksbill turtles we found digging for food on the top of the reef. Best of all was what we came for; we had a solo female manta arrive to the cleaning station and we enjoyed watching her as she gently flinched at the cleaning wrasses’ nibbles and pecks – successful in their mission to clean the parasites off her large, graceful body.

EMBUDHOO EXPRESS

Embudhoo Express lived up to its name today and we were ‘slightly’ challenged by a fast running current. This decent current brought out the bigger boys who swam against it with such ease we felt clumsy and cumbersome in our gear. We enjoyed the show put on by the numerous grey reef sharks who were soon joined by white tip reef sharks of all sizes, juveniles learning to handle the currents (and nosey divers) and older more experienced adults. When we could tear our eyes off the main predators of the site we spotted many morays – giant, leopard and one splendidly decorated honeycomb moray. A good challenging dive but it was smiles all round after.

KUDA GIRI WRECK

Maldives

We all love this little wreck when we have it to ourselves! With almost perfect visibility and no current to speak of we spent time casually exploring the structure and its environs. Numerous types of shrimps went about their daily business…doing what shrimps do! On the wreck itself we found several types of moray including one free-swimming, which we don’t see too often on a day time dive. For those with alert eyes, several beautifully camouflaged scorpionfish were spotted, sitting quietly waiting for some unsuspecting prey to pass their way. Best of all had to be the large school of chevron barracudas which hung in the water at the bow of the wreck keeping a beady eye on possible lunch options.

ALIMATHA SUNSET

No matter how many times we dive at Alimatha it can still surprise us with the number of sharks who turn up to entertain us and feed and socialise. Timing it so we jumped as the sun was just slipping below the horizon, we entered the water and could immediately see large numbers of nurse sharks already there, some swimming up and down the channel, some keeping to the shallow sandy area and some doing both. These sharks are adorable. The ones who visit Alimatha are very large in size and great in number. Their eyesight is pretty poor so they are often known to unwittingly bump into and gently nudge guests as they make their way past. For some divers it can be a bit of a fright, but a wonderful experience. The nurse sharks were joined this evening by a few hunting blacktips.

KUDARAH THILA

This is such a lovely dive site at all times and with today’s gorgeous conditions it was nearly at its perfect best. We dived into this marine paradise and were engulfed by fish who created an artist’s palette of colours around us. A true Kodak moment, which lasted for the entire dive! Apart from the sharks, who were close to the thila but still in the blue, we saw an unexpected nurse shark and several very large dogtooth tunas. All around the thila there were clouds of midnight and blue-lined snappers, jacks and trevallies and clouds of the odd-looking surgeon fish. Everyone loved the pristine anemone garden in the shallows, where we spotted some lovely shrimps and even some brightly decorated nudibranchs.

MAHIBADOO

MANTAS! MANTAS! MANTAS! We were mesmerized by the mantas who arrived this morning and displayed their athletic abilities with grace, ease and absolute elegance. For some of our guests it was their first personal experience with these giants of the ocean, and one they would always remember. We were rooted to the spot watching as the mantas barrel rolled and swooped around us, almost oblivious to our excitement and bubbles. When we did finally look away we also saw some lovely nudibranchs, a few sharks and many lovely corals but the talk around the breakfast tables later was definitely the mantas!

BATHALA MAGAA

Another favourite site amongst the guides, Bathala usually manages to astound even the most seasoned of divers. The shoals of red tooth triggers who sweep along the ridge create a reef of electric blue and their frenetic energy seems to energise the fusiliers into swimming faster than normal and the snappers to arrive in huge numbers. Behind these smaller fish come the predators – the jacks, the trevallies and the tunas who arrive with only one agenda, to hunt and to eat! Today’s dive was electric with so many fish around us, so for much of the dive we just hung in the tiny current on the top of the reef and watched the fishy world go by. Then back to the incredible space and comfort of Emperor Serenity. Does life get much better than this?

For Red Sea Holidays with Emperor Divers, visit www.emperordivers.com.

For Maldives Holidays with Emperor Divers, visit www.emperormaldives.com.

This article was originally published by Scubaverse