Diving in Maldives experience
Our first dive in this years Club trip to the Maldives, we are diving off the MV.Keema. Today’s dive is the checkout splash after a long journey. It is on Kuda Giri, which is a reef wall with a substantial wreck lying at 18m descending down to 34m. The group of ten divers sorted out their weights before descending down to twenty meters, slight problem with ears caused by long dry journey?
Reef has been damaged by ‘El Nino’ but here the effect is quite patchy, overhangs and caves as good as ever, and patches of Coral look fine but in between too many dead areas. The plan was to swim around the Giri , in a clockwise direction with a diversion off to see the wreck .
First lionfish of the trip, concentrating on the reef almost missed the wreck and as the Vis was 25+ and we were only twenty odd meters away, it was a shock to turn around and see it. Still boat shaped and lying upright, looked at the wheel house and cargo hold, then back to the reef, plenty of fish, water warm and great viz. What more could you ask for from a checkout dive. Sixty mins of very easy diving.
Dive two started fantastic and then got better!
Slow getting into the water as Nick got tangled up with the video camera, as we descended we were met by two large eagle rays, they were spooked by the earlier divers, they circled us then we started a fast drift dive along the reef wall, loads of life, very large Napoleons (Cheiilinus undulatus), then came across a sleepy hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), when it awoke it must have been surprised to discover it was surrounded by divers! as it circled another turtle joined it.
Coral was bleached but the wildlife was abundant. No chance to stop and look as the current was strong, but very easy diving so air consumption good.
Today’s third dive was full of Moray Eels, they seemed to be everywhere , saw my first honeycomb eel (Gymnothorax favagineus) and even saw one sharing a hole with a more common yellow-margined (Gymothorax flavimarginatus) eel, all were fairly well grown specimens.
Dived today with John C , not a member of our Club, who we met on Board Keema, said to be an advance Diver, in his middle to late sixties, he had said he did not want a deep dive which suited me as I was not bothered about doing a 40+ m dive.
Began with a quite hard fin, which turned into an impossible dive as when I reached the reef wall saw divers hanging on! Grabbed John as he hurtled past and we all agreed to abandon the dive.
Entered again at the other end of the reef to reach the corner where we attempted to hang on to view the passing sharks. Not being very comfortable and seeing two other divers peel off we decided to join them.
A quick drift dive was in progress when John suddenly grabbed the dead reef and stopped. With great difficulty I fought my way back to him where he signaled he was at 50 bar, as we were in only 15m it was no problem, so at the next convenient area when he signaled to ascend I agreed.
Then things began to go wrong, the pickup doni was above us, other divers were completing their dives and requiring the boat and John got out his SMB and decided he wanted to be left to float along at six meters, to watch the fish! ,
Refusing to heed my signals that he was drifting on to the reef, the boat could not follow and other divers were in need of a pickup. John then did a ten-min stop, endangering the boat, divers and my temper! No one of our group would dive with this Prat for the rest of the holiday!
Buddied in a threesome, slow descent to twenty meters, reef a bit dead but that just showed up the color of the fish. Moray eels, Lion Fish and huge groupers.
Bit slow at first swimming up the center of the channel, saw a crevice full of painted crayfish, Panulirus varicolored, huge antennae, six feet from tip to tip,. Saw a friendly turtle that fell in love with the video camera and came up to investigate.
Then on to the reef edge, monitoring air was glad others had a similar amount left, decided to swim into the blue to watch a vast shoal of Jacks, Carangoides fulvoguttatus, spinning and circling making patterns in space, a quite amazing sight.
The dive was ended with a drift back along the channel, the current being more noticeable now , on the return journey saw a free swimming Moray eel.
A wall dive, the bottom out of sight! Descended to a line of overhangs, swim through and small caves.
Lots of life on the wall, Dive guide showed me some micro shrimps, hiding in the caves, it is amazing how most divers seem to miss the best creatures of the reef while searching for the large sharks and rays, during the next few dives I saw five different species of Nudi branch some the size of my finger nail and others a couple of inches long, these were exciting as the colors were vivid.
Then a large Octopus, a huge Napoleon fish, dark green with red eyes and bigger than me! Not bothered about us divers, then along came the sharks, large white tipped reef sharks.
By this time air was running low so ascended to the reef top which was completely dead, to have a very fast exciting drift dive back along the channel, a great way of finishing the dive.