Trip Reports - Maldives Liveaboards

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Boat Trip Datesort ascending Itinerary  
Sea Spirit SS389 28 Dec 2012 to 6 Jan 2013 New Year Special (9 day)
Guest Transfer
International arrival and transfer to Sea Spirit. Travel to South Male atoll. Afternoon visit to sandbank for sunbathing, swimming and beachcombing.
Dive 1
Check dive. There was a very friendly hawksbill turtle, pretty magnifica and carpet anemones with blackfoot and large feisty Clarke's anemonefish, powderblue surgeonfish, a nosey remora looking for a new host. Open Water dive #1.
Day 1
Dive 1
Ocean reef drift dive. There were many rivers of neon fusiliers along the reef, both shallow and deep. We saw several honeycomb morays, a juvenile oriental sweetlips, large dogtooth tunas, a porcelain crab in a carpet anemone, two female Napoleons, a tiny spiny lobster, a large green Phyllidia, white tip sharks ad a spotted coral crab.
AMAZING SPINNER DOLPHIN SHOW ON THE WAY TO THE DIVE SITE! There must have been hundreds of dolphins surrounding the dhoni.
Dive 2
Inside-atoll reef site. We saw a large male Napoleon, bearded scorpionfish of different sizes, one of which yawned and changed colour to bright red instantaneously, big eye and gold-spot emperors, lizard fish,blue finger sponges, white acabaria and green brianarium soft corals. Open Water dive #2.
Dive 3
There were lots of pretty table corals at this sheltered lagoon site which were full of humbug, three spot and blue-green damsels (chromis). On the deeper thila section were large schools of blue-stripe and humpback snappers. The Open Water group practised cartwheels in the sand (not a PADI skill). Open Water dive #3
Some of the group went snorkelling from the island
Day 2
Dive 1
Drift around ocean corner into channel. We saw eagle rays, a feather tail ray, several giant trevallies, white tip sharks ad a huge tuna on the outside. There were pretty overhangs full of reef fish on the inside plus a large Napoleon and lots of snappers of different species.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing to Ari atoll. It was a lovely day and we had great conditions.
Dive 2
TURTLETASTIC fun dive for everyone! This dive was at pretty, shallow thila site with interesting swim throughs in the overhangs and beautiful black coral bushes. There were lots of purple magnifica anemones, Phyllidias, scorpionfish, and of course, some very friendly hawksbill turtles!
Dive 3
The Open Water made their #4 dive and completed their skills. Eight year old Tuva blew some bubbles on a mini-B set. We couldn't get her out of the water later. The makings of a mermaid! We saw some Dussomier's surgeonfish whilst we were making our navigation exercises.
Visit to local village at island.
Day 3
NEW YEARS EVE
Dive 1
Fabulous wreck dive! We saw a NURSE SHARK, MARBLED STINGRAY, SPEARING MANTIS SHRIMP, BLACK FROGFISH,ORNATE GHOST PIPEFISH,SCHULTZ PIPEFISH , BRUUNI CLEANING SHRIMP,STONEFISH, WHITE TIP SHARK,HAWKSBILL TURTLE, 2X EAGLE RAYS, FORSTERS BARRACUDAS,BLAC TIP SHARK, LONGNOSE FILEFISH. FAB!
Snorkelling
WOW SNORKEL with LITTLE WHALE SHARK, he was so cute! He wore us out!
Dive 2
Drift dive with lots of Napoleons, yellow margin morays etc. There were lots of ledges packed with anthias and lionfish.
Dive 3
HURRAH 5 MANTAS IN FORMATION! Beautiful. It was very currenty this afternoon. We also saw schools of squirrelfish and sleek unicornfish, scorpiofish, cheey jewelled damselfish, and a blotched porcupinefish.
We celebrated the arrival of the new year
Day 4
NEW YEARS DAY AND PAULINE'S BIRTHDAY
Dive 1
AMAZING 10 MANTAS SHOW! Spectacular chasing in groups of up to 6 atas at a time showing over somersaulting and "aerial" acrobatics. This looked like courtship behaviour but out of season. They were being very friendly and swimming through our bubbles.
Dive 2
Beautiful sea fans and soft coral covered overhangs. We found a spaghetti worm, several shrimps including some Amboin shrimp surrounding a bubble anemone with a tiny Clarke's anemonefish. There were lots of reef fish and the top had spectacular hard corals up to 4m across.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to little island where the kids ejoyed the beach and the lagoon Everyone got a little sunburnt.
Dive 3
House reef at small faro with a octopus, Maldives sponge snail, schools of blue stripe snappers and big eye emperors.
We celebrated Pauline's birthday with some sparkling wine as the sun went down and then went ashore to the island for dinner on the beach. A magical evening.
Day 5
Dive 1
Drift through beautiful soft coral overhangs and terraces with coral pinnacles and blocks. There were large groupers, schools of blue stripe snappers which engulfed us, a stingray sleeping in the sand, turtles, Napoleons and a manta flew past
Dive 2
Beautiful baitfish smothered thila with pinnacles rising from 40 to 6m. There were bonitos and jacks chasing silversides and herding them into baitballs. In the depths the black coral blocks were smothered in glassfish. We found a new pink-orange FROGFISH, a turtle sleeping under a table coral, a peacock mantis shrimp and a flashing octopus. Some of the group went snorkelling.
Dive 3
Brisk current at this little thila site so we had white tip sharks dancing along the edge of the reef at the current point. Off the reef giant trevallies and bluefin jacks were herding the fusiliers and making the school explode as they fled from attacks. There were schools of Forster's barracudas, big-eye jacks and a grey shark
It was a very still evening and we could watch a pair of nurse sharks foraging on the bottom of the lagoon behind Sea Spirit at anchor.
Day 6
Dive 1
Back to the little thila but this time we spent a lot of time in deeper water over the southern edge of the reef watching the baitball of fusiliers being chased by the jacks. There were schools of both chevron and Forster's barracudas. White tip sharks were either cruising the reef edge or sleeping on the bottom. The current point had lots of bluefin jacks and bannerfish up in the shallows. We found a couple of friendly octopus.
Dive 2
This was a exciting dive with a brisk current keeping the grey sharks along the current side of the reef plus the friendliest little eagle ray (Eddie) cruising above our heads. The largest grey shark was being mobbed by mackerels as she swam past. The corals on the reef top had several baby white tip sharks hiding underneath.
Dive 3
Easy drift dive. There was a eagle ray, lots of dogtooth tunas with single large ones and schools of smaller ones passing us by. Deeper on the slope were schools of blue-stripe snappers, gold-spot emperors, crown and silverspot squirrelfish whilst the red snappers were up in the water column following us around The entire reef has an excellent crown of hard corals full of damsels and chromis plus various reef fish and a large school of rudderfish.
Night Dive
Superb night dive at this famous site to watch white tip and grey sharks foraging around on the reef top and slope There were also three marled stingrays which were almost pushing divers out of the way as they hoovered up the reef! The big jacks and red snappers were feisty tonight as there was quite a lot of current.
Night Dive
OMG 6 MANTAS FEEDING BEHIND SS. JUST AMAZING
Day 7
Dive 1
We went to search for Frederick's camera, lost here yesterday and we got lucky! We also saw blacktip sharks, three eagle rays, a turtle with a remora whilst another remora tried to attach to us, plus the school of rudderfish followed us around to distract the big red snappers.
Dive 2
100's of longfin batfish in separate schools and then lots of single ones which followed us around. The current point was very busy with white tip sharks, bannerfish and a swirling school of big eye jacks. We found a black spotted yellow boxfish (so cute). There were so many fish, this is such a good reef.
Dive 3
Great site: grey sharks circling at the current point, huge dogtooth tunas patrolling the reef, longnose emperors, millions of pyramid butterflyfish along the reef edge, a sleeping baby white tip under a coral block, oriental and harlequin sweetlips.
We were anchored mear where the seaplanes were landing and they gave us an evening show as several landed and took off in short succession.
Day 8
Dive 1
Second visit to this favourite site. The grey sharks and white tips were still cruising the reef and the tunas came in close to show us their impressive teeth! They were certainly the scariest things out on the reef. The big eye jacks were over the sand near the spearing mantis shrimp and were making figures of eight patterns.
Snorkelling
This is a great snorkelling reef with an excellent crown of lots of different corals and a wide range of reef fish, anemones, schools of fusiliers weaving their way around and the occasional black tip shark popping up to check us out!
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to Male for sightseeing and a visit to the ice-cream parlour.
Day 9
Guest Transfer
The group departed to the airport for a day-stay at the Hulhule hotel and then on to their international flight.
Day 10
 
Guest Transfer
International arrival and transfer to Sea Spirit. Travel to South Male atoll. Afternoon visit to sandbank for sunbathing, swimming and beachcombing.
Dive 1
Check dive. There was a very friendly hawksbill turtle, pretty magnifica and carpet anemones with blackfoot and large feisty Clarke's anemonefish, powderblue surgeonfish, a nosey remora looking for a new host. Open Water dive #1.
Day 1
Dive 1
Ocean reef drift dive. There were many rivers of neon fusiliers along the reef, both shallow and deep. We saw several honeycomb morays, a juvenile oriental sweetlips, large dogtooth tunas, a porcelain crab in a carpet anemone, two female Napoleons, a tiny spiny lobster, a large green Phyllidia, white tip sharks ad a spotted coral crab.
AMAZING SPINNER DOLPHIN SHOW ON THE WAY TO THE DIVE SITE! There must have been hundreds of dolphins surrounding the dhoni.
Dive 2
Inside-atoll reef site. We saw a large male Napoleon, bearded scorpionfish of different sizes, one of which yawned and changed colour to bright red instantaneously, big eye and gold-spot emperors, lizard fish,blue finger sponges, white acabaria and green brianarium soft corals. Open Water dive #2.
Dive 3
There were lots of pretty table corals at this sheltered lagoon site which were full of humbug, three spot and blue-green damsels (chromis). On the deeper thila section were large schools of blue-stripe and humpback snappers. The Open Water group practised cartwheels in the sand (not a PADI skill). Open Water dive #3
Some of the group went snorkelling from the island
Day 2
Dive 1
Drift around ocean corner into channel. We saw eagle rays, a feather tail ray, several giant trevallies, white tip sharks ad a huge tuna on the outside. There were pretty overhangs full of reef fish on the inside plus a large Napoleon and lots of snappers of different species.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing to Ari atoll. It was a lovely day and we had great conditions.
Dive 2
TURTLETASTIC fun dive for everyone! This dive was at pretty, shallow thila site with interesting swim throughs in the overhangs and beautiful black coral bushes. There were lots of purple magnifica anemones, Phyllidias, scorpionfish, and of course, some very friendly hawksbill turtles!
Dive 3
The Open Water made their #4 dive and completed their skills. Eight year old Tuva blew some bubbles on a mini-B set. We couldn't get her out of the water later. The makings of a mermaid! We saw some Dussomier's surgeonfish whilst we were making our navigation exercises.
Visit to local village at island.
Day 3
NEW YEARS EVE
Dive 1
Fabulous wreck dive! We saw a NURSE SHARK, MARBLED STINGRAY, SPEARING MANTIS SHRIMP, BLACK FROGFISH,ORNATE GHOST PIPEFISH,SCHULTZ PIPEFISH , BRUUNI CLEANING SHRIMP,STONEFISH, WHITE TIP SHARK,HAWKSBILL TURTLE, 2X EAGLE RAYS, FORSTERS BARRACUDAS,BLAC TIP SHARK, LONGNOSE FILEFISH. FAB!
Snorkelling
WOW SNORKEL with LITTLE WHALE SHARK, he was so cute! He wore us out!
Dive 2
Drift dive with lots of Napoleons, yellow margin morays etc. There were lots of ledges packed with anthias and lionfish.
Dive 3
HURRAH 5 MANTAS IN FORMATION! Beautiful. It was very currenty this afternoon. We also saw schools of squirrelfish and sleek unicornfish, scorpiofish, cheey jewelled damselfish, and a blotched porcupinefish.
We celebrated the arrival of the new year
Day 4
NEW YEARS DAY AND PAULINE'S BIRTHDAY
Dive 1
AMAZING 10 MANTAS SHOW! Spectacular chasing in groups of up to 6 atas at a time showing over somersaulting and "aerial" acrobatics. This looked like courtship behaviour but out of season. They were being very friendly and swimming through our bubbles.
Dive 2
Beautiful sea fans and soft coral covered overhangs. We found a spaghetti worm, several shrimps including some Amboin shrimp surrounding a bubble anemone with a tiny Clarke's anemonefish. There were lots of reef fish and the top had spectacular hard corals up to 4m across.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to little island where the kids ejoyed the beach and the lagoon Everyone got a little sunburnt.
Dive 3
House reef at small faro with a octopus, Maldives sponge snail, schools of blue stripe snappers and big eye emperors.
We celebrated Pauline's birthday with some sparkling wine as the sun went down and then went ashore to the island for dinner on the beach. A magical evening.
Day 5
Dive 1
Drift through beautiful soft coral overhangs and terraces with coral pinnacles and blocks. There were large groupers, schools of blue stripe snappers which engulfed us, a stingray sleeping in the sand, turtles, Napoleons and a manta flew past
Dive 2
Beautiful baitfish smothered thila with pinnacles rising from 40 to 6m. There were bonitos and jacks chasing silversides and herding them into baitballs. In the depths the black coral blocks were smothered in glassfish. We found a new pink-orange FROGFISH, a turtle sleeping under a table coral, a peacock mantis shrimp and a flashing octopus. Some of the group went snorkelling.
Dive 3
Brisk current at this little thila site so we had white tip sharks dancing along the edge of the reef at the current point. Off the reef giant trevallies and bluefin jacks were herding the fusiliers and making the school explode as they fled from attacks. There were schools of Forster's barracudas, big-eye jacks and a grey shark
It was a very still evening and we could watch a pair of nurse sharks foraging on the bottom of the lagoon behind Sea Spirit at anchor.
Day 6
Dive 1
Back to the little thila but this time we spent a lot of time in deeper water over the southern edge of the reef watching the baitball of fusiliers being chased by the jacks. There were schools of both chevron and Forster's barracudas. White tip sharks were either cruising the reef edge or sleeping on the bottom. The current point had lots of bluefin jacks and bannerfish up in the shallows. We found a couple of friendly octopus.
Dive 2
This was a exciting dive with a brisk current keeping the grey sharks along the current side of the reef plus the friendliest little eagle ray (Eddie) cruising above our heads. The largest grey shark was being mobbed by mackerels as she swam past. The corals on the reef top had several baby white tip sharks hiding underneath.
Dive 3
Easy drift dive. There was a eagle ray, lots of dogtooth tunas with single large ones and schools of smaller ones passing us by. Deeper on the slope were schools of blue-stripe snappers, gold-spot emperors, crown and silverspot squirrelfish whilst the red snappers were up in the water column following us around The entire reef has an excellent crown of hard corals full of damsels and chromis plus various reef fish and a large school of rudderfish.
Night Dive
Superb night dive at this famous site to watch white tip and grey sharks foraging around on the reef top and slope There were also three marled stingrays which were almost pushing divers out of the way as they hoovered up the reef! The big jacks and red snappers were feisty tonight as there was quite a lot of current.
Night Dive
OMG 6 MANTAS FEEDING BEHIND SS. JUST AMAZING
Day 7
Dive 1
We went to search for Frederick's camera, lost here yesterday and we got lucky! We also saw blacktip sharks, three eagle rays, a turtle with a remora whilst another remora tried to attach to us, plus the school of rudderfish followed us around to distract the big red snappers.
Dive 2
100's of longfin batfish in separate schools and then lots of single ones which followed us around. The current point was very busy with white tip sharks, bannerfish and a swirling school of big eye jacks. We found a black spotted yellow boxfish (so cute). There were so many fish, this is such a good reef.
Dive 3
Great site: grey sharks circling at the current point, huge dogtooth tunas patrolling the reef, longnose emperors, millions of pyramid butterflyfish along the reef edge, a sleeping baby white tip under a coral block, oriental and harlequin sweetlips.
We were anchored mear where the seaplanes were landing and they gave us an evening show as several landed and took off in short succession.
Day 8
Dive 1
Second visit to this favourite site. The grey sharks and white tips were still cruising the reef and the tunas came in close to show us their impressive teeth! They were certainly the scariest things out on the reef. The big eye jacks were over the sand near the spearing mantis shrimp and were making figures of eight patterns.
Snorkelling
This is a great snorkelling reef with an excellent crown of lots of different corals and a wide range of reef fish, anemones, schools of fusiliers weaving their way around and the occasional black tip shark popping up to check us out!
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to Male for sightseeing and a visit to the ice-cream parlour.
Day 9
Guest Transfer
The group departed to the airport for a day-stay at the Hulhule hotel and then on to their international flight.
Day 10
Sea Spirit SS388 16 Dec 2012 to 27 Dec 2012 Christmas Special (11 day)
Guest Transfer
Arrival from international flights and local hotels and transfer to Sea Spirit
Dive 1
Easy drift check dive. There were lots of groupers, in particular a large brown marbled grouper which followed the divers around plus flower, lunar tailed and camouflage species. A blacktip reef shark swam past when we were investigating the wreck. There were many Bruuni and boxer shrimp cleaning stations plus a large school of whirling big-eye jacks. Also Shultz's pipefish.
Day 1
Dive 1
Channel wall dive with the inner wall smothered in pale pink soft corals and a school of 100's Dussomier's surgeonfish. We also saw eagle rays up on top of the reef and foraging deeper, a juvenile bicolour parrotfish, several large napoleons, hawksbill turtle, electric torpedo ray, a tiny juvenile oriental sweetlips in a frenzy and flower groupers being cleaned.
Ocean Crossing
Inter atoll crossing to South Male atoll
Dive 2
Ocean corner and channel drift with white tip sharks and a couple of eagle rays riding the current, two sailfish on the corner, barracudas, an octopus, and more white tip sharks inside the channel but they were mainly resting on the bottom. There were schools of 100's dart gobies (spawning?), slender groups, and schools of red, black & white and yellow snappers.
Dive 3
We saw three large napoleons near the wreck apparently having a territorial dispute, and there were a pair of lionfish hunting on top of the wheelhouse. We also saw a peacock mantis shrimp, a freeswimming honeycomb moray, a pair of Maldives sponge snails, a scribbled filefish, and up in the shallows were many fusiliers being chased by large tunas. The corals at this site are particularly nice.
Day 2
Ocean Crossing
We made an ocean crossing to Ari atoll whilst the sea was relatively moderate.
Dive 1
Very pretty thila with top reef buzzing with glassfish and sweepers being hunted by spotted rock cods and red groupers. We found longnose hawkfish in the large black corals plus penguin and thorny oysters and elaborate sponges. On the reef top were mantis shrimps, large schools of surgeonfish and fusiliers, a pair of halimeda ghost pipefish, bearded scorpionfish, eye lash blennies (so cute!), Amboin shrimps "radioactive" red anemones and starry dragonets.
Dive 2
Turtletastic thila with the usual super-friendly hawksbill turtles but a strong current whipping over the front and top of thila so difficult to swim around today. There were a few small white tip sharks, dogtooth tunas, blue-fin jacks, a starry puffer, a blotched porcupinefish, yellow margin morays, millions of blue-green chromis, humbug and Indian damsels bouncing in the table corals.
A big weather system came in so we abandoned plans for a night dive
Day 3
Dive 1
Lovely blue water around the wreck even if it was very overcast topside. Great critters too: marbled stingray, black frogfish, stonefish, mantis shrimp in nearly built nest (the coral was still alive), eagle ray, sleeping white tip sharks, large lionfish, Bruuni cleaner shrimp cleaning stations, batfish, longnose emperors and a friendly hawksbill turtle plus all the regular schools of fish.
Dive 2
Only 27 degrees, Brrr! But we found a big stingray resting in the sand nearby yet more sleeping white tip sharks. A friendly turtle swam along with us. There were schools of chubbs, red snappers, mixed goldspot emperors and bluestripe snappers and yellow fusiliers.
Dive 3
SUPER-FRIENDLY MANTA who checked us out closely, swimming through our bubbles and then brought her friend, a male manta, to meet the divers. There was a black jack rising (shadowing) an eagle ray which looked very odd, a lovely school of oriental sweetlips, a turtle and several jewelled damselfish attacks to divers who got too close!
Day 4
Dive 1
Fast bouncy current through soft coral canyons and past terraced overhangs. We saw a marbled stingray, blacksaddled coral groupers, bluestripe snappers and indian bannerfish in overhangs full of seafans and seawhips. We also saw white tip sharks and Napoleon wrasses. The latter 15 minutes of the dive was spent watching a beautiful large female MANTA BEING CLEANED
Dive 2
Super strong current and no mantas but a beautiful coral reef. We saw 2x blue and 1x black ribbon eels, a "mad" longfin batfish trying to be cleaned but being ignored by all the cleaner fish, yellow 3-spot angelfish, midnight snappers, an eagleray, bluefaced angelfish and dogtooth tunas.
Dive 3
Great little thila with small grey shark along south side and huge school of fusiliers being chased by tunas, blue-fin and giant trevally. It was nice clear viz today. There was also an octopus making rock impressions.
Daniel also completed his AOW navigation dive in the lagoon After a long wait we had "Rubee" manta come and make a somersaulting exhibition behind the boat.
Day 5
Dive 1
Huge schools of fusiliers all over the reef top being chased by large dogtooth tunas with the baitball exploding when the tunas started a chase. There were grey sharks cruising the depths and a really cute little eagle ray who swam around checking out all the divers. Off the reef were schools of Forster's barracudas, bluestripe snappers, goldspot emperors and crescent-tailed big eyes. The baby white tips were flitting between the table corals and coral blocks today.
Dive 2
Today the stars of the show were the longfin batfish. At the start they formed an enormous school with around 100 individuals and this later split into smaller schools as they dashed around the thila. The current changed and increased, coming from the east giving us a lovely current point of bannerfish, big-eye jacks, large Napoleon, surgeonfish, fusiliers, giant trevallies etc. plus the odd white tip shark. There were lovely overhangs pulsating with glassfish with lots of rock cods and red groupers inside, and excellent coral and sponge structures. A superb thila site.
Dive 3
Back to the first dive site for a shark show as the grey sharks paraded along the southern edge enjoying the current. The tunas were still chasing the fusiliers and the baby white tips were still flitting around. We found some beautiful frilly scorpionfish ad a stonefish.
Night Dive
SHARKS IN THE DARK! The strong current continued into a night dive! This seemed to make the sharks very excited and there were lots of white tip and grey sharks buzzing around looking for fish, plus several marbled stingrays foraging in the sand. Tonight there were several very aggressive giant trevallies which were doing a good job of catching fish. We also saw several tapestry shrimps, an unusual worm, unidentified Pseudobiceros sp. flatworm and a very well camouflaged decorator crab.
Later in the evening we had two different mantas come and feed behind Sea Spirit at anchorage. One was Rubee (same as yesterday).
Day 6
Dive 1
There were GREY SHARKS cruising the edge of the reef plus white tip sharks and dogtooth tunas, giant trevallies and even small groups of MOBULAS and eagle rays. A large blue naopleon came to check us out and see what all the fuss was about. We found a pair of porcelain brabs in a shorthaired carpet anemone and a white leaf fish nestled on the reeftop. Great dive!
Ocean Crossing
Crossing between Ari and North Male atolls
Dive 2
This is a really pretty thila with excellent coral coverage and large tubastrea and black coral trees on the reef slopes. There were groupers everywhere. In particular was a large brown marbled grouper chasing a very large giant grouper plus three black saddled coral groupers having territorial disputes of their own. A deep ledge full of glassfish was alive with red groupers and large lionfish. A friendly large female napoleon followed us around for most of the dive. There were sleek and Vlaming's surgeonfish and a tiny pink scorpionfish at the end of the dive.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to Male for shopping and sightseeing
Day 7
Guest Transfer
Six guests departed for onward transfer to international departures and hotels in Male
Dive 1
Great wreck. We descended straight into the central hold which is still full of goodies: photo albums, make up kits, washing up bottles, music cassettes, bags of concrete etc. We checked out the Benson & Hedges stash and then worked our way around the accomnodation block. We met a giant napoleon and a school of mackerel scads whizzed past. We were met by a giant starry puffer on the mast during our ascent.
Dive 2
We descended over a sand slope and saddle to the little thila which was mobbed by a enormous school of bluestripe snappers. The coral is interspersed with blue sponges and there were lots of different groupers and cardinals. We found a mantis shrimp ad got bitte by a black cheek moray. On the reef wall was an enormous giant moray and several spiny lobsters
Dive 3
Ocean reef/channel drift with so many schools of fish! Bluestripes, a carpet of humpback snappers, sleek surgeonfish, pyramid butterflyfish etc. We also found a couple of honeycomb morays, hawksbill turtle, yellowfin goatfish and bluefin and striped jacks.
Day 8
Dive 1
Beautiful soft coral covered thila with pink, yellow, orange and blue varieties all puffed up. We descended into a carpet of fusiliers, jacks and snappers too. During the dive we saw Napoleons, turtles, big eye jacks, oriental and silver sweetlips.
Dive 2
This was WILD! Advanced rockclimbing was required to get down to the current point and inch our way across the front of channel corner where the current was pulling very hard. There was a school of chevron barracudas, several white tip and grey sharks whilst a group of mangrove whiprays slept! The drift ito the channel was really crazy with whirlpools and washing machines. Adrenaline rush!
Dive 3
Easy drift along ocean reef with feathertail stingrays sleeping in the sand, three eagle rays gliding along the edge of the reef and lots and lots of fish on the current corner: red, humpback and midnight snappers, goldspots, pyramids, white tips etc. plus a green turtle. We then had a super-speedy (but fairly straightforward) drift into the chanel past blacktip sharks, a giant sweetlips and barracudas.
Day 9
Dive 1
A nice easy small current on this deep thila which was covered in bluestripe snappers and mackerel scads plus a few schools of soldierfish and oriental sweetlips. There were barracudas, rainbow runners and tunas up and down the reef and other lovely reef fish like Dussomier's surgeonfish and Indian bannerfish. The only shark we could find today was a big sleeping white tip!
Dive 2
MANTAS FOR CHRISTMAS! We were delighted to find mantas at this site on the west of the atoll. A large male and very large female were busy being cleaned and passed us by several times to investigate. We also found an octopus, and over-friendly longfin batfish, and a large school of yellowfin goatfish. The reef slope was a field of large orange magnifica anemones!
Dive 3
Drift dive on the deeper section of the ocean reef. We found a pair of Chromodoris tritos nudibranchs, white-mouthed, yellow-margin, undulate and giant morays, the orange anemones (again-so pretty!) a hawksbill turtle, lots of schools of fish and a few earspot filefish with their pretty gold/brown colouring.
We enjoyed a quiet evening over dinner with wine.
Day 10
Dive 1
Great dive - so many fish! The south side of the thila was a dense layer of fusiliers being chased by large dogtooth tunas and the baitball occasionally exploded past us. There were mobulas, lots of white-tip sharks, a stingray, black & white snappers, yet more dense schools of bluestripe and humpback snappers and a large group of spiny lobsters.
Dive 2
No mantas today but a lovely school of mobulas, plus 20+ tunas hunting on the corner, big-eye and striped jacks, 1000's convict tangs, a group of silly batfish which followed us around, sharpnose puffers mating, pretty deepwater seafans, a micro-goby on a curly sea whip, bicolour parrotfish, orangespine unocornfish and yellow boxfish. A riot of colourful fish!
Dive 3
Critter dive to hit list of items "missing". There are lots of cleaning stations along this reef full of groupers, cardinals and baitfish. We found a Schultz pipefish, lots of Bruuni cleaner shrimps, camouflage groupers etc. We also found a school of Forster's barracudas and a very fast blacktip shark. Lovely last dive
Day 11
Guest Transfer
Transfer to airport for international flights
Day 12
 
Guest Transfer
Arrival from international flights and local hotels and transfer to Sea Spirit
Dive 1
Easy drift check dive. There were lots of groupers, in particular a large brown marbled grouper which followed the divers around plus flower, lunar tailed and camouflage species. A blacktip reef shark swam past when we were investigating the wreck. There were many Bruuni and boxer shrimp cleaning stations plus a large school of whirling big-eye jacks. Also Shultz's pipefish.
Day 1
Dive 1
Channel wall dive with the inner wall smothered in pale pink soft corals and a school of 100's Dussomier's surgeonfish. We also saw eagle rays up on top of the reef and foraging deeper, a juvenile bicolour parrotfish, several large napoleons, hawksbill turtle, electric torpedo ray, a tiny juvenile oriental sweetlips in a frenzy and flower groupers being cleaned.
Ocean Crossing
Inter atoll crossing to South Male atoll
Dive 2
Ocean corner and channel drift with white tip sharks and a couple of eagle rays riding the current, two sailfish on the corner, barracudas, an octopus, and more white tip sharks inside the channel but they were mainly resting on the bottom. There were schools of 100's dart gobies (spawning?), slender groups, and schools of red, black & white and yellow snappers.
Dive 3
We saw three large napoleons near the wreck apparently having a territorial dispute, and there were a pair of lionfish hunting on top of the wheelhouse. We also saw a peacock mantis shrimp, a freeswimming honeycomb moray, a pair of Maldives sponge snails, a scribbled filefish, and up in the shallows were many fusiliers being chased by large tunas. The corals at this site are particularly nice.
Day 2
Ocean Crossing
We made an ocean crossing to Ari atoll whilst the sea was relatively moderate.
Dive 1
Very pretty thila with top reef buzzing with glassfish and sweepers being hunted by spotted rock cods and red groupers. We found longnose hawkfish in the large black corals plus penguin and thorny oysters and elaborate sponges. On the reef top were mantis shrimps, large schools of surgeonfish and fusiliers, a pair of halimeda ghost pipefish, bearded scorpionfish, eye lash blennies (so cute!), Amboin shrimps "radioactive" red anemones and starry dragonets.
Dive 2
Turtletastic thila with the usual super-friendly hawksbill turtles but a strong current whipping over the front and top of thila so difficult to swim around today. There were a few small white tip sharks, dogtooth tunas, blue-fin jacks, a starry puffer, a blotched porcupinefish, yellow margin morays, millions of blue-green chromis, humbug and Indian damsels bouncing in the table corals.
A big weather system came in so we abandoned plans for a night dive
Day 3
Dive 1
Lovely blue water around the wreck even if it was very overcast topside. Great critters too: marbled stingray, black frogfish, stonefish, mantis shrimp in nearly built nest (the coral was still alive), eagle ray, sleeping white tip sharks, large lionfish, Bruuni cleaner shrimp cleaning stations, batfish, longnose emperors and a friendly hawksbill turtle plus all the regular schools of fish.
Dive 2
Only 27 degrees, Brrr! But we found a big stingray resting in the sand nearby yet more sleeping white tip sharks. A friendly turtle swam along with us. There were schools of chubbs, red snappers, mixed goldspot emperors and bluestripe snappers and yellow fusiliers.
Dive 3
SUPER-FRIENDLY MANTA who checked us out closely, swimming through our bubbles and then brought her friend, a male manta, to meet the divers. There was a black jack rising (shadowing) an eagle ray which looked very odd, a lovely school of oriental sweetlips, a turtle and several jewelled damselfish attacks to divers who got too close!
Day 4
Dive 1
Fast bouncy current through soft coral canyons and past terraced overhangs. We saw a marbled stingray, blacksaddled coral groupers, bluestripe snappers and indian bannerfish in overhangs full of seafans and seawhips. We also saw white tip sharks and Napoleon wrasses. The latter 15 minutes of the dive was spent watching a beautiful large female MANTA BEING CLEANED
Dive 2
Super strong current and no mantas but a beautiful coral reef. We saw 2x blue and 1x black ribbon eels, a "mad" longfin batfish trying to be cleaned but being ignored by all the cleaner fish, yellow 3-spot angelfish, midnight snappers, an eagleray, bluefaced angelfish and dogtooth tunas.
Dive 3
Great little thila with small grey shark along south side and huge school of fusiliers being chased by tunas, blue-fin and giant trevally. It was nice clear viz today. There was also an octopus making rock impressions.
Daniel also completed his AOW navigation dive in the lagoon After a long wait we had "Rubee" manta come and make a somersaulting exhibition behind the boat.
Day 5
Dive 1
Huge schools of fusiliers all over the reef top being chased by large dogtooth tunas with the baitball exploding when the tunas started a chase. There were grey sharks cruising the depths and a really cute little eagle ray who swam around checking out all the divers. Off the reef were schools of Forster's barracudas, bluestripe snappers, goldspot emperors and crescent-tailed big eyes. The baby white tips were flitting between the table corals and coral blocks today.
Dive 2
Today the stars of the show were the longfin batfish. At the start they formed an enormous school with around 100 individuals and this later split into smaller schools as they dashed around the thila. The current changed and increased, coming from the east giving us a lovely current point of bannerfish, big-eye jacks, large Napoleon, surgeonfish, fusiliers, giant trevallies etc. plus the odd white tip shark. There were lovely overhangs pulsating with glassfish with lots of rock cods and red groupers inside, and excellent coral and sponge structures. A superb thila site.
Dive 3
Back to the first dive site for a shark show as the grey sharks paraded along the southern edge enjoying the current. The tunas were still chasing the fusiliers and the baby white tips were still flitting around. We found some beautiful frilly scorpionfish ad a stonefish.
Night Dive
SHARKS IN THE DARK! The strong current continued into a night dive! This seemed to make the sharks very excited and there were lots of white tip and grey sharks buzzing around looking for fish, plus several marbled stingrays foraging in the sand. Tonight there were several very aggressive giant trevallies which were doing a good job of catching fish. We also saw several tapestry shrimps, an unusual worm, unidentified Pseudobiceros sp. flatworm and a very well camouflaged decorator crab.
Later in the evening we had two different mantas come and feed behind Sea Spirit at anchorage. One was Rubee (same as yesterday).
Day 6
Dive 1
There were GREY SHARKS cruising the edge of the reef plus white tip sharks and dogtooth tunas, giant trevallies and even small groups of MOBULAS and eagle rays. A large blue naopleon came to check us out and see what all the fuss was about. We found a pair of porcelain brabs in a shorthaired carpet anemone and a white leaf fish nestled on the reeftop. Great dive!
Ocean Crossing
Crossing between Ari and North Male atolls
Dive 2
This is a really pretty thila with excellent coral coverage and large tubastrea and black coral trees on the reef slopes. There were groupers everywhere. In particular was a large brown marbled grouper chasing a very large giant grouper plus three black saddled coral groupers having territorial disputes of their own. A deep ledge full of glassfish was alive with red groupers and large lionfish. A friendly large female napoleon followed us around for most of the dive. There were sleek and Vlaming's surgeonfish and a tiny pink scorpionfish at the end of the dive.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to Male for shopping and sightseeing
Day 7
Guest Transfer
Six guests departed for onward transfer to international departures and hotels in Male
Dive 1
Great wreck. We descended straight into the central hold which is still full of goodies: photo albums, make up kits, washing up bottles, music cassettes, bags of concrete etc. We checked out the Benson & Hedges stash and then worked our way around the accomnodation block. We met a giant napoleon and a school of mackerel scads whizzed past. We were met by a giant starry puffer on the mast during our ascent.
Dive 2
We descended over a sand slope and saddle to the little thila which was mobbed by a enormous school of bluestripe snappers. The coral is interspersed with blue sponges and there were lots of different groupers and cardinals. We found a mantis shrimp ad got bitte by a black cheek moray. On the reef wall was an enormous giant moray and several spiny lobsters
Dive 3
Ocean reef/channel drift with so many schools of fish! Bluestripes, a carpet of humpback snappers, sleek surgeonfish, pyramid butterflyfish etc. We also found a couple of honeycomb morays, hawksbill turtle, yellowfin goatfish and bluefin and striped jacks.
Day 8
Dive 1
Beautiful soft coral covered thila with pink, yellow, orange and blue varieties all puffed up. We descended into a carpet of fusiliers, jacks and snappers too. During the dive we saw Napoleons, turtles, big eye jacks, oriental and silver sweetlips.
Dive 2
This was WILD! Advanced rockclimbing was required to get down to the current point and inch our way across the front of channel corner where the current was pulling very hard. There was a school of chevron barracudas, several white tip and grey sharks whilst a group of mangrove whiprays slept! The drift ito the channel was really crazy with whirlpools and washing machines. Adrenaline rush!
Dive 3
Easy drift along ocean reef with feathertail stingrays sleeping in the sand, three eagle rays gliding along the edge of the reef and lots and lots of fish on the current corner: red, humpback and midnight snappers, goldspots, pyramids, white tips etc. plus a green turtle. We then had a super-speedy (but fairly straightforward) drift into the chanel past blacktip sharks, a giant sweetlips and barracudas.
Day 9
Dive 1
A nice easy small current on this deep thila which was covered in bluestripe snappers and mackerel scads plus a few schools of soldierfish and oriental sweetlips. There were barracudas, rainbow runners and tunas up and down the reef and other lovely reef fish like Dussomier's surgeonfish and Indian bannerfish. The only shark we could find today was a big sleeping white tip!
Dive 2
MANTAS FOR CHRISTMAS! We were delighted to find mantas at this site on the west of the atoll. A large male and very large female were busy being cleaned and passed us by several times to investigate. We also found an octopus, and over-friendly longfin batfish, and a large school of yellowfin goatfish. The reef slope was a field of large orange magnifica anemones!
Dive 3
Drift dive on the deeper section of the ocean reef. We found a pair of Chromodoris tritos nudibranchs, white-mouthed, yellow-margin, undulate and giant morays, the orange anemones (again-so pretty!) a hawksbill turtle, lots of schools of fish and a few earspot filefish with their pretty gold/brown colouring.
We enjoyed a quiet evening over dinner with wine.
Day 10
Dive 1
Great dive - so many fish! The south side of the thila was a dense layer of fusiliers being chased by large dogtooth tunas and the baitball occasionally exploded past us. There were mobulas, lots of white-tip sharks, a stingray, black & white snappers, yet more dense schools of bluestripe and humpback snappers and a large group of spiny lobsters.
Dive 2
No mantas today but a lovely school of mobulas, plus 20+ tunas hunting on the corner, big-eye and striped jacks, 1000's convict tangs, a group of silly batfish which followed us around, sharpnose puffers mating, pretty deepwater seafans, a micro-goby on a curly sea whip, bicolour parrotfish, orangespine unocornfish and yellow boxfish. A riot of colourful fish!
Dive 3
Critter dive to hit list of items "missing". There are lots of cleaning stations along this reef full of groupers, cardinals and baitfish. We found a Schultz pipefish, lots of Bruuni cleaner shrimps, camouflage groupers etc. We also found a school of Forster's barracudas and a very fast blacktip shark. Lovely last dive
Day 11
Guest Transfer
Transfer to airport for international flights
Day 12
Sea Spirit SS386 2 Dec 2012 to 9 Dec 2012 Central Atolls (7 days)
Guest Transfer
Guests arrived from international arrivals early so we made early departure and ocean crossing towards Ari atoll
Dive 1
Great first dive! There were GREY SHARKS patrolling the wall and the spur and they were approaching divers quite closely. A FEATHERTAIL RAY flew over the wall and over the thila to the sand area. Enormous dogtooth tunas patrolled the thila and big eye jacks swirled around in shallower water. We also saw a spearing mantis shrimp, black saddled coral groupers, a three-spot angelfish and a group of large predatory fish including longnose emperors and red snappers were hanging around on the top of the reef at cleaning stations.
Day 1
Dive 1
There was a real frisson on the reef today with the dogtooth tunas still patrolling but schools of mackerel scad, bonito tunas and the big eye jacks all hanging out. The grey sharks were patrolling the western end of the thila and being mobbed by mackerels or rainbow runners. There were two spearing mantis shrimps, a lovely eel garden, peacock mantis shrimps running around the reef, several eagle rays, a (rare!) small-eye stingray and lots of great reef fish including sweetlips and butterflyfish.
Dive 2
There were lots of schools of fish on the current-side with several large grey sharks patrolling off the reef and disappearing into the large schools of mackerel scads. There were crescent tailed big-eyes, blue stripe snappers, goldspot emperors, batfish and big-eye jacks. On the reef top the table corals had small white tip sharks resting underneath, and also octopus, yellow-pink scorpionfish, three spot angelfish and many many fusiliers.
Dive 3
Off the south of the thila was a huge baitball of fusiliers being predated by giant trevallies and blue-fin jacks. Occasionally a mob of large dogtooth tuna would also come sailing through. It was great to just get lost in the baitball! Around the reef we saw white tip and small grey sharks, three octopus, glassfish with red grouper and spotted rock cod minders and a smoke angelfish
Night Dive
Amazing sharky night dive with lots of white tip sharks and grey sharks buzzing around chasing fusliers whilst at least three marbled stingrays hoovered up the reef. We also saw morays hunting, a couple of sleeping turtles and clouds of silversides which flew at us and excited the giant trevallies and red snappers into a frenzy!
Night Dive
Manta magic with three hungry mantas somersault feeding at the back of Sea Spirit. By the late evening five different mantas had come to visit.
Day 2
Dive 1
Lots more baitballs along the current side of the thila with attacks by giant trevallies scattering the neon fusliers up and down the reef. A few grey sharks plus two large sandy eagle rays cruised the current side and the excitement attracted two juvenile silvertips briefly. On the reef top we found some friendly turtles, peacock mantis shrimps, Forster's barracudas, a grey shark being cleaned and just enjoyed the baitball show again!
Dive 2
We waited patiently at the manta cleaning station but did not get lucky today. We did find spot tail sand perch, Phyllidia varicosa, a large titan triggerfish pulling up the reef and surrounded by an entourage of blue-faced angelfish, moon wrasse, surgeons, etc., a blackspotte pufferfish in its mating colours, and a sulky tripletail wrasse who was happy to see us (not!).
Dive 3
Shallow current point with dogtooth tunas cruising the reef and scaring all the smaller fish (pyramid butterflyfish, bannerfish, one-spine surgeonfish) into the reef to hide. We found bearded scorpionfish, several hawksbill turtles, a lionfish party, micro-gobies, and a pair of especially dark-pigmented Maldives anemonefish where the whole of the ventral side was black. We loved the millions of tiny blue-green chromis bouncing in the table corals.
Day 3
Dive 1
Lovely blue water so great visibilty and the wreck really stood out against the wreck as we descended. We found the black frogfish, an ornate ghost pipefish, and a spearing mantis shrimp on the wreck then lots of longfisn batfish, two small eagle rays, schools of crescent-tailed big eyes, goldspots, powder-blue tangs and sweetlips on the beautiful reef
Snorkelling
We had a quick snorkel with a whale shark on the reeftop. It was already descending when we got to it. It was a small male maybe 4m long.
Dive 2
We went for a dive to see if we could find the whale shark again but no luck. However, this is a great reef and we enjoyed the interesting topography with large sand bays with white tips sleeping on the bottom and coral blocks full of reef fish. We found a teeny flappy baby oriental sweetlips, a turtle, spiny lobsters, orangespine surgeons and chequered snappers (rare!).
Snorkelling
Another whale shark was spied from the surface and this time it stayed shallow and let us accompany it and it swam very slowly. Ben had a slightly too-close encounter! It was a beautiful 6m long pale grey male and seemed to be in really good condition.
Dive 3
Easy drift along a beautiful coral reef slope where the reef top down to 15m is smothered in all the different species of anthias. We also saw a Mobula kuhli, a white tip buzzing around on the reef top, schools of sweetlips and goldspots, a cave full of glassfish and bullseyes, Maldives sponge snails, and a Tiger cowrie
Day 4
Dive 1
Beautiful fishy thila! The whole site was covered with blue-stripe and humpback snappers. There were swathes of seafans on the deeper sides of the thila and we saw a large potato cod down there (very rare in the Maldives) plus there were lots of very large brownmarbled groupers in the overhangs with six together at one point. We also saw a honeycomb moray, a pair of flathead shrimps in an unusual carpet anemone and a banded pipefish. There were lots of predatory fish hanging above the thila and chasing schools of fusiliers making the safety stop fun.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Ari and Felidhoo
Dive 2
Gentle drift over coral blocks in channel, with large marbled stingray and sleeping white tips plus several camouflage groupers and a large school of red snappers. The ocean reef was very dramatic with large blocks covered with acabaria with lot of oriental and harlequin sweetlips and the reef shallows were thick with rivers of neon fusiliers plus black & white snappers, pyramid butterflyfish, longnose filefish and porites blocks with lots of xmas tree worms.
Dive 3
Channel front and ocean reef drift. There were lots of sharks on the front of the channel, mainly grey sharks on the corner but some white tips too. At one point ~20 small grey sharks came whizzing across and into the channel. Also honeycomb morays, spiny lobsters, lysmata cleaning shrimps, schools of red, and black & white snappers. There were several sleeping white tips on the bottom of the southern channel.
Night Dive
Awesome big animals night dive. ~20 TAWNY NURSE SHARKS, lots of large stingrays, pink whiprays, giant trevallies, jenkins rays, the resort started a shark feed and there were lots of blacktip sharks whizzing around in the shallows. Very manic!
Day 5
Dive 1
Small out current in channel and when we jumped in we surprised a hovering ragle ray. On the front of the channel were lots of snappers and a sleeping white tip. The ocean reef wall was spectacular with schools of humpback snappers, goldspot emperors, black and white snappers etc. At least FOUR LARGE BLUE NAPOLEONS passed us. On the wall we found THREE LEAF FISH and an ornate ghost pipefish plus lots of lysmata shrimp and banded boxer shrimp cleaning stations.
Ocean Crossing
Several false killer whale seen during ocean crossing between Felidhoo and South Male atolls.
Dive 2
We saw a manta from the surface at the cleaning station so dived the block but no mantas came to visit whilst we waited. We did see lots of garden eels, big jobfish, yellow margin triggerfish and several peacock flounders.
Dive 3
Small in current in north channel. Clear blue water above 20m but rather fuzzy below. There were a few white tip sharks plus grey reef sharks on the corner and a mangrove whipray just inside the channel. We had an easy drift. There were lots of large bownmarbled groupers out today, plus schools of blue-stripe, humpback, red and blacktailed snappers. There were lots of shallow small overhangs full of soldierfish, bullseyes and cardinals.
Day 6
Dive 1
Fairly brisk current at thila in channel giving us an exciting drift. All the soft corals were puffed up and the overhangs were a blaze of pinks and oranges. There were lots of big-eye jacks at the current point plus large tunas and snappers. Over the pinnacles were some EAGLE RAYS and further along the channel were grey sharks and white tips. We saw a large hawksbill turtle on the reef top.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon trip to Male for sightseeing and visit to ice-cream parlour.
Day 7
Guest Transfer
All guests to airport for international flights.
Day 8
 
Guest Transfer
Guests arrived from international arrivals early so we made early departure and ocean crossing towards Ari atoll
Dive 1
Great first dive! There were GREY SHARKS patrolling the wall and the spur and they were approaching divers quite closely. A FEATHERTAIL RAY flew over the wall and over the thila to the sand area. Enormous dogtooth tunas patrolled the thila and big eye jacks swirled around in shallower water. We also saw a spearing mantis shrimp, black saddled coral groupers, a three-spot angelfish and a group of large predatory fish including longnose emperors and red snappers were hanging around on the top of the reef at cleaning stations.
Day 1
Dive 1
There was a real frisson on the reef today with the dogtooth tunas still patrolling but schools of mackerel scad, bonito tunas and the big eye jacks all hanging out. The grey sharks were patrolling the western end of the thila and being mobbed by mackerels or rainbow runners. There were two spearing mantis shrimps, a lovely eel garden, peacock mantis shrimps running around the reef, several eagle rays, a (rare!) small-eye stingray and lots of great reef fish including sweetlips and butterflyfish.
Dive 2
There were lots of schools of fish on the current-side with several large grey sharks patrolling off the reef and disappearing into the large schools of mackerel scads. There were crescent tailed big-eyes, blue stripe snappers, goldspot emperors, batfish and big-eye jacks. On the reef top the table corals had small white tip sharks resting underneath, and also octopus, yellow-pink scorpionfish, three spot angelfish and many many fusiliers.
Dive 3
Off the south of the thila was a huge baitball of fusiliers being predated by giant trevallies and blue-fin jacks. Occasionally a mob of large dogtooth tuna would also come sailing through. It was great to just get lost in the baitball! Around the reef we saw white tip and small grey sharks, three octopus, glassfish with red grouper and spotted rock cod minders and a smoke angelfish
Night Dive
Amazing sharky night dive with lots of white tip sharks and grey sharks buzzing around chasing fusliers whilst at least three marbled stingrays hoovered up the reef. We also saw morays hunting, a couple of sleeping turtles and clouds of silversides which flew at us and excited the giant trevallies and red snappers into a frenzy!
Night Dive
Manta magic with three hungry mantas somersault feeding at the back of Sea Spirit. By the late evening five different mantas had come to visit.
Day 2
Dive 1
Lots more baitballs along the current side of the thila with attacks by giant trevallies scattering the neon fusliers up and down the reef. A few grey sharks plus two large sandy eagle rays cruised the current side and the excitement attracted two juvenile silvertips briefly. On the reef top we found some friendly turtles, peacock mantis shrimps, Forster's barracudas, a grey shark being cleaned and just enjoyed the baitball show again!
Dive 2
We waited patiently at the manta cleaning station but did not get lucky today. We did find spot tail sand perch, Phyllidia varicosa, a large titan triggerfish pulling up the reef and surrounded by an entourage of blue-faced angelfish, moon wrasse, surgeons, etc., a blackspotte pufferfish in its mating colours, and a sulky tripletail wrasse who was happy to see us (not!).
Dive 3
Shallow current point with dogtooth tunas cruising the reef and scaring all the smaller fish (pyramid butterflyfish, bannerfish, one-spine surgeonfish) into the reef to hide. We found bearded scorpionfish, several hawksbill turtles, a lionfish party, micro-gobies, and a pair of especially dark-pigmented Maldives anemonefish where the whole of the ventral side was black. We loved the millions of tiny blue-green chromis bouncing in the table corals.
Day 3
Dive 1
Lovely blue water so great visibilty and the wreck really stood out against the wreck as we descended. We found the black frogfish, an ornate ghost pipefish, and a spearing mantis shrimp on the wreck then lots of longfisn batfish, two small eagle rays, schools of crescent-tailed big eyes, goldspots, powder-blue tangs and sweetlips on the beautiful reef
Snorkelling
We had a quick snorkel with a whale shark on the reeftop. It was already descending when we got to it. It was a small male maybe 4m long.
Dive 2
We went for a dive to see if we could find the whale shark again but no luck. However, this is a great reef and we enjoyed the interesting topography with large sand bays with white tips sleeping on the bottom and coral blocks full of reef fish. We found a teeny flappy baby oriental sweetlips, a turtle, spiny lobsters, orangespine surgeons and chequered snappers (rare!).
Snorkelling
Another whale shark was spied from the surface and this time it stayed shallow and let us accompany it and it swam very slowly. Ben had a slightly too-close encounter! It was a beautiful 6m long pale grey male and seemed to be in really good condition.
Dive 3
Easy drift along a beautiful coral reef slope where the reef top down to 15m is smothered in all the different species of anthias. We also saw a Mobula kuhli, a white tip buzzing around on the reef top, schools of sweetlips and goldspots, a cave full of glassfish and bullseyes, Maldives sponge snails, and a Tiger cowrie
Day 4
Dive 1
Beautiful fishy thila! The whole site was covered with blue-stripe and humpback snappers. There were swathes of seafans on the deeper sides of the thila and we saw a large potato cod down there (very rare in the Maldives) plus there were lots of very large brownmarbled groupers in the overhangs with six together at one point. We also saw a honeycomb moray, a pair of flathead shrimps in an unusual carpet anemone and a banded pipefish. There were lots of predatory fish hanging above the thila and chasing schools of fusiliers making the safety stop fun.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Ari and Felidhoo
Dive 2
Gentle drift over coral blocks in channel, with large marbled stingray and sleeping white tips plus several camouflage groupers and a large school of red snappers. The ocean reef was very dramatic with large blocks covered with acabaria with lot of oriental and harlequin sweetlips and the reef shallows were thick with rivers of neon fusiliers plus black & white snappers, pyramid butterflyfish, longnose filefish and porites blocks with lots of xmas tree worms.
Dive 3
Channel front and ocean reef drift. There were lots of sharks on the front of the channel, mainly grey sharks on the corner but some white tips too. At one point ~20 small grey sharks came whizzing across and into the channel. Also honeycomb morays, spiny lobsters, lysmata cleaning shrimps, schools of red, and black & white snappers. There were several sleeping white tips on the bottom of the southern channel.
Night Dive
Awesome big animals night dive. ~20 TAWNY NURSE SHARKS, lots of large stingrays, pink whiprays, giant trevallies, jenkins rays, the resort started a shark feed and there were lots of blacktip sharks whizzing around in the shallows. Very manic!
Day 5
Dive 1
Small out current in channel and when we jumped in we surprised a hovering ragle ray. On the front of the channel were lots of snappers and a sleeping white tip. The ocean reef wall was spectacular with schools of humpback snappers, goldspot emperors, black and white snappers etc. At least FOUR LARGE BLUE NAPOLEONS passed us. On the wall we found THREE LEAF FISH and an ornate ghost pipefish plus lots of lysmata shrimp and banded boxer shrimp cleaning stations.
Ocean Crossing
Several false killer whale seen during ocean crossing between Felidhoo and South Male atolls.
Dive 2
We saw a manta from the surface at the cleaning station so dived the block but no mantas came to visit whilst we waited. We did see lots of garden eels, big jobfish, yellow margin triggerfish and several peacock flounders.
Dive 3
Small in current in north channel. Clear blue water above 20m but rather fuzzy below. There were a few white tip sharks plus grey reef sharks on the corner and a mangrove whipray just inside the channel. We had an easy drift. There were lots of large bownmarbled groupers out today, plus schools of blue-stripe, humpback, red and blacktailed snappers. There were lots of shallow small overhangs full of soldierfish, bullseyes and cardinals.
Day 6
Dive 1
Fairly brisk current at thila in channel giving us an exciting drift. All the soft corals were puffed up and the overhangs were a blaze of pinks and oranges. There were lots of big-eye jacks at the current point plus large tunas and snappers. Over the pinnacles were some EAGLE RAYS and further along the channel were grey sharks and white tips. We saw a large hawksbill turtle on the reef top.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon trip to Male for sightseeing and visit to ice-cream parlour.
Day 7
Guest Transfer
All guests to airport for international flights.
Day 8
Sea Spirit SS385 18 Nov 2012 to 30 Nov 2012 Central Atolls & Beyond (12 day)
Guest Transfer
International arrivals to Maldives and transfer to Sea Spirit and travel to South Male atoll
AMAZING! As we kitted up at harbour there were TWO MANTAS somersault feeding under Sea Spirit so everyone jumped in for a quick snorkel before we set out for the check dive.
Dive 1
Easy Check Dive. There was a large school of longfin batfish which swam around and around the reef and passed us several times! The shallows were full of fusiliers and there were schools of various emperors, mackerels and surgeonfish. This is a good macro dive and we found a Chromodoris tritos, nudi, Allogalathea elegans squat lobster, tiny Maldives sponge snail, longnose hawkfish in black coral and several banded boxer shrimps.
Day 1
Dive 1
Gentle drift along lovely ocean reef with schools of fish along the shallow reef top and coral blocks full of orange anthias. We found honeycom, giant and blackcheek morays, a yellow leaf fish, a flying octopus and several different pufferfish. We had a manta fly past.
Snorkelling
There were several mantas in the lagoon so we stopped for a short snorkel before breakfast
Dive 2
Magical Manta Dive. We watched four different male mantas visit the cleaning station and stop to be cleaned. They were curious of us and swam over our heads through our bubbles and checked us out closely. We were also entertained by the garden eels playing hide and seek, goatfish, yellow margin triggerfish, many anemones with clownfish and lemon meringue wrasse.
Dive 3
Brisk drift into channel from ocean corner and dramatic ocean wall. There were a few white tip sharks and a small grey shark on the channel front dancing in the current. A MANTA was swimming up the channel, and we also saw large tunas and a large porcupine ray in the sand
Night Dive
OMG! 30 TAWNY NURSE SHARK! This really was nurse shark wallpaper. They paraded up and down for much of the dive. We also saw blacktip sharks, marbled stingrays, pink whiprays and marauding schools of large giant trevallies.
Day 2
Dive 1
Brisk out-current drift from channel to ocean reef. There were schools of snappers and oceanic triggerfish on the channel corner but otherwise, a little quiet. The outside wall had a continuous river of fusiliers with a couple of white tip sharks cruising up and down. There were a couple of eagle rays in the shallows and schools of humpback snappers and goldspot emperors. On the wall we found a green leaf fish, a P. bedfordi flatworm, lots of Lysmata and banded boxer cleaning shrimps, and a hawksbill turtle.
Dive 2
Slow drift along ocean reef and channel front past overhangs hung with pretty yellow soft corals. There was a large school of big-eye jacks swirling around off the reef. The reef top had really good coral coverage and was swarming with every reef fish imaginable. A large marbled stingray was sat on a ledge. In the shallows were lots of magnifica and carpet anemones with their families of clownfish. Also a tiger cowrie and a yellow leaf fish.
Dive 3
The big marbled stingray was still on the ledge when we dived again, approaching from the opposite direction! There were ~6 eagle rays but they spooked quickly. The current was running-in and schools of snappers, jacks and surgeons were hanging out in front of the reef. Very fishy! We saw a large starry puffer, Napoleons, bird wrsee, overhangs full of soldierfish and lovely seawhips, collared butterflyfish, table corals with indian damsels and furry-legged decorator crabs.
Evening Activity
Ashore to sandbank for sundowners. The sooty terns and crabs entertained us. Evening presentation on manta ray ecology.
Day 3
Dive 1
Last go to see if we could get a moderate in-current at this site but it was running out again. The stingray had moved to a different ledge overnight but was sleeping again. There was a large blue napoleon up in the shallows. Dogtooth tunas patrolled the drop off. We found a huge Giant triton and just enjoyed the beautiful shallow reef with anthias, damsels, juvenile fusiliers, indian and collared butterflyfish, and lots of beautiful reef fish.
Dive 2
Shallow thila site with lots of fusiliers being pursued by giant trvallies, bluefin jacks and dogtooth tunas in the shallows. We found a small LILAC FROGFISH in blue finger sponge. The Bruuni shrimps living in a small overhang gave me a manicure. The reef top is smothered in hard and leather corals with millions of small fish living in the coral. There were lots of magnifica anemones, particularly in shades of pink and purple, interspersed with giant clams. Such a pretty reef!
Dive 3
Drift from inside channel to ocean reef and sandy bottomed channel with thilas of hard corals rising to 10m. The blocks and formations were smothered in fusiliers and a school of longnose emperors were out hunting. On the corner were large schools of red and black and white snappers. On the outsuide blocks were oriental and harlequin sweetlips and there were large patches of halimeda and algae farmed by jewelled damselfish which chased us away if we got too close!
Day 4
Dive 1
Drift from ocean reef to inside of channel with lots of fusliers and dogtooth tunas on the outside , several eagle rays on the corner and a large marbled stingray on the channel front. We then drifted in along the sides of a thila to an large area of patch reef and coral garden which was very pretty: full of blue-green chromis, humbugs and indian damsels. After the dive we briefly snorkelled with two mantas which were feeding in the shallows.
Dive 2
Easy drift on ocean reef looking for whale shark (none seen today). We DID see a mangrove whipray, a couple of baby white tip sharks hiding in coral blocks, a white- mouthed moray, and a very friendly turtle which especially liked Lesley.
Dive 3
There appears to have been a big plankton bloom and visibility was low so we had to switch sites. The thila had nice overhangs with rare menella-like sea fans and canyons and a ledge with thousands of bannerfish up in the current. There were white tip sharks along the reef edge. We also saw Maldives sponge snails, Napoleons and a friendly turtle.
Day 5
Dive 1
We had a long wait but eventually a MANTA came to be cleaned at the cleaning station, and then, as we were making our safety stop, a second manta came in to check us out! We also saw wire coral gobies, parrotfish in ecstasy whist being cleaned and an unidentified black/orange flatworm.
Dive 2
Easy ocean drift again. On the sandy slope were several sleeping white tip sharks. We had another friendly turtle which swam along with Mark and John. Off the reef were schools of pyramid butterflyfish and bannerfish plus feeding neon and yellow back fusiliers. A schools of bonito tuna passed by. The coral blocks were critter condos, full of reef fish.
Dive 3
Much better visibility on this ocean reef! Great coral growth on the reef crest from 5-15m depth, full of reef fish and Evan's, Cooper's etc, anthias. There was a stonefish, a colour-chaning octopus, porcupine fish chasing eachother, a Napoleon with blue-fin jacks entourage, piggy-backing banded boxer shrimps and both green and hawksbill turtles.
Day 6
Dive 1
There was a small current hitting the wreck on the stern and lots of longfisn batfish hanging out in the current. Some were haning at 90 degrees i.e. horizontally, which was a bit odd! We also saw a black frogfish, many rock cods amongst the glassfish, and a stonefish. On the reef we found a freeswimming. P. bedfordi flatworm, another friendly turtle, a few white tip sharks and a blacktip shark, lunar tailed rock cods, schools of crescent tail big-eyes and gold spot emperors and a little eagle ray.
Dive 2
No mantas today, but we did find dracula gobies with same colouring pistol shrimps, a large varicose wart slug and a bearded scorpionfish
Dive 3
Lovely classic Maldives thila. The main reef and the smaller blocks were covered in large black coral trees. At the current point was a school of bluefin jacks marauding up and down chasing neon fusiliers plus a grey shark and a couple of white tip sharks plus bannerfish along the reef edge. We also found an octopus making a nest, a stonefish, glassfish being chased by red groupers and rock cods. Very pretty.
Night Dive
SUPER MANTA MAGIC! 3-4 different mantas at the back of Sea Spirit all evening. "Wiggle" manta was super friendly. Also pink whipray, turtle and nurse shark.
Day 7
Dive 1
Very fishy thila! Fusiliers covered the reef top with giant trevallies and tunas whizzing up and down scattering them. Grey reef sharks cruised the reef edge and the area to the north of the thila. There were schools of Forster's barracudas, crescent-tailed big-eyes, batfish, plus baby white tips in the table corals, a statues-posing octous, bearded scorpionfish, big-eye jacks and a P. susanae flatworm
We looked in a lagoon and saw a few mantas but they were a little too dispersed to snorkel with. It was lovely to watch them feed from the surface.
Dive 2
Easy-drift in channel. Lots and lots (30+) lazy white tip sharks sleeping on the bottom. Also a sleeping stingray buried in sand in an overhang. There were schools of bvarious sweetlips, emperors and some giant sweetlips (unusual to see them this far south).
Dive 3
There was quite a lot of current on the wreck but this ouffed up all the soft corals and it looked really pretty. There were Durban dancing shrimps and a couple of lysmata cleaning shrimps cleaning a spotted rock cod, plus many other groupers on the wreck and on the reef. The thila was covered with blue magnifica anemones and bubble anemones full of clownfish and very photogenic. Also peacock mantis shrimps and green Phyllidiopsis slug. The acropora corals on the main reef were in very good condition.
Two mantas behind Sea Spirit at anchorage overnight. Eight divers completed PADI MANTA DIVER Speciality.
Day 8
Dive 1
This site is a dream of a coral reef. Magnificent overhangs with blue soft coral cascading from the upper sides and pink/orange soft coral on all horizontal surfaces plus large schools of blue-striped snappers weaving in and out of the overhangs and canyons. On the shallower ledges were oriental and silver sweetlips and black and white snappers. We also saw white tip and grey reef sharks at current points.
Dive 2
Dramatic thila with blue soft coral lined overhangs and many Indian bannerfish in the reef. Off the main reef were soft coral covered large pinnacles. Back on the main reef the large coral blocks on the reef top were full of humpback snappers, oriental sweetlips (including a spotty juvenile) and the biggest school of bluestriped snappers I have seen. It was irresistible not to swim through them and be totally surrounded by fish!
Dive 3
Sharktastic this afternoon! A whole dive of close passes along the reef side by up to 5 LARGE GREY REEF SHARKS. Lovely! Several cute little white tips under the table corals and whizzing around between blocks. Chromodoris geometrica spotted by Lesley, a little eagle ray (aah, so cute), several scorpionfish, zebra moray.
Night Dive
Super sharky night dive! White tip and grey reef sharks whizzing around chasing fusiliers, marbled stingrays hoovering up the reef, octopus hunting, funny hermit crab with two anemones attached to its shell.
Night Dive
More magical mantas somersaulting behind Sea Spirit!
Day 9
Dive 1
Strong current on thila so hard work today but worth it as we saw lots of grey reef sharks with several being mobbed by the large schools of mackerels also on the reef. Halfway through the dive a POD OF COMMON DOLPHINS arrived in the channel and squeaked and sonar-ed at us for the rest of the dive. It seemed to excite all the fish. Tunas and jacks were flying up and down, there was also (a rather more sedate) eagle ray. Some lucky divers saw the dolphins when they were buzzed during their safety stops!!!
Dive 2
Beautiful reef with lots of fish hanging out at the current points and a grey shark at the spur. We found peacock mantis shrimps, three species of garden eels, a large starry puffer being cleaned under a table coral, longnose emperors and a Napoleon being cleaned
Dive 3
Gentle drift on ocean drop-off reef. There were nice coral blocks full of glassfish, cardinals and Bruuni cleaner shrimps, large reef fish and occasionally a jack would fly in and disturb the peace. Whist white tip sharks slept in the sand, the blacktip sharks buzzed up and down the reef. A pair of silver sweetlips were fighting by opening their (very fat lipped) mouths and "kissing" each other!
Evening Activity
Ashore to Rasdhoo island to visit a local town. Nice fruit bats and tidy gardens with fruit trees.
Day 10
Dive 1
Current was running up the wall so slow drift along dramatic wall with sponges and sea fans. We went out into the blue but saw no hammers today. On the reef a grey reef shark was mobbed by mackerels, an eagle ray passed us by and a pair of barracudas investigated us. We also say large schools of collared and pyramid butterflyfish, sweetlips and lots of silvery baitfish up the shallows being chased by small jacks.
Dive 2
SHARKTASTIC! LOTS OF GREY REEF SHARKS including three large female with mating scars all over them, cruising the spur and giving us an amazing, close, shark show. One of the males was very excited and kept approaching the female sharks, looking for action. We hooked in and watched the show for at least 30 minutes. Along the reef we also saw a large Napoleon, and large schools of red snappers and Dussomier's surgeonfish
Dive 3
Ocean reef corner and despite strong out-current in channel, there was a small in-current on the corner so we enjoyed an easy drift. We saw a hawksbill turtle, sleeping white tips, a large mixed school of bluestripe snappers and yellow goatfish, swirling big-eye jacks, orange, blue and pink magnifica anemones, striped jacks,spiny lobsters, octopus and really nice corals!
Mandy and Mark completed PADI DEEP DIVER Speciality
Day 11
Dive 1
Great last dive! Current point of thila was a mass of fusiliers being chased by large dogtooth tunas. There were a few white tip sharks around but most were sleeping on the bottom as usual! There was a large spotted eagle ray feeding on the bottom and a marbled stingray shot past. The blocks were covered in large schools of humpback and blue-stripe snappers with lots of spiny lobsters hiding inside. We also found turtles, a juvenile oriental sweetlips flapping around and a glorious flatworm.
Daytime Excursion
Visit to Male for sightseeing, shopping and ice-cream.
Guest Transfer
Lesley and Chris to airport for international departure
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Guests to airport for international departures and for onward transfer to resorts.
Day 13
 
Guest Transfer
International arrivals to Maldives and transfer to Sea Spirit and travel to South Male atoll
AMAZING! As we kitted up at harbour there were TWO MANTAS somersault feeding under Sea Spirit so everyone jumped in for a quick snorkel before we set out for the check dive.
Dive 1
Easy Check Dive. There was a large school of longfin batfish which swam around and around the reef and passed us several times! The shallows were full of fusiliers and there were schools of various emperors, mackerels and surgeonfish. This is a good macro dive and we found a Chromodoris tritos, nudi, Allogalathea elegans squat lobster, tiny Maldives sponge snail, longnose hawkfish in black coral and several banded boxer shrimps.
Day 1
Dive 1
Gentle drift along lovely ocean reef with schools of fish along the shallow reef top and coral blocks full of orange anthias. We found honeycom, giant and blackcheek morays, a yellow leaf fish, a flying octopus and several different pufferfish. We had a manta fly past.
Snorkelling
There were several mantas in the lagoon so we stopped for a short snorkel before breakfast
Dive 2
Magical Manta Dive. We watched four different male mantas visit the cleaning station and stop to be cleaned. They were curious of us and swam over our heads through our bubbles and checked us out closely. We were also entertained by the garden eels playing hide and seek, goatfish, yellow margin triggerfish, many anemones with clownfish and lemon meringue wrasse.
Dive 3
Brisk drift into channel from ocean corner and dramatic ocean wall. There were a few white tip sharks and a small grey shark on the channel front dancing in the current. A MANTA was swimming up the channel, and we also saw large tunas and a large porcupine ray in the sand
Night Dive
OMG! 30 TAWNY NURSE SHARK! This really was nurse shark wallpaper. They paraded up and down for much of the dive. We also saw blacktip sharks, marbled stingrays, pink whiprays and marauding schools of large giant trevallies.
Day 2
Dive 1
Brisk out-current drift from channel to ocean reef. There were schools of snappers and oceanic triggerfish on the channel corner but otherwise, a little quiet. The outside wall had a continuous river of fusiliers with a couple of white tip sharks cruising up and down. There were a couple of eagle rays in the shallows and schools of humpback snappers and goldspot emperors. On the wall we found a green leaf fish, a P. bedfordi flatworm, lots of Lysmata and banded boxer cleaning shrimps, and a hawksbill turtle.
Dive 2
Slow drift along ocean reef and channel front past overhangs hung with pretty yellow soft corals. There was a large school of big-eye jacks swirling around off the reef. The reef top had really good coral coverage and was swarming with every reef fish imaginable. A large marbled stingray was sat on a ledge. In the shallows were lots of magnifica and carpet anemones with their families of clownfish. Also a tiger cowrie and a yellow leaf fish.
Dive 3
The big marbled stingray was still on the ledge when we dived again, approaching from the opposite direction! There were ~6 eagle rays but they spooked quickly. The current was running-in and schools of snappers, jacks and surgeons were hanging out in front of the reef. Very fishy! We saw a large starry puffer, Napoleons, bird wrsee, overhangs full of soldierfish and lovely seawhips, collared butterflyfish, table corals with indian damsels and furry-legged decorator crabs.
Evening Activity
Ashore to sandbank for sundowners. The sooty terns and crabs entertained us. Evening presentation on manta ray ecology.
Day 3
Dive 1
Last go to see if we could get a moderate in-current at this site but it was running out again. The stingray had moved to a different ledge overnight but was sleeping again. There was a large blue napoleon up in the shallows. Dogtooth tunas patrolled the drop off. We found a huge Giant triton and just enjoyed the beautiful shallow reef with anthias, damsels, juvenile fusiliers, indian and collared butterflyfish, and lots of beautiful reef fish.
Dive 2
Shallow thila site with lots of fusiliers being pursued by giant trvallies, bluefin jacks and dogtooth tunas in the shallows. We found a small LILAC FROGFISH in blue finger sponge. The Bruuni shrimps living in a small overhang gave me a manicure. The reef top is smothered in hard and leather corals with millions of small fish living in the coral. There were lots of magnifica anemones, particularly in shades of pink and purple, interspersed with giant clams. Such a pretty reef!
Dive 3
Drift from inside channel to ocean reef and sandy bottomed channel with thilas of hard corals rising to 10m. The blocks and formations were smothered in fusiliers and a school of longnose emperors were out hunting. On the corner were large schools of red and black and white snappers. On the outsuide blocks were oriental and harlequin sweetlips and there were large patches of halimeda and algae farmed by jewelled damselfish which chased us away if we got too close!
Day 4
Dive 1
Drift from ocean reef to inside of channel with lots of fusliers and dogtooth tunas on the outside , several eagle rays on the corner and a large marbled stingray on the channel front. We then drifted in along the sides of a thila to an large area of patch reef and coral garden which was very pretty: full of blue-green chromis, humbugs and indian damsels. After the dive we briefly snorkelled with two mantas which were feeding in the shallows.
Dive 2
Easy drift on ocean reef looking for whale shark (none seen today). We DID see a mangrove whipray, a couple of baby white tip sharks hiding in coral blocks, a white- mouthed moray, and a very friendly turtle which especially liked Lesley.
Dive 3
There appears to have been a big plankton bloom and visibility was low so we had to switch sites. The thila had nice overhangs with rare menella-like sea fans and canyons and a ledge with thousands of bannerfish up in the current. There were white tip sharks along the reef edge. We also saw Maldives sponge snails, Napoleons and a friendly turtle.
Day 5
Dive 1
We had a long wait but eventually a MANTA came to be cleaned at the cleaning station, and then, as we were making our safety stop, a second manta came in to check us out! We also saw wire coral gobies, parrotfish in ecstasy whist being cleaned and an unidentified black/orange flatworm.
Dive 2
Easy ocean drift again. On the sandy slope were several sleeping white tip sharks. We had another friendly turtle which swam along with Mark and John. Off the reef were schools of pyramid butterflyfish and bannerfish plus feeding neon and yellow back fusiliers. A schools of bonito tuna passed by. The coral blocks were critter condos, full of reef fish.
Dive 3
Much better visibility on this ocean reef! Great coral growth on the reef crest from 5-15m depth, full of reef fish and Evan's, Cooper's etc, anthias. There was a stonefish, a colour-chaning octopus, porcupine fish chasing eachother, a Napoleon with blue-fin jacks entourage, piggy-backing banded boxer shrimps and both green and hawksbill turtles.
Day 6
Dive 1
There was a small current hitting the wreck on the stern and lots of longfisn batfish hanging out in the current. Some were haning at 90 degrees i.e. horizontally, which was a bit odd! We also saw a black frogfish, many rock cods amongst the glassfish, and a stonefish. On the reef we found a freeswimming. P. bedfordi flatworm, another friendly turtle, a few white tip sharks and a blacktip shark, lunar tailed rock cods, schools of crescent tail big-eyes and gold spot emperors and a little eagle ray.
Dive 2
No mantas today, but we did find dracula gobies with same colouring pistol shrimps, a large varicose wart slug and a bearded scorpionfish
Dive 3
Lovely classic Maldives thila. The main reef and the smaller blocks were covered in large black coral trees. At the current point was a school of bluefin jacks marauding up and down chasing neon fusiliers plus a grey shark and a couple of white tip sharks plus bannerfish along the reef edge. We also found an octopus making a nest, a stonefish, glassfish being chased by red groupers and rock cods. Very pretty.
Night Dive
SUPER MANTA MAGIC! 3-4 different mantas at the back of Sea Spirit all evening. "Wiggle" manta was super friendly. Also pink whipray, turtle and nurse shark.
Day 7
Dive 1
Very fishy thila! Fusiliers covered the reef top with giant trevallies and tunas whizzing up and down scattering them. Grey reef sharks cruised the reef edge and the area to the north of the thila. There were schools of Forster's barracudas, crescent-tailed big-eyes, batfish, plus baby white tips in the table corals, a statues-posing octous, bearded scorpionfish, big-eye jacks and a P. susanae flatworm
We looked in a lagoon and saw a few mantas but they were a little too dispersed to snorkel with. It was lovely to watch them feed from the surface.
Dive 2
Easy-drift in channel. Lots and lots (30+) lazy white tip sharks sleeping on the bottom. Also a sleeping stingray buried in sand in an overhang. There were schools of bvarious sweetlips, emperors and some giant sweetlips (unusual to see them this far south).
Dive 3
There was quite a lot of current on the wreck but this ouffed up all the soft corals and it looked really pretty. There were Durban dancing shrimps and a couple of lysmata cleaning shrimps cleaning a spotted rock cod, plus many other groupers on the wreck and on the reef. The thila was covered with blue magnifica anemones and bubble anemones full of clownfish and very photogenic. Also peacock mantis shrimps and green Phyllidiopsis slug. The acropora corals on the main reef were in very good condition.
Two mantas behind Sea Spirit at anchorage overnight. Eight divers completed PADI MANTA DIVER Speciality.
Day 8
Dive 1
This site is a dream of a coral reef. Magnificent overhangs with blue soft coral cascading from the upper sides and pink/orange soft coral on all horizontal surfaces plus large schools of blue-striped snappers weaving in and out of the overhangs and canyons. On the shallower ledges were oriental and silver sweetlips and black and white snappers. We also saw white tip and grey reef sharks at current points.
Dive 2
Dramatic thila with blue soft coral lined overhangs and many Indian bannerfish in the reef. Off the main reef were soft coral covered large pinnacles. Back on the main reef the large coral blocks on the reef top were full of humpback snappers, oriental sweetlips (including a spotty juvenile) and the biggest school of bluestriped snappers I have seen. It was irresistible not to swim through them and be totally surrounded by fish!
Dive 3
Sharktastic this afternoon! A whole dive of close passes along the reef side by up to 5 LARGE GREY REEF SHARKS. Lovely! Several cute little white tips under the table corals and whizzing around between blocks. Chromodoris geometrica spotted by Lesley, a little eagle ray (aah, so cute), several scorpionfish, zebra moray.
Night Dive
Super sharky night dive! White tip and grey reef sharks whizzing around chasing fusiliers, marbled stingrays hoovering up the reef, octopus hunting, funny hermit crab with two anemones attached to its shell.
Night Dive
More magical mantas somersaulting behind Sea Spirit!
Day 9
Dive 1
Strong current on thila so hard work today but worth it as we saw lots of grey reef sharks with several being mobbed by the large schools of mackerels also on the reef. Halfway through the dive a POD OF COMMON DOLPHINS arrived in the channel and squeaked and sonar-ed at us for the rest of the dive. It seemed to excite all the fish. Tunas and jacks were flying up and down, there was also (a rather more sedate) eagle ray. Some lucky divers saw the dolphins when they were buzzed during their safety stops!!!
Dive 2
Beautiful reef with lots of fish hanging out at the current points and a grey shark at the spur. We found peacock mantis shrimps, three species of garden eels, a large starry puffer being cleaned under a table coral, longnose emperors and a Napoleon being cleaned
Dive 3
Gentle drift on ocean drop-off reef. There were nice coral blocks full of glassfish, cardinals and Bruuni cleaner shrimps, large reef fish and occasionally a jack would fly in and disturb the peace. Whist white tip sharks slept in the sand, the blacktip sharks buzzed up and down the reef. A pair of silver sweetlips were fighting by opening their (very fat lipped) mouths and "kissing" each other!
Evening Activity
Ashore to Rasdhoo island to visit a local town. Nice fruit bats and tidy gardens with fruit trees.
Day 10
Dive 1
Current was running up the wall so slow drift along dramatic wall with sponges and sea fans. We went out into the blue but saw no hammers today. On the reef a grey reef shark was mobbed by mackerels, an eagle ray passed us by and a pair of barracudas investigated us. We also say large schools of collared and pyramid butterflyfish, sweetlips and lots of silvery baitfish up the shallows being chased by small jacks.
Dive 2
SHARKTASTIC! LOTS OF GREY REEF SHARKS including three large female with mating scars all over them, cruising the spur and giving us an amazing, close, shark show. One of the males was very excited and kept approaching the female sharks, looking for action. We hooked in and watched the show for at least 30 minutes. Along the reef we also saw a large Napoleon, and large schools of red snappers and Dussomier's surgeonfish
Dive 3
Ocean reef corner and despite strong out-current in channel, there was a small in-current on the corner so we enjoyed an easy drift. We saw a hawksbill turtle, sleeping white tips, a large mixed school of bluestripe snappers and yellow goatfish, swirling big-eye jacks, orange, blue and pink magnifica anemones, striped jacks,spiny lobsters, octopus and really nice corals!
Mandy and Mark completed PADI DEEP DIVER Speciality
Day 11
Dive 1
Great last dive! Current point of thila was a mass of fusiliers being chased by large dogtooth tunas. There were a few white tip sharks around but most were sleeping on the bottom as usual! There was a large spotted eagle ray feeding on the bottom and a marbled stingray shot past. The blocks were covered in large schools of humpback and blue-stripe snappers with lots of spiny lobsters hiding inside. We also found turtles, a juvenile oriental sweetlips flapping around and a glorious flatworm.
Daytime Excursion
Visit to Male for sightseeing, shopping and ice-cream.
Guest Transfer
Lesley and Chris to airport for international departure
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Guests to airport for international departures and for onward transfer to resorts.
Day 13
Sea Spirit SS384 4 Nov 2012 to 16 Nov 2012 Whaleshark Special (12 day)
Guest Transfer
Guests arrived from international flights and resorts
Dive 1
Lovely first dive! Large green turtle resting on reef slope as we descended, eagle rays soared above us and rivers and rivers of neon fusiliers passed us by. There were also mixed schools of bluestripe snappers, goatfish and goldspot emperors, a large Napoloen, a white tip reef sharks and a group of five juvenile Mobula kuhli were seen at the end of the dive.
Day 1
Dive 1
Drift at ocean reef site. There were lots of schools of fish: pyramid and collared butterflyfish; bluestripe snappers; goldspot emperors; spotted unicorn and Dussomier's surgeonfish. A reinderr rockmover wrasse wa flitting around in the sand and the large coral block seemed to be the hangout of several GREEN TURTLES. We also found a fine-lined flatworm and a yellow spotted trunkfish.
Dive 2
OMG THE MANTAS ARE BACK! 15+ different mantas today with lots of courtship activity as they appeared in groups with a female leading an entourage of males, so lots of over-friendly males today! Occasionally mantas broke off to be cleaned but today there was a lot of swimming by. Also turtles, bluefin jacks and lovely sweetlips.
Dive 3
Brisk current at thila puffed up all the soft coral so the reef was a multicoloured underwater wonderland in pink, orange, yellow and blue. There was a school of big-eye jacks massed at the current point with "in-love" pairs hanging out together (it's definitely mating season). Also green turtles, midnight and black & white snappers, huge giant trevallies, silver sweetlips, Napoleon and a NURSE SHARK
Day 2
Dive 1
5-6 different mantas today. They were a little more skittish and reluctant to stop and clean and were just checking us out. There were also Indian bannerfish, butterflyfish, oriental and harlequin sweetlips, lots of different groupers and a funny white tip shark.
Dive 2
Soft Coral Wonderland #2! Beautiful pinnacles and overhangs decked with multicoloured schleronepthias in blue, yellow pink and orange and every other surface coovered in spiky pastel nepthias, fluffy white deepwater seafans, red and purple sea whips, Menella seafans etc. The carpet of fusiliers in the shallows was so thick you could walk on it and there were dozens of giant trevallies and bluefin jacks hanging out in the water column today. The reef edge shimmied with fairy anthias, bannerfish. A green turtle seemed non-plussed!
Dive 3
Great ocean reef drift, past stunning overhangs full of pink and green seafans, colourful acabaria and clathria coral framed windows. A school of large dogtooth tuna swam passed flanking en enormous, pony-sized tuna! There were also white tip sharks, bluefin jacks and at the end of the reef were thousands of bristletooth tangs and threespot damsels spawning.
Day 3
Dive 1
Stunning "frosted" caves hung with pale pink and blue soft corals. A school of large rainbow runners passed by, there was a friendly hawksbill turtle, tunas, a YELLOW LEAF FISH, sea whip microgobies, white tip sharks and 50m visibility!
Dive 2
This is such a good site! There were several GREY SHARKS chasing eachother up and down the reef and 3 EAGLE RAYS flic-flacing. Along the reef we saw white tip sharks, longnose emperors, pretty earspot filefish (how had we not noticed theses here before?) mantis shrimps, amboin shrimps around an anemone, an eel garden, and lots of blue fin jacks chasing fusiliers. The shallow block were a mass of reef fish too.
Dive 3
Good spotter dive. We found a "woggle eyed" electric torpedo ray, saw a ginormous tuna, octopus, white tip sharks, Pseudobiceros bedfordi, big blocks full of glassfish, a whitespotted boxfish, spotted porcupinefish having a fight and in the shallows we saw a large BLACKTIP REEF SHARK supervising the school of humpback snappers and sweetlips.
Day 4
Dive 1
Lots of EAGLE RAYS today. We found the spearing mantis shrimp in its nest and several peacock mantis shrimps running around on the reef top. There was lots of fish cleaning: midnight snappers, Napoleons etc. This is a super pretty reef.
Dive 2
Fun drift in channel! There were lots of white tip sharks(20+) resting on the bottom or dancing on the current points formed by coral blocks. The shallower overhangs had lovely yellow/orange soft coral draping them. We found a marbled stingray in an overhang and a green leaf fish on a coral block. There was a particularly large school of oriental sweetlips and a mixed school of black and white and red snappers on the channel corner.
Dive 3
Small current but lots of jacks chasing fusiliers at the current point plus some white tip and grey sharks. There were longnose hawkfish and spotted zooanthids in the lovely black coral trees. Two carpet anemones had pairs of P. brevicarpalis anemone shrimps in. A pair of mating octopus were lovingly caressing eachother.
Night Dive
Wow busy dive tonight! Several grey sharks chasing around and catching fish, lots of white tip sharks but less good on the catching front. Three marbled stingrays hunting, several turtles including the one which pulls out the red tooth triggerfish. A school of bossy giant trevallies were out marauding and a large red snapper followed the divers going for anything we lit up! Also a large orange hermit crab and several Saron shrimps.
Night Dive
Magical manta night dive with four different mantas over the evening. Also a couple of tawny nurse sharks and a pink whipray!
Day 5
Dive 1
SUPER-SHARK DIVE! The GREY SHARKS are courting and there we groups segregated by sex and also chasing of large females by chains of up to 7 males. There were around 15 grey shark around and they were very entertaining. There were lots of white tip sharks around too and the babies were either buzzing around under the table corals or dashing between coral blocks. We also saw a marbled stingray, an eagle ray, several bearded scorpionfish, an octopus out hunting, electric torpedo ray, longfin batfish, mantis shrimps, and a pair of saddled sharpnose puffers in a mating display.
Dive 2
Lovely manta site! FOUR BEAUTIFUL MANTAS cleaning at the main block. Also glassfish, jacks, sweetlips and lots of parrotfish all visiting the cleaning station.
Dive 3
Turtletastic Thila! Lots of hawksbill turtles (~6) including a very little one. Also undulate morays, thorny oysters, black coral trees with shrimps and longnose hawkfish and jacks and bannerfish hanging off the current point.
Day 6
Dive 1
Dramatic thila with lots of overhangs full of large pink seafans, especially the area when the reef drops from 30-40m. There were also brownmarbled groupers, white tip sharks riding the brisk current, sailfin tangs, mantis shrimps and Vlaming's surgeonfish which played in our bubbles and accompanied us on our ascent.
We spent the morning looking for whale sharks. We had a few false starts but did not see anything.
Dive 2
Easy drift dive hoping to maybe spot a whale shark under water. We did find two tawny nurse sharks huddled together in a alrge coral block, one was much bigger than the other and they looked very cute. There were lots of sleeping white tips in the large bays, a marbled stingray, turtles, humpback snappers and a spotted porcupinefish in midwater.
Snorkelling
Lunch was disturbed when Capt Mohammed saw a tail up in the shallows so we went on the dhoni to investigate and the managed to snorkel with a teeny little WHALE SHARK. He was only about 3.5m long, maybe the smallest we have seen out here, but so cute! We had him to ourselves until we were worn out!
Dive 3
Channel drift dive. Lots of white tips and two grey sharks plus a stingray and a mangrove whipray! We found a white and a yellow leaf fish together. The reef slope was smothered with every kind of anthias: threadfin, resplendant, yellowtail, orange etc. Most were clustered around holes with blackcheek moray "protectors". We also saw yellowmargin and white mouthed morays.
Day 7
Dive 1
Same site but bery different conditions as there was a strong in-current this morning which kept getting stronger throughout the dive. We saw grey sharks and white tip sharks, stingrays sleeping on the bottom, eagle rays shallows, Napoleons, red snappers and lots of fast fish. the current kept getting stronger uintil we were flying along at 4 knots. Extra WHEEEEEE today!
Whilst travelling we had a small pod of bottlenose dolphins riding the bow wave. We collected two more guests from Maamagili airport.
Dive 2
Check dive for newly arrived divers on ocean reef. This was a gentle drift dive and we saw sleeping white tip sharks in the sand, Napoleons (one was being followed by a gang of blue fin trevallies), spotted puffer, yellow boxfish and lots of lunar tailed rock cods. Nice dive!
Dive 3
Small thila site with lovely black coral trees on the steep sides full of penguin oysters, sponges, "hoover-hose" sea cucumbers, juvenile Diana's hogfish and hawkfish. At the current point were red and midnight snappers plus a white tip shark dancing in the current. The top had many juvenile cardinals with lots of spotted rock cods out hunting, algae patches being farmed by feisty jewelled damselfish and a crown of thorns sea star.
Day 8
Dive 1
We waited nearly an hour but our patience was eventually rewarded with a manta which swam in to be cleaned, if briefly. Whilst we waited we watched the constant procession of small parroitfish and tangs plus the clouds of fusiliers and blue-green chromis, so we were entertained throughout.
Snorkelling
Snorkel with ~ 3 different mantas feeding in the shallows.
Dive 2
Back to the manta site and this time much less current and more manta action. 3-4 MANTAS were on-off cleaning and swimming through checking us out. We were also entertained by the eel garden; millions of fusiliers feeding in the water column around, and above us; a scorpionfish; a bluefaced angelfish; red groupers and an unidentified Pseudoceros.
Dive 3
WOW! Strong swirly current at this ocean reef site. We saw grey reef sharks; white tips; several single, and then a group of 4 eagle rays in formation, all with different pattern markings; and a manta. The wall was covered with beautiful hard corals and swarming with Evans and orange anthias. UNBELIEVABLY, A WHALE SHARK SWAM PAST; we had to swim very fast to catch it up and the stay with it. She was a big one, possibly pregnant, and certaily much rounder than the males we regularly see here. Emer completed her safety stop with the shark, the rest of us had given up by then!
Snorkelling
After the dive we managed to catch the whale shark up again as it was very shallow and jumped in for a quick snorkel but she descended to the deep quite quickly. WHAT A DAY!
Day 9
Dive 1
Lovely wreck and reef dive. Long fin batfish at the stern of the wreck, at the current point; a black FROG FISH, a pair of large fluffy STONEFISH, glassfish in all the nooks and crannies with some very large lionfish out hunting. There were white tip sharks in the sand and schools of crescent-tail big-eyes, goatfish, goldspot emperors, blue-green chromis, rudderfish, and lots of diffrent reef fish amongst the lovely corals on the reef slope.
Dive 2
Nice drift from dramatic ocean reef to coral garden channel. There were rivers of fusiliers and large schools of mixed snappers on the front of the channel. On the sand were 2 mangrove whipraysand a feathertail stingray was partially covered. Amongst the coral blocks we found some Phidiana sp. segmented nudis, a giant lionfish and a small devil scorpionfish. The table corals were full of strpey humbug damsels and blue-green chromis
Dive 3
Another oceanreef-channel drift. It was a nice surprise to find a large manta on the channel corner at a cleaning station. We also found lots of Lysmata cleaning shrimps in holes guarded by black cheek morays and surrounded by colourful anthias. The giant morays were all yawning this afternoon!
Night Dive
Amazing night dive with lots of TAWNY NURSE SHARKS of all sizes from 1.3-3m in length, really giant trevallies, marbled stingrays, pink whiprays, big eye jacks and BLACKTIP REEF SHARKS!
Day 10
Dive 1
Back to the channel corner site, this time on an out-current. On the channel front was a large school of black & white snappers but the wall was the beast part of the dive. We found a white leaf fish, yet more lysmata cleaning shrimps, banded boxer shrimps, and a large Napoleon wrasse. On the reef top were schools of goldspot emperors, humpback snappers and big eyes.
Snorkelling
In the shallow reef area behind the channel were around 20 MANTAS busy feeding on the jelly-type planton being upwelled by the strong currents. All we could do was drift past them, but it was great fun!
Dive 2
5 DIFFERENT MANTAS AT CLEANING STATION FOR WHOLE DIVE! They were checking us out very closely and swimming though our bubbles. AS incredible experience. We were also entertained by a garden of sandeels and Ann's "giant" anemonefish.
Dive 3
There was an enormous current in the channels so we went to this more sheltered site which is great for macro. We saw a pair of courting banded pipefish mimicing eachother's movements, a cushion star with a tiny pericimines shrimp and a little crab and swimming crinoid, large bearded scorpionfish, tiger cardinals, a teeny Clarke's anemonefish in a bubble anemone, spiny lobsters and starry dragonets.
Night Dive
Night dive at giri. Two purple Coriocella nigra snails, only recently reported from the Maldives, a purple elegant squat lobster in a crinoid of the same colour, spider crabs, lots of different shrimps, their red eyes peering out of every crevice, a plumed shrimp, and a beautiful purple coral wall covered in yellow cup corals.
Day 11
Dive 1
Fast drift around channel corner. Lots of dancing white tips and two eagle rays, further up in the channel were a couple of deep grey reef sharks. The corner was buzzing with anthias and on the top was a school of snappers and a large school of mackerel scads whirling around in circles and figures of eight. On the reef top we found 3 leaf fish (black/yellow, yellow, white) a beautiful honeycomb moray, a shy octopus and were annoyed by Vlaming's surgeonfish swimming through our bubbles.
Snorkelling
There were around 15 mantas in the back lagoon so we jumped in for a pre-breakfast snorkel for about half an hour. The current was pretty strong but the mantas kept coming! We came back again after breakfast for a further 45 minutes and mainly had three adult male mantas who were quite curious of us and were busy feeding underneath us and somersaulting. Magical!
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon trip to Male for sightseeing and shopping.
Guest Transfer
One guest to airport for international departure.
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Remaining guests to airport for international departures.
Day 13
 
Guest Transfer
Guests arrived from international flights and resorts
Dive 1
Lovely first dive! Large green turtle resting on reef slope as we descended, eagle rays soared above us and rivers and rivers of neon fusiliers passed us by. There were also mixed schools of bluestripe snappers, goatfish and goldspot emperors, a large Napoloen, a white tip reef sharks and a group of five juvenile Mobula kuhli were seen at the end of the dive.
Day 1
Dive 1
Drift at ocean reef site. There were lots of schools of fish: pyramid and collared butterflyfish; bluestripe snappers; goldspot emperors; spotted unicorn and Dussomier's surgeonfish. A reinderr rockmover wrasse wa flitting around in the sand and the large coral block seemed to be the hangout of several GREEN TURTLES. We also found a fine-lined flatworm and a yellow spotted trunkfish.
Dive 2
OMG THE MANTAS ARE BACK! 15+ different mantas today with lots of courtship activity as they appeared in groups with a female leading an entourage of males, so lots of over-friendly males today! Occasionally mantas broke off to be cleaned but today there was a lot of swimming by. Also turtles, bluefin jacks and lovely sweetlips.
Dive 3
Brisk current at thila puffed up all the soft coral so the reef was a multicoloured underwater wonderland in pink, orange, yellow and blue. There was a school of big-eye jacks massed at the current point with "in-love" pairs hanging out together (it's definitely mating season). Also green turtles, midnight and black & white snappers, huge giant trevallies, silver sweetlips, Napoleon and a NURSE SHARK
Day 2
Dive 1
5-6 different mantas today. They were a little more skittish and reluctant to stop and clean and were just checking us out. There were also Indian bannerfish, butterflyfish, oriental and harlequin sweetlips, lots of different groupers and a funny white tip shark.
Dive 2
Soft Coral Wonderland #2! Beautiful pinnacles and overhangs decked with multicoloured schleronepthias in blue, yellow pink and orange and every other surface coovered in spiky pastel nepthias, fluffy white deepwater seafans, red and purple sea whips, Menella seafans etc. The carpet of fusiliers in the shallows was so thick you could walk on it and there were dozens of giant trevallies and bluefin jacks hanging out in the water column today. The reef edge shimmied with fairy anthias, bannerfish. A green turtle seemed non-plussed!
Dive 3
Great ocean reef drift, past stunning overhangs full of pink and green seafans, colourful acabaria and clathria coral framed windows. A school of large dogtooth tuna swam passed flanking en enormous, pony-sized tuna! There were also white tip sharks, bluefin jacks and at the end of the reef were thousands of bristletooth tangs and threespot damsels spawning.
Day 3
Dive 1
Stunning "frosted" caves hung with pale pink and blue soft corals. A school of large rainbow runners passed by, there was a friendly hawksbill turtle, tunas, a YELLOW LEAF FISH, sea whip microgobies, white tip sharks and 50m visibility!
Dive 2
This is such a good site! There were several GREY SHARKS chasing eachother up and down the reef and 3 EAGLE RAYS flic-flacing. Along the reef we saw white tip sharks, longnose emperors, pretty earspot filefish (how had we not noticed theses here before?) mantis shrimps, amboin shrimps around an anemone, an eel garden, and lots of blue fin jacks chasing fusiliers. The shallow block were a mass of reef fish too.
Dive 3
Good spotter dive. We found a "woggle eyed" electric torpedo ray, saw a ginormous tuna, octopus, white tip sharks, Pseudobiceros bedfordi, big blocks full of glassfish, a whitespotted boxfish, spotted porcupinefish having a fight and in the shallows we saw a large BLACKTIP REEF SHARK supervising the school of humpback snappers and sweetlips.
Day 4
Dive 1
Lots of EAGLE RAYS today. We found the spearing mantis shrimp in its nest and several peacock mantis shrimps running around on the reef top. There was lots of fish cleaning: midnight snappers, Napoleons etc. This is a super pretty reef.
Dive 2
Fun drift in channel! There were lots of white tip sharks(20+) resting on the bottom or dancing on the current points formed by coral blocks. The shallower overhangs had lovely yellow/orange soft coral draping them. We found a marbled stingray in an overhang and a green leaf fish on a coral block. There was a particularly large school of oriental sweetlips and a mixed school of black and white and red snappers on the channel corner.
Dive 3
Small current but lots of jacks chasing fusiliers at the current point plus some white tip and grey sharks. There were longnose hawkfish and spotted zooanthids in the lovely black coral trees. Two carpet anemones had pairs of P. brevicarpalis anemone shrimps in. A pair of mating octopus were lovingly caressing eachother.
Night Dive
Wow busy dive tonight! Several grey sharks chasing around and catching fish, lots of white tip sharks but less good on the catching front. Three marbled stingrays hunting, several turtles including the one which pulls out the red tooth triggerfish. A school of bossy giant trevallies were out marauding and a large red snapper followed the divers going for anything we lit up! Also a large orange hermit crab and several Saron shrimps.
Night Dive
Magical manta night dive with four different mantas over the evening. Also a couple of tawny nurse sharks and a pink whipray!
Day 5
Dive 1
SUPER-SHARK DIVE! The GREY SHARKS are courting and there we groups segregated by sex and also chasing of large females by chains of up to 7 males. There were around 15 grey shark around and they were very entertaining. There were lots of white tip sharks around too and the babies were either buzzing around under the table corals or dashing between coral blocks. We also saw a marbled stingray, an eagle ray, several bearded scorpionfish, an octopus out hunting, electric torpedo ray, longfin batfish, mantis shrimps, and a pair of saddled sharpnose puffers in a mating display.
Dive 2
Lovely manta site! FOUR BEAUTIFUL MANTAS cleaning at the main block. Also glassfish, jacks, sweetlips and lots of parrotfish all visiting the cleaning station.
Dive 3
Turtletastic Thila! Lots of hawksbill turtles (~6) including a very little one. Also undulate morays, thorny oysters, black coral trees with shrimps and longnose hawkfish and jacks and bannerfish hanging off the current point.
Day 6
Dive 1
Dramatic thila with lots of overhangs full of large pink seafans, especially the area when the reef drops from 30-40m. There were also brownmarbled groupers, white tip sharks riding the brisk current, sailfin tangs, mantis shrimps and Vlaming's surgeonfish which played in our bubbles and accompanied us on our ascent.
We spent the morning looking for whale sharks. We had a few false starts but did not see anything.
Dive 2
Easy drift dive hoping to maybe spot a whale shark under water. We did find two tawny nurse sharks huddled together in a alrge coral block, one was much bigger than the other and they looked very cute. There were lots of sleeping white tips in the large bays, a marbled stingray, turtles, humpback snappers and a spotted porcupinefish in midwater.
Snorkelling
Lunch was disturbed when Capt Mohammed saw a tail up in the shallows so we went on the dhoni to investigate and the managed to snorkel with a teeny little WHALE SHARK. He was only about 3.5m long, maybe the smallest we have seen out here, but so cute! We had him to ourselves until we were worn out!
Dive 3
Channel drift dive. Lots of white tips and two grey sharks plus a stingray and a mangrove whipray! We found a white and a yellow leaf fish together. The reef slope was smothered with every kind of anthias: threadfin, resplendant, yellowtail, orange etc. Most were clustered around holes with blackcheek moray "protectors". We also saw yellowmargin and white mouthed morays.
Day 7
Dive 1
Same site but bery different conditions as there was a strong in-current this morning which kept getting stronger throughout the dive. We saw grey sharks and white tip sharks, stingrays sleeping on the bottom, eagle rays shallows, Napoleons, red snappers and lots of fast fish. the current kept getting stronger uintil we were flying along at 4 knots. Extra WHEEEEEE today!
Whilst travelling we had a small pod of bottlenose dolphins riding the bow wave. We collected two more guests from Maamagili airport.
Dive 2
Check dive for newly arrived divers on ocean reef. This was a gentle drift dive and we saw sleeping white tip sharks in the sand, Napoleons (one was being followed by a gang of blue fin trevallies), spotted puffer, yellow boxfish and lots of lunar tailed rock cods. Nice dive!
Dive 3
Small thila site with lovely black coral trees on the steep sides full of penguin oysters, sponges, "hoover-hose" sea cucumbers, juvenile Diana's hogfish and hawkfish. At the current point were red and midnight snappers plus a white tip shark dancing in the current. The top had many juvenile cardinals with lots of spotted rock cods out hunting, algae patches being farmed by feisty jewelled damselfish and a crown of thorns sea star.
Day 8
Dive 1
We waited nearly an hour but our patience was eventually rewarded with a manta which swam in to be cleaned, if briefly. Whilst we waited we watched the constant procession of small parroitfish and tangs plus the clouds of fusiliers and blue-green chromis, so we were entertained throughout.
Snorkelling
Snorkel with ~ 3 different mantas feeding in the shallows.
Dive 2
Back to the manta site and this time much less current and more manta action. 3-4 MANTAS were on-off cleaning and swimming through checking us out. We were also entertained by the eel garden; millions of fusiliers feeding in the water column around, and above us; a scorpionfish; a bluefaced angelfish; red groupers and an unidentified Pseudoceros.
Dive 3
WOW! Strong swirly current at this ocean reef site. We saw grey reef sharks; white tips; several single, and then a group of 4 eagle rays in formation, all with different pattern markings; and a manta. The wall was covered with beautiful hard corals and swarming with Evans and orange anthias. UNBELIEVABLY, A WHALE SHARK SWAM PAST; we had to swim very fast to catch it up and the stay with it. She was a big one, possibly pregnant, and certaily much rounder than the males we regularly see here. Emer completed her safety stop with the shark, the rest of us had given up by then!
Snorkelling
After the dive we managed to catch the whale shark up again as it was very shallow and jumped in for a quick snorkel but she descended to the deep quite quickly. WHAT A DAY!
Day 9
Dive 1
Lovely wreck and reef dive. Long fin batfish at the stern of the wreck, at the current point; a black FROG FISH, a pair of large fluffy STONEFISH, glassfish in all the nooks and crannies with some very large lionfish out hunting. There were white tip sharks in the sand and schools of crescent-tail big-eyes, goatfish, goldspot emperors, blue-green chromis, rudderfish, and lots of diffrent reef fish amongst the lovely corals on the reef slope.
Dive 2
Nice drift from dramatic ocean reef to coral garden channel. There were rivers of fusiliers and large schools of mixed snappers on the front of the channel. On the sand were 2 mangrove whipraysand a feathertail stingray was partially covered. Amongst the coral blocks we found some Phidiana sp. segmented nudis, a giant lionfish and a small devil scorpionfish. The table corals were full of strpey humbug damsels and blue-green chromis
Dive 3
Another oceanreef-channel drift. It was a nice surprise to find a large manta on the channel corner at a cleaning station. We also found lots of Lysmata cleaning shrimps in holes guarded by black cheek morays and surrounded by colourful anthias. The giant morays were all yawning this afternoon!
Night Dive
Amazing night dive with lots of TAWNY NURSE SHARKS of all sizes from 1.3-3m in length, really giant trevallies, marbled stingrays, pink whiprays, big eye jacks and BLACKTIP REEF SHARKS!
Day 10
Dive 1
Back to the channel corner site, this time on an out-current. On the channel front was a large school of black & white snappers but the wall was the beast part of the dive. We found a white leaf fish, yet more lysmata cleaning shrimps, banded boxer shrimps, and a large Napoleon wrasse. On the reef top were schools of goldspot emperors, humpback snappers and big eyes.
Snorkelling
In the shallow reef area behind the channel were around 20 MANTAS busy feeding on the jelly-type planton being upwelled by the strong currents. All we could do was drift past them, but it was great fun!
Dive 2
5 DIFFERENT MANTAS AT CLEANING STATION FOR WHOLE DIVE! They were checking us out very closely and swimming though our bubbles. AS incredible experience. We were also entertained by a garden of sandeels and Ann's "giant" anemonefish.
Dive 3
There was an enormous current in the channels so we went to this more sheltered site which is great for macro. We saw a pair of courting banded pipefish mimicing eachother's movements, a cushion star with a tiny pericimines shrimp and a little crab and swimming crinoid, large bearded scorpionfish, tiger cardinals, a teeny Clarke's anemonefish in a bubble anemone, spiny lobsters and starry dragonets.
Night Dive
Night dive at giri. Two purple Coriocella nigra snails, only recently reported from the Maldives, a purple elegant squat lobster in a crinoid of the same colour, spider crabs, lots of different shrimps, their red eyes peering out of every crevice, a plumed shrimp, and a beautiful purple coral wall covered in yellow cup corals.
Day 11
Dive 1
Fast drift around channel corner. Lots of dancing white tips and two eagle rays, further up in the channel were a couple of deep grey reef sharks. The corner was buzzing with anthias and on the top was a school of snappers and a large school of mackerel scads whirling around in circles and figures of eight. On the reef top we found 3 leaf fish (black/yellow, yellow, white) a beautiful honeycomb moray, a shy octopus and were annoyed by Vlaming's surgeonfish swimming through our bubbles.
Snorkelling
There were around 15 mantas in the back lagoon so we jumped in for a pre-breakfast snorkel for about half an hour. The current was pretty strong but the mantas kept coming! We came back again after breakfast for a further 45 minutes and mainly had three adult male mantas who were quite curious of us and were busy feeding underneath us and somersaulting. Magical!
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon trip to Male for sightseeing and shopping.
Guest Transfer
One guest to airport for international departure.
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Remaining guests to airport for international departures.
Day 13
Sea Spirit SS383 28 Oct 2012 to 4 Nov 2012 Close Encounters (7 day)
Guest Transfer
Arrival of guests from international flights. Weather was very windy and squally preventing us making a day 1 check dive.
Day 1
The weather continued to be very windy with squalls for the next four days significantly restricting our travel and access to dive sites.
Dive 1
6 INDIAN MOBULAS IN FORMATION, lots of honeycomb morays, Pseudoceros bedfordi flatworm, pair of porceilain crabs in carpet anemone, hawksbill turtle, spotted coral crabs, pufferfish in mating colours, dogtooth tunas patrolling the reef. easy ocean reef drift in clear, blue water: fabulous way to start!
Dive 2
Large school of spinner dolphins in the channel before the dive which surrounded the dhoni Ocean reef corner site with blue water in the depths with warmer, milky water shallow. We descended to a lovely FEATHERTAIL RAY in the sand and then a "two-headed" giant moray in a cleaning station coral block. More honeycomb morays, a large EAGLE RAY which kept swimming up and down the reef. There was a particularly busy block with a white tip shark, sweetlips and many surgeons and an Indian smoke-angelfish.
Dive 3
We descended into a mass of jacks and fusiliers. There was a White tip shark on corner top and then a fast and bumpy drift in where we saw 8 Indian mobulas in formation, 4 MANGROVE WHIPRAYS, 2 MANTAS OVERHEAD, bluefin jacks and enormous schools of fusiliers.
Day 2
Dive 1
MOBULTASTIC! WOW! 9 INDIAN MOBULAS IN FORMATION SWIMMING AROUND AND AROUND and up and down reef, 3 MANTA RAYS at cleaning blocks and swam through the mobulas, marbled stingray, white tip sharks, large groupers and lots of reaf fish around coral blocks including oriental and harlequin sweetlips and lots of snappers.
Dive 2
Very fishy dive! 2 EAGLE RAYS. Lovely schools of two-spot snappers, goldspot emperors, various butterflyfish, especially collared and raccoon, then bluestripe and humpback snappers, Indian bannerfish, dogtooth tunas and white spotted groupers
Dive 3
This is just such an amazing site, pink, orange blue and yellow soft coral covered blocks and terraces and a huge school of big-eye jacks whirling around in front of the canyon. A mixed group of large blue-fin jacks and giant trevallies laid in wait for smaller fish caught out by the eddying current. We also saw a school of silver sweetlips, midnight snappers, a Napoleon and the reef top had lovely mixed reef fish.
Day 3
Dive 1
The dhoni was surrounded by spinner dolphins on the way to the dive site, there must have been hundreds! MANTA FUN THIS MORNING with three different mantas swimming past and checking us out on the way to the cleaning stations. A male and a female together looked like a mating pair. We also saw a large eagle ray, white tip sharks, octopus, reindeeer rockmover wrasse (so cute!). We spent the end of the dive hanging out in the huge schools of fish with a MANTA whilst a porcupine puffer hung out in the water column surveying the scene
Dive 2
A short travel north to this remote site. The ocean reef slope had many large coral blocks full of soldierfish, sweetlips and powderblue surgeonfish. We saw a hawksbill turtle, many schools of blue-stripe snappers, two spot snappers, humpback snappers, goldspot emperors, a devil scorpionfsih, Trapezia coral crab and lots of different hard coral species. Lovely site.
We celebrated Farzi and Suellen's birthdays
Day 4
Dive 1
We recognised FOUR DIFFERENT MANTAS today. Four spots was with a manta which appeared to be her mate for this season and our old friend Aurelie turned up to be cleaned and gave us a little show. We also saw several hawksbill turtles, a "flashing" octopus which was a bit of a show off, brownmarbled groupers, pencilled surgeonfish and rivers of fusiliers.
Dive 2
There was a lot of rain delaying our second dive but we managed to get in a lovely drift dive from the channel to the outer ocean reef. We woke up a green turtle sleeping in an overhang next to a spearing mantis shrimp in its nest. A hawksbill turtle was a bit over-friendly and on the outside we found two enormous stonefish. We had a lovely drift through all the overhangs past sleeping groupers, seafans, soft corals and seawhips
Dive 3
We were running a little late and this 4pm dive felt like a dusk dive as it was overcast; but it gave the dive a little frisson, and the fusiliers and mackerels were flying up and down the reef. There were large schools of bannerfish and surgeonfish off the reef. We saw a yellow margin moray, a yellow leaf fish, a seagrass ghost pipefish, a walking featherstar, a spotted porcupinefish hunting hermit crabs and a fine carpet anemone full of baby threespot damsels.
Day 5
Dive 1
Sharktastic! Brisk current at this thila site and all the soft corals were full and colourful: pink, orange, blue and yellow. At the current point were enormous schools of jacks and snappers also GREY REEF SHARKS and an EAGLE RAY. A large grey reef shark hung off one of the deep coral pinnacles too. We drifted and hooked in along the reef edge. There were LOTS OF GREY SHARKS out there today so we just hooked in and enjoyed the show!
Dive 2
A brisk out current in channel. At the spur we had a good WHITE TIP SHARK SHOW with 8-9 sharks buzzing around in the current, we then drifted along the reef and just off the edge were a large number (maybe 20?) GREY REEF SHARKS. WOW! We stopped to watch but they scared deeper and were hard to see. The current dropped on the corner and we pottered around all the beautiful coral blocks full of reef fish and we found two LEAF FISH and an octopus and then a MANTA swam past! Great dive!
Dive 3
Channel drift at different location. Lots of lovely overhangs buzzing with anthias and nice seafans, sea whips, coral, with groupers and reef fish. A school of bonito were chased by some giant trevallies and on the outside reef were lovely coral blocks, with bannerfish and sleek unicornfish etc. We found a couple of playful white tip sharks and large schools of sweetlips and humpback snappers in the shallows.
Night Dive
Great macro night dive. We found (amongst other things) a Chromodoris tritos, P. gloriosa, Flabellina exoptata nudi/flatworms, a large common crab, a banded boxer shrimp, lots of Bruuni shrimps, a sleeping turtle, a saron shrimp (and lots of other species) a hunting moray and lots of beautiful feeding featherstars.
Day 6
Dive 1
Strong current and we were chased to 35m by the Jaguar shark ;-) This was a real hang-on and drift, and hang-on dive and the current was so strong it scared most of the fish away! The soft corals and seafans in the overhangs were spectacular, but it was really hard work! An OMG dive
Daytime Excursion
Return to Male and anchorage via Hogula Huraa sandbank. Afternoon visit to Male for sightseeing and shopping.
Day 7
Guest Transfer
Departure to airport for international flights and transfers to resorts
Day 8
 
Guest Transfer
Arrival of guests from international flights. Weather was very windy and squally preventing us making a day 1 check dive.
Day 1
The weather continued to be very windy with squalls for the next four days significantly restricting our travel and access to dive sites.
Dive 1
6 INDIAN MOBULAS IN FORMATION, lots of honeycomb morays, Pseudoceros bedfordi flatworm, pair of porceilain crabs in carpet anemone, hawksbill turtle, spotted coral crabs, pufferfish in mating colours, dogtooth tunas patrolling the reef. easy ocean reef drift in clear, blue water: fabulous way to start!
Dive 2
Large school of spinner dolphins in the channel before the dive which surrounded the dhoni Ocean reef corner site with blue water in the depths with warmer, milky water shallow. We descended to a lovely FEATHERTAIL RAY in the sand and then a "two-headed" giant moray in a cleaning station coral block. More honeycomb morays, a large EAGLE RAY which kept swimming up and down the reef. There was a particularly busy block with a white tip shark, sweetlips and many surgeons and an Indian smoke-angelfish.
Dive 3
We descended into a mass of jacks and fusiliers. There was a White tip shark on corner top and then a fast and bumpy drift in where we saw 8 Indian mobulas in formation, 4 MANGROVE WHIPRAYS, 2 MANTAS OVERHEAD, bluefin jacks and enormous schools of fusiliers.
Day 2
Dive 1
MOBULTASTIC! WOW! 9 INDIAN MOBULAS IN FORMATION SWIMMING AROUND AND AROUND and up and down reef, 3 MANTA RAYS at cleaning blocks and swam through the mobulas, marbled stingray, white tip sharks, large groupers and lots of reaf fish around coral blocks including oriental and harlequin sweetlips and lots of snappers.
Dive 2
Very fishy dive! 2 EAGLE RAYS. Lovely schools of two-spot snappers, goldspot emperors, various butterflyfish, especially collared and raccoon, then bluestripe and humpback snappers, Indian bannerfish, dogtooth tunas and white spotted groupers
Dive 3
This is just such an amazing site, pink, orange blue and yellow soft coral covered blocks and terraces and a huge school of big-eye jacks whirling around in front of the canyon. A mixed group of large blue-fin jacks and giant trevallies laid in wait for smaller fish caught out by the eddying current. We also saw a school of silver sweetlips, midnight snappers, a Napoleon and the reef top had lovely mixed reef fish.
Day 3
Dive 1
The dhoni was surrounded by spinner dolphins on the way to the dive site, there must have been hundreds! MANTA FUN THIS MORNING with three different mantas swimming past and checking us out on the way to the cleaning stations. A male and a female together looked like a mating pair. We also saw a large eagle ray, white tip sharks, octopus, reindeeer rockmover wrasse (so cute!). We spent the end of the dive hanging out in the huge schools of fish with a MANTA whilst a porcupine puffer hung out in the water column surveying the scene
Dive 2
A short travel north to this remote site. The ocean reef slope had many large coral blocks full of soldierfish, sweetlips and powderblue surgeonfish. We saw a hawksbill turtle, many schools of blue-stripe snappers, two spot snappers, humpback snappers, goldspot emperors, a devil scorpionfsih, Trapezia coral crab and lots of different hard coral species. Lovely site.
We celebrated Farzi and Suellen's birthdays
Day 4
Dive 1
We recognised FOUR DIFFERENT MANTAS today. Four spots was with a manta which appeared to be her mate for this season and our old friend Aurelie turned up to be cleaned and gave us a little show. We also saw several hawksbill turtles, a "flashing" octopus which was a bit of a show off, brownmarbled groupers, pencilled surgeonfish and rivers of fusiliers.
Dive 2
There was a lot of rain delaying our second dive but we managed to get in a lovely drift dive from the channel to the outer ocean reef. We woke up a green turtle sleeping in an overhang next to a spearing mantis shrimp in its nest. A hawksbill turtle was a bit over-friendly and on the outside we found two enormous stonefish. We had a lovely drift through all the overhangs past sleeping groupers, seafans, soft corals and seawhips
Dive 3
We were running a little late and this 4pm dive felt like a dusk dive as it was overcast; but it gave the dive a little frisson, and the fusiliers and mackerels were flying up and down the reef. There were large schools of bannerfish and surgeonfish off the reef. We saw a yellow margin moray, a yellow leaf fish, a seagrass ghost pipefish, a walking featherstar, a spotted porcupinefish hunting hermit crabs and a fine carpet anemone full of baby threespot damsels.
Day 5
Dive 1
Sharktastic! Brisk current at this thila site and all the soft corals were full and colourful: pink, orange, blue and yellow. At the current point were enormous schools of jacks and snappers also GREY REEF SHARKS and an EAGLE RAY. A large grey reef shark hung off one of the deep coral pinnacles too. We drifted and hooked in along the reef edge. There were LOTS OF GREY SHARKS out there today so we just hooked in and enjoyed the show!
Dive 2
A brisk out current in channel. At the spur we had a good WHITE TIP SHARK SHOW with 8-9 sharks buzzing around in the current, we then drifted along the reef and just off the edge were a large number (maybe 20?) GREY REEF SHARKS. WOW! We stopped to watch but they scared deeper and were hard to see. The current dropped on the corner and we pottered around all the beautiful coral blocks full of reef fish and we found two LEAF FISH and an octopus and then a MANTA swam past! Great dive!
Dive 3
Channel drift at different location. Lots of lovely overhangs buzzing with anthias and nice seafans, sea whips, coral, with groupers and reef fish. A school of bonito were chased by some giant trevallies and on the outside reef were lovely coral blocks, with bannerfish and sleek unicornfish etc. We found a couple of playful white tip sharks and large schools of sweetlips and humpback snappers in the shallows.
Night Dive
Great macro night dive. We found (amongst other things) a Chromodoris tritos, P. gloriosa, Flabellina exoptata nudi/flatworms, a large common crab, a banded boxer shrimp, lots of Bruuni shrimps, a sleeping turtle, a saron shrimp (and lots of other species) a hunting moray and lots of beautiful feeding featherstars.
Day 6
Dive 1
Strong current and we were chased to 35m by the Jaguar shark ;-) This was a real hang-on and drift, and hang-on dive and the current was so strong it scared most of the fish away! The soft corals and seafans in the overhangs were spectacular, but it was really hard work! An OMG dive
Daytime Excursion
Return to Male and anchorage via Hogula Huraa sandbank. Afternoon visit to Male for sightseeing and shopping.
Day 7
Guest Transfer
Departure to airport for international flights and transfers to resorts
Day 8
Sea Spirit SS382 21 Oct 2012 to 28 Oct 2012 Close Encounters (7 day)
Guest Transfer
International arrival to male airport and transfer to Sea Spirit
Dive 1
Easy check dive in sheltered lagoon as weather gave us few options for other locations. We saw reef pipefish, a school of captain parrotfish, blue-green chromis in table corals, small greasy groupers, picasso triggerfish and blackspot emperors
Day 1
Dive 1
Island house reef dive to see BLACK TIP SHARKS. There was a large shark up in the shallows and a couple passed us on the reef slope, also a white tip shark. There was a lovely school of blue-stripe snappers, swirling big-eye jacks, rock cods, six-stripe soapfish and a pair of harlequin filefish in the acropora corals.
Dive 2
Gentle drift over coral blocks and into channel to shallow caves. We saw slender, brown-marbled and white-spotted groupers; oriental and harlequin sweetlips; and another white tip shark.
Dive 3
Dramatic ocean reef drift. There were groupers in the caves, along with squirrelfish, soldierfish and emperors amongst the lovely seafans and curly whip-corals. Large schools of neon fusiliers and mackerels were feeding up in the shallows. Along the reef top were goldspot emperors, sweetlips, collared and pyramid butterflyfish. The current picked up and we were flying along by the end of the dive.
Ed (aged 10 years and one week) completed his Junior Open Water course and we celebrated with a chocolate cake.
Day 2
Dive 1
There were lots of lionfish on the wreck and giant trevallies and neon fusiliers flew around the shallows around the reef. We saw spotted garden eels, blackcheek morays hiding in the reef ready to pounce on unwary divers (!) elongate and Vlaming's surgeonfish being cleaned, "cheeseburger" thorny oysters, white acabaria coral and hunting cornetfish.
Dive 2
Ocean Reef drift. Honeycomb and white mouthed morays, large titan trigger balancing on its nose at a cleaning station, Napoleon wrasse, various sized dogtooth tunas, starry puffer and spotted boxfish.
Dive 3
Drift dive in channel. There were SPINNER DOLPHINS on the surface before the dive and they were still hanging around when we jumped in. We heard them squeaking loudly throughout the dive but they didn't come to play. During the dive we saw a large mixed school of red and black & white snappers, Napoleons, lots of white tip sharks including one sleeping under a ledge, marbled stingray, mappa puffer, a big block with a spiny lobster plus lots of Indian bannerfish and collared butterflyfish plus lots of lovely reef fish
Big card game after dinner
Day 3
Dive 1
White tip sharks, dogtooth tunas, white mouthed and honeycomb morays, rivers of fusiliers, 2 YELLOW LEAF FISH, 2x lysmata shrimps, Maldives sponge snail and Vlaming's surgeonfish playing in our bubbles on ascent.
Snorkelling
AMAZING SOMERSAULTING MANTAS! Six manta rays busy feeding in channel and we had an hour snorkel with them. They came up shallow and swam right underneath us and made loops and swirls feeding in the deeper water. Beautiful.
Dive 2
Pretty coral garden reef. We saw TWO MANTAS feeding in the shallows above us. There were lots of coral blocks with lots of magnifica anemones. A beaded anemone had three teeny Clarke's anemone fish. There were large green tubastrea trees full of purring twospot damsels. Also bluefaced and empress angelfish.
Dive 3
Great macro dive! ORNATE GHOST PIPEFISH, Cilipagurus strigatus crab, island pipefish, bearded scorpionfish, blue finger sponge, anemone shrimp in carpet anemone with feisty Clarke's anemonefish which bit us! Ben had a manicure by Bruuni cleaning shrimps.
Evening Activity
Visit to local village for shopping and tour
Day 4
Dive 1
Easy drift from ocean reef into channel. White tip shark, silver sweetlips, red snappers, varicose wart slugs, frog shell, yellow spotted flatworm, many different coloured magnifica anemones with large families of Maldives anemonefish, a tiger cowrie with eggs, "teenage" sweetlips, white-spotted grouper and xmas tree worms in a very pretty coral garden. We tried some "down-hill skiing" on the sand slope.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing to Ari
Dive 2
Classic Maldives thila site. We saw grey sharks, white tip sharks, giant trevallies and bluefin jacks and millions of neon fusiliers. The Vlaming surgeonfish played in our bubbles and a couple of friendly turtles turned up for a photo shoot. Also: fimbriated moray, longfin batfish, peacock mantis shrimp, big-eye jacks, many morays and a giant clam.
Dive 3
Another classic thila with lots of giant trevallies and blue-fin jacks harassing fusiliers plus large dogtooth tunas and a few white tip sharks.There was a large school of bannerfish at the current point. Also a juvenile (whirly) empress angelfish, jewelled damselfish farming algae, bubble anemone full of anemonefish.
Lily, Ellysia, Scott and Lorraine completed their AOW and we celebrated with another chocolate cake! After dinner a manta ray was somersaulting whilst feeding behind Sea Spirit at anchorage.
Day 5
Dive 1
Lovely sharky dive! There were SEVERAL GREY SHARKS patrolling the reef edge plus a couple of large ones over the side near the overhangs. On the top reef were many white tip sharks either hiding under the table corals or whizzing around between them to avoid us. The little pocket-sized one was very cute. We also saw a spotted eagle ray, octopus, a red coloured scorpionfish and digtooth tunas.
Dive 2
Easy drift dive along large reef wall covered with pink/green soft coral in the section where there were some small overhangs then a shallow drift along the reef top past lots of different reef fish: moorish idols, a white tip shark, parrotfish, sweetlips and spiny lobsters
Dive 3
White tip and grey sharks patrolled the reef edge and an eagle ray cam eover the top of the thila section of this complicated reef formation. On the beautifully coralised reef we saw spotted and black saddled coral groupers, a Napoleon, a spearing mantis shrimp in its nest, an eel garden, and big eye jacks whirling around in formation off the reef.
Day 6
Dive 1
There was a particularly nice large grey reef shark which kept us entetained, swimming around the main spur this morning. It was incredibly blue water with blue sparklies but no hammerheads today. We looked up and down the reef at the coral groupers, angelfish, mantis shrimp, napoleon and a few large dogtooth tunas which patrolled the reef. An eagle ray was up in the shallows.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Rasdhoo and North Male atolls. This was spent rehearsing, filming and editing Lily's most recent pop video.
Dive 2
Super- Fishy! A continuous river of neon fusliers swam past us throughout the dive. We also saw several lunar-tailed rock cods, napoleons, a large block full of large fish inclusing many red snappers, giant sweetlips, black and white snappers and several morays. We found a lovely pink Glossodoris hikuerensis nudi and a gioant barra cuda swam overhead.
Dive 3
Final dive on ocean reef. This reef is famous for honeycomb morays and the occasional green turtle, which we saw. There was also a nice hawksbill turtle and white mouthed moray plus a black tip shark up in the shallows, pencilled surgeonfish, a large bearded scorpionfish and another unidentified smaller scorpionfish
Back on-board, further scenes to the video were filmed.
Day 7
The final scenes of the video were filmed involving some dancing by the crew. We can't wait to see the final edit! The guests were then transferred to the airport for their onward transfer to a resort island. Bye-bye guys. It was great having you on-board!
Day 8
 
Guest Transfer
International arrival to male airport and transfer to Sea Spirit
Dive 1
Easy check dive in sheltered lagoon as weather gave us few options for other locations. We saw reef pipefish, a school of captain parrotfish, blue-green chromis in table corals, small greasy groupers, picasso triggerfish and blackspot emperors
Day 1
Dive 1
Island house reef dive to see BLACK TIP SHARKS. There was a large shark up in the shallows and a couple passed us on the reef slope, also a white tip shark. There was a lovely school of blue-stripe snappers, swirling big-eye jacks, rock cods, six-stripe soapfish and a pair of harlequin filefish in the acropora corals.
Dive 2
Gentle drift over coral blocks and into channel to shallow caves. We saw slender, brown-marbled and white-spotted groupers; oriental and harlequin sweetlips; and another white tip shark.
Dive 3
Dramatic ocean reef drift. There were groupers in the caves, along with squirrelfish, soldierfish and emperors amongst the lovely seafans and curly whip-corals. Large schools of neon fusiliers and mackerels were feeding up in the shallows. Along the reef top were goldspot emperors, sweetlips, collared and pyramid butterflyfish. The current picked up and we were flying along by the end of the dive.
Ed (aged 10 years and one week) completed his Junior Open Water course and we celebrated with a chocolate cake.
Day 2
Dive 1
There were lots of lionfish on the wreck and giant trevallies and neon fusiliers flew around the shallows around the reef. We saw spotted garden eels, blackcheek morays hiding in the reef ready to pounce on unwary divers (!) elongate and Vlaming's surgeonfish being cleaned, "cheeseburger" thorny oysters, white acabaria coral and hunting cornetfish.
Dive 2
Ocean Reef drift. Honeycomb and white mouthed morays, large titan trigger balancing on its nose at a cleaning station, Napoleon wrasse, various sized dogtooth tunas, starry puffer and spotted boxfish.
Dive 3
Drift dive in channel. There were SPINNER DOLPHINS on the surface before the dive and they were still hanging around when we jumped in. We heard them squeaking loudly throughout the dive but they didn't come to play. During the dive we saw a large mixed school of red and black & white snappers, Napoleons, lots of white tip sharks including one sleeping under a ledge, marbled stingray, mappa puffer, a big block with a spiny lobster plus lots of Indian bannerfish and collared butterflyfish plus lots of lovely reef fish
Big card game after dinner
Day 3
Dive 1
White tip sharks, dogtooth tunas, white mouthed and honeycomb morays, rivers of fusiliers, 2 YELLOW LEAF FISH, 2x lysmata shrimps, Maldives sponge snail and Vlaming's surgeonfish playing in our bubbles on ascent.
Snorkelling
AMAZING SOMERSAULTING MANTAS! Six manta rays busy feeding in channel and we had an hour snorkel with them. They came up shallow and swam right underneath us and made loops and swirls feeding in the deeper water. Beautiful.
Dive 2
Pretty coral garden reef. We saw TWO MANTAS feeding in the shallows above us. There were lots of coral blocks with lots of magnifica anemones. A beaded anemone had three teeny Clarke's anemone fish. There were large green tubastrea trees full of purring twospot damsels. Also bluefaced and empress angelfish.
Dive 3
Great macro dive! ORNATE GHOST PIPEFISH, Cilipagurus strigatus crab, island pipefish, bearded scorpionfish, blue finger sponge, anemone shrimp in carpet anemone with feisty Clarke's anemonefish which bit us! Ben had a manicure by Bruuni cleaning shrimps.
Evening Activity
Visit to local village for shopping and tour
Day 4
Dive 1
Easy drift from ocean reef into channel. White tip shark, silver sweetlips, red snappers, varicose wart slugs, frog shell, yellow spotted flatworm, many different coloured magnifica anemones with large families of Maldives anemonefish, a tiger cowrie with eggs, "teenage" sweetlips, white-spotted grouper and xmas tree worms in a very pretty coral garden. We tried some "down-hill skiing" on the sand slope.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing to Ari
Dive 2
Classic Maldives thila site. We saw grey sharks, white tip sharks, giant trevallies and bluefin jacks and millions of neon fusiliers. The Vlaming surgeonfish played in our bubbles and a couple of friendly turtles turned up for a photo shoot. Also: fimbriated moray, longfin batfish, peacock mantis shrimp, big-eye jacks, many morays and a giant clam.
Dive 3
Another classic thila with lots of giant trevallies and blue-fin jacks harassing fusiliers plus large dogtooth tunas and a few white tip sharks.There was a large school of bannerfish at the current point. Also a juvenile (whirly) empress angelfish, jewelled damselfish farming algae, bubble anemone full of anemonefish.
Lily, Ellysia, Scott and Lorraine completed their AOW and we celebrated with another chocolate cake! After dinner a manta ray was somersaulting whilst feeding behind Sea Spirit at anchorage.
Day 5
Dive 1
Lovely sharky dive! There were SEVERAL GREY SHARKS patrolling the reef edge plus a couple of large ones over the side near the overhangs. On the top reef were many white tip sharks either hiding under the table corals or whizzing around between them to avoid us. The little pocket-sized one was very cute. We also saw a spotted eagle ray, octopus, a red coloured scorpionfish and digtooth tunas.
Dive 2
Easy drift dive along large reef wall covered with pink/green soft coral in the section where there were some small overhangs then a shallow drift along the reef top past lots of different reef fish: moorish idols, a white tip shark, parrotfish, sweetlips and spiny lobsters
Dive 3
White tip and grey sharks patrolled the reef edge and an eagle ray cam eover the top of the thila section of this complicated reef formation. On the beautifully coralised reef we saw spotted and black saddled coral groupers, a Napoleon, a spearing mantis shrimp in its nest, an eel garden, and big eye jacks whirling around in formation off the reef.
Day 6
Dive 1
There was a particularly nice large grey reef shark which kept us entetained, swimming around the main spur this morning. It was incredibly blue water with blue sparklies but no hammerheads today. We looked up and down the reef at the coral groupers, angelfish, mantis shrimp, napoleon and a few large dogtooth tunas which patrolled the reef. An eagle ray was up in the shallows.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Rasdhoo and North Male atolls. This was spent rehearsing, filming and editing Lily's most recent pop video.
Dive 2
Super- Fishy! A continuous river of neon fusliers swam past us throughout the dive. We also saw several lunar-tailed rock cods, napoleons, a large block full of large fish inclusing many red snappers, giant sweetlips, black and white snappers and several morays. We found a lovely pink Glossodoris hikuerensis nudi and a gioant barra cuda swam overhead.
Dive 3
Final dive on ocean reef. This reef is famous for honeycomb morays and the occasional green turtle, which we saw. There was also a nice hawksbill turtle and white mouthed moray plus a black tip shark up in the shallows, pencilled surgeonfish, a large bearded scorpionfish and another unidentified smaller scorpionfish
Back on-board, further scenes to the video were filmed.
Day 7
The final scenes of the video were filmed involving some dancing by the crew. We can't wait to see the final edit! The guests were then transferred to the airport for their onward transfer to a resort island. Bye-bye guys. It was great having you on-board!
Day 8
Sea Spirit SS381 7 Oct 2012 to 19 Oct 2012 Manta & Whaleshark Special (12 day)
Guest Transfer
Guests arrived from early morning and late evening flights.
Dive 1
We were very lucky to have spinner dolphin shows whilst travelling both to, and from, the dive site. This was an easy check dive with a gentle drift along a heavily coralised ocean reef slope. We saw several honeycomb morays, white mouthed, fimbriated, green and yellow margin morays, green turtles and lovely schools of Kasmira snappers. There were rivers of fusliers chased by dogtooth tunas and bluefin jacks. Towards the end of the dive we saw TWO EAGLE RAYS.
Day 1
Dive 1
Second check dive for new arrival. The blocks near the current point of the thila were heaving with fish: yellow and humpback snappers and lots of oriental sweetlips, millions of anthias buzzed around. In the canyons were brown marbled groupers and harlequin sweetlips. In the large overhang were bulls eyes, blue-striped snappers, Amboin and banded shrimps, an earmuff blenny, dragonets and six spot rock cods. This was a great, fishy dive.
Dive 2
On the little wreck we found bluefin jacks chasing baitfish, a peacock mantis shrimp, Pseudoceros susanae many lionfish and a turtle. On the main reef giant trevallies and large dogtooth tunas chased fusiliers. The overhangs were adorned with white acabaria and there were many bright red soldierfish lurking in the back. Also an octopus, beautiful magnifica anemones with clownfish, Orzaks flatworm.
Dive 3
Great macro dive. We saw a smallscale scorpionfish, Schultz and multibar pipefish, beautiful multicoloured ascidians in the overhangs, zooanthids in black coral, spotted sea cucumber, Bruuni cleaner shrimps, circular batfish at deep cleaning stations, a feisty Clarke's anemone, and swarms of anthias and chromis. We saw a MANTA feeding in the lagoon on the way back.
Day 2
Dive 1
Great current point dive! Big eye jacks, red snappers and EAGLE RAYS plus all the pink and orange soft corals puffed up. As we drifted we saw another 8 EAGLE RAYS and several GREY SHARKS near cleaning stations on the reef top. Lots of lovely reef fish: starry puffer, collared butterflyfish, oriental and silver sweetlips etc.
Dive 2
Channel drift. GREY SHARKS, WHITE TIP SHARKS and solo eagle ray at current point amongst a school of red snappers and big-eye jacks. Gentle drift through busy overhangs with orange seafans, porcelain crab, rudderfish, mantis shrimp.
Dive 3
Cold water up-welling on front of channel feeding thousands of fusiliers. Honeycomb morays in coral blocks along channel front, also glorious flatworm, stonefish, gobies on sea-whips, green turtle trying to take a nap, anemone shrimp, juvenile bi-color parrotfish.
Daytime Excursion
Ashore to local village for a walk. Movie night later on.
Day 3
Dive 1
Stronger current so busier current point with all the snappers and jacks bunched together. The eagle rays were there and the grey sharks were up shallow on the top of the reef again. We hooked-in and then drifted across the edge of the thila and then drifted across the top to the blocks where all the sweetlips and butterflyfish are. Several large green turtles rested on the reef top.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing.
Dive 2
Small in-flow current so crossed channel front. There was an ENORMOUS school of jacks plus ~10 juvenile grey sharks circling and a couple of eagle rays off the reef. Two large male Napoleons, two great barracudas, black & white snappers. We drifted in on the north reef past honeycomb morays and a yellow/green LEAF FISH. Kath had a new remora buddy
Dive 3
Clear cold ocean water on the corner and lovely schools of bannerfish and humpback snappers over the coral blocks plus several different grouper species. On the wall we found Bruuni and banded coral shrimps, many blackcheek morays ready to pounce, a Chromodoris glenei nudi, spiny lobsters and schools of elongate surgeonfish.
Night Dive
Amazing night dive with dozens of giant trevally, pink whiprays and marbled stingrays hunting and several large tawny nurse sharks sailing around over our heads. Mind your fingers!!!
Day 4
Dive 1
Out current in channel so no focus point but we had a nice drift out onto the wall. We saw honeycomb, white mouthed and blackcheek morays. A yellow leaf fish in some pink acabaria, several pairs of lysmata shrimps, a six-bar soapfish, freeswimming featherstar, Saron shrimp, Napoleons and scorpionfish.
Dive 2
Nice in current with clearer water and a lovely school of ~14 EAGLE RAYS which hoverred in formation and then swept through the divers (accidentally?). The front of the chennel and thilas were covered in neon fusiliers. Inside was a lovely coral garden with a friendly hawksbill turtle, an octopus and many jewelled damselfish tending their hydroid gardens.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing.
Dive 3
Drift dive hoping to see a WHALE SHARK. One swam past the group however the fuzzy viz made it a little hard to see. A huge school of medium sized bonito also passed by. Lovely block full of oriental and harlequin sweetlips, yellow snappers and rudderfish.
Day 5
Dive 1
TAWNY NURSE SHARK under hull of wreck, a BLACK FROGFISH on top! Lots of batfish and bluefin trevallies, a stonefish, a bartail moray, tubeworm with Amboin shrimps, P. befordi. On the reef were schools of crescent-tailed big-eyes, gold-spot emperors, a crown jellyfish and powder blue surgeon fish took up odd hoverring posistions on table corals whilst they were being cleaned.
Dive 2
Drift dive on ocean reef. Clouded and bandit morays, a freeswimming giant moray, swarms of pink/yellow Evan's anthias, fire gobys, starry dragonets, schools of elongate surgeonfish and 100's of rudderfish.
Dive 3
Beautiful overhangs in shallow thila festooned with large orange sea-fans, and pink, orange and yellow soft corals. There was also an amazing variety of sponges and brightly coloured ascidians. There were many soldierfish, emperors and a couple of mini-grey sharks!
Day 6
Dive 1
Brisk in-current which puffed up the pink and orange soft corals in the overhangs. Beautiful! This was a really spectacular drift with a fun white tip show at the end as several danced over the deep coral blocks. We also saw great barracudas, schools of humpback and red snappers, beautiful seafans and sea whips.
Dive 2
Stunning deep thila with large pinnacles to the south side. There was a very cold (25 degree) thermocline in very clear water below 15m depth. The blocks were festooned with blue soft corals with schools of batfish and oriental sweetlips amongst them. The overhangs had pristine white, purple and red sea whips and long-nose hawkfish in sea fans. The coral blocks on top were surrounded by large schools of reef fish.
Dive 3
There were white tip sharks, rainbow runners, small dogtooth tunas and bluefin jacks riding the current point. On the wreck we found Durban and lysmata shrimps attending to rock cods and the wreck was completely covered in beautiful soft corals, sea fans and hydroids making it look like a "gingerbread boat". A GIANT PINK FROGFISH, mantis shrimp and an octopus fighting with a white-spotted grouper!
Evening Activity
Movie Night
Day 7
Classic Thila Day
Dive 1
SHARK FUN! Several grey sharks rode the current point including one female who was patrolling the thila edge. Off the reef were huge schools of fusiliers being chased by giant trevallies, batfish and schools of big-eye jacks. The turtles here are extremely friendly, and as usual, were happy to have their photos taken. Also pinkbar gobies with pistol shrimp buddies, octopus pulling shapes, freeswimming glorious flatworm, and a mixed school of chevron and Forster's barracudas.
After dive the dhoni was surrounded by dozens of dragonflies. They accompanied us to Sea Spirit and stayed with us for much of the morning.
Dive 2
MORE SHARK FUN! There was a parade of grey sharks and white tip sharks along the front of the thila throughout the dive. They came in all sizes, including some very tiny, newborn, white tips and some big pregnant grey sharks. Just lovely! We saw an octopus having a ruck with several groupers and Diana's hogfish, tunas chasing fusiliers making the school explode with a bang, many baby white tip sharks under the coral blocks, crescent tail big eyes and batfish in schools amongst the black coral trees.
Dive 3
Another busy thila site with a brisk current this afternoon which made the dive a little challenging! We saw white tip sharks lined up on the thila edge and small grey sharks over the deep blocks. There was a lovely octopus out hunting in the hydroid garden, a mantis shrimp, Phyllidia slugs, yellow margin and giant morays at cleaning stations being attended to by banded coral shrimps.
Night Dive
SHARK FUN IN THE DARK! Classic night dive with foraging white tip and grey sharks and two extremely persistent marbled stingrays, which followed us around using our torchlight to hunt. The morays were also out on the hunt. We also found a large common crab and a very large decorator crab with two anemones stuck jauntily on its shell and two large stonefish in a crevice.
Evening Activity
Later in the evening we had two mantas in the lagoon, feeding behing Sea Spirit.
Day 8
Dive 1
Blue water, hurrah! There has been a lot of plankton around so very nice to get a clear water upwelling surrounding the thila. This is always a really pretty dive and today was no different. There was an INDIAN MOBULA, white tip sharks, a marbled stingray and a whirly school of jacks. The giant trevallies seemed to be chasing a bluefin jack and also off the reef, gogtooth tunas and a school of bonito tunas. On the reef were Susans and glorious flatworms, mantis shrimps, comet fish and octopus.
Dive 2
WOW! GREY SHARKS, SCHOOL OF 12 EAGLE RAYS IN FORMATION, WHITE TIP SHARKS AND BLACKTIP SHARKS. Nice current to hold the sharks at the spur. There was a large school of red and black & white snappers, blue-stripe snallers, longnose emperors, spotted, common and black sand eels, a MANTA, indian bannerfish, and beautiful hard corals. On the thila Peter found a yellow LEAF FISH,
Dive 3
Same site, this time a stronger current. There were four EAGLE RAYS close to the reef and white tip and grey sharks scooting along the reef top. The red snappers had taken up residence on the spur. A MANTA tried to come into be cleaned but the current was probably too strong. We found a stonefish, lovely small groupers, a yellow margin moray, a alrge black-saddled coral grouper with its mouth full of cleaners, pencilled surgeonfish and blennies in vacated tubeworm holes.
Evening Activity
We attempted to visit the sandbank for sundowners but the tide was too low to allow access so we ended up on top deck for the sunset with cold beers and cocktails.
Day 9
Dive 1
There was a strong current going up the wall so we made a drift dive. We saw grey sharks, a school of jacks, big dogtooth tunas, several morays in the wall. A MANTA swam around on the top reef.
Snorkelling
WOW! AMAZING SESSION! There were TWO WHALE SHARKS in the lagoon and one was very accomodating, letting us watch it gulping plankton for several minutes at a time. We also had around 8 SOMERSAULTING MANTAS which went up and down in the water column busily feeding on the tiny shrimps and small jellies. We didn't have to swim much, the show happenned underneath us!
Dive 2
Back to the shallow thila for the afternoon dive. There was a lovely current point with pyramid butterflyfish and bannerfish with a parade of dancing white tips on the reef edge. On the reef we found a shape pulling octopus, a purple/black stonefish (!) a hermit crab with a starfish decorating its shell, a mixed school of goldspot emperors and blue-stripe snappers over the deep block. The seafans had lots of featherstars attached.
Evening Activity
Movie Night: 'Salt'. We also had several squids and two pink whip rays behind the boat at anchorage.
Day 10
Dive 1
This site is a well known shark-spotting site and that was what we got! There were grey sharks and white tips sharks all along the reef edge looking for cleaning station areas, also dogtooth tunas, a marbled stingray, oceanic and blue triggerfish and harlequin sweetlips.
Dive 2
A brisk drift along the channel wall. The large overhangs were full of red and midnight snappers. A small overhang was stuffed with spiny lobsters whilst a partucularly large lobster had an overhand to herself! There were white tip and grey sharks, big eye jacks, blue finger sponges, yellow/purple soft corals and really nice acropora hard corals.
Dive 3
THRESHER SHARKS! Two circling on the reef slope and another two shallower on the reef wall around 15m These were all large adults, approximately 3.5 m long. Stunning (literally!). This is a beautiful reef and we also saw hawkbill turtles, beautiful overhangs with morays and groupers amongst the pink and orange seafans. On the reef top were mixed schools of gold spot emperors, yellow goatfish, oriental sweetlips and butterflyfish
Evening Activity
Amazing sunset. Later on we had the 'World premiere' of the trip video!
Day 11
Dive 1
Easy drift dive on ocean reef. Mangrove whipray, white tip sharks hawskbill tutrles, pair of silver sweetlips, lovely spiky nepthia soft corals in lots of dufferent pastel colours. Lovely last dive.
Day spent relaxing at anchorage. Guests declined options for snorkelling or Male shopping visit.
Guest Transfer
One guest to airport for international departure.
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Remaining guests to airport for international departures.
Day 13
 
Guest Transfer
Guests arrived from early morning and late evening flights.
Dive 1
We were very lucky to have spinner dolphin shows whilst travelling both to, and from, the dive site. This was an easy check dive with a gentle drift along a heavily coralised ocean reef slope. We saw several honeycomb morays, white mouthed, fimbriated, green and yellow margin morays, green turtles and lovely schools of Kasmira snappers. There were rivers of fusliers chased by dogtooth tunas and bluefin jacks. Towards the end of the dive we saw TWO EAGLE RAYS.
Day 1
Dive 1
Second check dive for new arrival. The blocks near the current point of the thila were heaving with fish: yellow and humpback snappers and lots of oriental sweetlips, millions of anthias buzzed around. In the canyons were brown marbled groupers and harlequin sweetlips. In the large overhang were bulls eyes, blue-striped snappers, Amboin and banded shrimps, an earmuff blenny, dragonets and six spot rock cods. This was a great, fishy dive.
Dive 2
On the little wreck we found bluefin jacks chasing baitfish, a peacock mantis shrimp, Pseudoceros susanae many lionfish and a turtle. On the main reef giant trevallies and large dogtooth tunas chased fusiliers. The overhangs were adorned with white acabaria and there were many bright red soldierfish lurking in the back. Also an octopus, beautiful magnifica anemones with clownfish, Orzaks flatworm.
Dive 3
Great macro dive. We saw a smallscale scorpionfish, Schultz and multibar pipefish, beautiful multicoloured ascidians in the overhangs, zooanthids in black coral, spotted sea cucumber, Bruuni cleaner shrimps, circular batfish at deep cleaning stations, a feisty Clarke's anemone, and swarms of anthias and chromis. We saw a MANTA feeding in the lagoon on the way back.
Day 2
Dive 1
Great current point dive! Big eye jacks, red snappers and EAGLE RAYS plus all the pink and orange soft corals puffed up. As we drifted we saw another 8 EAGLE RAYS and several GREY SHARKS near cleaning stations on the reef top. Lots of lovely reef fish: starry puffer, collared butterflyfish, oriental and silver sweetlips etc.
Dive 2
Channel drift. GREY SHARKS, WHITE TIP SHARKS and solo eagle ray at current point amongst a school of red snappers and big-eye jacks. Gentle drift through busy overhangs with orange seafans, porcelain crab, rudderfish, mantis shrimp.
Dive 3
Cold water up-welling on front of channel feeding thousands of fusiliers. Honeycomb morays in coral blocks along channel front, also glorious flatworm, stonefish, gobies on sea-whips, green turtle trying to take a nap, anemone shrimp, juvenile bi-color parrotfish.
Daytime Excursion
Ashore to local village for a walk. Movie night later on.
Day 3
Dive 1
Stronger current so busier current point with all the snappers and jacks bunched together. The eagle rays were there and the grey sharks were up shallow on the top of the reef again. We hooked-in and then drifted across the edge of the thila and then drifted across the top to the blocks where all the sweetlips and butterflyfish are. Several large green turtles rested on the reef top.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing.
Dive 2
Small in-flow current so crossed channel front. There was an ENORMOUS school of jacks plus ~10 juvenile grey sharks circling and a couple of eagle rays off the reef. Two large male Napoleons, two great barracudas, black & white snappers. We drifted in on the north reef past honeycomb morays and a yellow/green LEAF FISH. Kath had a new remora buddy
Dive 3
Clear cold ocean water on the corner and lovely schools of bannerfish and humpback snappers over the coral blocks plus several different grouper species. On the wall we found Bruuni and banded coral shrimps, many blackcheek morays ready to pounce, a Chromodoris glenei nudi, spiny lobsters and schools of elongate surgeonfish.
Night Dive
Amazing night dive with dozens of giant trevally, pink whiprays and marbled stingrays hunting and several large tawny nurse sharks sailing around over our heads. Mind your fingers!!!
Day 4
Dive 1
Out current in channel so no focus point but we had a nice drift out onto the wall. We saw honeycomb, white mouthed and blackcheek morays. A yellow leaf fish in some pink acabaria, several pairs of lysmata shrimps, a six-bar soapfish, freeswimming featherstar, Saron shrimp, Napoleons and scorpionfish.
Dive 2
Nice in current with clearer water and a lovely school of ~14 EAGLE RAYS which hoverred in formation and then swept through the divers (accidentally?). The front of the chennel and thilas were covered in neon fusiliers. Inside was a lovely coral garden with a friendly hawksbill turtle, an octopus and many jewelled damselfish tending their hydroid gardens.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing.
Dive 3
Drift dive hoping to see a WHALE SHARK. One swam past the group however the fuzzy viz made it a little hard to see. A huge school of medium sized bonito also passed by. Lovely block full of oriental and harlequin sweetlips, yellow snappers and rudderfish.
Day 5
Dive 1
TAWNY NURSE SHARK under hull of wreck, a BLACK FROGFISH on top! Lots of batfish and bluefin trevallies, a stonefish, a bartail moray, tubeworm with Amboin shrimps, P. befordi. On the reef were schools of crescent-tailed big-eyes, gold-spot emperors, a crown jellyfish and powder blue surgeon fish took up odd hoverring posistions on table corals whilst they were being cleaned.
Dive 2
Drift dive on ocean reef. Clouded and bandit morays, a freeswimming giant moray, swarms of pink/yellow Evan's anthias, fire gobys, starry dragonets, schools of elongate surgeonfish and 100's of rudderfish.
Dive 3
Beautiful overhangs in shallow thila festooned with large orange sea-fans, and pink, orange and yellow soft corals. There was also an amazing variety of sponges and brightly coloured ascidians. There were many soldierfish, emperors and a couple of mini-grey sharks!
Day 6
Dive 1
Brisk in-current which puffed up the pink and orange soft corals in the overhangs. Beautiful! This was a really spectacular drift with a fun white tip show at the end as several danced over the deep coral blocks. We also saw great barracudas, schools of humpback and red snappers, beautiful seafans and sea whips.
Dive 2
Stunning deep thila with large pinnacles to the south side. There was a very cold (25 degree) thermocline in very clear water below 15m depth. The blocks were festooned with blue soft corals with schools of batfish and oriental sweetlips amongst them. The overhangs had pristine white, purple and red sea whips and long-nose hawkfish in sea fans. The coral blocks on top were surrounded by large schools of reef fish.
Dive 3
There were white tip sharks, rainbow runners, small dogtooth tunas and bluefin jacks riding the current point. On the wreck we found Durban and lysmata shrimps attending to rock cods and the wreck was completely covered in beautiful soft corals, sea fans and hydroids making it look like a "gingerbread boat". A GIANT PINK FROGFISH, mantis shrimp and an octopus fighting with a white-spotted grouper!
Evening Activity
Movie Night
Day 7
Classic Thila Day
Dive 1
SHARK FUN! Several grey sharks rode the current point including one female who was patrolling the thila edge. Off the reef were huge schools of fusiliers being chased by giant trevallies, batfish and schools of big-eye jacks. The turtles here are extremely friendly, and as usual, were happy to have their photos taken. Also pinkbar gobies with pistol shrimp buddies, octopus pulling shapes, freeswimming glorious flatworm, and a mixed school of chevron and Forster's barracudas.
After dive the dhoni was surrounded by dozens of dragonflies. They accompanied us to Sea Spirit and stayed with us for much of the morning.
Dive 2
MORE SHARK FUN! There was a parade of grey sharks and white tip sharks along the front of the thila throughout the dive. They came in all sizes, including some very tiny, newborn, white tips and some big pregnant grey sharks. Just lovely! We saw an octopus having a ruck with several groupers and Diana's hogfish, tunas chasing fusiliers making the school explode with a bang, many baby white tip sharks under the coral blocks, crescent tail big eyes and batfish in schools amongst the black coral trees.
Dive 3
Another busy thila site with a brisk current this afternoon which made the dive a little challenging! We saw white tip sharks lined up on the thila edge and small grey sharks over the deep blocks. There was a lovely octopus out hunting in the hydroid garden, a mantis shrimp, Phyllidia slugs, yellow margin and giant morays at cleaning stations being attended to by banded coral shrimps.
Night Dive
SHARK FUN IN THE DARK! Classic night dive with foraging white tip and grey sharks and two extremely persistent marbled stingrays, which followed us around using our torchlight to hunt. The morays were also out on the hunt. We also found a large common crab and a very large decorator crab with two anemones stuck jauntily on its shell and two large stonefish in a crevice.
Evening Activity
Later in the evening we had two mantas in the lagoon, feeding behing Sea Spirit.
Day 8
Dive 1
Blue water, hurrah! There has been a lot of plankton around so very nice to get a clear water upwelling surrounding the thila. This is always a really pretty dive and today was no different. There was an INDIAN MOBULA, white tip sharks, a marbled stingray and a whirly school of jacks. The giant trevallies seemed to be chasing a bluefin jack and also off the reef, gogtooth tunas and a school of bonito tunas. On the reef were Susans and glorious flatworms, mantis shrimps, comet fish and octopus.
Dive 2
WOW! GREY SHARKS, SCHOOL OF 12 EAGLE RAYS IN FORMATION, WHITE TIP SHARKS AND BLACKTIP SHARKS. Nice current to hold the sharks at the spur. There was a large school of red and black & white snappers, blue-stripe snallers, longnose emperors, spotted, common and black sand eels, a MANTA, indian bannerfish, and beautiful hard corals. On the thila Peter found a yellow LEAF FISH,
Dive 3
Same site, this time a stronger current. There were four EAGLE RAYS close to the reef and white tip and grey sharks scooting along the reef top. The red snappers had taken up residence on the spur. A MANTA tried to come into be cleaned but the current was probably too strong. We found a stonefish, lovely small groupers, a yellow margin moray, a alrge black-saddled coral grouper with its mouth full of cleaners, pencilled surgeonfish and blennies in vacated tubeworm holes.
Evening Activity
We attempted to visit the sandbank for sundowners but the tide was too low to allow access so we ended up on top deck for the sunset with cold beers and cocktails.
Day 9
Dive 1
There was a strong current going up the wall so we made a drift dive. We saw grey sharks, a school of jacks, big dogtooth tunas, several morays in the wall. A MANTA swam around on the top reef.
Snorkelling
WOW! AMAZING SESSION! There were TWO WHALE SHARKS in the lagoon and one was very accomodating, letting us watch it gulping plankton for several minutes at a time. We also had around 8 SOMERSAULTING MANTAS which went up and down in the water column busily feeding on the tiny shrimps and small jellies. We didn't have to swim much, the show happenned underneath us!
Dive 2
Back to the shallow thila for the afternoon dive. There was a lovely current point with pyramid butterflyfish and bannerfish with a parade of dancing white tips on the reef edge. On the reef we found a shape pulling octopus, a purple/black stonefish (!) a hermit crab with a starfish decorating its shell, a mixed school of goldspot emperors and blue-stripe snappers over the deep block. The seafans had lots of featherstars attached.
Evening Activity
Movie Night: 'Salt'. We also had several squids and two pink whip rays behind the boat at anchorage.
Day 10
Dive 1
This site is a well known shark-spotting site and that was what we got! There were grey sharks and white tips sharks all along the reef edge looking for cleaning station areas, also dogtooth tunas, a marbled stingray, oceanic and blue triggerfish and harlequin sweetlips.
Dive 2
A brisk drift along the channel wall. The large overhangs were full of red and midnight snappers. A small overhang was stuffed with spiny lobsters whilst a partucularly large lobster had an overhand to herself! There were white tip and grey sharks, big eye jacks, blue finger sponges, yellow/purple soft corals and really nice acropora hard corals.
Dive 3
THRESHER SHARKS! Two circling on the reef slope and another two shallower on the reef wall around 15m These were all large adults, approximately 3.5 m long. Stunning (literally!). This is a beautiful reef and we also saw hawkbill turtles, beautiful overhangs with morays and groupers amongst the pink and orange seafans. On the reef top were mixed schools of gold spot emperors, yellow goatfish, oriental sweetlips and butterflyfish
Evening Activity
Amazing sunset. Later on we had the 'World premiere' of the trip video!
Day 11
Dive 1
Easy drift dive on ocean reef. Mangrove whipray, white tip sharks hawskbill tutrles, pair of silver sweetlips, lovely spiky nepthia soft corals in lots of dufferent pastel colours. Lovely last dive.
Day spent relaxing at anchorage. Guests declined options for snorkelling or Male shopping visit.
Guest Transfer
One guest to airport for international departure.
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Remaining guests to airport for international departures.
Day 13
Sea Spirit SS380 23 Sep 2012 to 5 Oct 2012 Manta & Whaleshark Special (12 day)
Guest Transfer
Arrival to Sea Spirit from early EK flight. We decided to make a pre-lunch dive to take advantage of tides and weather. There were hundreds of SPINNER DOLPHINS on the edge of the atoll near Lankanfinolhu
Dive 1
Easy check dive. Gentle drift with lovely reef fish at cleaning stations along the reef slope. We saw brown marbled groupers, green and hawksbill turtles, a pair of large chevron barracudas which shadowed the group for the whole dive, white tip and black tip reef sharks, and several porcelain crabs in carpet anemones.
Day 1
Dive 1
Coral pinnacles massed with different reef fish with occasional fly-bys by marauding dogtooth tunas. Big schools of blue-stripe and black and white snappers, mackerels, fusiliers, schooling bannerfish, pyramid butterflyfish and big eye emperors. Lovely soft corals and seafans with a large starry puffer, mantis shrimps, yellow trunkfish and a segmented worm amongst the nepthia soft coral
Dive 1
Lovely school of ~12 EAGLE RAYS in formation, plus a monster large-sized one on its own at this thila site. Lots of dancing white tip sharks at the current point plus a few lazing in the sand in more sheltered areas. School of oriental sweetlips, mixed snapper school. Tiny devil scorpionfish.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between North Male and Baa atolls
Dive 3
Dusk dive at thila. There was a lot of fish chasing by the larger predator fish (giant trevallies and bluefin jacks) to the fusiliers and mackerels. The emperors were making colour changes and also hunting. This was also a great macro dive: spearing mantis shrimp in its nest, blenny in a vacated tube-worm hole, smallscale scorpionfish, giant, fimbriated and yellow margin morays, Aliogalathea elegans in purple featherstar, also turtles and a stingray
Day 2
Dive 1
Nice current point with fusiliers being chased by giant and bluefin trevallies. We made a circuit of the thila. A marbled stingray was sleeping in the sand, there were longnose hawkfish in black coral trees encrusted with feeding zooanthids. Large scorpionfish, groupers, pair of porcelain crabs being knocked around the anemone by the bossy Clarke's anemonefish, and Schultz pipefish on the reef top.
Dive 2
Beautiful busy thila with spiny lobsters in a big overhang, a freeswimming marbled stingray. The caves were full of lovely black coral bushes with penguin oysters and several long nose hawkfish, one had a BLACK FROGFISH. The Hoplophrys oatesii soft coral crab in some pink nepthia was cute. Lots of peacock mantis shrimps.
Dive 3
We made a tour of the soft coral covered north pinnacles but there was little current to puff the pink and orange soft coral up. A school of bluestripe snapper swirled around. A school of red snappers hung near the channel and small big-eye jacks were out foraging. We found Amboin shrimps near a carpet anemone and there were lots of white spotted groupers around the slope and on the reef top.
Night Dive
Great critter dive in overhangs on thila. We found a sleeping pufferfish high up in some black coral. The walls and ceilings of the caves were covered in yellow cup coral and the colourful soft coral was puffed up. Also: Parrotfish in cocoons, teeny squat lobsters in blue fire coral, slipper lobster, Orzak's and Susan's flatworms, spotted coral crabs and a hermit crab real estate party!
Day 3
Dive 1
Busy current point with giant trevallies and bluefin jacks chasing fusiliers. We made a circuit of thila. There is a beautiful chimney surrounded by blue-stripe snappers. Also saw a juv. Reindeer rock mover wrasse, a Napoleon and jack hunting together. On the reef top were Queen coris and other large wrasse and surgeonfish.
Ocean Crossing
Crossing between Baa and Raa atolls we checked out a few places where we though mantas might be feeding
Dive 2
North spur of reef had schools of goldspot emperors and bluestripe snappers. The wall had lovely black corals and penguin oysters plus schools of humpback snappers in pretty canyons. Some of the overhangs had blue and yellow soft coral. The top was a beautiful anemone city.
Snorkelling
WOW! 40 MANTAS BUSY FEEDING JUST UNDER THE SURFACE AND EVEN MAKING CYCLONIC MOVEMENTS AND LOTS OF SOMERSAULTING. TWO HOURS IN THE WATER!!!
During travel to overnight anchorage we passed a mixed school of SPINNER AND BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS, PILOT WHALES AND FALSE KILLER WHALES!
Day 4
Dive 1
Really pretty thila with superb hard and soft corals and a myriad of reef fish including schooling bannerfish, two male and one female Napoleons, axelspot hogfish and millions of neon fusiliers swooping around colourful yellow acabaria covered coral blocks and canyons.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing between Raa and Noon atolls
Dive 2
GREY SHARK CLEANING STATION WITH ABOUT 20 GREY SHARKS TODAY, all sizes including some big mommas and some newborns. Also golden and big eye jacks, octopus, cobia, 3 eagle rays, batfish and barracudas. Great site.
Dive 3
Beautiful thila covered in orange, pink and pale green soft corals plus large nepthias in all pastel colours. A school of bluestripe snapper clung close to the reef but there were also longnose and big-eye emperors and the entire area around the thila was buzzing with fish action. On the main reef the coral blocks were covered in orange acabaria with a school of medium sized chevron barracudas checking divers out.
Day 5
Dive 1
Back to the shark point. SHARKTASTIC TODAY with 30+ SHARKS spread across two main groups, swimming along top of reef in stronger current than yesterday so we could get a little closer. Also the three eagle rays were hanging out and there were schools of Forster's and chevron barracudas and big eye jacks.
Dive 2
Fish-magnet deep site making for a short, intense dive. Huge school of large rainbow runners kept swamping the blocks and the divers, also neon fusiliers, batfish and big eye jacks. A large TAWNY NURSE SHARK under a block, a white tip shark mobbed by the rainbow runners (no wonder the grey sharks left when we arrived!) 4 pink whiprays and Madras snappers and solderfish rammed under the main block.
Dive 3
Channel onto ocean reef drift dive woth lots of coral blocks along reef slope. The spur was so heavily covered with humpback snappers it looked like the reef was alive! Around the spur were goldspot emperors, collared butterflyfish, several enormous brown marbled groupers a stingray and 2+1 MANTAS made a fly past.
Day 6
Dive 1
Back to ocean reef site to investigate the fish smothered spur. So many humpback snappers pulsating in the mild swell. Today there were yet more brown marbled groupers in territorial disputes, blue stripe, red and black and white snappers, black saddle groupers, hawksbill turtles, and various butterflyfish up in the shallows.
Dive 2
FUN MANTA SHOW!! We had up to 7 different mantas both being-cleaned amongst the coral blocks on the reef and sailing over our heads feeding in the shallows forming chains of mantas. Also GUITAR SHARK, scorpionfish, and dense schools of blue stripe and humpback snappers. 80 minute dive. Noone wanted to come up.
Dive 3
Lovely green turtle show. Many (~12?) different green turtles resting on ledges and sprawled across the reef being cleaned (funny!). They were also swimming up to breathe being followed by longfin batfish. There were also big dogtooth tunas. Chromodoris sp. nudi in an overhang and a moray cohabiting with a grouper.
Night Dive
Fun night dive on little wreck packed with BIG fish. Also arrowhead crab, Orzaks flatworm, cuttlefish, stingray.
Day 7
Dive 1
Medium drift inside channel with enormous school of red snappers with giant and silver sweetlips hiding from the current behind large tubastrea trees. A large marbled stingray was resting on the corner and was investigated by a freeswimming honeycomb moray. Along the outside reef we saw large lionfish, an eagle ray, a small dark red LEAF FISH, rainbow runners, green and hawksbill turtles, pinkbar gobies and partner shrimps and dogtooth tunas. We heard dolphin squeaks under water and there was a large pod of spinner dolphins on the surface.
Dive 2
Back to the manta cleaning station. 80 minutes of waiting amongst the coral blocks for frequent visists of different mantas. We saw at least 6 DIFFERENT MANTAS and played amongst the schools of fish between manta shows
Dive 3
ANOTHER MANTASTIC 80 MINUTE DIVE! There was a much smaller current and there were different mantas to those we saw earlier. Also, 7 (!) GREY SHARKS, a peacock flounder, honeycomb moray, collared butterflyfish, school of yellow goatfish, tiger cowrie.
Day 8
Dive 1
A small current meant we were able to visit both wrecks on the same dive. The Gaafaru had lovely black corals and sponges with lots of Dussomier's surgeonfish. The Skipjack was a riot of colour. The wheelhouse was full of glassfish, the engine room was full of soldierfish. Off the wreck hung a school of longfin batfish. There were Sgt Majors and moon wrasse nesting on the bow section. We also found Murex and giant frog shells with their snails.
Dive 2
Super-pretty, Magnifica-anemone covered thila with lots of blackfoot and Clarke's anemonefish plus disc anemones and corallimorphs. We also found a tiger cardinal mouth-brooding eggs, Bruuni cleaner shrimps in an overhang behind millions of sweepers, and both large lionfish and red groupers hunting amongst all the baitfish. The reef top was covered in blue-yellow neon damselfish.
Dive 3
There were mantas feeding on the surface but they were a bit too quick for us on scuba, but we saw a couple of fast fly-pasts. We investigated the coral blocks with schooling bannerfish, rock cods, pinkbar and Dracula gobies with pistol shrimps.
Evening Activity
Ashore to tiny uninhabited island for sundowners and a great show of the Milky-Way later on.
Day 9
Dive 1
Dramatic ocean reef with stunning terraced overhangs with pink acabaria and deep water sea fans down to 50m depth. There was a FEMALE STINGRAY WITH 7 MALES IN A COURTSHIP PURSUIT. Also bluefin, striped and black jacks, a large Napoleon, a mangrove whipray, a school of bonito and an eagle ray on the top reef
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Lhaviyani and Kaashidhoo. The crew caught a 10ft marlin. It did not come easily! Thilak the chef got knocked into the sea by the big fish.
Dive 2
Another dramatic ocean reef with 2 giant barracudas out in the blue, schools of neon and yellowback fusliers, pyramid butterflyfish, a school of giant sweetlips on the reef top, murex shell, green turtles and white sea whips with tiny gobies on in the overhangs
Dive 3
7 EAGLE RAYS PLUS WHITE TIP SHARKS on the front of the channel and very busy coral blocks inside with many giant sweetlips. We were very lucky to see so many about, they may be making territorial displays as part of their mating rituals. There were also large numbers of silver and harlequin sweetlips. In one block two NURSE SHARKS were hiding. One had ~6 golden pilot jacks (waiting for action?) with it.
Evening Activity
Movie Night
Day 10
Dive 1
Beautiful overhangs full of bluestripe snappers and large orange/pink seafans. The reeftop was covered in schools of fish plus giant trevallies chasing fusiliers. The large coral blocks had good coral coverage, especially yellow/orange acabaria and yellow sponges.
Dive 2
Pretty blue and yellow soft coral framed overhangs with seawhips and seafans inside. A school of black and white snappers drifted above the overhang as if they they were waiting for something to happen. Along the reef slope were large green tubastrea trees with sponges and featherstars. We saw mantis shrimps, turtles and lovely reef fish.
Dive 3
Rather poor visibility and rather a brisk current. There were eagle rays, grey sharks and white tips at the corner and schools of blue-striped snappers and collared butterflyfish on the outside reef slope. We had a fast drift over the corner. In the channel were circular batfish, two more eagle rays, green and hawksbill turtles, and there were a gang of jacks attacking something in a coral block where a giant moray was lurking
Evening Activity
Review of the trip video!
Day 11
Dive 1
Beautiful blue, yellow and pink soft corals all puffed up and pretty, purple sea fans and nepthias of every pastel shade at this stunning thila site. Giant trevallies marauded through the current point chasing fusiliers and mackerels. Other highlights were a large Napoleon, and large morays lurking in patches of hydroids patrolled by feisty jewelled damselfish. There were lots of large groupers in the ledges and amongst the coral blocks on top.
Snorkelling
Mangrove whipray, white tip shark, hawksbill turtle and many schools of reef fish.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to Male for sightseeing and a little gift shopping plus a visit to Seagull restaurant for their famous ice-creams
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Departure to Male airport for international departures
Day 13
 
Guest Transfer
Arrival to Sea Spirit from early EK flight. We decided to make a pre-lunch dive to take advantage of tides and weather. There were hundreds of SPINNER DOLPHINS on the edge of the atoll near Lankanfinolhu
Dive 1
Easy check dive. Gentle drift with lovely reef fish at cleaning stations along the reef slope. We saw brown marbled groupers, green and hawksbill turtles, a pair of large chevron barracudas which shadowed the group for the whole dive, white tip and black tip reef sharks, and several porcelain crabs in carpet anemones.
Day 1
Dive 1
Coral pinnacles massed with different reef fish with occasional fly-bys by marauding dogtooth tunas. Big schools of blue-stripe and black and white snappers, mackerels, fusiliers, schooling bannerfish, pyramid butterflyfish and big eye emperors. Lovely soft corals and seafans with a large starry puffer, mantis shrimps, yellow trunkfish and a segmented worm amongst the nepthia soft coral
Dive 1
Lovely school of ~12 EAGLE RAYS in formation, plus a monster large-sized one on its own at this thila site. Lots of dancing white tip sharks at the current point plus a few lazing in the sand in more sheltered areas. School of oriental sweetlips, mixed snapper school. Tiny devil scorpionfish.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between North Male and Baa atolls
Dive 3
Dusk dive at thila. There was a lot of fish chasing by the larger predator fish (giant trevallies and bluefin jacks) to the fusiliers and mackerels. The emperors were making colour changes and also hunting. This was also a great macro dive: spearing mantis shrimp in its nest, blenny in a vacated tube-worm hole, smallscale scorpionfish, giant, fimbriated and yellow margin morays, Aliogalathea elegans in purple featherstar, also turtles and a stingray
Day 2
Dive 1
Nice current point with fusiliers being chased by giant and bluefin trevallies. We made a circuit of the thila. A marbled stingray was sleeping in the sand, there were longnose hawkfish in black coral trees encrusted with feeding zooanthids. Large scorpionfish, groupers, pair of porcelain crabs being knocked around the anemone by the bossy Clarke's anemonefish, and Schultz pipefish on the reef top.
Dive 2
Beautiful busy thila with spiny lobsters in a big overhang, a freeswimming marbled stingray. The caves were full of lovely black coral bushes with penguin oysters and several long nose hawkfish, one had a BLACK FROGFISH. The Hoplophrys oatesii soft coral crab in some pink nepthia was cute. Lots of peacock mantis shrimps.
Dive 3
We made a tour of the soft coral covered north pinnacles but there was little current to puff the pink and orange soft coral up. A school of bluestripe snapper swirled around. A school of red snappers hung near the channel and small big-eye jacks were out foraging. We found Amboin shrimps near a carpet anemone and there were lots of white spotted groupers around the slope and on the reef top.
Night Dive
Great critter dive in overhangs on thila. We found a sleeping pufferfish high up in some black coral. The walls and ceilings of the caves were covered in yellow cup coral and the colourful soft coral was puffed up. Also: Parrotfish in cocoons, teeny squat lobsters in blue fire coral, slipper lobster, Orzak's and Susan's flatworms, spotted coral crabs and a hermit crab real estate party!
Day 3
Dive 1
Busy current point with giant trevallies and bluefin jacks chasing fusiliers. We made a circuit of thila. There is a beautiful chimney surrounded by blue-stripe snappers. Also saw a juv. Reindeer rock mover wrasse, a Napoleon and jack hunting together. On the reef top were Queen coris and other large wrasse and surgeonfish.
Ocean Crossing
Crossing between Baa and Raa atolls we checked out a few places where we though mantas might be feeding
Dive 2
North spur of reef had schools of goldspot emperors and bluestripe snappers. The wall had lovely black corals and penguin oysters plus schools of humpback snappers in pretty canyons. Some of the overhangs had blue and yellow soft coral. The top was a beautiful anemone city.
Snorkelling
WOW! 40 MANTAS BUSY FEEDING JUST UNDER THE SURFACE AND EVEN MAKING CYCLONIC MOVEMENTS AND LOTS OF SOMERSAULTING. TWO HOURS IN THE WATER!!!
During travel to overnight anchorage we passed a mixed school of SPINNER AND BOTTLENOSE DOLPHINS, PILOT WHALES AND FALSE KILLER WHALES!
Day 4
Dive 1
Really pretty thila with superb hard and soft corals and a myriad of reef fish including schooling bannerfish, two male and one female Napoleons, axelspot hogfish and millions of neon fusiliers swooping around colourful yellow acabaria covered coral blocks and canyons.
Ocean Crossing
Inter-atoll crossing between Raa and Noon atolls
Dive 2
GREY SHARK CLEANING STATION WITH ABOUT 20 GREY SHARKS TODAY, all sizes including some big mommas and some newborns. Also golden and big eye jacks, octopus, cobia, 3 eagle rays, batfish and barracudas. Great site.
Dive 3
Beautiful thila covered in orange, pink and pale green soft corals plus large nepthias in all pastel colours. A school of bluestripe snapper clung close to the reef but there were also longnose and big-eye emperors and the entire area around the thila was buzzing with fish action. On the main reef the coral blocks were covered in orange acabaria with a school of medium sized chevron barracudas checking divers out.
Day 5
Dive 1
Back to the shark point. SHARKTASTIC TODAY with 30+ SHARKS spread across two main groups, swimming along top of reef in stronger current than yesterday so we could get a little closer. Also the three eagle rays were hanging out and there were schools of Forster's and chevron barracudas and big eye jacks.
Dive 2
Fish-magnet deep site making for a short, intense dive. Huge school of large rainbow runners kept swamping the blocks and the divers, also neon fusiliers, batfish and big eye jacks. A large TAWNY NURSE SHARK under a block, a white tip shark mobbed by the rainbow runners (no wonder the grey sharks left when we arrived!) 4 pink whiprays and Madras snappers and solderfish rammed under the main block.
Dive 3
Channel onto ocean reef drift dive woth lots of coral blocks along reef slope. The spur was so heavily covered with humpback snappers it looked like the reef was alive! Around the spur were goldspot emperors, collared butterflyfish, several enormous brown marbled groupers a stingray and 2+1 MANTAS made a fly past.
Day 6
Dive 1
Back to ocean reef site to investigate the fish smothered spur. So many humpback snappers pulsating in the mild swell. Today there were yet more brown marbled groupers in territorial disputes, blue stripe, red and black and white snappers, black saddle groupers, hawksbill turtles, and various butterflyfish up in the shallows.
Dive 2
FUN MANTA SHOW!! We had up to 7 different mantas both being-cleaned amongst the coral blocks on the reef and sailing over our heads feeding in the shallows forming chains of mantas. Also GUITAR SHARK, scorpionfish, and dense schools of blue stripe and humpback snappers. 80 minute dive. Noone wanted to come up.
Dive 3
Lovely green turtle show. Many (~12?) different green turtles resting on ledges and sprawled across the reef being cleaned (funny!). They were also swimming up to breathe being followed by longfin batfish. There were also big dogtooth tunas. Chromodoris sp. nudi in an overhang and a moray cohabiting with a grouper.
Night Dive
Fun night dive on little wreck packed with BIG fish. Also arrowhead crab, Orzaks flatworm, cuttlefish, stingray.
Day 7
Dive 1
Medium drift inside channel with enormous school of red snappers with giant and silver sweetlips hiding from the current behind large tubastrea trees. A large marbled stingray was resting on the corner and was investigated by a freeswimming honeycomb moray. Along the outside reef we saw large lionfish, an eagle ray, a small dark red LEAF FISH, rainbow runners, green and hawksbill turtles, pinkbar gobies and partner shrimps and dogtooth tunas. We heard dolphin squeaks under water and there was a large pod of spinner dolphins on the surface.
Dive 2
Back to the manta cleaning station. 80 minutes of waiting amongst the coral blocks for frequent visists of different mantas. We saw at least 6 DIFFERENT MANTAS and played amongst the schools of fish between manta shows
Dive 3
ANOTHER MANTASTIC 80 MINUTE DIVE! There was a much smaller current and there were different mantas to those we saw earlier. Also, 7 (!) GREY SHARKS, a peacock flounder, honeycomb moray, collared butterflyfish, school of yellow goatfish, tiger cowrie.
Day 8
Dive 1
A small current meant we were able to visit both wrecks on the same dive. The Gaafaru had lovely black corals and sponges with lots of Dussomier's surgeonfish. The Skipjack was a riot of colour. The wheelhouse was full of glassfish, the engine room was full of soldierfish. Off the wreck hung a school of longfin batfish. There were Sgt Majors and moon wrasse nesting on the bow section. We also found Murex and giant frog shells with their snails.
Dive 2
Super-pretty, Magnifica-anemone covered thila with lots of blackfoot and Clarke's anemonefish plus disc anemones and corallimorphs. We also found a tiger cardinal mouth-brooding eggs, Bruuni cleaner shrimps in an overhang behind millions of sweepers, and both large lionfish and red groupers hunting amongst all the baitfish. The reef top was covered in blue-yellow neon damselfish.
Dive 3
There were mantas feeding on the surface but they were a bit too quick for us on scuba, but we saw a couple of fast fly-pasts. We investigated the coral blocks with schooling bannerfish, rock cods, pinkbar and Dracula gobies with pistol shrimps.
Evening Activity
Ashore to tiny uninhabited island for sundowners and a great show of the Milky-Way later on.
Day 9
Dive 1
Dramatic ocean reef with stunning terraced overhangs with pink acabaria and deep water sea fans down to 50m depth. There was a FEMALE STINGRAY WITH 7 MALES IN A COURTSHIP PURSUIT. Also bluefin, striped and black jacks, a large Napoleon, a mangrove whipray, a school of bonito and an eagle ray on the top reef
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Lhaviyani and Kaashidhoo. The crew caught a 10ft marlin. It did not come easily! Thilak the chef got knocked into the sea by the big fish.
Dive 2
Another dramatic ocean reef with 2 giant barracudas out in the blue, schools of neon and yellowback fusliers, pyramid butterflyfish, a school of giant sweetlips on the reef top, murex shell, green turtles and white sea whips with tiny gobies on in the overhangs
Dive 3
7 EAGLE RAYS PLUS WHITE TIP SHARKS on the front of the channel and very busy coral blocks inside with many giant sweetlips. We were very lucky to see so many about, they may be making territorial displays as part of their mating rituals. There were also large numbers of silver and harlequin sweetlips. In one block two NURSE SHARKS were hiding. One had ~6 golden pilot jacks (waiting for action?) with it.
Evening Activity
Movie Night
Day 10
Dive 1
Beautiful overhangs full of bluestripe snappers and large orange/pink seafans. The reeftop was covered in schools of fish plus giant trevallies chasing fusiliers. The large coral blocks had good coral coverage, especially yellow/orange acabaria and yellow sponges.
Dive 2
Pretty blue and yellow soft coral framed overhangs with seawhips and seafans inside. A school of black and white snappers drifted above the overhang as if they they were waiting for something to happen. Along the reef slope were large green tubastrea trees with sponges and featherstars. We saw mantis shrimps, turtles and lovely reef fish.
Dive 3
Rather poor visibility and rather a brisk current. There were eagle rays, grey sharks and white tips at the corner and schools of blue-striped snappers and collared butterflyfish on the outside reef slope. We had a fast drift over the corner. In the channel were circular batfish, two more eagle rays, green and hawksbill turtles, and there were a gang of jacks attacking something in a coral block where a giant moray was lurking
Evening Activity
Review of the trip video!
Day 11
Dive 1
Beautiful blue, yellow and pink soft corals all puffed up and pretty, purple sea fans and nepthias of every pastel shade at this stunning thila site. Giant trevallies marauded through the current point chasing fusiliers and mackerels. Other highlights were a large Napoleon, and large morays lurking in patches of hydroids patrolled by feisty jewelled damselfish. There were lots of large groupers in the ledges and amongst the coral blocks on top.
Snorkelling
Mangrove whipray, white tip shark, hawksbill turtle and many schools of reef fish.
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon visit to Male for sightseeing and a little gift shopping plus a visit to Seagull restaurant for their famous ice-creams
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Departure to Male airport for international departures
Day 13
Sea Spirit SS378 26 Aug 2012 to 7 Sep 2012 Equatorial Far South - Huvadhoo/Foammulah/Gan Addu (12 day)
Guest Transfer
Arrival to Maldives, internal flight from Male to Gan (Addu atoll). Kit set up.
Dive 1
Check Dive! Dramatic, steep ocean reef. Several green and hawksbill turtles, milkfish, longfin and circular batfish, swarms of yellowtail anthias, orangefin emperor, lots of midnights snappers, several single eagle rays and to finish A SQUADRON OF 12 EAGLE RAYS IN FORMATION!
Day 1
Dive 1
Very small current at channel front so had slow drift-in from ocean, an eagle ray, tunas and fusiliers oceanside. A pink LEAF FISH in the channel. We were very lucky to see several mantas in the channel and 3 at the cleaning station.
Dive 2
Reef on outside wall of channel front. There were excellent corals with large coral heads and cortal formations down the reef in steps from 12 to 30-odd metres depth full of reef fish. We had a manta come down the ocean front and sweetlips, squirrelfish and soldierfish in the blocks. A spotted pufferfish, tangs and powderblue surgeonfish, schooling rabbitfish, sailors eyeballs algae.
Dive 3
Out current drift. Inside the channel were large porites coral blocks full of reef fish and large groupers. On the corner were large blocks full of anthias and heavily coralised with some sea fans etc. Lots of bulls eyes swam around in the crevices. We picked up the current on the outside. There was a large school of midnight snappers and lovely coral formations full of chromis and anthias in the shallows.
Crewman Shahubaan rescued three kids in a sinking dinghy by helping them bail it out and standing by until they were safe. No harm done and they motored home safely.
Day 2
Dive 1
WOW! 16 MANTAS THIS MORNING! Most were busy being cleaned but some were just hovering above the block and down the channel. The grey reef shark was back, plus the usual blue-striped snappers and lots of emperors.
Dive 2
Ocean reef drift. There was a lot of swell creating big surge movement on the reef. We saw the submarine-net chain and one manta being cleaned on some deep blocks. The current picked up in the channel and drifted us over millions of Cooper's anthias with yellow-margin, giant and black-cheek morays amongst them. We saw a few spotted boxfish and pufferfish and two baby greys well inside the channel.
Dive 3
Tour of the British Loyalty wreck through the bomb-hole, under and around the prop. Back to the engine soom and then some time spent shallow looking for the reef top pipefish (Sally found a pregnant one and P. ianthina segmented worms. The Pontonides whip coral shrimp was still there. Matt scared a very large giant trevally off its resting place.
Night Dive
Wreck night dive. There were lots of different shrimps out and about, including hingebeak and banded boxer shrimps. Under table corals on the hull were sleeping parrotfish and rabbitfish, some with Bruuni shrimp cleaning them whilst they slept. The polyps on the many white whip corals and sinoise corals were open, feeding.
Day 3
Dive 1
There were up to EIGHT DIFFERENT MANTAS present at any one time today. Most were busy being cleaned and we swooping in close over the divers heads to access to best areas of cleaner fish. A red grouper and a red snapper also seemed to be cleaning the mantas, they may have been after the small goldens jacks swimming near the heads of the mantas. The grey shark was in residence throughout the dive and there were lots of surgeonfish there today too.
Dive 2
Beautiful gently sloping ocean reef with deep area of coralisation forming "thilas" at around 25m. There was a school of bluefin jacks in the depths, plus whitetip sharks and a very large Napoleon wrasse. In the coral garden were many large groupers holding court. Up in a shallow sand pool were three feathertail rays who were probabaly trying to mate until we disturbed them. They shot off like fireworks!
Dive 3
Second daytime visit to British Loyalty wreck to visit the bow section. Unfortunately the visibility had worsened, even since yesterday and it was quite mily below 24m depth so most divers stayed quite shallow. There were three eagle rays and a big barracuda! We found lots of glassfish and groupers in the bow section. the friendly batfish entertained us on our ascent.
Evening Activity
Sundowners on top deck again. Cousteau film evening: World Without Sun
Day 4
Dive 1
The mantas were just starting to arrive as we got to the cleaning station today. By the end we had 7 present with Abigail, the large matriachal female keeping watch over the 6 much smaller juveniles present. They were quite playful towards the end but the current was a bit stronger for the divers. This was our last dive at this site this year so we said good bye to our flappy friends.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Addu and Huvadhoo atolls. We crossed the Equator as we were having lunch
Dive 2
The current point was at the southern point of the thila. There were thousands of fusiliers with dogtooth tunasswooping through them. We also saw Napoleons, oceanic triggerfish, a white tip shark, a schools of blue-stripe snappers and many black & white and red snappers around the reef. Along the wall there were lovely seafans and good hard and soft corals. We found a large nurse shark sleeping amongst some coral blocks at the northern end.
Evening Activity
Presentation on manta ecology after dinner
Day 5
Dive 1
Beautiful coral reef. There were schools of fusiliers an mackerel scads at the current point being chased by dogtooth tunas.The coral blocks were full of reef fish. A small school of bluefin jacks were hunting glassfish amongst the blocks. We saw juvenile and adult bi-colour parrotfish, Maldives sponge snails, scorpionfish and a Phidiana nudi.
Dive 2
Outflow current in main channel making diving conditions dangerous at intended site so dived the outside island wall. The slope was dramatic with a steep dropoff and shallow overhangs with pink and orange acabaria soft coral. We found a green leaf fish, a cometfish, many nice reef fish in schools along the slope, spotfin squirrelfish, regal angelfish, pyramid and chevron butterflyfish, a white mouthed moray, fire gobies and a hawksbill turtle cleaning station.
Dive 3
The current point was very busy with tunas, milkfish, bluefin and golden jacks chasing schools of fish. There were some super-cute juvenile batfish amongst the school of older longfin batfish. A small hawksbill turtle hid vertically in a table coral. A shorthead shrimp in a carpet anemone and a mutant yellow bristletooth tang. We found a lovely tawny nurse shark in a shallow coral block.
Evening Activity
Movie night.
Day 6
Dive 1
SHARKTASTIC!! Lots of grey sharks on the front of the channel in all sizes. Some were being mobbed by mackerels rubbing themselves against the sharks. An enormous school of big-eye jacks rose from the depths. There were also white tip sharks, tunas, a glorious flatworm and eagle rays at both end sof the channel.
Dive 2
Large shallow topped reef with several hawksbill and green turtles. There were large blocks at the bottom of the reef slope some of which had glassfish and groupers. There were several schools of blue-stripe snappers, gold-spot emperors and yellow goatfish on the reef slope. We found a single (fortunately) crown-of-thorns sea star, an eagle ray and slender groupers
Dive 3
A second amazing shark dive. Lots and lots if grey sharks including around 20 juveniles in a single group. Also black jacks buzzing divers, barracudas and a marbled stingray just perched on a coral block. The current was stronger so we had a faster drift in.
Night Dive
Dusk dive at thila site. The bluefin jacks and tunas were still chasing fusiliers as the sun went down. Featherstars started to unfurl and turtles were finding overhangs to spend the night. Tiny coral crabs in table corals, anemone fish changed their colours and hid inside the anemones and lots of tiny blackside hawkfish hid amongst the fingers of pavona corals. Also found a scorpionfish.
Day 7
Dive 1
BACK TO SHARK CHANNEL AND ANOTHER SHARKY SHOW! Nice current so many grey sharks on the channel front. We coralled them together from the south corner. When we first jumped in the school of jacks engulfed us as we swam to the reef. There were also pyramid and red-tailed butterflyfish, oriental, silver and harlequin sweetlips and a black ribbon eel.
Dive 2
Gentle out-current drift along south side of channel. There were lovely corals and sea fans along the wall with lots of reef fish, and of note, large queen coris. Around the plateau were several large green turtles and an eagle ray plus a white leaf fish on a table coral. On the outside were goldspot emperors and huge staghorn formations full of chromis
There were dolphins in the channel after the dive so we drove past them a few times and they gave us a jumping show
Dive 3
A very fast in-current drift this afternoon! We hooked in at the front but the current was even a bit much for the grey sharks and white tips who didn't hand around for very long. After 20 minutes of reg-rattling we had a fast drift (3-4 knots) over the coral blocks full of reef fish. We passed a large marbled stingray, an electric torpedo ray, yellow and spotted boxfish. Sally and Steve made an "aerial display" in the current.
We anchored inside harbour overnight as some bad weather passed through.
Day 8
Dive 1
Today the starts of the show were the EAGLE RAYS on the outside of the channel. They flew past us individually, and in squadrons of up to 8 rays. We also saw several green turtles, squaretail, brown marbled and black saddled coral groupers, raccoon, Meyers, Bennetts, chevron etc. butterflyfish. A lysmata shrimp cleaning. The reef top was covered in flame anthias, also sweetlips and emperors.
Dive 2
A brisk out-current drift in another beautiful coral covered channel. Enough current to plump up the orange soft corals and pin the fish to the reef! Enormous coral blocks were covered in blue-striped snappers weaving through the orange seafans. We saw a couple of marbled stringrays and a nurse shark in an overhang outside. An ENORMOUS school of bonito tuna swam past, pursued by two large dogtooth tunas. Two black cheek morays made an attack on a photographer diver.
Dive 3
We found SIX nurse sharks in the big block in the channel! There were large schools of bluestripe snappers on the corner and red and midnight snappers in the middle of the channel. There were lots of green turtles in the channel.
Day 9
Dive 1
Another visit to nurse shark channel and they were all still there in the same block! The current reversed during the dive so we jacks Forsters barracudas, tunas and snappers on the channel front to start with and then as we drifted back we had them again but shallow. There were also some rainbow runners. The shallow channel top is beautiful!
Dive 2
NEW SITE! A small thila in one of the northern channels. Current was being siphoned over the thila so we jumped in and descended fast and then hooked in on the front. There were hundreds of big eye jacks whick circled the reef several times during the dive. A large overhang created and eddy on the southside which kept sucking us back to the overhang so we had a bit of fun by throwing ourselves into the current on the top of the thila and then being sucked back to the overhang on the south side. The corals on the top were really beautiful. It was a really fun dive.
Dive 3
House reef south side.Nice patch reef down slope on S/SW side of beautiful island. There were big coral blocks in the sand at 25m depth with glassfish, juvenile cardinals and groupers. Also squaretail groupers, a yellow papillae flatworm, blacktail snappers, longnose filefish, and a lovely reef top.
Evening Activity
Ashore for walk around Bird island. There were many lesser frigate birds circling the thermals above the island. Jackie, Rosie and Man-Sze swam back. Everyone back in time for sundowners on top deck.
Day 10
Dive 1
Ocean outside reef with dramatic slope to around 35m with coral and sand patches and a vertical drop off beyond. The blocks were full of snappers (red, midnight and black & white). A huge barracuda came to check us out as we descended. There were lovely table corals and reef fish in the shallows.
A pod of spinner dolphins gave us an escort back to Sea Spirit at anchorage.
Dive 2
The thila current point in the south was a mass of sleek and elongate surgeonfish plus fusiliers and jacks. A couple of large Napoleons hung out. We had a gentle drift along the east side past the seafans and then came back shallow across the top past the orange and yellow acabaria covered coral blocks. We found some Amboin shrimps in an adhesive anemone and a Chromodoris tritos nudibranch. A small hawksbill turtle was a little over-friendly with Man-Sze.
Dive 3
Channel dive with small in-current when we started. There were lovely corals on the outside and inside the corner, smothered in fusiliers. A white tip slept in the channel and Bob and Sue saw a zebra shark too. The current reversed so we came back along the reef top. There were several schools of captain parrotfish and a few juvenile Napoleons
Evening Activity
Sundowners on top deck overlooking a pretty resort island.
Day 11
Pre-dive fashion show of Rosie and Jackie's collection of brightly coloured lycra suits.
Dive 1
Barracudaville! ENORMOUS school of Forsters barracudas on the front of the channel, chevron barracudas on the corners and around 10 great barracudas on the outside reef. We also saw white tip sharks, a mangrove whipray, and lots of reef fish posing on table corals to be cleaned. Very pretty!
Dive 2
Lovely final dive. It was blue and sunny with schools of crescent big-eyes, bannerfish, yellow goatfish, snappers, mackel scads, elongate surgeonfish and millions of yellowback fusiliers. We found a spearing mantis shrimp, a yellow-red leaf-fish and lots of cleaner shrimps. Graham completed his Nav dive. The reef top was really pretty and noone really wanted to come up!
Afternoon at leisure. Some guests went swimming or snorkelling at a giri. We anchored near Havodhaa island overnight. Jackie entertained us with a her mindreading tricks
Day 12
Daytime Excursion
Morning at leisure. We moored near the sandbank at Kudhugallage. Guests swam to the island or went by dinghy, everyone who went over ended up in the sea including the crew.
Guest Transfer
Guests to airport for internal flight back to Male after lunch and onward international flights
Day 13
 
Guest Transfer
Arrival to Maldives, internal flight from Male to Gan (Addu atoll). Kit set up.
Dive 1
Check Dive! Dramatic, steep ocean reef. Several green and hawksbill turtles, milkfish, longfin and circular batfish, swarms of yellowtail anthias, orangefin emperor, lots of midnights snappers, several single eagle rays and to finish A SQUADRON OF 12 EAGLE RAYS IN FORMATION!
Day 1
Dive 1
Very small current at channel front so had slow drift-in from ocean, an eagle ray, tunas and fusiliers oceanside. A pink LEAF FISH in the channel. We were very lucky to see several mantas in the channel and 3 at the cleaning station.
Dive 2
Reef on outside wall of channel front. There were excellent corals with large coral heads and cortal formations down the reef in steps from 12 to 30-odd metres depth full of reef fish. We had a manta come down the ocean front and sweetlips, squirrelfish and soldierfish in the blocks. A spotted pufferfish, tangs and powderblue surgeonfish, schooling rabbitfish, sailors eyeballs algae.
Dive 3
Out current drift. Inside the channel were large porites coral blocks full of reef fish and large groupers. On the corner were large blocks full of anthias and heavily coralised with some sea fans etc. Lots of bulls eyes swam around in the crevices. We picked up the current on the outside. There was a large school of midnight snappers and lovely coral formations full of chromis and anthias in the shallows.
Crewman Shahubaan rescued three kids in a sinking dinghy by helping them bail it out and standing by until they were safe. No harm done and they motored home safely.
Day 2
Dive 1
WOW! 16 MANTAS THIS MORNING! Most were busy being cleaned but some were just hovering above the block and down the channel. The grey reef shark was back, plus the usual blue-striped snappers and lots of emperors.
Dive 2
Ocean reef drift. There was a lot of swell creating big surge movement on the reef. We saw the submarine-net chain and one manta being cleaned on some deep blocks. The current picked up in the channel and drifted us over millions of Cooper's anthias with yellow-margin, giant and black-cheek morays amongst them. We saw a few spotted boxfish and pufferfish and two baby greys well inside the channel.
Dive 3
Tour of the British Loyalty wreck through the bomb-hole, under and around the prop. Back to the engine soom and then some time spent shallow looking for the reef top pipefish (Sally found a pregnant one and P. ianthina segmented worms. The Pontonides whip coral shrimp was still there. Matt scared a very large giant trevally off its resting place.
Night Dive
Wreck night dive. There were lots of different shrimps out and about, including hingebeak and banded boxer shrimps. Under table corals on the hull were sleeping parrotfish and rabbitfish, some with Bruuni shrimp cleaning them whilst they slept. The polyps on the many white whip corals and sinoise corals were open, feeding.
Day 3
Dive 1
There were up to EIGHT DIFFERENT MANTAS present at any one time today. Most were busy being cleaned and we swooping in close over the divers heads to access to best areas of cleaner fish. A red grouper and a red snapper also seemed to be cleaning the mantas, they may have been after the small goldens jacks swimming near the heads of the mantas. The grey shark was in residence throughout the dive and there were lots of surgeonfish there today too.
Dive 2
Beautiful gently sloping ocean reef with deep area of coralisation forming "thilas" at around 25m. There was a school of bluefin jacks in the depths, plus whitetip sharks and a very large Napoleon wrasse. In the coral garden were many large groupers holding court. Up in a shallow sand pool were three feathertail rays who were probabaly trying to mate until we disturbed them. They shot off like fireworks!
Dive 3
Second daytime visit to British Loyalty wreck to visit the bow section. Unfortunately the visibility had worsened, even since yesterday and it was quite mily below 24m depth so most divers stayed quite shallow. There were three eagle rays and a big barracuda! We found lots of glassfish and groupers in the bow section. the friendly batfish entertained us on our ascent.
Evening Activity
Sundowners on top deck again. Cousteau film evening: World Without Sun
Day 4
Dive 1
The mantas were just starting to arrive as we got to the cleaning station today. By the end we had 7 present with Abigail, the large matriachal female keeping watch over the 6 much smaller juveniles present. They were quite playful towards the end but the current was a bit stronger for the divers. This was our last dive at this site this year so we said good bye to our flappy friends.
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Addu and Huvadhoo atolls. We crossed the Equator as we were having lunch
Dive 2
The current point was at the southern point of the thila. There were thousands of fusiliers with dogtooth tunasswooping through them. We also saw Napoleons, oceanic triggerfish, a white tip shark, a schools of blue-stripe snappers and many black & white and red snappers around the reef. Along the wall there were lovely seafans and good hard and soft corals. We found a large nurse shark sleeping amongst some coral blocks at the northern end.
Evening Activity
Presentation on manta ecology after dinner
Day 5
Dive 1
Beautiful coral reef. There were schools of fusiliers an mackerel scads at the current point being chased by dogtooth tunas.The coral blocks were full of reef fish. A small school of bluefin jacks were hunting glassfish amongst the blocks. We saw juvenile and adult bi-colour parrotfish, Maldives sponge snails, scorpionfish and a Phidiana nudi.
Dive 2
Outflow current in main channel making diving conditions dangerous at intended site so dived the outside island wall. The slope was dramatic with a steep dropoff and shallow overhangs with pink and orange acabaria soft coral. We found a green leaf fish, a cometfish, many nice reef fish in schools along the slope, spotfin squirrelfish, regal angelfish, pyramid and chevron butterflyfish, a white mouthed moray, fire gobies and a hawksbill turtle cleaning station.
Dive 3
The current point was very busy with tunas, milkfish, bluefin and golden jacks chasing schools of fish. There were some super-cute juvenile batfish amongst the school of older longfin batfish. A small hawksbill turtle hid vertically in a table coral. A shorthead shrimp in a carpet anemone and a mutant yellow bristletooth tang. We found a lovely tawny nurse shark in a shallow coral block.
Evening Activity
Movie night.
Day 6
Dive 1
SHARKTASTIC!! Lots of grey sharks on the front of the channel in all sizes. Some were being mobbed by mackerels rubbing themselves against the sharks. An enormous school of big-eye jacks rose from the depths. There were also white tip sharks, tunas, a glorious flatworm and eagle rays at both end sof the channel.
Dive 2
Large shallow topped reef with several hawksbill and green turtles. There were large blocks at the bottom of the reef slope some of which had glassfish and groupers. There were several schools of blue-stripe snappers, gold-spot emperors and yellow goatfish on the reef slope. We found a single (fortunately) crown-of-thorns sea star, an eagle ray and slender groupers
Dive 3
A second amazing shark dive. Lots and lots if grey sharks including around 20 juveniles in a single group. Also black jacks buzzing divers, barracudas and a marbled stingray just perched on a coral block. The current was stronger so we had a faster drift in.
Night Dive
Dusk dive at thila site. The bluefin jacks and tunas were still chasing fusiliers as the sun went down. Featherstars started to unfurl and turtles were finding overhangs to spend the night. Tiny coral crabs in table corals, anemone fish changed their colours and hid inside the anemones and lots of tiny blackside hawkfish hid amongst the fingers of pavona corals. Also found a scorpionfish.
Day 7
Dive 1
BACK TO SHARK CHANNEL AND ANOTHER SHARKY SHOW! Nice current so many grey sharks on the channel front. We coralled them together from the south corner. When we first jumped in the school of jacks engulfed us as we swam to the reef. There were also pyramid and red-tailed butterflyfish, oriental, silver and harlequin sweetlips and a black ribbon eel.
Dive 2
Gentle out-current drift along south side of channel. There were lovely corals and sea fans along the wall with lots of reef fish, and of note, large queen coris. Around the plateau were several large green turtles and an eagle ray plus a white leaf fish on a table coral. On the outside were goldspot emperors and huge staghorn formations full of chromis
There were dolphins in the channel after the dive so we drove past them a few times and they gave us a jumping show
Dive 3
A very fast in-current drift this afternoon! We hooked in at the front but the current was even a bit much for the grey sharks and white tips who didn't hand around for very long. After 20 minutes of reg-rattling we had a fast drift (3-4 knots) over the coral blocks full of reef fish. We passed a large marbled stingray, an electric torpedo ray, yellow and spotted boxfish. Sally and Steve made an "aerial display" in the current.
We anchored inside harbour overnight as some bad weather passed through.
Day 8
Dive 1
Today the starts of the show were the EAGLE RAYS on the outside of the channel. They flew past us individually, and in squadrons of up to 8 rays. We also saw several green turtles, squaretail, brown marbled and black saddled coral groupers, raccoon, Meyers, Bennetts, chevron etc. butterflyfish. A lysmata shrimp cleaning. The reef top was covered in flame anthias, also sweetlips and emperors.
Dive 2
A brisk out-current drift in another beautiful coral covered channel. Enough current to plump up the orange soft corals and pin the fish to the reef! Enormous coral blocks were covered in blue-striped snappers weaving through the orange seafans. We saw a couple of marbled stringrays and a nurse shark in an overhang outside. An ENORMOUS school of bonito tuna swam past, pursued by two large dogtooth tunas. Two black cheek morays made an attack on a photographer diver.
Dive 3
We found SIX nurse sharks in the big block in the channel! There were large schools of bluestripe snappers on the corner and red and midnight snappers in the middle of the channel. There were lots of green turtles in the channel.
Day 9
Dive 1
Another visit to nurse shark channel and they were all still there in the same block! The current reversed during the dive so we jacks Forsters barracudas, tunas and snappers on the channel front to start with and then as we drifted back we had them again but shallow. There were also some rainbow runners. The shallow channel top is beautiful!
Dive 2
NEW SITE! A small thila in one of the northern channels. Current was being siphoned over the thila so we jumped in and descended fast and then hooked in on the front. There were hundreds of big eye jacks whick circled the reef several times during the dive. A large overhang created and eddy on the southside which kept sucking us back to the overhang so we had a bit of fun by throwing ourselves into the current on the top of the thila and then being sucked back to the overhang on the south side. The corals on the top were really beautiful. It was a really fun dive.
Dive 3
House reef south side.Nice patch reef down slope on S/SW side of beautiful island. There were big coral blocks in the sand at 25m depth with glassfish, juvenile cardinals and groupers. Also squaretail groupers, a yellow papillae flatworm, blacktail snappers, longnose filefish, and a lovely reef top.
Evening Activity
Ashore for walk around Bird island. There were many lesser frigate birds circling the thermals above the island. Jackie, Rosie and Man-Sze swam back. Everyone back in time for sundowners on top deck.
Day 10
Dive 1
Ocean outside reef with dramatic slope to around 35m with coral and sand patches and a vertical drop off beyond. The blocks were full of snappers (red, midnight and black & white). A huge barracuda came to check us out as we descended. There were lovely table corals and reef fish in the shallows.
A pod of spinner dolphins gave us an escort back to Sea Spirit at anchorage.
Dive 2
The thila current point in the south was a mass of sleek and elongate surgeonfish plus fusiliers and jacks. A couple of large Napoleons hung out. We had a gentle drift along the east side past the seafans and then came back shallow across the top past the orange and yellow acabaria covered coral blocks. We found some Amboin shrimps in an adhesive anemone and a Chromodoris tritos nudibranch. A small hawksbill turtle was a little over-friendly with Man-Sze.
Dive 3
Channel dive with small in-current when we started. There were lovely corals on the outside and inside the corner, smothered in fusiliers. A white tip slept in the channel and Bob and Sue saw a zebra shark too. The current reversed so we came back along the reef top. There were several schools of captain parrotfish and a few juvenile Napoleons
Evening Activity
Sundowners on top deck overlooking a pretty resort island.
Day 11
Pre-dive fashion show of Rosie and Jackie's collection of brightly coloured lycra suits.
Dive 1
Barracudaville! ENORMOUS school of Forsters barracudas on the front of the channel, chevron barracudas on the corners and around 10 great barracudas on the outside reef. We also saw white tip sharks, a mangrove whipray, and lots of reef fish posing on table corals to be cleaned. Very pretty!
Dive 2
Lovely final dive. It was blue and sunny with schools of crescent big-eyes, bannerfish, yellow goatfish, snappers, mackel scads, elongate surgeonfish and millions of yellowback fusiliers. We found a spearing mantis shrimp, a yellow-red leaf-fish and lots of cleaner shrimps. Graham completed his Nav dive. The reef top was really pretty and noone really wanted to come up!
Afternoon at leisure. Some guests went swimming or snorkelling at a giri. We anchored near Havodhaa island overnight. Jackie entertained us with a her mindreading tricks
Day 12
Daytime Excursion
Morning at leisure. We moored near the sandbank at Kudhugallage. Guests swam to the island or went by dinghy, everyone who went over ended up in the sea including the crew.
Guest Transfer
Guests to airport for internal flight back to Male after lunch and onward international flights
Day 13
Sea Spirit SS377 12 Aug 2012 to 24 Aug 2012 Equatorial Far South - Huvadhoo/Foammulah/Gan Addu (12 day)
Arrival to Maldives, internal flight from Male to Thinadhoo (Huvadhoo). Kit set up. A quick dunk in the lagoon to check weighting
Day 1
Dive 1
Easy thila for a check dive. Over edge, a little hawksbill turtle was pretending to be a coral block. We found a spearing mantis shrimp and swam through schools of crescent big-eyes, Kasmira snappers, yellow goatfish and gold spot emperors. A school of mackerel scad off the reef were being chased by big jobfish and tuna. Whip corals on drop off had several gobies each. Great dive to start the trip!
Dive 2
In current in channel and we had GREY and WHITE TIP SHARKS on the channel front, NURSE SHARKS in coral blocks and a BLACK-TIP REEF SHARK up in the shallows. The coral blocks were also full of jacks, black & white snappers, silver & oriental sweetlips, popmanos, camouflage groupers, coral crabs in the table corals and another Halgerda formosa
Dive 3
ZEBRA SHARK, green turtles, beautiful orange seafans and soft corals, harlequin sweetlips, giant morays, juv. Bi-colour parrottfish, a big blue Napoleon and a changeling black saddle coral grouper. Wow great dive!
What a day! FIVE different species of sharks!
Day 2
Dive 1
Back to the sharky channel for some GREY SHARK action on the front amongst the large school of big eye jacks being scatterred by the marauding dogtooth tunas. We then had a fun drift down the channel seeing several green turtles, a large marbled stingray, squirrelfish, emperors and snappers in a very busy reef and an ending with an eagle ray in the shallows.
100's Dolphins lazily cruised past the dhoni after the dive. We jumped in and tried to snorkel with them but they were too quick for us.
Dive 2
A small-plus current so a nice drift. There was a large school of Forsters barracudas on the channel front with a couple of large barracudas, also dogtooth tunas, black & white snappers, big eye jacks, marbled stingray FOUR NURSE SHARKS in the big block (with 3 together peering out - funny!), hawksbill and green turtles, tile fish, a lovely Phyllidia, circular batfish, sweetlips etc.
Dive 3
Super-pretty coral garden site. Leaf fish in coral block with sweepers and red groupers and rock cods. Squillions of orange and threadfin anthias, a juv. Common lionfish, all sizes of chromis. The top reef had exceptional new coral growth.
Guy swam to and back from Bird island and ran around it three times! The rest of us lazily made one lap and chased the sand crabs down into their holes.
Night Dive
Night dive to house reef. Saw a white tip shark foraging, a huge black saddled coral grouper being cleaned by shrimps whilst it dozed, pair of red Saron shrimps, Maldives sponge snails (lots!?), featherstars, coral crabs, teeny squat lobster.
Day 3
Dive 1
Medium in-current at channel site. Huge schools of barracudas, black & white and red snappers, big eye jacks, humpback and blue-stripe snappers. A large MANGROVE WHIPRAY shot off over the edge. Also grey sharks and white tip sharks, tunas and a gret barracuda. In the channel we found three nurse sharks, many green turtles hanging out in the middle of the channel, 100' longfin batfish and some pompano.
Dive 2
Dramatic ocean reef front of channel dropping off in big steps. Some grey and white tip sharks, large rainbow runners, eagle rays and a green turtle
Dive 3
Pristine coral reef site with coral slope down to 30+m on south and a coiral garden inside the wall. We found an octopus, teeny mantis shrimp, longnose hawkfish, millions of fuslilers, rainbow runners, bluefin jacks, black jacks etc.
Large (2.5m) Mobula tarapacana behind boat between 9 and 10pm
Day 4
Dive 1
Lots of grey sharks on channel front. One large female shark bore mating scars which looked vicious. There was an enormpous school of jacks towards the north corner where we also saw large grey sharks on the pleateau at cleaning stations and lots (maybe 30-40) smaller grey sharks off the reef. We had a lovely drift along the shallow north side of the channels. Several white tip sharks and lots and lots of green turtles. Now we know where they have been hiding out! Also harlequin and silver sweetlips and longnose parrotfish.
Dive 2
Shallow thila with vast expanses of staghorn corals and leather corals. We saw a trumpet fish shadowing a slender grouper, a yellow boxfish, lizardfish posing in the leather corals. In the shallows were multicoloured magnifica anemones with families of blackfoot clownfish.
Dive 3
This was meant to be a drift but we caught opposing currents on the channel corner and were only able to visit the coral blocks on the corner and outside.. The huge porites blocks were full of fish and large schools of surgeonfish hung off the reef. Also rainbow runners, feisty black cheek morays and hawksbill turtles.
Day 5
Dive 1
Shark channel! Lots of grey sharks on front plus a school of great barracudas. The pesky black jacks came and swam around us. Bluefin jacks were out hunting and the large school of big eye jacks just sat in the channel waiting for something to happen. We aslo saw white tip sharks and eagle rays.
Dive 2
Small out current in channel but enough ocean pressure to hold fish on front. There were several white tios sleeping in the sandpool and the school of jacks still hung lazily in the middle of the channel. We crossed towards the south and found two black ribbon eels. There were many red and black & white snappers and silver sweetlips hanging out at the south. A school of barracudas checked us out.
Daytime Excursion
Guest visited island for explore whilst the rest of the group made pm dive
Dive 3
Before the dive we saw a pod of spinner dolphins surfuing on waves near the dive site. It was rather calmer below the surface and we had a lovely easy thila dive. Highlights included an unusual yellow/black goldring bristletooth changeling, a shool of very photogenic juvenile longfin batfish, a hawksbill turtle, bluefin javks terrorising the fuiliers, harlequin filefish, and many anemonefish in the huge number of magnificent anemones. There was also a mutant Clarke's anemonefish with a blackface and orange chin!
Night Dive
Big storm blew up so night dive postponed
Day 6
Dive 1
Fast ocean current across front of channel but not a typical in-current so we jumped near the north corner and drifted south again. There were grey and white tip sharks and the usual huge school of big eye jacks on the channel front plus a group of three eagle rays which swooped over out heads. At the south corner we stayed outside and continued our drift past a dramatic cliff face with lots of shallow inlets and overhangs full of snappers, jacks, Napoleons, turtles etc. Very exciting.
Dive 2
Jumped inside channel for drift along south of channel. There were beautiful coral blocks and seafans on both side of sand river and lots of jacks and groupers. Inside was a lovely coral garden. We found a tiny juvenile oriental sweetlips, an Amboin shrimp and lots of chromis in the Acropora.
Dive 3
Surprise in-current at channel so we hooked in and watched the show of grey sharks, jacks and dogtooth tunas and the had a moderate speed drift over the coral blocks on the south side. There were lots of sweetlips, angelfish and emperors and a very large brownmarbled grouper and several large green turtles.
Day 7
Dive 1
5x EAGLE RAYS on channel front, soarong over our heads, also grey sharks on the front of the channel and white tip sharks behind us on the plateau. There were lots of dogtooth tunas hundting the schools of fusiliers. We then had a brisk drift down the channel where the coral blocks were full of groupers, snappers and squirrelfish. The green turtles shot off like fireworks but made for nice photos.
Dive 2
Small out-current on this beautiful ocean corner. The huge coral blocks were full of groupers and snappers. We followed the ocean current along the channel front and saw rainbow runners off the reef, a super-friendly hawksbill turtle posed for photos but an over-friendly empress angelfish kept on getting in the way!
Moored next to the beautiful island of Lonudhoo
Dive 3
Easy thila with no current today so we could leisurely meander through the large pavona coral blocks at the north end and photograph the fish. The blocks were covered with yellow/purple Evans anthias. There were several pairs of Maldives sponge snails so it must be mating season. At cleaning stations we saw slender groupers and elongate surgeonfish. The reef top had many beautiful magnificas.
Evening Activity
Moored in pretty lagoon in south of Huvadhoo atoll. There was an amazing sunset and we had sundowners on the top deck.
Day 8
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Huvadhoo and Addu atolls. We made a 6am start.
Dive 1
Beautiful ocean reef with large coral blocks populated by peacock rock cods whilst enormous chromis colonies hung above the staghorns and other acroporas. There were clown triggerfish, powder blue surgeonfish and a large scool of rabbitfish. Tuftee the small white manta came down the reef to say hello!
Dive 2
This was the stern section tour of the British Loyalty wreck, starting at the bomb hole, going down and through the propeller and into the engine room before coming shallower. All the sinoise aand whip coral polyps were open and feeding. The blacktail snapper and large mappa puffer were in the engine room as usual. We found the "Burberry print" reef top pipefish on the top.
Night Dive
Back to the wreck a few hours later where we spent time in the "overhangs" created by the companionways and checking out the table corals on top. We found a large spiny lobster, a scorpionfish, an undulate moray, sleeping yellow rabbitfish and groupers. A bi-colour parrotfish was being cleaned by Bruuni shrimps whilst it slept.
Day 9
Dive 1
The stars of the show today were the bumphead parrotfish. A school of about 20 mid-sized ones paraded past several times and then later in the dive 6 large ones came past! This is a beautiful ocean reef site. A huge school of bluefin jacks hung over the thilas and the coral on the reef slope is amazing. We also saw brown marbled groupers, pompano and unusual fire-coral formations.
Dive 2
HURRAH! THREE MANTAS ST THE CLEANING STATION even though there was quite a strong current, so lots of hovering today. We also had the little grey shark. There were lots of yellow margin triggerfish in the channel but they were looking less dangerous than of late.
Dive 3
We jumped on this ocean reef site to see the submarine net chain. There was quite a strong in current and we drifted ALL the way into the channel. We saw giant and blackcheek morays hiding amongst the flame anthias. There were several blue trunkfish too. We saw a beautiful grey patterned manta deep in the channel and several more hovering in the current.
Day 10
Dive 1
Deep diver training dive and unfortunately the visibilty off the reef was a bit low to hang in the blue as planned. The reef top was very busy. There was large eagle ray, turtles and lots of small Napoleons (always nice to see the next generation).
Dive 2
WAYEEE! FIVE MANTAS VERY FRIENDLY for whole dive!!!!! They were hanging in our bubbles and swimming very close. The red grouper was cleaning the mantas again. LOVELY!
Dive 3
MORE MANTAS!! Manta ballet this time with graceful swooping and hovering and more cleaning going on this time around. There were about 6 mantas present. We also saw the grey shark, silver and harlequin sweetlips and a blue barred parrotfish with a pesky remora
Dive 4
Shallow dive on top of giri where cut-up submarine net has created an artificial reef which attracts lots of reef fish. There was a huge school of powder blue surgeonfish, pencilled surgeonfish, yellow goatfish, table corals with blue-tinted indian damselfish, a small turtle and mang Sgt Majors. A fun evening dive!
Day 11
Dive 1
Tour of bow section of British Loyalty wreck. There were painted sweetlips and circular batfish under the bow and a mappa puffer in a sandy nest. We found a scorpionfish and both Pteraeolidia and Phydiana nudis. Darrel found a Pontonides shrimp on a whip coral
Dive 2
LAST DIVE AND MORE MANTAS!! Lucky us. We had 6 beautiful mantas including regulars Adele and Tuftee. It was a lovely way to finish
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon at leisure. We had a tour of the small islets to the north-west tip of the atoll and looked at the mangrove and seagrass habitat there. We sa herons and turtles and then enjoyed the sunset back onboard Sea Spirit.
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Guests departed via Gan airport for their domestic flight back to Male.
Day 13
 
Arrival to Maldives, internal flight from Male to Thinadhoo (Huvadhoo). Kit set up. A quick dunk in the lagoon to check weighting
Day 1
Dive 1
Easy thila for a check dive. Over edge, a little hawksbill turtle was pretending to be a coral block. We found a spearing mantis shrimp and swam through schools of crescent big-eyes, Kasmira snappers, yellow goatfish and gold spot emperors. A school of mackerel scad off the reef were being chased by big jobfish and tuna. Whip corals on drop off had several gobies each. Great dive to start the trip!
Dive 2
In current in channel and we had GREY and WHITE TIP SHARKS on the channel front, NURSE SHARKS in coral blocks and a BLACK-TIP REEF SHARK up in the shallows. The coral blocks were also full of jacks, black & white snappers, silver & oriental sweetlips, popmanos, camouflage groupers, coral crabs in the table corals and another Halgerda formosa
Dive 3
ZEBRA SHARK, green turtles, beautiful orange seafans and soft corals, harlequin sweetlips, giant morays, juv. Bi-colour parrottfish, a big blue Napoleon and a changeling black saddle coral grouper. Wow great dive!
What a day! FIVE different species of sharks!
Day 2
Dive 1
Back to the sharky channel for some GREY SHARK action on the front amongst the large school of big eye jacks being scatterred by the marauding dogtooth tunas. We then had a fun drift down the channel seeing several green turtles, a large marbled stingray, squirrelfish, emperors and snappers in a very busy reef and an ending with an eagle ray in the shallows.
100's Dolphins lazily cruised past the dhoni after the dive. We jumped in and tried to snorkel with them but they were too quick for us.
Dive 2
A small-plus current so a nice drift. There was a large school of Forsters barracudas on the channel front with a couple of large barracudas, also dogtooth tunas, black & white snappers, big eye jacks, marbled stingray FOUR NURSE SHARKS in the big block (with 3 together peering out - funny!), hawksbill and green turtles, tile fish, a lovely Phyllidia, circular batfish, sweetlips etc.
Dive 3
Super-pretty coral garden site. Leaf fish in coral block with sweepers and red groupers and rock cods. Squillions of orange and threadfin anthias, a juv. Common lionfish, all sizes of chromis. The top reef had exceptional new coral growth.
Guy swam to and back from Bird island and ran around it three times! The rest of us lazily made one lap and chased the sand crabs down into their holes.
Night Dive
Night dive to house reef. Saw a white tip shark foraging, a huge black saddled coral grouper being cleaned by shrimps whilst it dozed, pair of red Saron shrimps, Maldives sponge snails (lots!?), featherstars, coral crabs, teeny squat lobster.
Day 3
Dive 1
Medium in-current at channel site. Huge schools of barracudas, black & white and red snappers, big eye jacks, humpback and blue-stripe snappers. A large MANGROVE WHIPRAY shot off over the edge. Also grey sharks and white tip sharks, tunas and a gret barracuda. In the channel we found three nurse sharks, many green turtles hanging out in the middle of the channel, 100' longfin batfish and some pompano.
Dive 2
Dramatic ocean reef front of channel dropping off in big steps. Some grey and white tip sharks, large rainbow runners, eagle rays and a green turtle
Dive 3
Pristine coral reef site with coral slope down to 30+m on south and a coiral garden inside the wall. We found an octopus, teeny mantis shrimp, longnose hawkfish, millions of fuslilers, rainbow runners, bluefin jacks, black jacks etc.
Large (2.5m) Mobula tarapacana behind boat between 9 and 10pm
Day 4
Dive 1
Lots of grey sharks on channel front. One large female shark bore mating scars which looked vicious. There was an enormpous school of jacks towards the north corner where we also saw large grey sharks on the pleateau at cleaning stations and lots (maybe 30-40) smaller grey sharks off the reef. We had a lovely drift along the shallow north side of the channels. Several white tip sharks and lots and lots of green turtles. Now we know where they have been hiding out! Also harlequin and silver sweetlips and longnose parrotfish.
Dive 2
Shallow thila with vast expanses of staghorn corals and leather corals. We saw a trumpet fish shadowing a slender grouper, a yellow boxfish, lizardfish posing in the leather corals. In the shallows were multicoloured magnifica anemones with families of blackfoot clownfish.
Dive 3
This was meant to be a drift but we caught opposing currents on the channel corner and were only able to visit the coral blocks on the corner and outside.. The huge porites blocks were full of fish and large schools of surgeonfish hung off the reef. Also rainbow runners, feisty black cheek morays and hawksbill turtles.
Day 5
Dive 1
Shark channel! Lots of grey sharks on front plus a school of great barracudas. The pesky black jacks came and swam around us. Bluefin jacks were out hunting and the large school of big eye jacks just sat in the channel waiting for something to happen. We aslo saw white tip sharks and eagle rays.
Dive 2
Small out current in channel but enough ocean pressure to hold fish on front. There were several white tios sleeping in the sandpool and the school of jacks still hung lazily in the middle of the channel. We crossed towards the south and found two black ribbon eels. There were many red and black & white snappers and silver sweetlips hanging out at the south. A school of barracudas checked us out.
Daytime Excursion
Guest visited island for explore whilst the rest of the group made pm dive
Dive 3
Before the dive we saw a pod of spinner dolphins surfuing on waves near the dive site. It was rather calmer below the surface and we had a lovely easy thila dive. Highlights included an unusual yellow/black goldring bristletooth changeling, a shool of very photogenic juvenile longfin batfish, a hawksbill turtle, bluefin javks terrorising the fuiliers, harlequin filefish, and many anemonefish in the huge number of magnificent anemones. There was also a mutant Clarke's anemonefish with a blackface and orange chin!
Night Dive
Big storm blew up so night dive postponed
Day 6
Dive 1
Fast ocean current across front of channel but not a typical in-current so we jumped near the north corner and drifted south again. There were grey and white tip sharks and the usual huge school of big eye jacks on the channel front plus a group of three eagle rays which swooped over out heads. At the south corner we stayed outside and continued our drift past a dramatic cliff face with lots of shallow inlets and overhangs full of snappers, jacks, Napoleons, turtles etc. Very exciting.
Dive 2
Jumped inside channel for drift along south of channel. There were beautiful coral blocks and seafans on both side of sand river and lots of jacks and groupers. Inside was a lovely coral garden. We found a tiny juvenile oriental sweetlips, an Amboin shrimp and lots of chromis in the Acropora.
Dive 3
Surprise in-current at channel so we hooked in and watched the show of grey sharks, jacks and dogtooth tunas and the had a moderate speed drift over the coral blocks on the south side. There were lots of sweetlips, angelfish and emperors and a very large brownmarbled grouper and several large green turtles.
Day 7
Dive 1
5x EAGLE RAYS on channel front, soarong over our heads, also grey sharks on the front of the channel and white tip sharks behind us on the plateau. There were lots of dogtooth tunas hundting the schools of fusiliers. We then had a brisk drift down the channel where the coral blocks were full of groupers, snappers and squirrelfish. The green turtles shot off like fireworks but made for nice photos.
Dive 2
Small out-current on this beautiful ocean corner. The huge coral blocks were full of groupers and snappers. We followed the ocean current along the channel front and saw rainbow runners off the reef, a super-friendly hawksbill turtle posed for photos but an over-friendly empress angelfish kept on getting in the way!
Moored next to the beautiful island of Lonudhoo
Dive 3
Easy thila with no current today so we could leisurely meander through the large pavona coral blocks at the north end and photograph the fish. The blocks were covered with yellow/purple Evans anthias. There were several pairs of Maldives sponge snails so it must be mating season. At cleaning stations we saw slender groupers and elongate surgeonfish. The reef top had many beautiful magnificas.
Evening Activity
Moored in pretty lagoon in south of Huvadhoo atoll. There was an amazing sunset and we had sundowners on the top deck.
Day 8
Ocean Crossing
Ocean crossing between Huvadhoo and Addu atolls. We made a 6am start.
Dive 1
Beautiful ocean reef with large coral blocks populated by peacock rock cods whilst enormous chromis colonies hung above the staghorns and other acroporas. There were clown triggerfish, powder blue surgeonfish and a large scool of rabbitfish. Tuftee the small white manta came down the reef to say hello!
Dive 2
This was the stern section tour of the British Loyalty wreck, starting at the bomb hole, going down and through the propeller and into the engine room before coming shallower. All the sinoise aand whip coral polyps were open and feeding. The blacktail snapper and large mappa puffer were in the engine room as usual. We found the "Burberry print" reef top pipefish on the top.
Night Dive
Back to the wreck a few hours later where we spent time in the "overhangs" created by the companionways and checking out the table corals on top. We found a large spiny lobster, a scorpionfish, an undulate moray, sleeping yellow rabbitfish and groupers. A bi-colour parrotfish was being cleaned by Bruuni shrimps whilst it slept.
Day 9
Dive 1
The stars of the show today were the bumphead parrotfish. A school of about 20 mid-sized ones paraded past several times and then later in the dive 6 large ones came past! This is a beautiful ocean reef site. A huge school of bluefin jacks hung over the thilas and the coral on the reef slope is amazing. We also saw brown marbled groupers, pompano and unusual fire-coral formations.
Dive 2
HURRAH! THREE MANTAS ST THE CLEANING STATION even though there was quite a strong current, so lots of hovering today. We also had the little grey shark. There were lots of yellow margin triggerfish in the channel but they were looking less dangerous than of late.
Dive 3
We jumped on this ocean reef site to see the submarine net chain. There was quite a strong in current and we drifted ALL the way into the channel. We saw giant and blackcheek morays hiding amongst the flame anthias. There were several blue trunkfish too. We saw a beautiful grey patterned manta deep in the channel and several more hovering in the current.
Day 10
Dive 1
Deep diver training dive and unfortunately the visibilty off the reef was a bit low to hang in the blue as planned. The reef top was very busy. There was large eagle ray, turtles and lots of small Napoleons (always nice to see the next generation).
Dive 2
WAYEEE! FIVE MANTAS VERY FRIENDLY for whole dive!!!!! They were hanging in our bubbles and swimming very close. The red grouper was cleaning the mantas again. LOVELY!
Dive 3
MORE MANTAS!! Manta ballet this time with graceful swooping and hovering and more cleaning going on this time around. There were about 6 mantas present. We also saw the grey shark, silver and harlequin sweetlips and a blue barred parrotfish with a pesky remora
Dive 4
Shallow dive on top of giri where cut-up submarine net has created an artificial reef which attracts lots of reef fish. There was a huge school of powder blue surgeonfish, pencilled surgeonfish, yellow goatfish, table corals with blue-tinted indian damselfish, a small turtle and mang Sgt Majors. A fun evening dive!
Day 11
Dive 1
Tour of bow section of British Loyalty wreck. There were painted sweetlips and circular batfish under the bow and a mappa puffer in a sandy nest. We found a scorpionfish and both Pteraeolidia and Phydiana nudis. Darrel found a Pontonides shrimp on a whip coral
Dive 2
LAST DIVE AND MORE MANTAS!! Lucky us. We had 6 beautiful mantas including regulars Adele and Tuftee. It was a lovely way to finish
Daytime Excursion
Afternoon at leisure. We had a tour of the small islets to the north-west tip of the atoll and looked at the mangrove and seagrass habitat there. We sa herons and turtles and then enjoyed the sunset back onboard Sea Spirit.
Day 12
Guest Transfer
Guests departed via Gan airport for their domestic flight back to Male.
Day 13
Sea Spirit SS376 29 Jul 2012 to 10 Aug 2012 Equatorial Far South - Huvadhoo/Foammulah/Gan Addu (12 day)
Guest Transfer
Arrival to Maldives, internal flight from Male to Gan (Addu Atoll). Kit set-up.
Dive 1
Ocean reef on north of atoll. 4 Eagle rays, grey shary, milk fish, pompano, green leaf fish, swarms of Evans anthias on reef top, loggerhead and 4x hawksbill turtles. What a great start!
Day 1
Dive 1
Channel and manta point. Jumped into ocean and drifted into channel. Eagle rays, Manta point. Napoleons and midnight snappers on the outside. Two mantas and a small grey shark at the cleaning station. The shark was mobbed by rainbow runners rubbing themselves on it.
Dive 2
There was a manta being cleaned at the start but the current built up and she swam away so we had a drift out of the channel. Lovely river of mixed fusliers rushing into channel, Napoleons, and a big dogtooth tuna.
Dive 3
Sheltered reef. Yellow leaf fish, two spot snappers, Napoleons, huge hermit crab, school of highfin rudderfish, beautiful coral massives, eagle ray over a cleaning station, gaafish in the shallows
Day 2
Dive 1
Ocean reef dive. 3x feathertail ray, great barracuda, hawksbill turtles, large orange seafans and really good hard coral coverage creating a coral garden. Lyretail, whitespotted and camouflage groupers hiding in coral blocks
Dive 2
Dramatic ocean reef corner. Several Napoleons, lots of reef fish being cleaned amongst the coral blocks along the egsge of the reef. Lots of Coopers and yellowtail anthias
Dolphins around Sea Spirit at lunch anchorage
Dive 3
British Loyalty wreck.We swam through the main bomb hole and went to the prop then came up to the stern and passed by the main engineroom on the way to the bow. The prop is covered in large black coral trees full of baitfish. The deck is heavily coralised with many groupers, blacktail snappers in the engine room and batfish waiting to greet us on the ascent line. Many P. ianthina near the bow, they seem to be breeding.
Night Dive
Wreck night dive. Lots of lovely creatures tonight! Large spiny lobster, decorated crab, langoutine shrimps, spotty coral crabs in table corals. The whip corals had their polyps out and feeding and the sinoise coral polyps were all puffed up.
Day 3
Dive 1
Manta point and 20+ MANTAS. Awesome! Lots of mantas were hovering over the cleaning station looking like formations of aircraft waiting to land. The grey shark was also there, trying to be cleaned amongst the bluestrip snapper school.
Dive 2
Manta point again with less mantas but these were more playful. The current had droppped a little and there were up to 6 mantas trying to be claened and swimming through our exhaled bubbles whilst checking us out closely. Really superb dive!
Dive 3
Beautiful coral ocean reef. Lots of hawkfish amongst elkhorn and Pavona corals. Several Napoleons of varying sizes, oriental sweetlips, chromis, anthias, many speciaes of fuiliers. Really perfect large clusters of coral in the shallows with 40+ species of corals present.
Evening Activity
Evening presentation on manta ecology.
Day 4
Dive 1
British Loyalty wreck once more. Very photogenic batfish today both at cleaning stations on the wreck and out foraging. Yellow trunkfish, electric-blue-tinged indian damsels amongst the table corals. The bow section hd baitfish with red groupers and rock cods keeping guard. Small rusty brown leaf fish. Silver sweetlips under the bow. Reef pipefish. The batfish came to greet us again on our ascent.
Dive 2
MANTA MAGIC TODAY! There were 11+ very friendly mantas, most of which we had seen on our previous dives so we were used to eachother! They were swooping in very close for bubble baths. A very special dive!
Ocean Crossing
Addu to Foammulah
Dive 3
North Ocean reef. Steep wall into coral slope of large coral blocks from 8 to 30m in depth and many reef fish and schools of fish being cleaned. A large school of 100+ milk fish hung off the reef. Porcelain crab in adhesive anemone, smallscale scorpionfish, roundhead parrotfish, brown marbled groupers, black & white snappers, and many black cheek morays hiding amongs the Cooper's anthias.
Evening Activity
We went for a walk on the island at sunset after climimg the harbour surround to watch the huge breakers on the southern reef. The waves were breaking over the wall! A full moon rose over the harbour- very dramatic.
Day 5
A local child riding his bike along the harbour walkway was too busy watching the boat instead of which direction he was going and he drove straight into the harbour! The child managed to pull himself up the anchor line to safety (a feat in itself) and then Matt scuba-dived in the harbour to rescue the kid's bike.
Dive 1
North Ocean reef. Drift along wall to corner to coral blocks and was very similar to Thursday afternoon dive. Also saw a aschool of blue tangs, a rusty brown leaf fish, Captain parrottfish, giant barracuda.
Ocean Crossing
Foammulah to Huvadhoo
Dive 2
Coral reef dive with magnificent orange sea fans between large blocks of Pavona and other corals full of glassfish. The blocks were giant "critter condos" with lots of fish living in the layers. Lots of different groupers today, oriental and harlequin sweetlips, humpback snappers, orangefin emperors, axelspot hogfish
Dive 3
Sheltered thila site. Turtles,smallscale and reef scorpionfish, shorthead shrimp in anemone, friendly juvenile batfish, harlequin filefish, baby white tip shark swimming around, mixed school of four species of fusiliers, blacksaddle coral groupers. Truly maginificent today
Day 6
Dive 1
Shark channel; this is one of the best shark sites and it lived up to its promise. Grey sharks, big eye jacks, bossy black jacks,and black and white snappers on the front of the channel, white tip sharks on the top of the reef, plus a large Napoleon wrasse, tunas and a school of mackerels. Gentle drift into channel
Dive 2
Shark channel: we dived the north corner as there was a very small out current. A few grey sharks were out and about but kept their distance. Lovely school of black & white snappers plus lots of turtles up shallow. Black/yellow ribbon eel, Mobule eregoodootenkee
Dive 3
Channel dive with ZEBRA shark laying on sandy bottom of channel, nurse shark in shallow block on top, several green turtles, lovely orange seafans and soft coral in blocks. Brisk drift at latter part of channel through schools of snappers and jacks
Daytime Excursion
Island visit to uninhabited island just before sunset
Night Dive
Thila night dive. Turtles, sea hares (Dolabella auricularia), red Saron shrimp, Bruuni cleaning shrimps, cushion and brittle stars, white tip shark.
Day 7
Dive 1
Back to Shark channel. SHARKTASTIC! SO MANY GREY SHARKS, all sizes from mig mommas to newborns riding the current on the front of th channel in groups of 30+. Also white tip sharks, barracudas,big eye and black jacks, huge marbled stingray sleeping in channel and a feathertail ray.
Dive 2
Sheltered reef site. Super pretty reef with lots of coral blocks on a sandy slope with a deep crest of hard corals 3-18m depth. The blocks were full of glassfish sweepers, cardinals, red groupers, rock cods, schools of rudderfish, red and bluestripe snappers with white tips, big dogtooth tunas andbaitfish in shallows.
Dive 3
Thila site. School of mackerel scad being chased by dogtooth tuna up in the shallows and zooming past our heads. Schools of crescent-tailed big eyes, bluestripe snappers, yellow goatfish and goldspot emperors. Beautiful coral heads and overhangs with glassfish, bruuni clener shrimps. There were feisty narrowbar and jewelled damselfish protecting their territories.
Day 8
Dive 1
West side channel site with out- current drift along middle of channel then along the channel front where there was an enormous school of Forsters barracudas and come chevron barracudas. A school of bonito shot past. The north corner was a river of neon fusiliers after river of fusiliers. Shallower were rivers of mixed lunar and broadstripe fusiliers. Really beautiful. The coral blocks were full of squirrelfish. White leaf fish on reef top.
Dive 2
Thila on west side of atoll. This was God's aquarium today. Reef was smothered with fish. Snappers, emperors and sweetlips overlooked swarms of anthias and fusiliers. We saw at least 6 species of groupers. The coral blocks on the reef top had yellow and orange acabaria webs. A slope of sea fans and soft corals. Scorpionfish on top of block.
Dive 3
Sheltered reef site. Coral blocks on sandy slope full of groupers, sweepers, cardinals and emperors. Several species of anemones harbouring black foot and Clark'es anemonefish. Sand slope with garden of sand eels, pink bar govies with pistol shrimps, phyllidia slugs etc. the norther reef was an impressive expanse of hard corals
Daytime Excursion
Ashore to Bird Island by some guests: home of the lesser frigate bird. The majority of birds were riding the thermals over the island.
Dive 4
Night dive on the northern house reef of Bird island. Saw squat shrimps, Maldives sponge snail, banded coral shrimps, spotted coral crabs, saron shrimps, cornet fish, scribbled filefish, moorish idols with "day colours" switched off.
We enjoyed hot chocolate on the dhoni ride back from the night dive whilst we looked at the Milky Way.
Day 9
Dive 1
Fun out current drift in channel! Zebra shark sleeping and then freeswimming, porcupine ray, nurse sharks in big block, several green turtles and a stingray. The outside was a mass of blue-stripe snappers, one of the biggest schools ever seen. There were also schools of humpbacks and black & white snappers.
Dive 2
Channel dive again. There were both an in and out current on the channel front which was a little confusing. Snappers, goldspot emperors, school of raccoon butterflyfish and Napoleons on the corner. A huge school of big eye jacks in the channel. A freeswimming nurse shark dived under a block. We found the ones from the morning dive still in the main block
Dive 3
The shallow reef top of this eastern giri was covered in beautiful hard corals with lots of fusiliers weaving through the coral heads. The sandy coral garden on the inside had lots of coral heads with indian, humbug and threespot damsels and chromis everywhere. Half barred, decorayed and Steinitz's gobies with pistol shrimps and fangbennies in blocks. A feathertail ray swam past. A small pod of DOLPHINS came in and checked out Rosie and John. Lucky!
Day 10
Dive 1
A small in-current reversing to an out current during the dive in this channel. Black jacks, surgeonfish and snappers on the outside, plus a solitary grey shark. The coral blocks on the corner were full of squirrelfish and sweetlips. We saw a couple of eagle rays in the shallows and a crown of thorns starfish. The reef top was beautiful
Dive 2
A zebra shark was sleeping in the channel but woke up and swam up and down, undecided which direction to head in? Also a nurse sharks, eagle rays, green turtles, giant moray and a big blue Napoleon. The reef slope had many large orange seafans, orange soft corals and some purple nepthias.
Dive 3
Changed site as currents very turbulent elsewhere and had a great dive here! Small in current at the cahnnel front but enough to give us a fun dive. Grey sharks started showing up on the channel corner with around 10 grey sharks swimming up and down and behind us! We found a big stingray in an overhang, black jacks large school of big-eye jacks, black & white snappers, red snappers a spawning Phyllidia, baby Jorunna and yet more green turtles
We spent the evening in the lee of the beautiful island of Mattidhoo
Day 11