We are into the swing of sleeping, eating, diving and blogging. Most of our day is taken up diving. Dive briefing, getting ready to dive, boating to the dive site, diving, putting away gear and then boating back to the mother ship. What a life!
Life is peaceful under the water. We drift along, rather slowly, and marvel at the wildlife and plant life. From large Grey Reef Sharks to small red Frog Fish. Soft corals and hard corals and anemones of all colours and shapes.
Life is relaxing on the mother ship. There are 17 other divers, of all nationalities with a common interest in diving. We learn what everyone works at, when they started diving and about the countries where they live. Murray keeps everyone on their toes by switching tables we sit at for meals forcing others to switch also. He is a rascal playing with human nature.
The crew on the mother ship and the dive dhoni are fabulous. They make our lives very easy and enjoyable. Every day there is a new sculpture on our bed made from the top bed sheet, clean towels every day, delicious meals and a very attentive dive boat crew. The captain of the dive boat even let me drive the boat. Only took him up on it for about 30 seconds.
It is day 4 of 7 days of luxury aboard a live-a-board dive safari.
Dive one, the big excitement is a frog fish. Cute little red fella hanging out on the top of a piece for coral. We are the first ones to find him and he is walking his way along the coral. I have seen them before but they are stationary types and this is the first one I have seen on the move, however slow.
I found an octopus. There are not many here and this one was a bit easy to find as it had not camouflaged itself against the background. We come across a few nudibranches, the dive is colorful peaceful and just a really good dive.
Dive two is on the edge of the atoll and we are warned there may be a current. The idea is to get to the right hand edge of the thila and drift along taking in the scenery as we pass. Maseef jumps in to test the water and he comes out with the words ‘strong current’. He briefs our small crew of 4 to jump in the water with no air in the BC (negative entry) and go down right away. As per instruction no time floating and we flip and kick down as soon as our feet are below the surface. When we reach the floor we grab on and plane out. When we let go we fly over the entire thila in less than 8 mins. Maseef aborts the dive and we surface without even a safety stop. Not needed for 8 minutes of bottom time. Once on board our intrepid master talks to the boat captain and we are deposited farther from the thila this time to redo the dive. Same entry and we are again flying as if we are in space. The dive is good if not fast but this time at least we are on the side of the thila and can see the sites as they were described in the dive brief. When we get to the lee of the thila we can hold our own and under a ledge a big turtle meanders out and floats along. Just another day in the ocean for him. We had an exciting ride and an unusual dive.
Dive three, the Fesdu Wreck. A Japanese fishing boat that ran into the reef, backed up and sunk. It is upright and whole and absolutely covered with corals. We spot some hard to find shrimps and some lion fish. Another dive boat arrives and the wreck gets crowded so we take off to the neighbouring thila. The top of the thila is covered with anemones. Clown fish heaven!
Dive four. Voted best of the day, or perhaps the week. A night dive that I would not miss, regardless of the dark. The boat captain has positioned the boat in the lagoon so there is about 40 ft of depth at the back end. Once it starts to turn dark, lights are turned on at the back of the boat and shone in the water. This draws the plankton up, which the mantas feed on. Eventually two mantas arrive and start feeding. We watch them from the back of the boat and they are so very graceful, doing back flips to feed at the surface.
We have a quick dive briefing, gear up and slip quietly into the water. The mantas will get startled if we jump into the water, so we try to slip easily in. We descend and then kneel in a semi-circle just outside the lighted area from the lights on the boat. We have flashlights which we shine up at a 45 degree angle to aid in the drawing out of the plankton. The mantas cruise right over our heads, almost touching us as they feed. They are graceful in their movements. We watch this amazing sight for about 45 minutes and resurface. We thought there were only 5 mantas, but we were told there were actually 10 out there. We are in awe of these fabulous creatures and are so fortunate to have witnessed this.
It was a definitely a day of diving, diving, diving and more diving.