A multicultural group boards the MV Orion in the third week of August. Travelers from around the world here to experience the Maldives in the fullest way possible, aboard a liveaboard, cruising the atolls and the seas of the Maldivian Archipelago.
For their check dive, the instructors choose the usual point, Lankan Manta Point, off the island of Lankanfinolhu. Famed for its reputation of attracting Manta Rays consistently, the site was strangely abandoned, except for the last moment when only a few divers saw the Manta that glided in, before everyone emerged. Mario took a look at the tide charts, and the group jumped back in for a second dive a while later, when they saw a couple of Mantas that swept the scene for about 20 minutes.
The pinnacle that stops short of 9 meters to the surface two kilometers to the west of Lankan Manta point, the Nassimo Thila was the second dive the travelers experienced. The Protected Marine area is also called Paradise Rock and Virgin Reef, and is well known for pelagics, seafans and soft corals, but the divers were more interested in the immense volume of fish that included Giant Trevally and large Dogtooth Tuna hunted schools of fusiliers while two turtles and a couple of Napoleons, and a Nursing Shark almost 3 meters long.
The next day, the divers were at Okobe Thila. The brisk current brought with it high visibility and plenty of fish life that included two Eagle Rays, one White Tip Reef Shark, Napoleon, Turtle, Big Tunas, and plenty of Trevally.
Orion then journeyed to Rasdhoo, to the Madivaru divespot. Although the visibility was medium, divers saw plenty of fish and gliding eagle rays on their way to some distant errand. The third dive was at the famed protected marine area, the Maaya Thila. This night dive featured large numbers of White Tip and Grey Reef Sharks, Sting Rays and Snappers using the flash lights of the divers to pick out their prey hiding in the darkness.
Maaya Thila is a relatively peaceful reef where marine life thrives and flourishes in the absence of human intrusion. The pinnacle is roughly circular and has a diameter of 80 meters, and is studded with soft coral and gorgonians. The divers had a great time afterwards, exchanging and comparing photographs and videos of the spectacular dive.
16th of August saw the travellers at Hafsa Thila. Amidst the action packed hunting that was going on by Tuna of the Trevallies, the group spotted four Grey Reef and White Tips. On the top reef, there were Batfish and Baby White Tips, and a Grey Reef shark lurking around the edge.
For the second dive, the group headed to the Fish Head, another protected marine area famous for the spectacular overhangs and caves and vibrant marine life diversity. The pinnacle is roughly square shaped and about a hundred meters to a side.
The divers from MV Orion saw White Tips, Fusiliers and Trevallies at shallower areas, while Grey Reef Sharks were getting dental service by a huge Moray Eel and Banded Boxer Shrimp. A few turtles and flatworms completed the scene. Mario came across a couple of guitar sharks on the bottom of the dive spot. Later, the group went for a third dive at Dhegaa Thila, which was pretty, despite the change in weather. Marine life was normal, with plenty of batfish and nudibranches.
17th and the next few days
MV Orion spent the next few days cruising Ari. Friday morning was spent diving at Reethi Thila, where Grey Reefs and big Tuna made up an interesting mix, while the top reef had turtles gliding around in a spectacular view. A few divers managed to see two mobula mantas, also known as devil rays.
The vessel then cruised to Maamigili where it was Whale Shark time! The first few minutes were spent snorkeling, taking in the magnificient mammal, before going for the main dive. Here they found yet another Whale Shark in the depths. A wonderful dive, seeing as there weren’t any other safari vessels around at the time.
The third dive was at Machafishi Wreck, where two Stone Fish and Nudibranch added life to the wreck, and gave the divers an opportunity to spot the rare black leaf fish while looking at the detail. The shallow reef is a pretty sight, glittering in the late afternoon sun.
Early the next day, Kudarah Thila was on the list. High visibility and a gentle current helped the group in spotting Blue Line Snapper and Humpback Snapper, as well as a friendly Napoleon. There was also a school of Chevron Barracuda. On the reef, the divers came across a few Mantis Shrimps and a Dancing Flatworm undulating in the current.
The MV Orion then set sail to South Malé Atoll, to the Guraidhoo Corner. The divers hooked into the corner and had a great view of White Tips and Grey Reef Sharks, and the 4 Eagle Rays that were swimming over the group. Schools of Tuna and a Napoleon completed the visual feast of marine life.
The final day was spent at Kandooma Thila, where 4 Eagle Rays in formation was quite a sight. The divers with Enrico also found 15 Grey Reef Sharks, while Mario’s group counted about 25 of them! Back at Lankanfinolhu for the final dive, two Manta Rays made an appearance at the cleaning station.
All in all, MV Orion had yet another successful trip, with all clients leaving with memories that would last a lifetime! Join us on the next trip check out our special offers here
By the Team of MV Orion
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