Bradford Bsac Dive the Maldives October 2017

This is my account of one of the most memorable trips I’ve had the pleasure of running and taking part in in my 12 years of diving with Bradford SAC .

Day one began with an excellent flight from Manchester to Dubai on the new Emirates luxurious airbus A380 arriving slightly late in Dubai meant a quick dash through the airport to get our connecting flight to Male . On arrival we were met be one of our guides Reekko and some of the boat crew we were then introduced to our dive Dhoni Luna which we soon rechristened Luna-tic due to its constant rocking and rolling. After a short boat ride from the airport to the marina we boarded our live aboard Emperor Atoll although not the most luxurious of boats it made up for it in many ways .we were then introduced to the crew and lead dive guide Andrea after sorting dive gear and the obligatory form filling we were treated to our first sumptuous meal on board and our first night.

Day two North Male and an early start then a short journey from Male to our first dive, a check dive like none before with sharks and eagle rays to keep us entertained in 28degree water. We then moved on to the Lankan Paradise resort for our second dive which produced multiple Mantas , White Tip reef sharks , Turtles , more fish species than you can imagine. We then made a short crossing to Vavu Atoll for our third dive at the Alimatha Circus a quite testing night dive in fast current where we had our first taste of using a reef hook which was most definitely needed to keep in one place so we could view the many Nurse sharks up to 3 metres in length and large rays so many they actually nudged you out of the way , I think this was the most spectacular night dive I have ever done many smiles and excited chatter on the Dhoni after said everything about this awesome experience.

Day three Vavu Atoll and the first Dive at Akuna Vashi Vandu and another drift dive to start then we anchored on with our reef hooks to view the many reef sharks swimming around just off the reef. We then made a quite rough 4 hour crossing to South Ari Atoll and our 2nd dive of the day with again many reef sharks , large tuna , trevailly and jacks .That Night we took the small speed boat off to a local island for a look around and some shopping opportunities

Day Four and South Ari atoll and Dive one at Kudha Rah Thila a fantastic pinnacle dropping off into the abyss with many Tuna , Trevailly , White Tips and Morays and huge shoals of Fusiliers all around us. We then went Whale shark hunting firstly open water snorkelling were a couple of the group sited Whale Sharks under water. We then Kitted up and went for our Second Dive at the Lux Beruy resort, I think probably one of my most memorable dive experiences ever as we came up close and personal with a 6-8 metre juvenile male Whale shark it was only a brief encounter but looking a whale shark in the eye is something that won’t easily be forgotten. Dive 3 saw our only wreck dive of the week on the Machafuschi a quite large intact freighter covered in soft and hard corals, full of fish life nurse sharks and morays hiding in the wreck .That Night we celebrated the first of our members birthdays Toms 45TH with free bottles of Champagne and a Birthday cake provided By Emperor.

Day Five Still at South Ari Atoll Dive one Drift dive at the 7th Heaven with 3 species of shark sighted Black Tip, White tips and Grey reef sharks large Tuna and Trevailly hunting off in the blue. Dive two of the day again another memory making dive at the Mahibadoo Rock cleaning Station, we tethered up our reef hooks and simply floated in the current while an amazing spectacle unfolded in front of us multiple mantas swept over us simply bathing in our bubbles time and time again while some swam round on the cleaning station up to around 20 mantas of all sizes up to 4-5 metres across it seemed like they were flying underwater and seemed to enjoy our presence it ended all too quickly. Dive 3 was on Digga Thila pinnacle a drift dive around overhangs and arches festooned with soft and hard corals and anemones with countless anemone fish and a very friendly large potato grouper who followed us for quite a bit of the dive, That night we were in for a treat out of the water as we made our way on the speed boat to a small dessert island accompanied by divers from one of the other emperor fleet and a beech Bbq of sumptuous proportions with Snapper , Shrimps , Chicken , Calamari and Sweet potato all set up and cooked by the crew on the Beech lit by candles what a fantastic night .

Day 6 and our last dive at South Ari atoll at Moofushi Kandu and another exhilarating channel drift dive with many reef sharks and a very large grouper. A short Sail back to North ari atoll and our second dive of the day at Mushimingali Thila or locally known as fish head due to the shape of the reef. Another drift dive with many reef sharks morays trevailly and tuna. Dive three was at Bathalaa Thila again many sharks, Barracuda a peppered moray many Nudibranchs and large shoals of Batfish. Dive 4 of the day our second night dive of the week saw us swimming with reef sharks, turtle’s morays and trevailly. In the evening we celebrated Pete’s 65th with T-shirts provided by Sandra and another cake made by our Chef Mohammed and free champers from Emperor Fun was had by all.

Day 7 sadly saw our last dive of the week at Mayaa Thila were again we were treated to a spectacle of multiple reef sharks shoaling around the reef and a splendid octopus who glided over the reef constantly flashing colours as it went. We then made the long crossing back to North Male and the marina, The guides organised for us to take a trip to Male the capital island with an escorted tour with a bit of shopping included and it certainly was an experience, reminded me of maybe Delhi or somewhere in India thousands of mopeds and bikes buzzing everywhere it is a very big contrast to the surrounding sparsely populated islands with Half the population of the Maldives crammed onto a island no Bigger than Leeds. Our last night was spent on the boat

Day 8 an early morning departure on Lunatic for the airport and another set of flights on the superb emirates planes saw us arrive back to a gloomy wet Manchester on Sunday evening

A big thanks to Scuba Travel and Shem for organising it all To our fantastic Dive Guides Reekko the fish and Andrea and the Emperor Atoll Boat crew for the fantastic food and service also members of Bradford Sac who shared the experience with me, To Mike for being my buddy Tom, Sue, Debbie, Sandra, John, Eric, Pete and Steve Cheers

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