I travelled out to the Maldives as a result of BSoUP's 2012 "Splash-in" competition, joining the MV Sea Spirit and its faithful dhoni to cruise the well-travelled but surprisingly interesting Thilas and channels of Ari Atoll.
2013 Maldives 693 Male Sea Spirit.jpg 104.97KB 3 downloads
The boat looks small, until you realise that all the dive gear stays on the dhoni with the compressor and Nitrox. It's actually as comfortable as the much bigger and superficially more impressive boats that ply the Red Sea and Indonesian waters.
2013 Maldives 15 181 Kudarah Thila bluestripe snappers.jpg 129.96KB 3 downloads
2013 Maldives 49 587 Madivaru Rasdhoo bluestripe snappers.jpg 109.88KB 3 downloads
There are still shoals of fish, sharks of all kinds (somewhat oppressed by crowds if they venture too close to the bigger resort islands), rays, turtles and pretty reefs, largely, I suspect, because of the intermittently fierce currents that squirt in and out of the atolls.
2013 Maldives 50 410 Maaya Thila hawksbill turtle.jpg 71.27KB 4 downloads
2013 Maldives 59 607 Madivaru Rasdhoo grey reef shark.jpg 48.42KB 4 downloads
2013 Maldives 28 247 Dhidhdoo whale shark and crowds.jpg 125KB 4 downloads
For a routine trip, this was something of an eye-opener!
2013 Maldives 31 353 Madivaru Faruhukuvali manta ray b.jpg 66.51KB 4 downloads
2013 Maldives 46 504 Maayafushi lagoon mantas.jpg 54.91KB 4 downloads
2013 Maldives 13 076 Alimathaa jetty nurse sharks.jpg 82.97KB 4 downloads