Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Maldives by Night

Nurse Shark Feeding Frenzy

Tried my luck catching a glimpse of the Manta feeding frenzy at Baa atol made popular by the amazing  National Geographic photographer  & conservation advocate Thomas Peschak  but was unfortunate there was a tropical depression which made the boat I was on do a last minute reroute. Personally did around eight dives (of supposedly 18) where I immensely enjoyed but two.

Alimatha was incredible.. was a fiesta of nurse sharks, marble rays and giant stingrays with occasional fly-bys by black tip sharks, but similar to other great interaction sites, it involved feeding. The second site was in Fesdhoo Lagoon, where our boat was parked and the staff opened up a flood light which attracted enough plankton to reel in two mantas which stayed with us for 45 minutes.

Below are few photos from the two awesome dives

Alimatha by Night
feeding party over...
fly by
close encounter with Allen 
just passing by with Tricia
Marble takes flight

Mantas of Fesdhoo Lagoon
The Laughing Manta
Chris gets his shots 

Chris and Allen

Manta swoops down on trip leader Clemence
Got Muck?
Cliche shot
Cliche shot #2

Cliche shot #3

The lowdown.. Maldives has lots to offer but on this trip, was forced to do the 'touristy' route due to weather. Advanced divers will love the strong current action and big fish (whale sharks, white tips, black tips, gray reef sharks, battery of barracudas... challenging photographically due to strong currents) but for photographers, Night dives at Alimatha and Fesdhoo Lagoon are great opportunities for surreal close encounters with sharks and rays.

Fun in the Indian Sun

                                                  Short Trip video, Aerial videography by Calvin Tee
                                        Maldives 2014 (Air/UW) teaser from PaparazSea.com on Vimeo.

the Luckier group (week before), Great vid by YY using a china gopro and home made red filters
Pretty impressive for a USD100 action cam
                                                                                                                                                  Maldives 2014 from y2 on Vimeo.

killing time in Male
Getting There
Port of entry- Male, capital of Maldives
Main hubs ASEAN are Singapore and Malaysia
Cost via Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Airlines USD600 (low) to USD1,000 (high)
Philippines to Malaysia average ticket price USD200+/-
**for divers, Malaysian Airlines comes out much cheaper than all other airlines as they accept 30 kilos of baggage

Live on Board costs
from USD1,000- USD3,000+++, depending on boat class, itinerary

relative distance of sites mentioned

Accommodation Hotels in Male 
(in case of flight differences with boat schedule)
Budget Guesthouses/Lodges USD45-60, always have an 8% gov't tax on top
google Luckyhiyaa Hotel & Skai Lodge
Average Up USD100..Traders Hotel etcLocal Food in Male

Local food
Rf50-80 / USD2-5 per meal, local restaurants, mainly Indian and the usual Burger and Pasta joints

Ferry Boats from Airport to Male Capital
Rf10, 10-15 minutes

Exchange Rate as of Aug 2014
USD1= Rf15.20+/-
USD1- Php43.65