The Darkside of Blue, Maldives

Photographer Jun V Lao, PaparazSea
Get ridiculously close encounters with feeding manta rays on a night dive at Fesdhoo lagoon

Tried my luck to catch a glimpse of the Manta feeding frenzy at Baa atol made popular by Nat Geo photog Thomas Peschak  but was unfortunate bad weather loomed... which forced us to do a last minute reroute. Personally did around eight dives (of supposedly 18) where I immensely enjoyed 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 a night dive in Fesdhoo Lagoon where we were fortunate enough to encounter two playful mantas which stayed with us for 45 minutes. Below are few photos from the two awesome dives

Mantas..Fesdhoo Lagoon
Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea

Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea

Phtoographer, Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea

by Jun V Lao, Jun Lao, PaparazSea

Jun Lao, Jun V lao, Paparazsea

(Read: Dolphins Bais, Tanon Strait)

The lowdown.. 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 happy snappers, Night dives at Alimatha and Fesdhoo Lagoon are great opportunities for surreal close encounters with sharks and rays

Photographer, Jun Lao, Jun V Lao, PaparazSea

Phtooographer, Jun V Lao, Jun Lao, PaparazSea

Photographer Jun V Lao, Jun Lao, PaparazSea

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 30 kilos of baggage are 'fare inclusive'

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

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
Hole in the Wall joints
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+/-

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