Euro Divers dive school
This was the holiday during which I finally did my PADI open water certification (with the islands dive operators Euro Divers) and what a lovely place to do it. Confined water sessions were done in the island’s lagoon and all the certification dives were on the atoll’s reefs.
There was quite a lot of coral bleaching damage, but also signs of live coral and recovery. (see my online log book)
In terms of sea animals this was as good as Sharm (Egypt) - that’s to say fantastic. In addition to the countless gaudy fish I saw turtles, reef shark, Moray eels, even a Manta Ray and a leopard shark. The water’s hot, I abandoned my 3mm wet suit because I got too hot and did all other dives in trunks and a tee-shirt.
One word of warning (one I didn’t get until it was too late) make sure you rinse your ears with plenty of clean water after diving (especially in the lagoon). This helps reduce the risk of ear infection and of getting a fish egg stuck in your ear. If a fish egg in the ear sounds silly or unlikely, trust me, it happened to your’s truly! It took 4 days of ear drops and a syringing to shift. The ear is better now but I’m paranoid about rinsing my ears after diving!
Aquanaut dive shop
The house reef (a free dhoni trip away) was quite badly bleached, but showed signs of recovery The dive trips with the islands dive operator Aquanaut took us to some beautiful places with very healthy coral and great marine life. (see my online log book)
This time I kept in my 3mm wet suit and was fine, and remembered to rinse my ears after every dive, and no ear infection :-)
This was the first holiday where I got to dive (and snorkel - on a day trip) with Manta rays - WOW! - they are great! And the first time I had to use an SMB (you can tell just how poor I am at this by looking at the dive profiles!)
The diving was spectacular. If you only ever go to the Maldives once, make sure you dive Kandooma caves. What a beautiful site. Great coral (hard and soft) techni-colour algae and big life; massive lobsters and the largest Moray eel I have ever seen. Great. :-)