Maldives: What you absolutely must do are night dives ...

For many years the Maldives remained a destination we could only dream of as it was expensive and distant. However, after a disappointing visit to Maldives in 2009, we were taunted with stories of divers with amazing trips to the Maldives.

Incredible! What you absolutely must do are night dives, was what we heard again and again.

I remember our Maldives trip in 2009, it was full of sites with strong currents. We flew over the reef and before we even noticed or could realize it half of the group was lost and the dive ended. And now... they recommend us night dives in the Maldives?! After seeing several recorded video clips of those night dives, we did change our mind very rapidly and booked our trip for a second visit there.

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean. They consist of an archipelago of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls. Besides the wonderful and really expensive water bungalows, the Maldives are known for its white sandy beaches and azure blue waters. Mostly you fly directly to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. After a stop of almost two hours you fly then another four hours before you reach the capital of the Maldives, Male. Meanwhile, we are at the start of a cruise which has built a strong reputation. Comfort, excellent diving, great food and a very competitive price are according to the organizer only the basic concepts of the success of this operation. And ... we can only confirm this. On this liveaboard, the captain and guides of the ‘Princess Rani’ know exactly what they are doing!

Nurse shark Closeup nurse sharks
Nurse shark Nurse sharks
Nurse shark Nurse sharks
After a relaxing first day of check diving, at the end of the second day the anchor is thrown out. We are at the 'Alimatha Jetty’ on the Felidhe Atoll (also known as the Vaavu Atoll). During this trip the boat stays anchored at night and so it is promised to be another quiet night.

But first we are going to have our very first night dive in the Maldives. As – may I say - experienced underwater photographers we know exactly what we are going to see. It was recommended to us to keep the wide- angle or fish-eye lens and not to change to the macro lens. But some guests love surprises and without knowing anything they jump into the dark water. A few seconds later, together with the group we arrive at the bottom at fourteen meters. Four nurse sharks and a few large marbled stingrays are making some circles around us.

A few meters higher and somewhat closer to the pier of a resort, some blacktip reefsharks are going crazy. Each day the sharks get a portion of the waste of the dinner (leftover tuna, reef fish, etc). Without doing much effort the sharks can enjoy a free mail and fill their belly full of food. During the day nurse sharks usually rest on the sandy bottoms.

At night these innocent animals are very active. It is as good as a non-dangerous dive, and ... sixty minutes for this night dive was indeed far too short!


Manta ray Maldives Manta at the surface
Manta ray Maldives Manta with open mouth
Manta ray Maldives Manta just above the dive lights
The next morning the wake-up call sounds again ... at 5:30. So early! Is this really a vacation? Today we go searching for manta rays.

Is it the right moment?