Or what is there, under the sea?
In the fall we‘ve got anxious to see our familiar fishes. Let it be The Maldives?
There are plenty of beautiful tropical islands, but only a few of them proposed manta and sharks trip to their visitors. One of them – Vilamendhoo Island Resort!
The impressions from our undersea adventures completely exceeded the expectations. Excursions to that breath-taking world – is The Space!
So, what is there, under the sea?
Whale Sharks Trip
8.00 a.m. 24 adventurers aboard. On a hunch you understand that 10 would be much better.
Our guide informs us that whale sharks are not dangerous, while they may attain a city bus size. They don’t afraid people and move their own course, so if you want to follow them you should be a very confident swimmer.
- Forty minutes later we will try to find one especially for you. It should be mentioned manta or sharks trip lasts four hours and then you return to the island-hotel. And now it’s disappearing in the distance…
After 1,5 hour of drifting we have not find anything and frustrated were turning back to Vilamendhoo. As a bonus the team promised to stop and swim with manta rays, which we have seen on our way. But the Man on Heavens has already made up his own mind.
After the half an hour on a way back we pass another three excursion boats at once and see seven dozens of their passengers floundering in the water. A brief discussion among the teams.
- This is your chance – overboard!
We don’t know how many whale sharks are swimming in the water, but there is nearly a hundred of people including us. And everybody elbows and pushes the paddles through – the water simply roughs! Somebody’s paddles knocked my snorkel twice – understandable: we are all bluebird hunters in here. I was shocked when I saw the first giant whale shark – what a hulk, and is it drifting… at me?!
But hundred of people is too much for one animal, you can hardly move closer – it’s a hustle and bustle, plus the divers blow their bubbles from the deep and you can not even make a picture. Finally my husband and I were completely lost in a jumble.
Once again I took a dubious glance at our receding boat and notice that the guide is flourishing his arm away from the “boiling sea”. Nearly ten of us recognized his signals and moved towards, working our paddles with all might.
I will not suppress that when we were sailing around the big and small islands searching for the whale sharks, I complained to my husband: they can’t overboard us right here, it’s too dangerous: huge ocean waves crashing on a reef are quite near about, and if the water throws somebody down the reef, we can’t escape the victims.
And when a shadow of the second whale shark gleamed in the water, everyone who followed it sped up.
It’s crazy! You see it and completely forget all the danger and can not even raise your head to define where it is moving on (along with you accordingly).
I have never swam with such a speed before. I could have been faster only if the shark chased us. We reached it, took a picture and experienced an incomparable enjoyment.
And the whale shark was calmly moving further and further when being exhausted I have started to fall back. I kept holding on for some time and then said to myself: what for? To take twenty pictures more? And what about getting back? So I let it go, shuffled my snorkel off, got my breath and turned around trying to find our boat….
I was lucky because there was a “familiar” couple who gave up a bit earlier and they were quite close to me. It eases your mind if you’re not alone drifting in the ocean. While I was trying to identify how much does it take to get back to the boat, one of them put his paddle off and started to signal to the “ships passing by”.
Ten minutes later the crews started to take us on the board. How do they manage to sort us or them? Myself I failed to recognize my boat – they are all white… and far away. But when I finally noticed the familiar bandana on the following board – Victor was there – I was certain that I am saved now.
Manta Rays & Turtles Trip
The next morning. At 8.00 the full international consisting of 13 persons boarded again in order to plough the Indian Ocean searching for the giant mantas.
When we noticed the mantas, the crew commanded: «Overboard»!
And I jumped off, although have never dived before, but after all nobody provided the trap. I came up, breathed in, breathed out, okay – I’m alive – lets’ go!
There were four beauties gracefully soaring in the water, not so giant, but still larger than the small men. What a flips they were doing: it seems like it glides up directly on you and at the last moment a wing beat – and turn around… Or it passes beneath you and you freeze trying not to hurt its rough skin with your paddles. I really felt like touching it. But it is forbidden and a bit scary, above all.
At the beginning everybody chaotically fluttered in the water, just as we were in euphoria. Half an hour later some of us “recovered the minds” and periodically looked at the guide on the board who kindly directed us with his finger. With his help my husband and I found ourselves tete-a-tete with this wonder of nature by the end of the trip.
It is really hard to get picture of mantas, they are not afraid of people and move nearly close, and due to their great size they simply do not fit the shot! Long distance pictures came out foggy because of the plankton. I guess we caught mantas having a meal, as they kept their chaps open all the time. The visibility was poor as near as two meters.
I’d rather did not leave. Such a delight!
But we were promised the turtles and the ship moved on.
On the way to the turtles’ island I imagined a frisky play with them, because, as I thought, turtles are not that exotic and they will go around. Nothing of that kind! We dropped the anchor near the lifeless reef all gray in the deep – we have better near Vilamendhoo.
Drifting around in a search. With no chance to success I stuck to our guide, hoping that he is the only experienced man here who can notice the turtles.
Just as I thought, fifteen minutes later he touched my shoulder and motioned in the deep – the same gray bottom, bare rocks….. But he is insisted. The water is deep and the vision is poor, I barely noticed HER getting out of the hide in reverse. The guide called for the others, and I started the photo session, acting as the siren light at the same time – where is the turtle, over there am I.
When we crowded around the poor animal with all our underwater cameras, everything went wrong. And while they were chasing the turtle I noticed one more aside. I drew my husband out of this whirl and we gave a new chase. These turtles are so nimble! But we reached it, we were head to head.
And then I made a mistake, I couldn’t help touching it, I was forgiven for the first time, but I did not get it! After the second act of affection she escaped to depth.
The miracle that we were searching for at Maldives finally came true, and we were happy.
And now we already have the tickets to these paradise islands, and I hope the next October we will feed the giant manta rays again…
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