Thursday, 26 May 2011

Dive 7 – Hathikolhu – South Male

The original intention for the day was to set sail at 0530 heading westwards towards Ari Atoll in the West but it was soon apparent that the Dhoni did not have sufficient power to cope with the strong winds coming from that direction and so we turned around and moved a bit further south to the bottom of South Male.

A true dessert island

The new dive site island looks just like one imagines a desert island to look (bar the Palm Tree). It is obvious that it would disappear under water (as would much of the Maldives) if the sea level rose much.

Hathikolhu Dive Plan

The original plan was to dive at Hathikolhu entering the water at the current split (top left of plan) and ideally go North (top down to the bottom on the dive plan). When the current direction was tested, it was decided that the currents were unsafe and so this dive moved to an area off the bottom of the dive plan with the instruction of “fin for one hour northwards back onto the dive plan” (and follow the guide).

There was a lot to see – here a large Sea Cucumber

Sea Cucumber 1

about 50cms long

Sea Cucumber 2 

which was alive and feeding

Clam Open

a number of clams – open (above) and

Clam Closed

closed. To get them to react you only have to wave your hand above them and they sense the change in current.

Clam in Fern 

This clam has attached itself to some soft coral and is an unusual colour


There were numerous “Tortured Black Coral Whips” which are up to 40m long and here is green in colour – one thing I have learn about naming is that the colour element of the name is not necessarily true!


and varieties of circular corals which I have not seen before.

Scavenger Sponge

These Scavenger Sponges are very healthy and green and

Scavenger Sponge-1

close when they think your hand is above them. Fish are numerous including the densest shoal of very small fish I have met underwater.

Dense Shoal  

As usual, Red Toothed Trigger Fish try to hide in holes in the coral and it seems that they believe if they cannot see

Fish Holes

you, you cannot see them! 

Red Toothed Banner Fish

Their tails are visible in the above picture.

The micro side includes Flat Worms (about 2 cms long)

Flat Worm

which apparently are not worms at all because they swim and are happy living on the sand

Flat Worm in Coral Close

or on corral such as in the above photograph.

Goat Fish 

The usual Goat Fish flit around


and there are numerous Morays – this one was sharing its den with a Lion Fish.

This turned out to be a nice dive with easy currents and clear viz – both of which seem to be unusual out here at this time of year.

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