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.
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.
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
about 50cms long
which was alive and feeding
a number of clams – open (above) and
closed. To get them to react you only have to wave your hand above them and they sense the change in current.
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.
These Scavenger Sponges are very healthy and green and
close when they think your hand is above them. Fish are numerous including the densest shoal of very small fish I have met underwater.
As usual, Red Toothed Trigger Fish try to hide in holes in the coral and it seems that they believe if they cannot see
you, you cannot see them!
Their tails are visible in the above picture.
The micro side includes Flat Worms (about 2 cms long)
which apparently are not worms at all because they swim and are happy living on the sand
or on corral such as in the above photograph.
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.