My first full day on the Carpe Vita (booked with Liquid Diving Adventures) is going well. We arrived in the Maldives on Saturday afternoon and spent the night in a beachside hotel near the airport. After wandering the neighbourhood and picking up a few essentials on Sunday morning it was back to the airport. Instead of taking to the air we wheeled airport trolleys to the dock across the driveway from international arrivals. The diving dhoni pulled up and we were away.
The Carpe Vita is a huge boat. When compared to other liveaboards I have travelled on she feels at least twice the size. With four decks for twenty divers and the dive deck duty offloaded to a companion boat, there’s ridiculous amounts of space for everyone. We’re aboard for 11 nights and will be travelling huge distances down to the far south of the Maldives.
The rest of the trip promises to be quite isolated from the touristing crowds. The first day saw us weaving out of Male atoll through boats of all shapes and sizes. After an early morning dive with multiple manta rays and a top deck breakfast we joined the throng of boats on the lookout for whalesharks. The sharks do a lap down the shallow reef of South Ari atoll, feeding on plankton as they swim.
I took the second photo here on snorkel, cautiously duck diving into the shallows as the whaleshark moved below. He seemed particularly unbothered by the tourists overhead. He also seemed disinclined to stop and we rapidly lost sight of him in the sunny blue water. After a second snorkel drop in deeper water we geared up for the pre-lunch dive.
The reef here is not particularly healthy – the live hard coral is interspersed with dead, algae-covered lumps. The fish life is prolific however with a huge variety of reef fish. The vis was slightly milky which implied there might be small critters in the water column. This was confirmed ten minutes into the dive as a massive whaleshark headed on by. By the time I caught up with him he was about 15m above the bottom. Swimming over a sandy patch surrounded by darker coral gives him a halo and I love this shot of his spotty head, moving into the blue.
Today has been a great start to the trip. Long may it continue!