02 December 2008

Life on the South Male Atoll

I am hugely conscious that in writing this dive report I might be tempted to mirror that time honoured start of school term essay 'What I did in my summer holidays' but to do so would be so 'me, me, me' that I would run the disturbing risk of upsetting some faint heart! So to prevent that awful occurrence I'm going to write about a mate who recently went diving in the South Male Atoll.

My Mate (MM) (not to be confused with a yeast extract sandwich spread) , went diving with Ocean Venture Diving (OVD) based on the tiny ilsand of Fihalhohi on the South-West of South Male Atoll. OVD is a German operated SSI Platinum Dive Centre. The SSI agency was created by some divers who were part of PADI but decided to go their own way. They are a very friendly bunch and some of the staff have been on the island for many years.

MM did nine dives which is not a lot in a fortnight but he didn't want to upset my wife, er, I mean his wife, by being underwater too much! A quick summary of his dives was:-

1. House Reef (South ), 67 Mins , Max Depth 18.3m
2. Banner Reef, 54 Mins, Max Depth 20.7m
3. Rannalhi Bodul Giri, 52 Mins , Max Depth 22m
4. Kandoma Beru, 52 Mins, Max Depth 20.6m
5. Vaageli Faru Tila, 36mins, Max Depth 29.9m
6. Rannahli Bodul Faru North , 49 Mins, Max Depth 18.6m
7. Endiri Giri , 51 Mins, Max Depth 23.2m
8. House Reef (North), 62 Mins, Max Depth 16.8m
9. Guradoo Kuda Kandu, 50 Mins, Max Depth 25.3m

The visibility was mostly in the 15 to 20m range with a couple of dives a little less. The water was a little warmer than Stoney at 28 Deg C every day. All diving was done on 12 Litre Aluminium tanks filled with air (though Nitrox was available - but with an old gas gulper like MM there was not much point having Nitrox in 12 Litre tanks , 'cos the gas went before the NDL!).

Some of the dives were in current , some a moderate current which kept the old biffer puffing away as white tip reef sharks effortlessly headed straight into it with barely any movement in their fins. The coral in some of the dives has (sadly) seen better days but the often strong currents in the Maldives does give you the chance of seeing some bigger life. So White Tips & Napolean Wrasse were reasonably easy to spot. Spotting black tip reef sharks was even easier for MM as they swam around the shoreline all the time.

The island has readily accessible snorkeling and diving alsmost around it's entire circumference and snorkelling over the drop-off almost every day it was possible to see almost as much as by diving , just less of the bigger stuff! That said rays & turtles are regularly seen whilst snorkeling.

All boat diving is done from Dhonis (wide, shallow keel, wooden boats with cover from the sun) and the Dhonis daily criss cross the Atoll going from East to West Sides. A slow Dhoni ride across the width of the entire atoll would take about 45 minutes.

I believe MM enjoyed his little stay on the island , a gin & tonic on the beach watching the sun go down seemed to round off a days hard graft wrestling with all that heavy SCUBA stuff.

Oh - and here (above) is the obligatory Clown Fish shot! Apologies on behalf of MM for that further self-indulgence!


Tad said...

Chris could you pass on my congratulations to MM on a nice write up and great pics and say TT is very jealous

Matt said...

MW would like to say to MM you lucky git!
nice to have you back

Chris-P said...

If I see MM I'll let him know Tad. And, Matt, you are too kind!

Jimbob said...

Very envious of your mate Chris.

Simon-T said...

Looks like you found a piece of paradise. Welcome back to Blighty Chris, your blogging has been missed.

sean g said...

Your mate will have to join OV party and show off all your, oops sorry, his pictures!!!!

redmoon said...

Hi,Chris.Nice photos.Congatulation.

Chris-P said...

Thanks Ramon ~ hope this blog tempts you & Daniella into doing some scuba dive training!