Monday, November 11, 2013

A Dive at a Current Swept Reef in the Maldives.

The Sun rises over the edge of Kaafu Atoll, and you only grab a quick snack – there are more important things than breakfast today. Just a few clouds in the sky, glassy turquoise water in the lagoon – that perfect calm is in the air, only interrupted by the diving centre hosts who are buzzing around, preparing the dive gear.
Instructors give a briefing; a teasing of what is about to come, and it’s time to hop on a Dhoni (boat). On the way to the dive site you catch some sun while chatting and laughing with other divers. Someone points at the flying fish
jumping out in front of the boat and gliding for over 100 meters … A little while later you hear a high-pitch tsssssst; the air tanks open and your heart rate picks
up with anticipation; It is time get in-gear. Air, buoyancy, releases – all check, boat edge,you jump and finally touch water. You enter the amazing blue, and as you descend, you leave the world of worries at the surface, and enter the silent world. No more talking or arguing here, just the blue, few hand signals, and the incredible wildlife that surrounds you. 

You approach a reef that’s glittering with fish; all feeding on the plankton that is brought here by the current.  Instructors help you to hook onto the rock, and you just need to hold a cord and watch the show in front of you, while the cool water (28C) is rushing over your face. The abundance of small fish feeding in the current is astounding, and not only that; divers aside, it also attracts bigger, predatory fish and there is always some action brewing in the current.

Suddenly, out of the blue, a dogtooth tuna slices the school of fish in half, and the glitter of the panicking fish creates a magic light show. In fact, there are so many small fish that whenever the school changes direction you hear a sound similar to what you hear in wildlife documentaries.

Fast swimming giant trevallies join the hunt, chasing the fish all the way down to the reef. At the bottom of the reef the white-tip reef sharks, groupers and moray eels keep their watch for any fish that make the wrong move. With so many predators around, for a split second you can’t see a single small fish, just thousands of eyes peeking out of the coral...As the predators move away from the reef, the small fish mirror them and move back up to feed in the current once again. The whole show is simply hypnotizing…

Instructors signal that it is time to make a move. Hooks out of the rock, and you go for a ride with the current. No need to do anything – relax and enjoy the ride as you glide above the vibrant city of soft coral and busy fish, maybe even pass a turtle or an eagle ray on your drift… 

When the dive is over and you finally break the surface there is a moment of silence in the air. The feeling is a bit like waking up from an amazing dream, and you have to take some time to separate the reality from what has just
happened. Someone woke up faster than you; you hear somebody say “amazing!!!”... 

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