Project Shark: Maldives
The aim of 'Project Shark' is to highlight the global issues facing sharks, with a Maldivian focus, as well as enjoying some of the most exciting dive sites the Maldives have to offer.
QUALIFICATION NEEDED: There is no minimum dive qualification, however the channel dives on this itinerary are more suited to experienced divers who should ideally be a PADI Advanced Open Water or equivalent.
ROUTE: North Male - South Male - Felidhu - Meemu - South Ari - North Male
Please note that there will be one night dive during this itinerary.
The week will involve close encounters with sharks, manta rays and whale sharks (although these sightings cannot be guaranteed!) with the possibility to observe them in their natural habitat and donate vital information to local Maldivian marine research organisations.
Our very own dive consultant and marine biologist Nikki Weeden BSc (Hons), whose passion lies with shark conservation, will be hosting the trips from January 2013. Nikki studied marine biology at Plymouth University and wrote her undergraduate thesis on shark populations in the Bahamas, contributing to papers of which have been published such as Brooks E, Sloman A, Sims D, Danylchuk A (2011). The study validated the use of baited remote underwater video surveys for assessing the diversity, distribution and abundance of sharks in the Bahamas.
Joining the team in 2011, Nikki now has the opportunity to get back to her roots by passing on her extensive knowledge and promoting conservation through education with blue o two's Project Shark: Maldives.
The week will offer the opportunity to:
- Learn about the biology and behaviour of sharks within the Maldives
- Learn and develop skills in marine biological studies; collecting data and species identification
- Learn about globally endangered marine species and what we can do as divers to ensure their protection
- Enjoy fantastic diving on some of the most unique dive sites in the world
- Experience potential close encounters with sharks, manta rays and whale sharks
Project Shark is delivered by our resident marine biologist Nikki Weeden, who will conduct seminars giving divers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the biology and behaviour of sharks. There will also be a chance to learn about globally endangered marine species and what as divers we can do to aid their protection.
Why join this itinerary?
Encounters with endangered species allows divers to add a greater purpose to their Maldives holiday, so anyone who has an active interest in the preservation of the marine environment and its inhabitants would enjoy this itinerary. However, important to bear in mind is that as well as learning from experts about marine bio-studies within the Maldives, divers will enjoy exciting diving with possible encounters with some of the largest pelagic animals on the planet.
**PLEASE NOTE** the itinerary below is just an example of the route taken and the order and dive sites are not guaranteed. All dives sites are subject to weather conditions and the final route taken is at the absolute discretion of the captain and dive guides.
Day 1 - North Male
Day 2 - South Male
Day 3 - Felidhu
Day 4 - Meemu
Day 5 - South Ari
Day 6 - North Male
Guraidhoo Kandu South: Since the eastern side of the channel is open ocean, large predatory fish can regularly be spotted here. This site is famous for sightings of sharks, schools of eagle rays and the occasional sail fish and hammerheads. The best condition to do the dive is when the current is flowing into the atoll. The dive begins on the outer reef following the current into the atoll. Most of the pelagic species can be observed on the eastern side, where the reef drops off into the deep ocean. At the end of the dive in the channel, along the reef you can find overhangs with plenty of soft coral growth and small fish.
Rangali Madivaru: Madi means "ray" in Dhivehi. Between the months of December and April this is a superb manta ray cleaning station. As with many good manta points, the reef slopes down gently from its top at 8m (25ft) to the atoll floor at 30m (100ft). Although there are many cleaning stations along this 1km reef, the area where the mantas are most active is midway along the northern side. A deep basin, almost 100m (110yd) across has formed in the coral and as the currents flow out of the atoll, the waters eddy in the basin. This attracts the mantas, which hover gracefully in the current.
Maluku Kandul: The north east is peppered with submerged pinnacles covered predominantly in soft corals, whilst the west will see you surrounded by jacks and snappers. Keep an eye open for sharks and rays at 30m!
Want to go? Check out the Schedules and Prices HERE
Thanks to (Dray Van Beeck) for providing the featured