Ocean First in the Maldives 2018

By OceanFirst on 2/23/18

A trip report by Kathy Gagliardo:

Well, back from another Ocean First adventure, complete with camels, high tea, manta rays, whale sharks, turtles, dive milestones and a birthday!  We can’t thank those who joined us enough for trusting us to lead them on a wonderful vacation.  

The adventure started with six ladies on an extended layover in Dubai for four days of jam-packed sightseeing. Our city tour to the spice & gold souks was impressive and the evening dinner cruise on Dubai Creek rounded out our views of the city. Next up was an overnight desert safari where we rode camels, saw a falconry display, got henna tattoos and got to try the very thick and fire brewed arabic coffee (our favorite!). It was quite the contrast to view a peaceful desert sunrise and then travel way up in the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, for High Tea in the afternoon. We even had time to go to the Dubai Mall and see a fountain show that rivals that at the Bellagio, as well as a short stop at the Mall of the Emirates to view the indoor ski area. Pretty impressive for four short days!

Next up, the Maldives! These islands are a major bucket list item for most divers, and for good reason. During our week on the amazing Carpe Vita liveaboard vessel, we were treated like royalty. The meals were wonderful and inventive, the quarters were incredibly spacious, and the large dive dhoni made everything so easy. We typically got in four dives a day and saw loads of turtles, nudibranchs, eagle rays, and even a couple of frogfish. The Maldives are most famous for their manta diving, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. The giants swim over you so gracefully that you can’t help but laugh and smile (and inevitably flood your mask!). They tended to stay in place and put on a show for as long as the divers were there. When we had to ascend at the end of each dive, they would swim under us as if to say goodbye before heading back into the blue. It’s hard to put to words how special these moments were.

While the mantas were certainly a highlight, let’s not forget about the sharks. It was an absolute blast to spend several of our dives hooked onto the reef and watching the white tips and silver tips swim casually in front of us. The currents weren't for the faint-of-heart, but that’s usually what brings in the cool stuff! One of the best strong current dives was our night dive, where hundreds of nurse sharks surrounded us and were bumping into us along with a handful of rays. Even on our safety stop they were swarming over our heads. Amazing! And to top it all off, we lucked out and got to snorkel with a whale shark. Everyone was in awe of the long list of incredible sightings we had during our 10 day trip.

Congrats to Karen for reaching her 350th dive, to Paula for her B-Day and to Ruth for finally seeing a whale shark after 20+ years of diving (yes, they do exist!).

Until next time!


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