Today 6th Oxctober 2019 is the mile stone of my life . Its because I have swam with hundreds of sharks in Maldives. I am someone who is obsessed with sharks since I was a child. I remember my parents took me to cinema to watch Jaws which was very popular that time. That instilled me with fear of sharks .
But I know there are many harmless sharks and I trust tourist industry will never do anything risky. So I and my boyfriend booked a tour to see Manta rays and sharks.
The tour starts from 9am and it cost 50USD per person. As usual we gathered near Arena resort office and collected our life jackets and snorkelling gears. At first I was disappointed as the boat for today was quite small and my favorite tour guide whom I met yesterday was not in today. Yesterday we went for another tour and many tour guides followed us. So we had luxury of being looked after by many tour guides and I was worried about safety of small boat as well as number of staff ( only one tour guide ) for our group. But we eventually found out our group have so many friendly people and we began introducing to each other.
The first place was for watching dolphins. If you read my previous post, I have already mentioned about watching a dolphin pod in Maldives part 2. But today, dolphins decided to show us their acrobatic skill. They started to jump in the air one after another and I believe they wanted to entertain us. What intelligent and friendly creatures! I cannot even imagine why anyone should harm them. Some of photos are shared by Alex and Merry who are from China and Indonesia. They are very nice couple and we only met them today . We clicked on camera and not sure whether we could get good pictures as dolphins appeared in the air unexpectedly and rapidly . But I believe I did capture some of good photos although images are small.
After dolphin sighting, the guide searched for the mantas to swim with. Both Manta and sharks are nocturnal animals and usually sleep during day time. I am amazed at the way tour guides can see manta from very far. He warned us that Manta rays can swim fast and we need to ready to jump in once he sees one. With that instruction, I decided to give up on it. Haha. First of all, I cannot swim well. Secondly, I need someone to push me back to boat if I drift away from boat. With one guide juggling everything for whole group, I do not trust I could get help . So I watched from the boat. Most of our group did well and managed to see Manta very shortly. Manta ofcos swam away very swiftly like a celebrity chased by paparazis. The tide was very strong and my boyfriend was exhausted after chasing Manta. He could not see very well without his glasses and he ended up swimming without seeing manta.
For awhile, our tour guide kept on searching mantas but we could not find anymore at that moment after first manta disappeared. So we decided to go to shark bay to swim with sharks. Our tour guide advised us as follows ” please do not touch sharks. do not pull their tails and do not ride on them”. I was amazed and wonder whether tourists have done that to poor sharks.
When we arrived at shark bay, I was surprised it was very near to resort. We could see big sharks from the boat and they were swimming leisurely. One of our group jumped from the boat and accidentally hit one shark. These sharks are nurse shark and now only realized they are not harmful . They eat squid, stingray and small fish .So they are incapable of killing any human beings.In fact they does bite humans ( most are human fault as men think they are very docile) , 52 times recorded but none of the bites are lethal. They have small mouth with small teeth attached to a large pharynx. Nurse sharks can suck the prey into the large pharynx after swallowing. nurse shark can live up to 20 years for female and 15 years for male. . The largest recorded is 302 cm and average length is 8 to 9 feet .So the sharks we saw were both young and mature nurse sharks. Our guide brought some food for sharks and once feeding started, all sharks swam towards the boat as if they were used to feeding.
above photo is courtsey to Nim who brought his new drone to the trip. He kindly shared these precious pictures with us and also took group photo for us at the end of trip.
These sharks were not agressive at all although people accidentally touched them while swimming. Now I live to tell sharks can be friendly.
After we swam with the sharks , we went to the sand bank to have our lunch. It was sunny and quite hot on the sand bank . Thanks to our tour guide, we could sit under parasols and had our lunch. The water was shallow and we could dip in and took photos. Thanks to Merry , we could get some couple photos as well.
At that time, I became warming up to the tour guide and realized he is such a nice person. Izay made sure all of us photos were taken by him.. But I need to see his photography skills when I receive my pictures. Its amazing that tour guide can do multitasking.
I went into the sea and tried to see some fish while my boyfriend tried to recover from sun burn..His scottish skin is very vulnerable to sun burn as he is not used to tropical weather.
After lunch, we took group photo with Nim’s drone and the video was lovely.
After departing Sandy bank, we headed towards another island to drop off two of our group.
Then on the way back , we found a big manta ray unexpectedly. This time only one of us volunteered to swim with Manta ( no need to say that it cannot be me ). Kayleigh from Netherland jumped into the water gracefully although she was aware the water was cold under the drizzles. I went to the front of the boat to see manta from afar while Izay jumped in with her to take picture of her with Manta.
Manta swam very fast to get away and it was fascinating to see as Kayleigh and Izay are very good swimmers.
I did my usual cheating part. Taking selfie with Manta which probably is 10 miles away from me. 😅
The sky was very dark on the way as if storms were coming.
The water was turbulent and my boyfriend complained his bums were sore due to bumpy boat ride. But the boatman and tourguide were so chill that it reassured me in a way.
I also saw a lot of flying fish and even thought they were waterbirds forawhile.
Finally we safely arrived back to Maafushi and said good bye to each other. I was very glad that I met new friends during this trip.
water challets under construction.
On the way back , my boyfriend advised me 100th time to reduce weight and to go to gym so that next time, I will be able to chase manta. Haha. I might need to write another blog about our failing diet plan. Right now, I need to go and have my buffet.
Thanks for reading.
Edit. One of my friends told me we should wear wet suit to protect wild life from catching our diseases and we should not wear sun cream before jumping in. I did not find suitable wet suit for me. But I will avoid wearing sun cream next time