The Maldives should be definitely on your short term travel list. See it and check it off from your list as long as it is still there.
We traveled the Maldives in December 2015 on the MV Orion, and two aspects poke into our eyes.
- Massive coral bleach, as the year before in Bikini, due to the warm water that was at 28 degrees Celsius in 30-meter depth right in a strong current. No chance for the corals to survive this and the result is no (big) fish. At least not during my dives, when I was waiting at depth in currents for at least some lost reef sharks. After all, this was only proof that the impact of the coral bleach arrived at the top of the food chain. The poor sharks are the salami in the disaster sandwich of collapsing ecosystem and lots of shark-fins loving Chinese.
- The second aspect is a shifted and more unstable climate pattern leading to clouds and rain in a time when the sun was guaranteed just ten years before.
This is a massive challenge for the crew, as the mood of the travelers spirals down the drain as the hope to see them again in the following years. To prevent this, they will cook a plankton soup and invite you to a Manta Campfire.
There is a very famous one in Hawai, but actually, it is straightforward and easy to arrange. The effect is totally and absolutely mindboggling and results in a lifetime experience you should not miss if you enjoy diving, as we do.
Receipt for a plankton soup to serve at the Manta Campfire:
- Get to a spot where mantas regularly pass by
- Anchor somewhere, where you can drop your divers on a flat undemanding sand floor not to deep, best around 10 meters.
- Switch on all your boat lights and point them to the sea. We talk about massive 1000 watt lights here.
- Now, wait for a little. After about one hour the sea is full of plankton, and somehow the mantas taste this. They will come to this spot from everywhere around.
- After you have briefed your divers that you will personally fin them if anybody touches the mantas you can send them down with their lights, where they have to lay on their backs in a circle and point with their lights up to form the cone of a campfire.
You have a lot of plankton, and the mantas around will go crazy right into a feeding frenzy. If you are one of the lucky divers down there, relax and enjoy the show.