The Dharavandhoo Dive site is quite near Hanifaru Bay so the chance to see Mantas on this dive is quite high, depending on the time of the year.
The Captain drops me surprisingly close to shore and I descend onto a sandy bottom.
At first, I wonder why we chose this dive site, but after just three minutes it becomes very clear as to why we are here. Fifteen meters from where we started, the sand falls away to a reef that looks like a breaking pipeline wave. Because of the positioning of this reef, I am well protected from most of the current.
One can become quite accustomed to the bustling fish life in the Maldives but this dive site has a lot of Triggerfish species. There are the large Titan triggers that size you up as you swim past. There are scores of blue triggerfish that scurry off back into their holes in the reef as I come closer to see them. My favourite triggerfish is the Clown triggerfish that are often found in pairs picking at the Corals.
As I continue my dive I find a Hawksbill Sea turtle grazing on a patch of false Coral. These animals are incredible to look at up close. I get in as close as I can without scaring it and notice that the back of its neck is covered with red algae and the odd crab. The turtle has become a habit providing a safe haven for other species.
I move off along the reef when something small catches my eye. This is one of my favorite animals to see underwater… The Peacock Mantis Shrimp! This territorial critter aggressively claps its pincers at me as a warming so I back off and admire it from a distance.
The Author: Talya Davidoff is a marine biologist, freediving champion and dive instructor.