Duden Waterfall, Antalya, Turkiye.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Antalya, Turkiye.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Paris, France on May 1st.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Swimming with the sharks

While we could spend our three full days here on the island of Dhiffushi just lazing about, the Maldives are one of the top locations in the world for snorkeling and diving. We are not divers, but we are quite happy to do some world class snorkeling!

Especially when our host told us that we could be swimming with the sharks as well!

We've done a lot of very cool things in our travels. One of which was Cage diving with the Great White Sharks off the coast of South Africa.

Here in the Maldives, they do have several species of sharks in the waters... but not the great white. The most common one here is the nurse shark. They can grow to 4 meters (14 feet) long, but are not typically dangerous towards humans. In fact, there are zero recorded fatalities in this area, although they can bite if aggravated.

Most of the smaller hotels here on the island are owned by offshore companies. They typically charge $30 USD per person to take people out to the reef for some snorkeling (with the possibility of seeing sea turtles), and $90 USD to take you swimming with the sharks. Just for perspective, the expensive private island resorts charge $250 USD for exactly the same thing!

Our host Hushan, here at Nirili Villa is a local though, and he seems to pride himself on being able to get the best price for anything on the island, with the money going directly to the local supplying the service. He charges $25 for the turtle reef, and $70 for the sharks. He gave us a combined price where they would take us swimming with the sharks, and then stop at the turtle reef to do some more snorkeling for a total of $85 USD ($115 CAD) each. 

We were up at 6:00am to watch the 6:15am sunrise...

Sunrise in the Maldives.

This sand crab came out to watch the sunrise too!

We had breakfast at 7:00am because our host told us we wanted to be on the water early to get to the sharks location before the rest of the tourists. He said it is a much better experience to get there early and be the only ones there. Sounds logical to us!

Ruth getting in the boat with our guide, and the driver.

Hmm. It's looking a little stormy in that direction.

Heading out of the harbor.

It's definitely looking dark off to the right.

I had checked the forecast, and they were definitely calling for rain in the morning, but Hushan had said that it will be fine. The rain usually blows through quickly.

It didn't take long and we were out to sea with nothing to see but the sea itself!

Then we spotted another island in the distance.

We had no idea how this "swim with the sharks" thing works. So when we arrived at a different island and got off the boat, we kind of looked at each other like "what's going on?"

We were brought to a sort of a rough harbor where there was a skeleton of a whale, and a large platform with a ladder leading down to the water.

The whale skeleton.

We walked up the stairs of the platform, and looked over the railing...

Sharks!

There were about a dozen of them.

As well as hundreds of other fish. It was almost like being at one of the big aquariums... but this was all out in nature!

But having said that... it is a little bit of a setup for tourists. Apparently they used to use this area to clean fish that were caught, and they would throw the scraps back in the water. The nurse sharks got used to it, and they show up every day at the same time. Now, they throw bits of chicken skin in the water, and it keeps the sharks coming back.

Our guide assured us that it was totally safe, provided you don't touch them, and you maintain your distance. Nurse sharks are not aggressive, although they can bite if you purposely annoy them. I had done some research, and it's true... there are no recorded deaths from nurse sharks, but there are a couple of bite incidences.

Our guide getting in the water.

We carry around a small, ten year old Fuji waterproof camera. It's not the best quality, but we keep it for emergency use... or for times like this where we actually need a waterproof camera!

We weren't in the water long and this fellow swam in front of me.

These ones are about two meters (just over six feet) long.


There were a lot of other fish swimming about as well.







Despite the fact that it was kind of set up, it was still a very cool experience. The photos don't really do it justice. I took a short video for you as well. It actually turned out better than the still shots, so I should have taken more videos...


Ruth, swimming with the sharks.

Ruth!

Just as we were leaving, a private group of about ten people arrived. Our guide said that he has seen as many as 60 people here at one time, and it actually scares the sharks away. So glad we were the only ones!

From there, it was another half hour or so by boat to the turtle reef. Along the way, the skies darkened, and we got dumped on with rain for about 15 minutes. So much, that he had to slow the boat down because the rain drops were stating to hurt. Of course we got soaked, but it didn't really matter.

A colorful fellow.

I took a whack of photos, with the hope that I'd end up with a few good ones. They're not bad, but not as good as I thought they were when I actually took them! Again, the photos don't do it justice. 

We've been snorkeling at some pretty good sites in Dominican Republic, Barbados, and Mexico, but this was by far better. Fantastic numbers of different types of fish.

The problem was that the fish are constantly moving, and because the sun wasn't shining, it was actually a bit dark so there's a slow shutter speed. Not only that, but the sea itself was a bit rough.





The coral itself was interesting.


A turtle!

I had actually gone back to the boat to put a life jacket on. Wasn't feeling that comfortable in the rough water. While I was doing that, Ruth and the guide were actually close enough to this turtle that Ruth touched its back!

We followed it for a while, but eventually it outswam us.


Ruth!




This fish was actually really pretty. Orange with some grey stripes.


Our guide.

They pretty much let us stay there until we were tired. 

Overall, a fantastic morning out. Probably would have made for better photos if the sun was shining, but we didn't have much control over that. As far as value goes, I think it would probably have been best to just do the reef snorkeling for $25, but how often in your life will you get a chance to swim with the sharks?

Had enough water for the day and just relaxed in the room for the afternoon, but went for a walk around the island at sunset, and used the exercise machines for a half an hour. 

Not much of a sunset.

This bird was also watching the sunset.

A colorful crab.

Huge fruit bat!

The largest bat species in the world lives here in the islands. The one in the photo above is actually a flying fox bat, the smaller of the two species. The larger one can have a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters (five feet)! We haven't seen one of them yet.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Last day of Amazon's Amazon's Big Spring Sale.

And in Canada...

4 comments:

  1. Awesome! We swam with sharks, rays, turtles, etc. in Belize, and it is an amazing experience indeed. I looooove snorkeling when the conditions are good. Glad you got to do that, and without a hoard of tourists makes it even more special.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was pretty amazing to have the opportunity to snorkel with the sharks and turtles. We didn't see any stingrays though, although I have in Mexico just swimming off a beach in Huatulco. We have heard that the snorkeling and diving it great in Belize, so I am glad that you got that opportunity as well.

      It was a shame that the weather wasn't a little more cooperative but you can't control it as Kevin mentioned but it was still a great experience and we agree with you snorkeling is fantastic when the conditions are right and especially not having to deal with lots of people.

      Delete
  2. WOW! How neat and a turtle out ran you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was very cool! The turtle actually swam off the reef shelf and into the abyss which is when our guide had us turn around and head back onto the reef.

      Delete

There are more comments on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TravelwithKevinAndRuth

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.