Our second week in the Maldives was spent in relative luxury on the beautiful island of Helengeli – home to the Oblu by Atmosphere resort. The resort is just a 50 minute transfer from Male, found at the top of the North Male Atoll. Because we had been so spoilt by the incredible encounters with large pelagics on blue Voyager, we opted to spend the week at a much slower pace when it came to the diving here.
Our enigmatic, affable and all round nice-guy guide Sergio offered us some amazing trips to see Manta, Sharks and a number of day trips to see cool ‘big’ stuff; when in reality all we really wanted to do was get our macro lens out and spend a few dives scouring a small area looking for tiny critters.
As luck would have it, our new Catalonian friend (he clearly stated on numerous occasions he is from Barcelona – not Spain) is a talented photographer and loves nothing better than diving with his impressive Sagadive macro lens. We were spoilt rotten again! Sergio happily spent every dive pointing out critters that were literally impossible to see with the naked eye. How he even knew where to look was beyond me!
We had everything from Ornate Ghost Pipefish and Frogfish, to Costaciella (Shaun the Sheep Nudi) and the mind blowing ‘Psychedelic Batwing Nudi’. Now these Nudibranch are just crazy tiny – we’d seen pictures before from some of the pros out there, but never in our lives did we imagine them to be so, well… small!!
You’d literally have better luck trying to video a flapping wing on the back of a fly!
The concentration and steady hand that was required was mentally draining, but I came home from that trip with a new appreciation for just how hard trying to capture any kind of video is, when there is a stiff current and your subject is smaller than a grain of sand!
We can’t recommend the resort highly enough but at the top of my list of plaudits is the Maldives in general. An amazing trip where we saw the biggest fish in the world, to one of the smallest critters you can find in any ocean. To say we are in love with the Maldives is an understatement and we absolutely can NOT wait to return!!
Next week: Moray Madness…
For more from Richard and Hayley visit www.blackmantaphotography.com.