Written by Henley Spiers
Photos taken by Henley Spiers
- That Clear Warm Water
The water in the Maldives has an inexorable pull – drawing us in to cool off from the year-round sunshine, and offering divers the opportunity to dive in without worrying about cumbersome thermal protection. Jump in free and easy, and enjoy spectacular visibility that offers the perfect window to Kandooma’s undersea world.
- Riding Currents
The sea rushes in and out of those signature Maldivian atolls, and scuba divers can ride these drifts along the best dives in the area. Picture yourself effortlessly flying underwater, enjoying the spectacle of marine life as it rushes by, you can even strike a superman pose if the mood takes you.
- A Glorious House Reef
Kandooma Thila is just a couple of minutes boat ride from the resort and renowned as one of the best dives in all of the Maldives. An underwater seamount covered with life, from grey reef sharks to hungry turtles; it’s a good job this site is so close as you’ll want to go back again and again.
- Keeping Everyone Happy
Hard as it may be to believe, not everyone is into scuba diving, or maybe they’re just too young for it…. Fear not, as at Kandooma, you can dive to your heart’s content whilst being sure that your non-diving partner/friend/family are happily catered for – take your pick from beach, pool, spa, a surf wave, and kindergarten.
- Fish Cleaning Stations
Spa life is not just the remit of holiday makers, fish take hygiene very seriously and will regularly visit underwater cleaning stations. Shrimps and cleaner wrasse are eager to offer this service, as it offers them a free meal in exchange. Watch in awe as they confidently venture deep into the mouth and gills of larger fish.
- Wonderful Weirdos
Life underwater has undergone an extraordinary evolution, and diving at Kandooma you can encounter some fantastical creatures. Mantis shrimps have the most advanced eyes in the animal kingdom, and can deliver a punch to their prey with the same power as a speeding bullet. Nudibranchs are amongst the most fragile inhabitants of the reef, and yet they loudly advertise their presence through gaudy colours and patterns – a signal to would-be predators of their toxicity. The starry moray eel has developed a bright yellow mouth, visible as it opens and closes it to breathe – exactly why remains a bit of a mystery.
- Visiting the Neighbours
As well as the dives on your doorstep, a day-trip South to neighbouring Vaavu atoll offers the chance to visit the largest unbroken coral reef in the Maldives at Fotteyo, an attractive shipwreck, and end the day diving with dozens of nurse sharks brushing past as the sun sets.
- Manta Meetings
Spot a pair of dark fin tips breaking the surface? It’s a manta ray, seasonal visitors to Kandooma where (much like us) they enjoy a good feed and invigorating cleaning sessions. Despite their size, they filter feed on tiny plankton, and their long tail is stingless. Approach them slowly and calmly, and these intelligent animals will make eye contact as they elegantly swoop past.
- Eagle Rays Steal the Show
Mantas often take top billing in the world of rays, but spotted eagle rays deserve to be more than just a supporting act. Kandooma is one of the best places in the world to encounter eagle rays, often in small schools as they glide around the reefs. The spotting on their back is completely unique to each individual, the equivalent of a human fingerprint.
- Soft Coral Gardens
The vigorous movement through the atoll delivers nutrients that soft corals eagerly reach out to feed from, and a carpet of these vibrant corals seems to adorn every surface. They come in many hues, sometimes a fashionable pinkish orange, or neon green, and sometimes in unforgettable purple. Experiencing dives where this rich garden of soft corals is complemented by masses of fish life, and tropical blue water is truly special, and part of the norm when diving in Kandooma!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR & PHOTOGRAPHY:
Henley Spiers is an award-winning photographer who has fast become one of the most highly decorated underwater shooters in the world. Best known for his black and white imagery, Henley transitioned to underwater photography in 2014 from his professional career as a dive instructor. With an impressive series of accolades, including two category wins in the Underwater Photographer of the Year, Ocean Geographic David Doubilet portfolio award, and first prize in the Black & White category of Nature Photographer of the year, you can catch a glimpse of the beautiful underwater world through Henley’s lens at www.henleyspiers.com.