Having experienced the Red Sea and various other dive sites, I wanted to dive with some really big fish, so the Maldives seemed like the ideal location.
Add to that getting away from a freezing cold winter and seeing in the New Year in a tropical paradise and it was an easy decision.
Diving in the Maldives is amazing. Watching 5 or 6 metre wide manta rays at a cleaning station, snorkelling with a whale shark or being bumped into by stingrays and 3 metre long sharks is an unforgettable experience. The dive that I’ll never forget, though, was a night dive with mantas. We rigged up a powerful light at the stern of the boat, attracting plankton, which in turn attracted the mantas.
We dived down 10 metres and hooked into the reef at the bottom. We were in a semi-circle and in the middle was the shaft of light from the boat, while the darkness stretched all around. Into that light came three mantas, wheeling around, turning circles, flashing their white undersides like matadors capes, whirling like ballet or flamenco dancers before gliding barely centimetres over our heads – simply the most captivating, elegant, graceful and enchanting thing I have ever seen.
Add to that the glorious weather, perfect tropical islands and the super food, and you have THE HOLIDAY OF A LIFETIME.
The only downside was coming home, direct from plus twenty to minus ten degrees in only one day!
– Graham Crawford