Maldives Wildlife Cruise
– Live-aboard sailing gulet
– See the South Male Atoll and South Ari Atoll
– Don’t miss out on the Maldives wildlife that roams freely around you
– Go snorkelling or take basic scuba diving course to swim amongst amazing ocean life
– See Hulhumalé, a reclaimed island located in the south of North Malé Atoll, Maldives
BEST TIME TO GO
TOUR AT A GLANCE
Travelers join a small group on this wonderful week-long wildlife cruise in the Maldives as they set out on the water in a traditionally built sailing gulet in search of an incredibly exciting underwater world. The gulet is ideal for snorkelling, swimming, or lounging on the deck and watching the stars.
The greatest approach to genuinely experience the Maldives is to learn about its marine ecosystem. This will give you the chance to visit uninhabited sandy beaches and make memories like seeing your first manta ray or whale shark emerge from the Indian Ocean. You may anticipate seeing a variety of turtle species, spinner and bottlenose dolphins, manta rays, and sharks on this wildlife trip in the Maldives, making it one that will stick in your memory long after the sun tan has finally faded.
Transfer by dhoni to board the MV Felicity by midday, arriving in time for a light lunch. This ship will be our home for the next six days. Today, we sail to South Male Atoll’s Guraidhoo. You are free to do as you like during this time; unwind on the sundeck, take a seat in the shade of the sun canopy, and take in the breathtaking beauty of the Maldives while perhaps spotting dolphins. We’ll do our best to arrange for you to go on your first snorkelling adventure this afternoon. If the Maldives’ islands are stunning, what lies beneath the water is a true marvel of nature. The diversity of coral that grows on the reefs that surround the islands and atolls is as diverse as the marine life that inhabits and surrounds them. This, together with the remarkably clear water, combine to make snorkelling and diving in the Maldives an unforgettable experience.
Our first visit this morning will be a reef on the east side of the atoll that has a good chance of providing us with several opportunities to see turtles. Turtles have a plentiful supply of food thanks to the shallow reef’s abundance of corals. There will be a wide variety of fish to see, including Box fish, Porcupine fish, and schools of Banner fish, as there are on all Maldivian reefs. We will enter Ari Atoll later in the day and go south to the island of Dhangethi. There may be time this afternoon, depending on the sailing conditions, to go on another snorkelling excursion before visiting the nearby island of Dhangethi, where we will have a traditional Maldivian afternoon tea. A typical Maldivian fishing island, Dhangethi has a fascinating tale to tell about the moon and a Maldives Sultan.
The South Ari Atoll location is extremely fortunate to have a distinctive year-round population of whale sharks. Whale sharks are found nowhere else in the world every month of the year, and many of the sharks sighted are the same ones repeatedly. Before embarking on our own whale shark safari, we spend time learning about these wonderful animals and how identification can be accomplished with a member of the Maldives Whale Shark Research Team or a local marine biologist. Given that whale sharks are wild animals living in their natural habitat, we might spot one or two in a half-hour, or we might not see any during the entire search period. However, the excitement is increased by the uncertainty! If we manage to spot them, we’ll have the chance to snorkel right next to them, which will be an absolutely magical experience. If you want to keep up with a whale shark in the water, you may have to put in a lot of effort.
We are returning to the quest for whale sharks today, and if the season is right (December to March), we might possibly see manta rays. After lunch, we’ll be brought to one of the greatest snorkelling spots in the area, where we might be lucky enough to spot turtles among the vibrant fish and coral. The choice of snorkelling locations is significantly influenced by the water’s characteristics and currents. Fish species such Dogtooth tuna, Trevally’s, Jacks, Sweetlips, Butterfly fish, Wahoo, and Fusiliers are nevertheless likely to be found. On board MV Felicity, the day is one for relaxation when you’re not out on the water.
We will sail to Madivaru, a marine protected area with two cleaning stations, on departures between February and April with the hopes of seeing manta rays there. Our guide and crew will try their best to see Manta rays via a radio network between dive and cruising vessels, but if we aren’t fortunate enough, other snorkelling possibilities to see sharks, turtles, eels, octopus, and rays will be provided. Out of season, it is still possible to see lone Manta rays, and we’ll also take full advantage of our last chance to see whale sharks. This marine protected area has a multitude of intriguing dive spots, and qualified divers are given the choice to dive there. A Discover Scuba Diving Course is available for those who have never dived before to teach them the fundamental safety precautions and techniques required to dive under the direct supervision of a PADI professional. Snorkeling is permitted in this marine preserve for those who don’t dive. We set out on our voyage to the north this afternoon.
Before setting an anchor in the late-afternoon off the island of Hulhumale, we cruise north. As we cruise, we can do as we please: unwind on the sundeck, sit in the shade of the sun canopy, read a book, or simply take in the beauty of the Maldives. This morning will be our final opportunity to snorkel in these tropical waters. For those who want to get some exercise after mooring in Hulhumale lagoon, there will be an optional walking tour of Male. This evening, a presentation gives a general overview of the Maldives’ marine ecology and the efforts local NGO’s are making to save it.
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