Miracle island

Miracle island

Today’s story about Maldives. Is there anything new to say about this place? It looks like Maldives are completely explored by divers and travelers, but we were surprised a lot after exploring Dhigurah island. Here, you won’t find expensive hotels and beaches crowded with tourists. In local village you can taste pure Maldivian food (mostly fish + coconut), the wild beach is glowing with plankton lights during the night, half of the island covered with the real jungle. Dhigurah is not a regular island for Maldives.

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But the main point of interest here is underwater wildlife. On the house reef you can meet a whale sharks which are just locals and live here on the reef. Not so common, am I right? You just go out of the hotel and go snorkeling on the house reef. For free. You don’t have to go to Mexico or Tanzania and pay a lot for the whale sharks!

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On the other side of the island you can find large aggregation of manta rays, the most beautiful ray of tropical and equatorial seas. Of course it’s not such a giants that you may find in Mexico, just “common” reef mantas. It takes 10 minutes from the island to reach the manta point, and they can be found there every day.

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In 2009 the status of reef manta as a separate species was confirmed. As the smaller relatives, the were given a new name of Manta alfredi, while the larger oceanic mantas keeped the classic name of Manta birostris. Both species are listed as “vulnerable” by IUCN.

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Today it’s hard to impress experienced divers with mantas and whale sharks. But here you can find both in the same place and in 10 minutes from your hotel! Local divers told us that you can see both species all year round. We came to Dhigurah by accidentally and fell in love with this place.

Honestly, this article was written to show you this video. I really love it.

P.S. That was a lovely time when I haven’t started to use DLSR underwater, so all the pictures and videos are made on my GoPro HERO3. Sorry for that:)

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Ethical difficulties of whale shark snorkeling

Ethical difficulties of whale shark snorkeling

After spending a great week in Malapascua (Philippines), the world capital of thresher sharks, we headed to the southern Cebu, to the small town of Oslob, famous for having year-round whale sharks feeding. Here local fishermen realized that they can make money out of feeding whale sharks with shrimps.

We got from Oslob to the place by local “taxi”, sitting on the 2nd place on the scooter and holding my DLSR with UW housing in my hands, while driving along the wet slippery serpentine. That was the invigorating start of the day.

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Shark swim vertically and suck the shrimps from the surface. After a while shark become bored, swim several meters away and start feeding again. Local whale sharks are 5-6 meters long, much less than their maximum lenght – they can grow up to 14 meters.

If you decide to go there, you should remember about several things which can make your day worse than you expected. First of all, the number of tourists is enormous – everybody goes here for the whale shakrs. The smell of shripms is everywhere, and the visibility could be much better. Nevertheless, it worth visiting if you haven’t seen this big guys before. And you should also remember that you can go to jail if you touch the shark.

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How this way of making tourism affects the ecosystem and the living of wild animals?  Many conservationists claim that feeding in Oslob is wrong, unnatural and unethical. If you google “Oslob” you can find several articles with scary titles and pics of bloody corpses of whale sharks killed by bad guys.

I understand that conservationists who write such articles love sharks. And they also love shark diving in places like Tiger Beach or Capetown, where exactly the same process takes place – shark feeding, but with the different species of sharks. The only real difference is that here in Oslob anyone can go in the water with the sharks, while in Tiger beach and other places it looks like “diving for the chosen” or “diving for the brave”, because there we dive with dangerous sharks. Isn’t it hypocritical?

I love diving with sharks and I don’t blame anyone who feeds the sharks, as long as it doesn’t cause a real harm to the animal. If the animal feels uncomfortable, it will simply go away. And I don’t think that the shark can forget how to find food if you feed it.

What is your opinion?

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