We woke up the first day and went for a morning stroll along the beach. After just a few minutes we were already giddy with excitement of what we saw in the crystal clear water.
Baby black tip reef sharks, 30-50cm in length and swimming casually in the knee deep lagoon right next to the break wall that we were walking on. And next to them a handful of stingrays sneaking around the rocks looking for a crunchy crab to snack on. We contacted the dive shop as soon as possible, obviously, and booked our first dives for the following day and went to fetch our snorkel gear.
Linus met an ex-pat that gave an excellent tip on how to use the current to our advantage. The tidal difference isn’t that big on Thulusdhoo but the current gets really strong around the island. When the high tide turned to low we could basically fly from the lagoon through a narrow channel, under a bridge, out into the next lagoon and then swing around the island. That last bit was very important as the current otherwise takes you to the next island.
Under the surface we saw the usual suspects for a shallow reef but at a smaller size as the lagoons acted as nurseries. Unfortunately a lot of the corals was in bad shape as the Maldives quite recently had a bad case of coral bleaching. We had hoped to see the same amazing coral recovery had taken place as the Similan Islands but sadly, this will take quite a few years of fair conditions until it comes back. There were some new growth at least and some healthy bits here and there.
The following day we took the 10 minute walk across the island to the harbour to meet up with the dive people and head south in the speedboat towards our first spot. Under the pier we saw an immensely dense school of “bait fish”, it must have been thousands upon thousands of them and we kind of wanted to dive right there on the pier, haha.
The trip took about 20 minutes and we geared up along the way. After the dive brief we took our giant strides into the blue and descended on the sloping reef site. The visibility was utterly insane, easily 40m and as we arrived at the bottom at 30m there were some white tip reef sharks cruising over the sand. We turned north and started to explore the reef but our eyes were now fixed in the blue for larger things swimming about. Just after a couple of minutes we had already seen another shark and a couple of eagle rays.
All in all we did 5 dives during our time on Thulusdoo and the clarity of the water and the amount of life was stunning with eagle rays and reef sharks in abundance. We were really sad to see how badly the reef was damaged, but happy to see that it had started to come back in some areas. Fingers crossed it will continue to grown and make as amasing progress as the reef around the Similans.