For many guests, diving at Six Senses Laamu is a special experience because of guaranteed encounters with megafauna including manta rays, sharks and turtles; common finds in the abundant dive sites of Laamu Atoll, which guests enjoy all to themselves. Now the resort’s dive center, Deep Blue Divers, is ready to present the atoll’s uniqueness in a different light. It has become the first premium resort to introduce blackwater diving in the Maldives, which is gaining popularity across the globe among many dive enthusiasts.
The blackwater diving experience is different from a typical day or night dive. It takes place in the open ocean, with divers drifting with the current in mid-water. Divers are guided by a string of LED lights attached to a vertical rope tethered to a surface-floating buoy. The lights also attract the deep dwelling, often alien-looking micro creatures, emerging vertically every night from the abyss of the ocean in search of food, in one of the greatest migrations happening on the planet.
“We are very lucky to be some of the first divers to witness this in the Maldives. There is no specific area or special time of the night to do this dive. Ocean creatures we would never normally encounter are drawn from the depths and darkness to feed on zooplankton that are attracted to the lights,” explained Philippa Roe, one of the senior marine biologists working with the resort’s Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI).
Many of these critters, usually smaller than a human thumb, are ethereal reef fish in their juvenile phase, or invertebrates such as pygmy squids, fluorescent bristle worms and rainbow-pulsating comb jellies. “Expect the unexpected, because most, if not all, of the discoveries you make on a blackwater dive will be new to you. If you are lucky, they may be new to science as well,” exclaimed Marteyne van Well, general manager of Six Senses Laamu and an avid diver, who is also among the first people to experience the blackwater dive in Laamu Atoll.
Up-close and personal encounters with these wonders of the nocturnal pelagic sea life, against the striking black background, create perfect photo opportunities for underwater photographers and a fascinating experience for the adventurous divers to feed their sense of adventure.
“No two blackwater dives are ever the same, even when going several nights in a row. And each dive yields unexpected new treasures for everyone from novices to the most experienced divers,” commented Sascha Janson, resident photo pro at Deep Blue Divers. There is no specific training required to do a blackwater dive but any diver with good buoyancy skills can participate in this experience.
Deep Blue Divers is a PADI Five Star dive center, which is also Green Star awarded for its commitment to ocean conservation.