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The Maldives are famous for the ‘Big Stuff’, Mantas, sharks, turtles, rays, groupers and morays etc… which we saw. But, if one looks more closely, there are some amazing critters of a more diminutive size.
Delicate pipefish merging with the coral debris, blennies peeping out of the coral, dartfish hovering over their lair, Christmas tree and fan worms that disappear if you get too close, beautiful Twin Chromodorid nudibranch and the colourful Varicose Warty sea slug, whip gobies skittering along their host.
Long-nose Hawkfish and Long-nose Filefish hiding amongst the corals, determined that you won’t get a decent picture of them, juvenile Golden Trevally hiding under the fin of a resting Tawny Nurse Shark, the juvenile Bicolour Parrotfish (30 times smaller than the adult) and the elegant Anemone Porcelain Crab sharing the toxic fronds with Clownfish. The list goes on. I did see a tiny (little finger nail-size) juvenile of, what I believe to be, a Checkerboard Wrasse.
Getting in the water at dusk in front of an audience on the jetty, not knowing what to expect, we were greeted by the sight of maybe twenty circling Nurse sharks. Settling on the seabed at about 14m, we sat still while they wove their way between us, sometimes swiping us with their fins or tail, or settling on the seabed beside us. Not only were there sharks, but also a few huge stingrays joining in the fun as if they were putting on a show just for us. Tremendous!