In July, I travelled to the Maldives with a rock band that I worked with. We stayed at Club Faru, about 20 minutes by speedboat from the main island of Male. After finishing work on our second day, I discovered that I had five days more to do nothing -- or take in the best of the island.
|The edge of the reef|
As far as natural history goes, the Maldives hold a magnetic fascination for divers. Being challenged in that department, I could only listen to those who went underwater and experienced the sights firsthand.
|Crabs anticipate the turn of the tide|
On our resort island, the weather was balmy, with a steady, persistent breeze mellowing the sun's glare. Temperatures hung around 28 to 30- degrees Celsius, though storms could cool the air dramatically. Coral reefs calmed down the breakers into a gentle shoreward current, and the clear aquamarine waters revealed their treasures. On the shores, crabs clung to the eroded shelf of the coral atoll. In the shade of the coconut palms, hermit crabs scuffled for new mollusc shells in which to conceal their soft abdomens.
|Hermit crab, up close (and delicious?!)|
|Sentinel-like, the Grey Heron poses regally|
There were rose-ringed parakeets, cockatiels, canaries, budgerigars and a large red and black parrot, which hopped on my shoulder and nibbled my ear. Interestingly, there was also a pair of koels on the island - had they been introduced?
I saw no amphibians, but there were two species of reptiles on the island -- a speckled gecko and a species of Calotes lizard.
But it was the fish that really blew my mind and pained me for my ignorance. Black-tipped reef sharks, eels, squids, wrasses, blennies, sweetlips, surgeonfish, stingrays... and more fish that I could barely identify.
|Pretty orange fish with a pointed snout|
|Stingrays swarm the reefs at dawn|
|Sweetlips at the surface|
|Black-tipped Reef Shark|
|Blue Surgeonfish (the absent-minded Dory of Finding Nemo)|
|Moray Eels scavenge near the pier|
|Lichen rings on the bark of a coconut palm|
|A fishy funeral - these fish mourn their dead by eating its body|
Location of Club Faru in the Laccadive Sea: