Tiger shark, Maldives

The most ‘sharky’ dive ever – top photographer finds tigers in the Deep South

On a mission to meet tiger sharks, world-renowned marine life photographer Stefan Beskow joined Emperor Divers in the Maldives to capture these amazing creatures on camera.

It’s fair to say he wasn’t disappointed.

Having joined us on Emperor Voyager, Stefan wrote about his experience in an article for Scuba Diver Australia & New Zealand magazine and he was glowing in his tribute to these beautiful beasts.

“Gracefulness is the first thing that comes to my mind when I see this amazing animal!,” he writes.

“Far from the general perception that they would be dangerous, the nearly four-metre-long tiger shark comes swimming straight towards me. It is impossible to escape the tension rising and the heart rate increasing significantly in my first encounter with these beautiful creatures.

“The tiger shark swims past me a few metres away and turns in the other direction. Soon the next tiger shark comes swimming, not as impressive in size and a little further away than the last one. Not far from where we are, the tiger sharks are fed on a daily basis and these sharks are on their way to or away from the very area where the feeding takes place. In total, we see seven different tiger sharks – not bad for a first acquaintance!”

Stefan was on our Deep South itinerary which takes in the famous Fuvahmulah, Huvadhu and Addu Atolls. It’s a trip that offers so much with a variety of sharks (not just tigers), mantas, incredible channels, drift diving, wreck diving and, of course, all in the amazing clear Indian Ocean waters.

Grey Reef Shark

The abundance of life was something that became apparent right from the very start of Stefan’s time with us.

He continued: “Up with the rooster! At 5.30am there is a knock on the door for the first dive.

“Although it is a so-called checkout dive, it is by no means bad. We break the surface a little over an hour after we started and can tick off about 30 turtles, grey reef shark, mobula, whitetip reef shark and blacktip reef shark. Not bad for a checkout dive and we realise this trip will be something extraordinary. On the boat, it also turns out that one of the other divers saw a sailfish on their dive!”

And on the boat another fantastic experience is awaiting them…

“We have just managed to wipe off the last drops of water and put on our clothes when the bell rings. At the boat briefing, it was explained that the bell rang for three reasons – food, dive briefing and something extraordinary. In other words, breakfast is served!

“The food on Voyager is eaten outside in the fresh air. With a light breeze from the sea and because the food is eaten in the shade, it is really comfortable.

“The meals are served buffet-style and there are always several dishes to choose from. Both vegetarian and with meat. For breakfast, you can also order how you want your eggs. Omelette, fried, boiled or scrambled. We note the food at Voyager is really good!

“The boat has been plying the waters of the Maldives for many years and has an experienced crew and all the amenities one could possibly ask for without being the ultimate luxury segment of liveaboards in the area. Most importantly, the diving organization itself works exemplary throughout the week!”

But, splendid as it may be, it was not Emperor food and comfort Stefan came for – it was sharks.

And the Maldives delivered big time!

He describes another dive as: “We jump into the crystal-clear water and immediately notice the current is taking us in the direction of the Kandu (channel) and it is also noticeable in the number of sharks.

Emperor Voyager

“We glide past several grey reef sharks and the occasional whitetip reef shark. When we finally arrive and hook onto the reef, we no longer see a few sharks. When we look out into the intense blue, we see sharks everywhere!

“Instead of counting them one by one, they can be counted in tens! When I try to estimate how many there are, I lose count somewhere around 50. When they then swim on, another shoal of sharks arrives! The experience is absolutely fantastic!

“It’s hard to estimate how many sharks I saw but definitely over 100 grey reef sharks and maybe even double that! We drift with the current into the channel and continue our dive. Several green turtles swim past, we glimpse a large stingray on a sandbar and even some blacktip reef sharks before it’s time to end the dive which is probably my most ‘sharky’ dive ever!”

There were many more sightings and adventures to come during his trip, as Stefan outlines in his full Scuba Diver Australia & New Zealand magazine article. And we are delighted he took so much joy from his time with us, from his first experience in the deep south of the Maldives and from his ‘sharky’ overload.

He finishes with: “It was a really good week! I have not experienced such shark rich waters in my entire diving career! In total, we saw ten species of shark and many sharks, sometimes 100s, on almost every dive. If you are an experienced diver who likes sharks and has some experience diving in currents, this is a trip that is highly recommended!”

Want to immerse yourself in the wonderful world of sharks? Find out more information about diving our Deep South itinerary or contact our great team on [email protected]. They can answer any questions you might have or help you book your place on the most ‘sharky’ of dive trips.


Please note: The images used with this story are not those taken by Stefan Beskow

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