Scuba dive in the Maldives and have a magical adventure with a unicorn…..fish!21 Apr 2018
Unicorns, winged horses with magical powers, often part of mythology and fantasy worlds, are currently extremely popular but it’s not likely that anyone will bump into one any time soon. Those that venture underwater while scuba diving or even glimpse the magical world beneath the waves while snorkelling however, have a great chance of seeing a unicornfish, it’s an almost everyday occurrence on the reefs of the Maldives!
Unicornfish are so named because of a protrusion from their head – some are long and pointy, others just have a rather big nose! The Maldives is home to 8 different species of unicornfish, the one with the biggest personality is the aptly named Big-Nose Unicornfish, also known as Vlaming’s Unicornfish and Doctorfish with the Latin name Naso vlamingii. It’s a relatively large member of the unicornfish family, it can reach up to 60cm in length and is visually very striking, with an amazing ability to change colour depending on mood and environment. It can appear to be a rather muddy brown one moment and then transform to purple with vivid blue markings that seem iridescent in the light.
Many divers are captivated as they watch the playful behaviour of the Vlaming’s Unicornfish taking a jacuzzi in their bubbles as they exhale. The fish congregate above the divers and visibly shudder as they enjoy the feeling of the bubbles passing over their bodies. They sometimes get extremely close and have even been known to give the divers’ hair a gentle tug – causing much amusement and underwater giggling which inevitably means more bubbles for these spa-loving fish. Divers are advised to simply hang in the water, neutrally buoyant and enjoy the show literally in front of their very eyes – keep hands in though and don’t attempt to brush the fish away – like other members of the surgeonfish family they have scalpel-like blades at the base of their tails as an aid to defence. They represent no danger to divers unless trying to catch one by the tail – not recommended!